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Sunday, May 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stories tagged: public records act

RIP to these Washington state legislative bills

Four weeks into the 2020 legislative session it’s impossible to say what new laws will be created on major issues like the environment, homelessness or taxes. It is possible to …

Editorial: Don’t gut public records laws to serve public sector unions

State lawmakers must take perverse pleasure in keeping Washingtonians in the dark. Having returned to Olympia, Democratic legislators are pushing a sneaky bill that would wreak all kinds of havoc …

Foundation seeking names, birthdates of hundreds of thousands of government workers

Anti-union Freedom Foundation is requesting records on hundreds of thousands of government workers.

Spin Control: Date-of-birth records are public, divided court says

In a close call, state Supreme Court rules government employees’ dates of birth are public records.

UPDATED: Tue., June 11, 2019

High court to decide if secret legislative records are a ‘black hole’ or a needed balance

Keeping legislative records secret called a “black hole” by news media lawyer, part of the balance between transparency and efficiency by lawmakers’ lawyer.

Court to hear arguments on whether lawmakers can deny public records requests

Washington Supreme Court will hear arguments whether legislators individually are subject to Public Records Act or can refuse to release some documents.

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 20, 2019

Washington courts likely to decide which legislative records will be open to the public after lawmakers say proposal is dead

An effort to open some legislative records to the public while keeping others secret is likely dead, lawmakers acknowledged Tuesday morning.

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 13, 2019

Records exemptions proposed for Legislature blasted

A proposal to give lawmakers special exemptions to keep some records secret was denounced by media and open government advocates.

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 5, 2018

Task force looks at public records versus private information

Task force grapples with protecting private information from constituents as it reviews public records law.

Spin Control: Rep. Shea should keep his seat on the Public Records task force

Calling reporters “dirty, godless, hateful” shouldn’t disqualify Matt Shea from serving on a legislative task force on the Public Records Act.

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 23, 2018

Shawn Vestal: Legislators continue to miss the point of public records and transparency

When it comes to the Washington Legislature, and what we can expect in terms of its willingness to abide by the Public Records Act, it won’t be Matt Shea’s whackjobbery …

UPDATED: Tue., May 29, 2018

Washington Supreme Court to decide legislative records case

The state Supreme Court will decide whether Washington state’s voter-approved Public Records Act applies to state lawmakers.

UPDATED: Thu., March 1, 2018

Gov. Jay Inslee vetoes bill exempting Legislature from Public Records Act

Gov. Jay Inslee vetoes the Legislature’s special exemptions to the Public Records Act

Residents to Inslee: Veto Legislature’s Public Records exemptions

Gov. Jay Inslee is getting a high volume of calls and emails urging a veto of the new public records laws the Legislature passed for itself last week.

FACT CHECK: Lawmakers off mark on public records facts

Washington lawmakers are facing a backlash after they bypassed normal legislative procedures and quickly approved a bill exempting themselves from the state’s Public Records Act and subjecting themselves instead to …

Editorial: Veto the Legislature’s secrecy bill

Last week, the Washington Legislature hurriedly approved a bill to create a special public records law just for them. It’s far weaker than the Public Records Act that applies to …

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 27, 2018

Are lawmakers right that their special Public Records law is more transparent?

A way to look at legislators’ claims that they voted for more transparency when they exempted themselves from the Public Records Act that other state and local officials must follow.

Critics question lawmakers’ proposal to block access to some records

Critics accused the Legislature on Thursday of trying to sneak through a major change in state law that would allow them to hide some of their records from the public.

Details of the Legislature’s proposal to exempt itself from the Public Records Act

What’s in the proposal to exempt the Legislature from portions of the Public Records Act.

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 19, 2018

Washington lawmakers must release public records when the public requests them, judge says

Legislators and their offices are subject to the law that requires them to release public documents, judge rules.

UPDATED: Thu., April 27, 2017

Padden, Ferguson at odds over immigration advice

Sen. Mike Padden, Attorney General Bob Ferguson spar over how cities and counties should respond to federal requests for help with immigration enforcement.

Lawmakers’ public-records exemption isn’t justified

There is no good reason for lawmakers to carve out this exemption for themselves. Every argument they offer would apply to any other elected official.

Tacoma to pay $50,000 for violating Public Records Act

The city of Tacoma will pay a $50,000 fine and legal fees for violating the Public Records Act by withholding most of a nondisclosure agreement it signed to obtain cellphone …

Shout down Idaho lawmaker’s secrecy bid

Under Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri’s abomination, not only would the public be unable to unearth what their public servants are up to outside of public hearings, they couldn’t discern …

Our advice: Yes on I-1491; no on I-1501

Initiative 1491. This measure would give loved ones and law enforcement a speedy way to petition a court to have a gun removed from someone who poses harm to themselves …

True aim of Initiative 1501 tangled in political brawl

There is great debate about whether Initiative 1501 on Washington’s Nov. 8 ballot actually protects seniors or is just another spat in the ongoing fight between a caregivers union and …

Outside View: Open government worth the cost

While the Legislature could reasonably consider methods for controlling the costs, lawmakers should be wary of steps that would diminish the power of the Public Records Act.

Washington Supreme Court: Make names of low-level sex offenders public

A split Washington Supreme Court ruled the names of low-level sex offenders should be released to the public upon request, but defense attorneys say the decision could hinder efforts to …

Justices uphold $502,000 public records fine against state

The Washington Supreme Court has upheld a $502,000 penalty for Public Records Act violations by the state Department of Labor and Industries, in a ruling which affirms that judges can …

Editorial: Lawmakers’ records exemption is suspect

Aside from self-interest, there is nothing stopping legislators from broadening the definition of ‘public record.’ Washington legislators do not face unique circumstances that require them to have more secrecy.