Monday, December 19, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Hat tip to Ramsey for this story.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Hat tip to John for sending this to us. How did we miss this?
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
You can click on the name of the agency from which you are seeking records and find that agency's answers to a WCOG survey on how that agency provides records, including how to send in a request to that agency.
It's possible that they did not discuss agency business, as they assert, but it undermines the public's trust in them by having to believe that they spent days together and never talked about the one thing they have in common: agency business.
NOTE: The story quotes Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
After going to the Court of Appeals, the newspaper got its attorney fees reimbursed.
This is what it takes to expose corruption. It's also why awarding attorney fees is so vital.
Monday, October 24, 2011
This is one of the reasons why FOIA is so much worse than Washington state's Public Records Act.
P.S. The Obama administration--the transparency people--are the ones proposing this hideous rule.
Hat tip to Jim for sending this story.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Wasn't the Obama Administration going to be so much more transparent than the previous administration?
Hat tip to Jim for sending this story.
Monday, October 3, 2011
How do we know about this? You guessed it:
"Details of the questionable land deal came to light only recently — through Seattle Times federal public-records requests in 2010 that eventually produced several hundred pages of redacted documents."
Friday, September 30, 2011
NOTE: The Seattle Times story quotes Michele Earl-Hubbard of Allied Law Group, who filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in the case on behalf of the records requestor.
The Spokesman-Review writes this.
The Bellingham Herald writes this.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
NOTE: Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group was co-counsel for the requestor.
Here is how the court summarized the holding:
This case is brought under the Public Records Act (PRA), chapter 42.56 RCW. The chief issue is whether a request for public records has indefinite effect, such that after an agency has responded to a request, it must monitor the status of all records within the request and disclose any that later become subject to disclosure. We must also decide whether the categorical exemption for records of an open and active law enforcement investigation terminated at the point of the last witness interview; whether the open and active investigation exemption applies to internal police disciplinary records; whether certain redactions to the disclosures
made here were justified; and what penalties and fees are appropriate.
We hold that there is no standing request under the PRA. We also hold the
statutory exemption for records of an open and active law enforcement investigation
does not end with the final witness interview; the open and active exemption applies
to police disciplinary investigation records; certain redactions from the records were
not justified; the statutory maximum penalty is not appropriate where there is no
showing of gross negligence, bad faith, or other improper conduct; and Sargent’s fees
were improperly limited.
We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Kevin Mitchell made a Public Records Act (PRA) request to the
Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) and asked for the requested records to be
disclosed electronically. The DOC responded that it would not disclose the records electronically
because redactions would be necessary to protect information that was exempt from disclosure.
Mitchell filed suit claiming that the agency (1) improperly denied access to records without
providing an exemption statement, and (2) was required to disclose the records electronically.
The trial court ruled in favor of the DOC on both claims. We reverse and remand to the trial
court on Mitchell’s first claim, holding that the DOC violated the PRA by failing to provide an
exemption statement with its response denying access to the records in part. We affirm on
Mitchell’s second claim, holding that the DOC was not required to disclose the records
electronically. We award attorney fees on appeal to Mitchell for that portion attributable to theclaim on which he prevailed.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
NOTE: The editorial quotes Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The (Everett) Herald writes an editorial describing why the records need to be turned over.
This piece from Karen Peterson, Executive Editor of The (Tacoma) News Tribune, similarly describes the danger of a governor having the ability to make records secret.
Here is the summary provided by the court of the holding:
"Arthur West appeals from a trial court order that the Washington
State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) did not violate the Public Records Act (PRA). ch.
42.56 RCW. West seeks penalties for untimely disclosure and destruction of documents, an
injunction to prevent further destruction of records, and an order authorizing forensic recovery.
