The Washington Association of Public Records Officers (WAPRO) is sponsoring an all-day seminar entitled Public Records 101 in Lakewood on Tuesday, January 26, 2010. Steve DiJulio, a member of our firm’s Public Disclosure Team, is participating on a panel in the afternoon. The panel will review the latest Public Records Act court opinions and provide insights and ideas on compliance with the Act. 

The WAPRO agenda and registration form contains more information about the training.   

The First Annual “Open Government Year in Review 2008-2009” is now available for download.  The Year in Review collects articles on case developments and other open government issues during the last year.  Below is a partial list of articles.   Download your copy here.

Open Government Year in Review 2008-2009 partial table of contents:

Continue Reading Open Government Year in Review 2008-2009

Last month I had the pleasure of teaching two classes to city officials at the Association of Washington Cities Conference in Spokane.  One hot issue raised by the city councilmembers was the use of blogs and Web 2.0 cites.  I cautioned against their use because the Public Records Act issues are unresolved.

Another topic at the conference, however, was about the use of blogs and Web 2.0 cites.  The presenter, Lakewood City Councilmember Walter Neary, has his own blog, Electing2Blog, Blogging by Elected Officials, dedicated to this topic.

When some of the councilmembers who attended my sessions cautioned about the risks of blogging created by the PRA,  … well here is Councilmember Neary’s take “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Public Outreach.

Here is another take on the exchange from the Olympia Time blog:  “The secret key to why city council members are told not to blog

Someone has also started a WIKI page on the topic entitled “Social Web handbook for Washington State local electeds

I will post the questions I have asked Tim Ford, the AG Open Government Ombudsman, about the legality of this topic shortly.

Approximately 48 hours after oral argument, a unanimous Washington State Supreme Court issued an order in Morgan v. City of Federal Way that authorized the City of Federal Way to release the "Stephson Report."  An opinion will follow in the next few months.  (The order was slightly revised on Friday — here is the final amended order.)  This is the relief sought by the City and the Tacoma News Tribune. 

Here is an analysis of the order from the Supreme Court of Washington Blog by EFF. 

Here are posts on the ruling at the Bellingham Herald,  Washington Policy Blog, the Og-Blog and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press blog.

Foster Pepper represented the City of Federal Way in this case.

On Tuesday, June 9, the Chair of Foster Pepper’s Public Disclosure Team and editor of this blog, Ramsey Ramerman, will be arguing two cases on behalf of the City of Federal Way in the Washington State Supreme Court.  Here are the issue statements from the Supreme Court’s website:

City of Federal Way v. Koenig:

Open Government—Public Disclosure—“Local Agency”—What Constitutes—Municipal Court

Whether the Federal Way Municipal Court is a “local agency” subject to the disclosure requirements of the Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW.

Continue Reading Foster Pepper in the Washington State Supreme Court

Update 5/21

Here’s a good editorial from the Longview Daily News.  Thanks to the Og-Blog for pointing it out.

Original Post 5/15

As noted in this article from the Spokesman Review, the Sunshine Committee voted on Tuesday, May 12 to delay any vote on the Public Records Act “exemption” that makes most records of state legislators exempt from the PRA.  The article quotes Ramsey Ramerman, the editor of this blog and member of the Sunshine Committee.

Here are more details from the Washington Policy Blog.  And here’s a post from the Open Records blog giving the issue some national attention.

The vote was influenced by several factors, including that only 8 of the 13 members were present; and, a concern that some legislative records may have constitutional protections. The matter will be on the Committee’s July agenda.

Here are two earlier blog posts on this subject:

Sunshine Committee considers clearing the clouds over the capitol

How the Legislature has exempted itself from the Public Records Act

On April 15, Foster Pepper’s Public Disclosure Team held its first Comprehensive Public Records Officer Training and Certification Class. There was a sold-out crowd of 80 attendees from cities, counties, PUDs, PDFs, Schools, Ports, Housing Authorities, Parks and even two state agencies. From the evaluations, the class was universally popular, so Foster Pepper is actively planning to put on additional classes in locations throughout the state. Stay tuned for more information.

Here is the course outline. Attendees also received a thumb drive loaded with sample policies, a guide to the 365+ exemptions to the PRA, and a model public records policy in word format.

Continue Reading Foster Pepper’s Public Disclosure Team Holds Its First Comprehensive Public Records Officer Training and Certification Class