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Published on Friday, January 15, 2016

Legislation introduced to address public records disputes

Reps. Joan McBride (D-Kirkland) and Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) have introduced HB 2576 regarding public records requests to local agencies. AWC has worked closely with the legislators in developing this bill to help cities better manage requests and provide an alternative to courts for public record disputes. The bill hasn’t yet been scheduled for public hearing, but we anticipate that it will be heard in the House Local Government Committee.

HB 2576 has three main components that, 1. Allows local agencies to adopt policies to limit the time and resources spent responding to records requests; 2. Establishes a Public Records Commission responsible for alternative dispute resolution for public records disputes; and 3. Allows for cost recovery of certain commercially motivated records requests. We encourage cities to support this AWC priority bill.

The House Local Government Committee hosted a work session on public records requests on Tuesday, January 12. The committee heard from cities, counties, school districts, ports, and hospital districts about the impacts of burdensome and harassing requests. AWC would like to thank Seattle Assistant City Attorney Mary Perry and Renton Senior Assistant City Attorney Zanetta Fontes for taking time to attend the work session to talk about the impacts of these types of public records requests. Unfortunately, some of the organizations represented at the work session have already been subject to retaliatory records requests for their participation and speaking about the issue.

Categories: Open government