West argues that the DNR violated the PRA by (1) not responding to his request in five business
days, (2) destroying and/or delaying production of the public record emails of its chief financial
officer, (3) failing to search diligently for the emails, and (4) improperly exempting documents
from production as either attorney work product or attorney-client privileged. West also argues
that all of the trial court’s findings lack substantial evidence. Holding that the DNR violated the
PRA by not responding to West’s request within five business days, we reverse and remand in part."
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Here is the Supreme Court majority opinion. The concurrence/dissent is here. it is a must-read.
Note: Michele Earl-Hubbard and Chris Roslaniec of Allied Law Group filed a "friend of the court" brief in this case arguing for disclosure.
Friday, August 12, 2011
NOTE: Greg Overstreet and Chris Roslaniec of Allied Law Group represent one of the requestors, Council member Shawn Whitney.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Tip of the hat to Ramsey Ramerman for pointing out this story.
Friday, July 15, 2011
NOTE: Michele Earl-Hubbard and Chris Roslaniec of Allied Law Group filed a "friend of the court" brief urging openness.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Here is the OG-Pod web site. You can subscribe to OG-Pod on iTunes. Very convenient. You can also follow OG-Pod on Facebook.
Listen in and you can hear Greg's golden smooth radio voice.
P.S. Here is a short piece from The Olympian editorial page on OG-Pod's debut (scroll down).
This is one of the largest penalty awards in the history of the Public Records Act. Usually penalty awards go toward the attorney fees a prevailing requestor is not awarded. That is, penalties usually reduce the losses a requestor has from not obtaining all of his or her attorney fees. (So much for the idea that Public Records Act penalties are a "windfall" for requestors.) This case, after all, took years of litigation in federal court, which isn't cheap.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Pretty hard, apparently. After several years and 18 months of vigorous litigation, the UW finally turned over the study data. However, it looks like the UW has multiple versions of the data, which is not exactly the scientific method. Serious questions have been raised about the UW's anti-Baby Einstein study.
NOTE: Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group was co-counsel for the records requestors in this case.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The arbitrator's ruling will be overturned. People cannot enter into contracts to violate a law and then say, "I would follow the law, but that means I would break my contract. So, sorry. I can't follow the law."
The City of Seattle is doing the right thing. (It felt weird to write that.)
Friday, June 3, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
SB 5955 is about medical marijuana. However, the bill has a provision making the names of medical marijuana providers exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act.
Is there some concern that medical marijuana providers will be burned out of their clinics by mobs of violent anti-pot crusaders? We've never actually seen any.
It is vital for the public, especially the media, to be able to know who medical marijuana providers are to see if they are legitimate or rather just selling marijuana without regard to medical condition.
The bill is now being considered in committee.
Friday, May 6, 2011
For the rest of the story on HB 1899: http://cforjustice.org/2011/03/08/sorry-about-that/
As the executive session ended, the Committee’s chairman, Democrat Sam Hunt from Thurston County, appeared confused. After a long pause in which he conferred with a staff person, Hunt apologetically announced: “House bill 1899 has not had a hearing, so if somebody wants to testify on 1899, you will get the option to do it in a backwards fashion, after we voted the bill out of committee and if one convinces us, we can always reconsider and re-vote on it. Sorry about that.”
Here is the TVW of the exchange:
Starts at 56:20 with staff informing him they didn’t hold a hearing before passing.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
"Newly disclosed records and emails reveal a fourth investigation critical of Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam and indicate he worked in private to oust a high-level employee while publicly claiming he was doing no such thing." So reports The (Tacoma) News Tribune.
How do we know this? " The News Tribune recently obtained records of the investigation via public disclosure."
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The people give state and local government enormous powers and billions of dollars. Spending thousands of dollars responding to an occasional large request is part of the deal. If you don't want the billions, we'll let you keep the thousands ...
The Washington Policy Center's Jason Mercier describes why this is a bad way to pass the "people's" laws because it allows the Legislature to do what they want without the "people" getting any say in it.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We've always said that the "burdens" of responding to some public records requests can be alleviated by posting commonly requested records on line.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
We think the bill is great. You should contact your House representative and urge passage of SSB 5553.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
- AP piece on the horrible bills in the Legislature this year.
