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

Monday, February 28, 2011

City of Vancouver Considering Curbs on Public Testimony at City Council Meetings

The (Vancouver) Columbian has this article on the City of Vancouver's attempts to limit citizen comment at public meetings.

Public Records Show ... County Assessor-Treasurer Resisted Investigation

The (Tacoma) News Tribune has this story on the efforts of the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer to resist an investigation.

How do we know this? Public records.

Monday, February 14, 2011

KUOW Piece on Public Records Case Against Seattle Police

This is the transcript of a KUOW report on a Public Records Act suit against the Seattle Police Department regarding alleged police misconduct against a man named Evan Sargent.

NOTE: Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group is assisting Sargent's counsel in the case.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Olympian Editorial on Legislative Transparency

This editorial from the Olympian urges the Legislature to make its decisions in public.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tacoma Asks for Records Back

The City of Tacoma gave a records requestor an unredacted set of records and now wants them back.

TNT Editorial on Administrative Appeals Office

This editorial from The (Tacoma) News Tribune describes why the bill to allow an alternative to litigation in Public Records Act cases makes sense.

Op-Ed Piece on Legislative Transparency

This op-ed by Sen. Randi Becker in The (Tacoma) News Tribune describes why the public should be able to see proposed legislation on taxes and spending before it's passed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not Turning Over Public Records Can Be an Ethics Violation--and Potentially a $5,000 Fine Paid by the Employee

This column by Peter Callaghan at The (Tacoma) News Tribune describes a recent court ruling that RCW 42.52.050(4) of the State Ethics Act actually means what it says, which is:

"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

Obama Administration to GOP: Your FOIA Investigation Is Killing Us

The GOP Chair of House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, asked for records on how federal agencies are handling FOIA requests.

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

Open Gov't Laws Fight Corruption in India

This interesting piece comes from the Local Open Government Blog, which is put out by a law firm representing local governments.

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.