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Published on Friday, July 22, 2016

AWC continues push to strengthen the Public Records Act

During the 2016 legislative session, legislative champions in the House actively promoted bipartisan legislation to address changes in technology and burdensome requests. While a bill did not pass, conversations continue over the interim to build consensus on how to address abuses. This Everett Herald article outlines ideas presented at a House State Government Committee work session on July 12 where AWC staff and other stakeholders provided input.

Additionally this interim, the two key sponsors of legislation during the 2016 session, Rep. Joan McBride (D-Kirkland) and Rep. Terry Nealey (R-Dayton), have convened a group of stakeholders to discuss the challenges and possible solutions to public records issues. The stakeholder group is large and includes varied interests including cities and other local governments, newspapers, commercial records users, state agencies and the Washington Coalition for Open Government. The group has met twice this summer and plans to meet again in August to continue the discussions about potential solutions, with a goal of reaching consensus around ideas that can be incorporated into legislation for 2017.

One of the outstanding pieces of the public records puzzle is the State Auditor’s Office study taking place on the costs and impacts of responding to public records requests. That study is now expected to be released in late August. The study will include an overview of some leading practices in managing records and responding to requests, in addition to information about costs and impacts.

Categories: Open government