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Update: Washington Court of Appeals Publishes Important OPMA Decision Relating to Committees


June 13, 2014 by Joe Levan
Category: Open Public Meetings Act

[Update to update: the state Supreme Court has now issued its decision in this case. See State Supreme Court Says Advisory Committees Are Not Subject to the OPMA, 10/6/2015] On May 15, 2014, in my blog post (“When are Meetings of Committees of a Governing Body Subject to the Open Public Meetings Act?”) I wrote about an unpublished decision by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Citizens Alliance for Property Rights Legal Fund vs. San Juan County, that sheds light on a particularly important topic under the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) (chapter 42.30 RCW) – determining what it means for a committee to “act on behalf of” the governing body for the purposes of the OPMA. That decision has now been published.

At the time of that post, I noted that an unpublished decision may not be cited in a court as legal authority, while also noting the possibility of a motion being made - and being granted - to publish this decision. Well, such a motion was made and granted, and now the decision is published, which means it can be relied upon as legal authority. I applaud the court for publishing this decision, because I think the court’s analysis adds value to understanding this important OPMA issue. My May 15 blog post describes that analysis.


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About Joe Levan

Joe has been a municipal attorney for many years, including as an in-house city attorney, in private practice for two municipal law firms through which he provided litigation and a range of other services to several Washington municipalities, and as part of the in-house legal team for Sound Transit.

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