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Published on Friday, April 12, 2013

Proposal for public record collaboration

While we were unable to pass our public record priority bill, HB 1128, this session, we received some good news with this week’s House budget. The budget proposal includes $25,000 for the Ruckelshaus Center to collaborate with local governments, the media, and representatives of the public regarding records requests made to local government. The purpose of this study is to try to find common ground among the stakeholders and to keep the conversation going during the interim. The Center would facilitate meetings and discussions with the stakeholders and, by December 15, 2013, report to the Legislature on:

  • Recommendations to balance open public records with local government concerns about interference with other work.
  • Resources necessary to accommodate requests.
  • Potential harassment of government employees.
  • Potential safety concerns of people named in the records.
  • Potential for assisting criminal activity.
  • Other issues brought forward by the participants.

We appreciate the help of Reps. Takko (D-Longview) and Sullivan (D-Covington) and others who worked to put this provision into the budget to keep this discussion moving forward.