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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Olympian Editorial on Sunshine Committee

This editorial from The Olympian describes the probable demise of the Sunshine Committee. Gov. Gregoire, on behalf of local government, appointed anti-openness members and doomed the Sunshine Committee from the beginning.

NOTE: The editorial quotes Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Executive Privilege Case

The Freedom Foundation has sued Gov. Gregoire to obtain records withheld by the Governor's Office on "executive privilege" grounds. This case will set the parameters of "executive privilege."

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.

West v. Dep't of Nat. Resources--New Public Records Act Case

Here is the case.

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

Sunshine Committee Might Be Eliminated

The Olympian reports that the Sunshine Committee's lack of action--because, in og-blog's opinion, the government representatives on the panel have stymied action--might mean that the committee is defunded.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Supreme Court Ruling in (Kim) Koenig v. City of Bainbridge Island

This Seattle Times story describes a ruling on the disclosure of investigations of police officers.

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.

Kim Bradford on Access to Birth Records

This is worth reading.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Medina Sued Over Public Records

The Seattle Weekly has this blog piece on two recent Public Records Act suits against the City of Medina to obtain a report about the firing of a police chief. The former chief and a city council member are bringing the suits.

NOTE: Greg Overstreet and Chris Roslaniec of Allied Law Group represent one of the requestors, Council member Shawn Whitney.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

King County Pays $125,000 to Settle Public Records Case

The Seattle Times reports that King County is settling a Public Records Act case--with some interesting facts--for $125,000.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Congress Might Undo Milner FOIA Ruling

The House of Representatives has voted to exempt from disclosure the information at issue in the recent Milner victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. That case came from Kitsap County.

Tip of the hat to Ramsey Ramerman for pointing out this story.