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Published on Friday, February 10, 2017

Bill would cap public record penalties in certain cases

SB 5710 sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Kirkland) is a proposal from the City of Kirkland that would cap penalties in certain public records cases. The bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate State Government Committee on Friday, February 17. That is the cutoff day to take action on policy bills. The bill would need to be heard and voted out of the committee on the same day to be able to advance. The bill faces strong opposition from the public records requester community.

SB 5710 would cap penalties at $5,000 in cases where the judge found that the agency acted in good faith. The bills indicates that good faith could include but is not limited to the following:

  • A lack of clarity in the request;
  • The agency's prompt response or legitimate follow-up inquiry for clarification;
  • The agency's honest, timely, and strict compliance with all statutory procedural requirements and exceptions;
  • Proper training and supervision of the agency's personnel;
  • The reasonableness of any explanation for noncompliance by the agency;
  • The helpfulness of the agency to the requestor;
  • The supplemental and unprompted provision by an agency of responsive records that had inadvertently not been provided previously; and
  • The existence of agency systems to track and retrieve public records.
Categories: Open government