Legislators press for raid report
A resolution asking the attorney general to give state legislators an account of Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s review of Aug. 11 raids at the Marion County Record and homes of its owners and a city councilwoman was presented Tuesday in the Kansas House of Representatives.
The resolution, HR 6032, was written by representatives Mari-Lynn Poskin, an education consultant from Leawood, and Dennis Highberger, a lawyer from Lawrence. Both are Democrats.
They were joined by 42 co-sponsors — 10 Republicans and 32 Democrats.
Marion County representatives Scott Hill and Steven Owens are not among the cosponsors of the bill.
Owens, who did not respond to numerous emails and voice messages over four days, sent an email Tuesday saying he did not know whether he supported the resolution.
“I plan to review the resolution prior to it coming to the floor and will make a decision at that time as it relates to supporting it,” his email said. “This is the same process I follow with any piece of legislation I am required to vote on.”
Hill said he had seen that he had an email from the Record about the resolution but had neglected to read it.
Contacted by phone Monday, he said he would decide later whether he supported the resolution.
“My contention as a state legislator is to draft laws that affect my people,” Hill said.
Claiming to be “a huge supporter of the freedom of the press,” and a supporter of the second amendment, Hill said that the raids garnered much publicity and he is “not into the idea of doing things just to make a show.”
Poskin said she and Highberger had began working on the resolution in December.
“We watched the news unfold on the Marion Record raid the way the state and the nation and the world did,” she said.
She said she was not commenting on the truth of what happened and not making any judgments on what happened.
“The rights of the press are inviolate,” Poskin said. “I want to make a statement that we support the free press.”
She sent emails to other members of the House last week, asking them to sign on as cosponsors.
She hopes the resolution passes quickly.
“The next step in getting this passed is for Speaker of the House Daniel Hawkins and the senior leadership to bring it to the floor,” Poskin said.
The House Committee on Judiciary will review and discuss the resolution. If it gets enough votes to be passed by the committee, the resolution will go to the House floor for a vote.
Poskin said that people who want to support the resolution could contact their representatives or House leadership.
The resolution affirms the House of Representatives’ unwavering support for free press and directs the attorney general to make a report concerning the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry regarding the extent to which the civil rights of any Kansan were violated when search warrants were executed.
CBI investigated the raids at the request of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation after former Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody, who spearheaded the raids, contended KBI agents had reviewed warrants beforehand.
Five days after the raids, a court ordered that computers, cell phones, and other seized items be returned because warrants were not supported by probable cause to justify the raid.
The resolution notes that the raids appeared to have violated federal law, were disavowed because of insufficient evidence, and contributed to the death of newspaper co-owner Joan Meyer.
Last modified Jan. 25, 2024