PANEL DISCUSSION WILL BE MARCH 11
The League of Women Voters of Kansas City/Jackson-Clay-Platte Counties announces a panel discussion to raise awareness of Sunshine Laws that hold officials accountable and promote transparency in government.
The event, “Sunshine Amid the Storms,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 11, 2024, at Shook Hardy & Bacon law offices, 2555 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, and online via Zoom. The event features Dan Margolies, recently retired journalist with KCUR-FM, in conversation with First Amendment lawyers Bernie Rhodes of Lathrop GPM; and Jean Maneke of The Maneke Group.
The panel will begin with a brief explanation of Sunshine Laws that generally provide for public access to government meetings, documents, and decisions.
These laws, broadly including Open Records and the Freedom of Information Act, are foundational to democracy, yet increasingly face challenges and misuse.
For example, some jurisdictions have attempted to block members of the public from participating in open meetings, proposed exorbitant fees for access to public documents, and in Marion County, Kansas, police led a raid on the local newspaper – an action widely condemned as a violation of First Amendment rights.
Members of the panel will draw upon personal and professional experiences with Sunshine Laws to illustrate the importance of the laws in keeping government actions open and accessible to the people, a cornerstone of democracy.
•Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio.
•Bernie J. Rhodes is a partner at Lathrop GPM with more than 30 years of experience in First Amendment and media law matters.
•Jean Maneke, a former journalist, is the principal of the Maneke Law Group. She has 25 years of experience in media, publishing and entertainment law.
The Attorney General of Missouri may also send a representative to participate in the event.
This discussion, designed to provide a deeper understanding of the Sunshine Law and its role in democracy, is free and open to the public. The event coincides with the national observance of Sunshine Week, a nonpartisan initiative sponsored by a collaboration of nonprofit, private, and government sectors.
To register for the event, visit lwvkc.org.
A recording of the event will be available on lwvkc.org and the @LWVKC YouTube channel.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan grassroots educational organization working to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy. The group empowers voters and defend democracy through advocacy, education, and litigation, at the local, state, and national levels.
Hallmarks of the local LWVKC/JCP organization include registering voters, conducting candidate forums, and publishing an online voter guide at vote411.org.
The League never endorses or opposes candidates or political parties.