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Published on Monday, January 28, 2013

Protecting essential services from public record abuses

On Friday, January 25, officials representing a variety of local governments testified in favor of HB 1128, which protects essential government services from public record abuses. Cities, counties, schools, ports, and others reiterated their support for open government while sharing their stories of extreme public record requests that have substantially interfered with their other responsibilities.

Opponents testified that local governments already have tools to address public records requests, including filling large requests in installments; that the bill’s language is too broad and could bar legitimate requests; and that requestors have a civil right to public records. Concerns were also expressed about whether newspaper requests could be denied under the bill. The local government representatives did an excellent job in addressing these concerns, and responses to these issues can be read here.

AWC would like to thank all of the local government officials who testified in support of the bill, including AWC’s President and Sammamish City Councilmember Don Gerend and Pasco Mayor Pro-Tem Rebecca Francik.