Sign up for the Open Government eNewsletter
We warmly welcome your thoughts on og-blog and especially welcome your emails with suggested postings and links to interesting stories and court cases. If you have something to say about open government in Washington State, sending it to og-blog is probably the best way to get it out. Don’t hesitate to contact us at

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bill Proposed to Create "Office of Open Records"

A good idea.

But the devil is in the details.

If this bill attempted to take away citizens' right to enforce the Public Records Act or Open Public Meetings Act in court, it would be an abomination and will die a painful (legislative) death. The current draft does not take away access to courts. We will be watching. We have no reason to believe the Attorney General or State Auditor want to take away citizens' access to court, but local government lobbyists and others hostile to open government do.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Public Records Show ... State Officials Nervous About Seattle Mayoral Race

This story in the Seattle Times--made possible by access to public records--shows that state officials who wanted an underground tunnel in Seattle were nervous that "their" candidate wasn't winning.

Perhaps not earth-shattering, but the emails are an interesting window the public can have into how government really works.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The (Longview) Daily News Editorial on Pres. Obama's Opennes Record

This editorial from The (Longview) Daily News describes President Obama's less-than-stellar track record so far on open government.

The Fight for WaMu Documents

This Puget Sound Business Journal article describes that newspaper's attempts to learn about why Washington Mutual was shut down by bank regulators.

The federal bank regulators are not being helpful.

Monday, December 14, 2009

US Supreme Court to Review Public Employee Privacy

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on whether public employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the use of publicy-financed communication devices, in this case texting.

Thanks to Rusty for sending this to us.

Spokesman-Review Editorial on U.S. Supreme Court Case on Initiative Signatures

The Spokesman-Review writes this editorial on the whole R-71 thing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

An Elected Official Gets It

Jefferson County PUD Commissioner Wayne King understands for whom he works.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oregon Jumps on Open Gov't Ombudsman Bandwagon

Hey, Oregon, nice to see you're trying to be like your neighbor to the north. But, seriously, this is good news.

Next maybe you can let people pump their own gas.

"Federal workshop on openness closed to the public"

We couldn't make this stuff up even if we tried.

Thanks to Kokanee Bill for finding this.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jefferson County Violating First Amendment?

This story from the Port Townsend Leader describes the policy of the Jefferson County Commissioners to allow the public to speak at commissioner meetings ... except not to criticize county employees.

Tim Ford of the Attorney General's Office says this raises serious constitutional questions.

That's an understatement.

Jefferson County, by the way, is the home of the "pizza privacy" exemption from disclosure under the Public Records Act.

Op-Ed in Port Townsend Leader on Open Gov't

Mike Fancher writes this op-ed on open government.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Columbian Column on Public Records Administrative Remedy

This column by Tom Koenninger of The (Vancouver) Columbian describes why it would be a good idea to have a state agency provide a voluntary administrative remedy--an efficient public records "small claims court"--for public records disputes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Op-Ed Blasts Whatcom Ruling on Destroying Records

This op-ed in the Bellingham Herald by David Seago of the Washington Coalition for Open Government strongly criticizes a recent ruling by a Whatcom County judge that an arbitrator can order the destruction of a later-requested public record.

NOTE: Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group represented the Bellingham Herald in the case.