Explaining the PRA's Deliberative Process Exemption
March 24, 2016 by Jim Doherty
The purpose of the Public Records Act (PRA) exemption in RCW 42.56.280,
named the "deliberative process" exemption by the courts, is "to safeguard the free exchange of ideas, recommendations, and opinions prior to
decision" (Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe
(1978)), "to protect the 'give and take' of deliberations that are necessary to agency decision-making and to formulate agency policy." (ACLU v. City of Seattle
(2004)). Like many PRA exemptions, it is a layered provision that has to be carefully peeled to understand what it covers. This post will address the basic considerations in applying this exemption.
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