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Published on Friday, January 11, 2013

Strengthening the Public Records Act by curbing abuses

With the legislative session starting next week, public records legislation will once again be under consideration. On Tuesday, January 15, the House Government Operations & Elections committee will conduct a work session on public records and open meetings. AWC and the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) will present information about the challenges local governments face in honoring their commitment to open government while protecting their ability to perform essential services from the cost of public records abuses.

This challenge is at the heart of why AWC has joined with other local governments in promoting two public records bills. The first bill, which will be formally introduced during the first week of session, provides local governments with the ability to seek a civil injunction when faced with a financially motivated, punitive, or retributive request. The bill will also allow jurisdictions to adopt a policy limiting the number of hours devoted to public records requests. The second bill, HB 1037, would allow jurisdictions to charge a fee for records requested for commercial purposes.

You can find more information in our Fact Sheet, and we will keep you posted on the status of these bills in future Legislative Bulletins.