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DIY Democracy: How to follow the Kansas Legislature

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include revisions to the legislature’s website made after this story published, and to add more information sources available to the public. When the 2023 Kansas Legislature convenes on Jan. 9, lawmakers will begin writing, revising and debating laws that will impact the lives of all Kansans. But…

How to request public records in Wichita and Sedgwick County

Journalists often request public records as part of their jobs, but anyone can do it.  Court records. Government salary databases. Policies. Reports. Budgets. All that information and more can be requested by the public.  In Kansas, public records can be requested under the Kansas Open Records Act. All records of public government bodies within the…

Nearly 90% of Sedgwick County homes rose in value this year. Here’s how to appeal your property valuation.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that sales prices of nearby homes are available on the county appraiser’s website. An overheated housing market across the nation is reflected in Sedgwick County’s housing valuations this year.  In 2022, 88% of residential homes in Sedgwick County increased in value — about 158,467 of…

Have your voice heard: How to participate in Sedgwick County government meetings

A $484 million annual budget. $45 million in annual capital improvements. Over $100 million in COVID relief funds.  These are the dollars a Sedgwick County resident can influence by participating in Sedgwick County Commission meetings. Here’s how.  Where to find Sedgwick County meeting times and locations The county posts meeting dates, times and locations up…

Showing up and speaking up: How to participate in Wichita city government meetings

Every day, Wichita’s city government makes decisions about a litany of topics: public safety, parks and green space, and zoning rules, to name a few. So how can you make sure your voice is heard on these matters? The Wichita Beacon created this guide to watching, attending and participating in city government meetings.  Where to…

How to be a Wichita whistleblower: What to do when things go wrong

No one knows a city’s secrets, patterns or stories as intimately as its residents. As a Wichitan, what can you do if your gut tells you something’s wrong? Are you protected from sharing potentially sensitive information? How do you even start checking things out?  We’ve crafted a short guide on how you can be a…