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Kansas Public Records

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The following is for informational purposes only

What are Kansas Public Records, and How are They Created?

Kansas Public Records

The Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) KSA 45-215 et. seq., is the state's law that controls access to public records. No one needs an explicit reason for requesting a public record. The KORA states that "It is declared to be the public policy of the state that public records shall be open for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this act, and this act shall be liberally construed and applied to promote such policy. Nothing in this act shall be construed to require the retention of a public record nor to authorize the discard of a public record." The state names a government agency in charge of records a "custodian."

Any "public agency" that creates, stores, and maintains public records are subject to this law. According to the KORA, "Public agency means the state or any political or taxing subdivision of the state or any office, officer, agency or instrumentality thereof, or any other entity receiving or expending and supported in whole or in part by the public funds appropriated by the state or by public funds of any political or taxing subdivision of the state."

Per the Kansas Open Records Act, a public record is "any recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, which is made, maintained or kept by or is in the possession of any public agency including, but not limited to, an agreement in settlement of litigation involving the Kansas public employees retirement system and the investment of moneys of the fund."

The Attorney General for Kansas provides a list of FAQs regarding public records access and how to request copies. They have this list on their website of all government offices and encourages the public to contact the custodian of the records when making a request.

The Kansas Historical Societyis the agency behind historical public records. They collect, store, and retrieve them for patrons upon request. Some of the things they have are vital records, state and local government records, land surveys, county records, military data, photographs, and much more.


How to Access Kansas Public Records?

How to Access Kansas Public Records

The Kansas Attorney General provides basic guidelines for requesting public records. They stress that each individual custodian and agency will have their own procedure and possibly forms. Additionally, each agency may charge a different fee. Unfortunately, there is no central agency where you can request public records. However, they do provide a complete list of all the agencies and mention that every government office must supply you with their hours of operation, and procedure for obtaining public records. In most cases, they will have a dedicated information officer in charge of satisfying requests.


Different Types of Public Records in Kansas

Kansas Criminal Records

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is the government agency in charge of providing the public with criminal records. They have a website where anyone can perform a record's check at any time. Each search costs $20, and the service is available from 4 a.m. until midnight each day. When signing up to use the system, you will need to register with KanAccess, a government access portal.

Some common types of criminal records in Kansas include (but are not limited to):

  • Felony and Misdemeanor Records - common misdemeanors in Kansas are first offense DUI, eavesdropping, use or install a phone device that does not belong to you, possession of marijuana, and shoplifting. Some felonies that you might find in Kansas are drug offenses, rape, aggravated assault, and murder.
  • Kansas Jail and Inmate Records- both jails and prisons keep inmate records, and those too are public records. The Kansas Department of Corrections has an offender search tool on their website to locate criminals and their records.
  • Police Records - local police can provide copies of incident reports, police reports, sometimes mugshots, and even crime scene photos upon request.

Kansas Court Records

Different Types of Public Records in Kansas

Court records in Kansas are created by each different level of the court system. Most cases fall into District Court. The Kansas Office of Judicial Administration is the agency in charge of court records, and they have setup up a nice, easy website where you can request records for about $1.50 per search. The search tool works on the computer and also mobile devices.

Some types of court records in Kansas are:

  • Civil Court Records - domestic relations cases such as divorces, marriages, paternity lawsuits, custody and child support cases, estates, conservatorships, wills, civil lawsuits, and small claims lawsuits.
  • Criminal Court Records - criminal filings for misdemeanors, felonies, and other citations. These may include things like trial paperwork, sentencing, prison transfers, and evidence related to the court case.
  • Financial Court Records - bankruptcies, liens, tax issues, company stock filings, and corporate financial reports.
  • Other Court Records - such as bench warrants, arrest warrants, judgments, traffic tickets and other traffic violations, and name changes.

The Kansas court system is split into four levels starting with the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals, District Court, and Municipal Court.

Some counties have chosen not to take part in the online records search. Therefore, you would need to visit those courthouses in person to retrieve copies.

Kansas Arrest Records

The state of Kansas freely offers criminal records to the public. Therefore you can request copies of Kansas arrest records through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation or visit the local law enforcement officials and ask them for copies. You may have to fill out request forms and pay a fee, though. You can also check Kansas court records for arrest details.

Some different types of arrests records in Kansas are:

  • Drug charges.
  • Murder.
  • Burglary.
  • Spying on someone or using a device to eavesdrop in a private space.
  • Aggravated assault.
  • OWIs.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Booking details like fingerprints and mugshots.
  • Arrest warrants granted by a judge.
  • Bench warrants for not appearing in court.
  • Crime scene photos.
  • Witness statements.
  • Property crimes and accompanying paperwork.
  • Vehicle records if one was used during the crime.

Kansas Vital Records

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of Vital Statistics is the agency in charge of all vital records for the state. They maintain more than 10 million records for ( births , stillbirth , deaths , marriages , and divorces ). They add about 100,000 new records annually and provide 360,000 certified copies to the public each year. The agency uses VitalChek to get access to records online, and you can also order them in person, by phone, through the mail or mobile app. This office also handles adoption paperwork and corrects errors on vital records.


Other Public Records in Kansas

Other Public Records in Kansas

Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, property records in Kansas are also public. Here are the others:

  • Government budgets and annual reports.
  • Driving records (without personally identifiable information).
  • Home addresses.
  • Maps, books, and tapes.
  • State health and wellness statistics.
  • Air and water quality (pollution reports).
  • Home phone numbers.
  • Police and accident reports.
  • Liens & tax issues.
  • Company incorporation records.
  • Demographics.
  • Library Research.
  • Personnel records for state agencies.
  • Permits, licenses, and certifications.
  • Government employee salaries.

What Information is Not Public Record in Kansas?

According to the Kansas Legislative Sessions, the following are things that are not public records:

  • "Records which are privileged under the rules of evidence, unless the holder of the privilege consents to the disclosure.
  • Medical, psychiatric, psychological or alcoholism or drug dependency treatment records which pertain to identifiable patients.
  • Personnel records, performance ratings or individually identifiable records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment, except that this exemption shall not apply to the names, positions, salaries or actual compensation employment contracts or employment-related contracts or agreements and lengths of service of officers and employees of public agencies once they are employed as such.
  • Information that would reveal the identity of any undercover agent or any informant reporting a specific violation of law.
  • Letters of reference or recommendation pertaining to the character or qualifications of an identifiable individual, except documents relating to the appointment of persons to fill a vacancy in an elected office.
  • Library, archive and museum materials contributed by private persons, to the extent of any limitations imposed as conditions of the contribution."