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Published on Friday, February 21, 2014

Open government bills scheduled for hearings

Last week we told you about several open government bills that passed their house of origin. Companion bills HB 2121/SB 5964 require elected officials and public record officers to receive training in public records, open meetings, and records retention. HB 2105 requires cities with a website and at least 10 employees to post the agendas of regular city council meetings on its website 24 hours in advance of the meeting. All three are now scheduled for hearings next week in the opposite house.

In addition, a number of public record exemption bills have also been approved by one chamber and move to the other for consideration, including:

  • ESHB 1651: prohibits disclosure of certain juvenile arrest and court records.
  • SB 6007: exempts customer telephone numbers, customer electronic contact information, and customer-specific utility usage and billing information in increments less than a billing cycle or a month held by a public utility.
  • HB 2376: exempts public employee and volunteer driver’s license number, identicard numbers, and identification numbers from disclosure.
  • HB 2724: exempts information about archeological resources and traditional cultural places that is shared between agencies or with tribes.

This week also brought disappointing news for the bill allowing cost recovery for commercial public records requests, HB 1037. While the bill had been amended to address the concerns of open government advocates and we were optimistic it would pass the House, opposition from out-of-state interests and open government advocates surfaced and the bill did not move by Tuesday’s deadline. The bill is likely dead for the session.