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Published on Friday, February 17, 2017

AWC priority public records bills advance

AWC’s priority public records bills, HB 1594 and HB 1595, were voted out of Committee on February 14.  The House State Government, Elections, & Information Technology Committee voted 8-1 to advance HB 1595 and 6-1-2 (two members voted “without recommendation”) on HB 1594. We are heartened by this action and continue to work with other stakeholder groups on potential amendments to further refine the language in the two bills.

HB 1594 has a fiscal impact and will likely be referred to the House Appropriations Committee where it will need to be acted on before the fiscal cut off deadline on February 24. HB 1595 will likely go to the House Rules Committee which will determine if it advances to the full House for a vote.

AWC would like to thank AWC Vice President Pat Johnson, Mayor of Buckley, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen and Seattle Police Department Director of Transparency and Privacy Mary Perry for testifying on behalf of the bills during the hearing on February 10.

As a reminder here is what the bills include:

HB 1595

  • Amends the PRA to allow cities to charge a small fee for providing copies of electronic records.
  • Creates the ability for cities to deny overwhelming computer generated “bot” requests.
  • Prohibits overly broad requests for all of a city’s records.
  • Creates a way for cities to apply a service charge to exceptionally complex requests.

HB 1594

  • Requires training for records officers to address issues of retention, production and disclosure of electronic records.
  • Creates a grant program within the Office of the Secretary of State for local governments to improve their public record management systems.
  • Establishes a program within the Office of the Attorney General to consult with local governments on public records best practices.
  • Creates a study on the feasibility of establishing a statewide open records portal.
  • Provides for mediation between a city and a requestor when there is disagreement on a request.
Categories: Open government