OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that a 2016 voter-approved ballot measure that bars the release of personal information of in-home caregivers applies retroactively to pending records requests that were filed before the law took effect.
The court ruled Thursday that Initiative 1501, which passed in November 2016 and took effect a month later, prevents the release of the information sought by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group that requested names and work addresses and emails of child care providers in the state’s Working Connection program.
The high court’s ruling overturned a Court of Appeals ruling that had found that I-1501 was not retroactive. That previous court also found that a public records request creates a “vested right” to access responsive records that cannot be retroactively infringed.
But in its ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Public Records Act creates no such right.
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