February 1, 2011
By Jessica Gail

(KCPW News) If you don’t want the public to know how to reach you, one state lawmaker says don’t bother running for public office. Now, Republican Senator Howard Stephenson is sponsoring a bill about contact information for public officials, including school community council members.

“The bill requires elected officials who are elected at the polling booth as well as those elected at their schools to represent the patrons in the schools to provide their telephone numbers and e-mails so that people can contact them,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson says he wanted to sponsor the bill after receiving several complaints from constituents trying to get in touch with school officials.

“People are frustrated not being able to contact elected officials,” said Stephenson. “They go on the website and can’t find the phone number or the e-mail.  There is sometimes a generic form they have to fill out in order to send a message. If somebody intends to represent the public, they ought to be willing to have their contact information public.”

Three residents spoke in favor of Stephenson’s bill at a committee hearing yesterday. It was approved unanimously, and will now be heard on the Senate floor.