New JLARC Guidance for PRA Tracking Mandate
December 21, 2017
Category: Guest Author , Public Records Act
During the 2017 session, the Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1594, which made a number of changes to the Public Records Act (PRA).
One change that has left many confused is a new tracking mandate that requires certain agencies report annually on a variety of metrics related to fulfilling public records requests.
Agencies with at least $100,000 of staff and legal costs associated with fulfilling records requests in the preceding fiscal year are required to report, while agencies that spent less than $100,000 may voluntarily submit reports. If you’re not sure whether your agency is required to report, here is a Cost Estimation Worksheet to help determine if your agency meets this threshold.
Pursuant to this legislative directive, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), in consultation with state and local agencies, has created guidance for agencies to follow when reporting their public records data.
The guidance provides agencies with information about the specific types of data they should be collecting in order to complete the reporting (the first deadline is July 1, 2018).
The handbook is separated into two chapters:
Chapter 1 offers guidance to agency public records professionals when developing and maintaining their systems to collect the data necessary to comply with reporting requirements. This guidance includes clarifications on each metric being measured and the specific data points needed to respond to the metric.
Chapter 2, which is not yet developed, will provide detailed guidance on how to submit the data through JLARC’s data collection system. That system is currently in development and is expected to be available in the spring of 2018. Once it is in place and fully configured, detailed instructions on its use will be provided.
Agencies can check JLARC’s Public Records Reporting page for updated information as it becomes available, including the recently updated Frequently Asked Questions.
For questions about these metrics, please contact JLARC at JLARCPublicRecordsStudy@leg.wa.gov or call (360) 786-5171.
If you have general questions about local government issues, please use our Ask MRSC form or call us at (206) 625-1300 or (800) 933-6772.
MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.