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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Public Records Act

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Emojis in Public Agency Communication: Miscommunications and Records Ramifications 😱

Emojis may make it easy to respond quickly to professional correspondence, but public agency staff and elected officials should think twice before giving a thumbs up to that email or Teams post.

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2023 Public Records Legislative Changes — School and Election Records

County election officials and school districts will be pleased to learn about new public records changes: one exempts voted ballots and another exempts the personal information of students in any records pertaining to the student.

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New PRA Exemption Available to Protect Employee Safety

New in 2023, ESHB 1533 amends the Public Records Act to exempt from disclosure certain information on employees (and dependents) who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, or stalking or who are enrolled in the state's Address Confidentiality Program.

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Worker reading a file stands in front of stacked file boxes.

Tackling the Big Ones: Strategies for Broad Records Requests

Big public records requests can put a strain on agency resources, but records staff can put a few practices in place to help the process become more manageable.

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JLARC Public Records Reporting Deadline 7/1

Many local governments will be reporting public records request data from 2022 to the JLARC Public Records Reporting System. Learn answers to frequently asked questions regarding the reporting process before the July 1 reporting deadline.

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It’s Sunshine Week Somewhere

Even during the gloomy winter months, we can all applaud Sunshine Week, which celebrates open government. 

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Private Lives of Public Employees: The PRA Implications of Working for the Government

New public employees are often surprised by what is subject to public disclosure under Washington’s Public Records Act and should consider the possibility that their private communications on digital platforms, like email and social media, may become very public.

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New Technology, Same Old Open Government Challenges

Software such as Microsoft Teams can help to facilitate communication in a workplace, but the use of such tools is tricky for governing bodies whose meetings must be open to the public and whose communications should be easily searchable if a public records request arises.

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Privacy v. Security: Use of Security Cameras on Government Property

While governmental use of security cameras can be a useful tool, agencies should take care to adopt a policy that outlines the precise ways in which the cameras will be used and how the recordings will be managed. 

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Data as Records: PRA Disclosure of Database Information

Fulfilling a public records request that seeks information contained in a database can be challenging. Local government staff must understand they have an obligation to produce data within a database but must come up with a practical method to do so. 

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OPMA/PRA Emergency Proclamation Will Expire June 1

Pandemic-related restrictions on public meetings and the processing of public records will no longer be in effect this coming June, per the newly released Proclamation 20-28.16. 

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Recent Developments in Washington Public Records — June 2021

This blog reviews recent developments in the law that impacts the disclosure of public records.

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Public Records Act Reports Due July 1, 2021

Any public agency that spends over $100,000 in activities associated with managing public records and responding to public records requests will need to file a report on these activities with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee by July 1, 2021. 

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Allegations and the PRA: Navigating the Disclosure of Internal Investigations

This blog post looks at questions that might arise when a request is made for a public record pertaining to the internal investigation of an employee. 

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New Privacy in Public Employment

This blog post reviews SSHB 1888, which creates new public records exemptions for certain information in personnel and public employment records and goes into effect on June 11.

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Public Records Considerations in the Era of Telecommuting

This blog post looks at how an agency can exercise some control over its public records when these may be located — or taken — outside the workplace.

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The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

This blog post offers public agencies guidance on how to provide third-party notification for public records requests during a period when local superior courts have shut down or drastically cut back on hours. 

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New Ruling Provides Guidance on “Specific Intelligence”

This blog discusses the recent ruling in West v. City of Tacoma, which addresses what an agency needs to prove when it claims the Public Records Act’s exemption for “specific intelligence information."

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Understanding When It’s Over: Administrative Procedures and the PRA

This blog post summarizes Kilduff v. San Juan County and suggests best practices for agency administrative procedures concerning public records searches. 

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Elected Officials Guide — What’s Personal and What’s Public?

This blog covers questions about the use of social media and cell phones with regards to privacy and public records and focuses on their use from the perspective of an elected official.

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