There are a few records that local governments are required or highly encouraged to post online if they are able. Here are the ones that MRSC has previously identified, but there may be others:
- Agendas for meetings must be posted online 24 hours in advance unless the jurisdiction is so small it does not meet the statutory thresholds in RCW 42.30.077 and RCW 42.30.080. Public agencies are encouraged to record and/or stream online meetings and make those recordings available online (RCW 42.30.220).
- Interlocal agreements must be filed with the county auditor or, alternatively, listed by subject on a public agency’s website (RCW 39.34.040). This includes “piggy-backing” on procurement contracts of another agency.
- Many jurisdictions meet their obligation to post a list of contracts awarded under the small works roster process as required by RCW 39.04.200 by posting online.
- Many jurisdictions meet some of their public participation obligations under the Growth Management Act, RCW 36.70A.035, by posting notices online.
- We were unable to locate a specific state or federal requirement, but it appears there is a requirement or highly encouraged practice to post collective bargaining agreements online as well.
And more generally, see the legislative intent note to RCW 42.56.520:
The internet provides for instant access to public records at a significantly reduced cost to the agency and the public. Agencies are encouraged to make commonly requested records available on agency websites. When an agency has made records available on its website, members of the public with computer access should be encouraged to preserve taxpayer resources by accessing those records online.
We encourage jurisdictions to look over their public records requests for the last several years and see if there is a pattern of requests. If they see such a pattern, they should consider prioritizing placing those records online. It is common to receive a records request for previously received records requests and therefore some jurisdictions automatically post online what records requests they have received.
Additionally, as the world moves more and more online, when setting up a website we highly encourage agencies to choose a system that allows easy and efficient document uploading capacity.