Memo: Larned workers shouldn’t speak to state lawmakers

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Kansas state Rep. Dan Hawkins, right, R-Wichita, makes a point during a joint legislative oversight committee hearing on staffing problems at the state’s mental hospital in Larned, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Topeka. Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, left, looks on. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

WICHITA — The Kansas agency that oversees psychiatric facilities has told employees at Larned State Hospital not to speak to state lawmakers without permission.

The Kansas City Star reports it obtained a copy of a memo sent Nov. 15 to Larned employees by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

The memo tells Larned employees they would violate department policy by speaking to lawmakers or the media without prior authorization from the agency’s spokeswoman.

The union representing state workers said the restriction likely violates a state law that protects whistleblowers.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said the policy doesn’t make sense and the department can’t keep anyone from talking to the Legislature.

Department Secretary Tim Keck said the agency won’t discipline people who talk to lawmakers.

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