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Published on Thursday, July 11, 2013

No public records reform in 2013

Relief from harassing and abusive public records was one of AWC’s major legislative priorities for 2013.  We worked with a number of local government associations representing counties, ports, school districts, and others on a legislative approach targeted to providing local government with a tool to protect taxpayer resources against abuses of the public records act. All those involved are committed to preserving open and transparent government but are concerned that a few individuals with dubious intentions are using this important law to waste resources and harass local governments. Open government proponents continue to have a lack of appreciation for the harm done by and the significant costs from harassing requests.

The legislative proposal, HB 1128, sponsored by Rep. Dean Takko and 25 others was well received by many legislators but unfortunately could not overcome the perception that it was anti-transparency. The Legislature instead included a small amount of funding in the budget for the Ruckelshaus Center to bring together stakeholders and report on the impact of harassing requests. We are hopeful that this process will produce a collaborative solution that the legislature can act upon in 2014.

A few other public records proposals, such as HB 1037 which would have ended the requirement to subsidize certain commercial records requests, also failed to pass. Please continue sharing stories of your public record challenges with your legislators who need to know how it impacts your city.

BillTracker AWC priority Bill # Descriptive title Final status
Major HB 1037 Cost recovery for commercial public record requests Failed
Major HB 1128 Public records – protecting essential services Failed
    SHB 1198 Requiring open government training Failed
    HB 1297 Disclosure of guardian ad litem background checks Failed
    SHB 1298 Disclosure of finalist applications Failed
    HB 1299 Exemptions for child victim info and gang databases Failed
    SHB 1418 Hours of inspection Failed
    HB 1449 Exempting victim impact statements Failed
    SB 5169 Disclosure of finalist applications Failed
    SB 5170 Disclosure of guardian ad litem background checks Failed
    SB 5171 Exemptions for child victim info and gang databases Failed
    SB 5436 Exempting victim impact statements Failed
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