OLYMPIA – Legislators from both parties joined Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today to announce proposals to save money, protect the vulnerable and make government more accountable.
“People depend on us to solve problems,” McKenna said. “We’re proud to work with legislators from both sides of the aisle who are as determined as we are to make our streets safer, and to make state government leaner and more accountable.”
The Attorney General's Office and the State Auditor's Office’s Open Government Task Force recommend the creation of an administrative board to rule on complaints of violations of the Public Records Act (PRA) and the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). Legislation sponsored by Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, creates the Office of Public Records within the Office of Administrative Hearings.
“It’s our hope that this pilot program will expand in the years to come, broadening access to government information,” McKenna said. “It will also prevent expensive lawsuits over the denial of records.”
McKenna also proposes two bills specifically targeted to save money by preventing lawsuits concerning open government matters. One bill, sponsored by Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, and others, requires records requesters seeking court penalties to first notify a government agency of their intent to file a lawsuit over denied records.
The other bill, sponsored by Rep. Deb Eddy, D-Kirkland, provides a one-year statute of limitations for suing over denied records.