- Jason Mercier's op-ed in the Bellingham Herald and the Wenatchee World on legislative transparency. Here is Mercier's model language for a solution to the problem.
- Tri-City Herald story on the town of Mesa, nearly bankrupted because of its flagrant Public Records Act violations.
- Kitsap Sun editorial on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in a FOIA case involving records in Kitsap County.
- Yakima Herald-Republic editorial on Sunshine Week.
- The (Everett) Herald editorial on legislative transparency and Sunshine Week.
- AP piece on President Obama's failure to deliver on promises of more openness in the federal government.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Before you say, "Prisoners shouldn't get public records let alone $3,336," look at the records he requested. They related to his arrest. If people can't find get records about their own arrest, we're all worse off.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Kudos to Seattle attorney Kathy George for working on this.
The County says that there was no violation of the Open Public Meetings Act because they didn't transact County business. Well, all they need to do is "discuss" County business and it's a meeting subject to the Open Public Meetings Act. Did those Congressmen have a meeting to talk about the weather?
The State Auditor's Office is doing so. They are putting up commonly asked for records such as the Seattle Public School District audit.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
With public records, of course. This story describes how.
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/02/20/1375686/public-records-act-demands-cities.html#storylink=omni_popular (NOTE: This story quotes Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group.)
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/02/21/1376747/unintended-effects-of-public-records.html (NOTE: This story also quotes Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group.)
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/02/17/1372797/public-records-always-offer-reason.html (contains link to audio of NPR interview)
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
NOTE: Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group is assisting Sargent's counsel in the case.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Not Turning Over Public Records Can Be an Ethics Violation--and Potentially a $5,000 Fine Paid by the Employee
"No state officer or state employee may intentionally conceal a record if the officer or employee knew the record was required to be released under [the Public Records Act], was under a personal obligation to release the record, and failed to do so. ..."
A violation of this law could lead to a $5,000 fine from the Ethics Board. The offending state employee, not the agency, must pay it.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The Obama administration responded by saying that Rep. Issa's request would significantly overburden the agencies.
So it's too much work to see how federal agencies are complying--or not--with FOIA? Then that would make actually complying with FOIA way, way too much work.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
It describes India's new open government law and how the poor are using it to fight corruption. One requestor was even murdered for making a request.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
It has a companion bill in the House, HB 1300.
Here is a story on the bills in the Kitsap Sun.
There are no hearings planned for these bills. Yet.
The proposed constitutional amendment is based on a proposal by the Washington Policy Center.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
NOTE: Michele Earl-Hubbard and Chris Roslaniec of Allied Law Group represented the newspaper.
We reaffirm long standing case law and hold that the documents prepared
by court personnel in connection with court cases and maintained by the court are
judicial documents governed by GR 15. Further, we hold that such documents,
when transferred to nonjudicial county entities, are governed by the PRA unless
they are subject to an additional protective order. We also hold that a trial court
has jurisdiction to consider a motion to unseal court documents and is not required
to seek permission from an appellate court pursuant to RAP 7.2 when the sealing
order will not impact a separate decision on appeal, and that a limited intervention
by a third party in a criminal case is a proper procedure after trial has ended. In the
interests of judicial economy, we remand to the trial court to determine whether
continued sealing of these financial documents is proper pursuant to GR 15(e),
given the current posture of the criminal case.
With regard to documents held by nonjudicial branch agencies, we reverse
the trial court and remand for the county to comply with the PRA consistent with
this opinion. Finally, we award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the Herald-Republic but deny daily penalties as premature.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
It does not have a hearing yet. Keep checking this link to see if it gets one. I'm guessing it will because so many anti-open government bills are moving through the Legislature this year.
This is a really big deal.