NEWS MEDIA UPDATE · WASHINGTON · Freedom of Information · May 1, 2007
Governor brings sunshine to public records exemptions
May 1, 2007 · Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire enacted a law Friday creating a committee that will review hundreds of exemptions to the state’s public disclosure act.
“Washington leads the country in its commitment to open government and open and available public records,” Gregoire said in a statement. “There are over 300 exemptions to the Public Records Act — it is time we take a good long look at each one of them and decide whether they are still necessary today.”
Thirteen members will be chosen to form the new committee. The governor will appoint six of the members. Other members will be appointed by the state attorney general, the state auditor, the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House of Representatives. The members will serve staggered four-year terms beginning Aug. 1.
The committee will meet at least once a quarter and all meetings will be open to the public.
The bill states that the purpose of the committee will be to “develop and publish criteria for review of public exemptions.”
The bill, first proposed by state Attorney General Rob McKenna, passed the Senate unanimously and was approved by the House in a 92-1 vote.
(S.B. 5435) — AG