The Public Disclosure Act was McKenna’s first proposal to the Legislature. House Bill 1758 makes it easier for citizens to obtain public records by requiring state and local agencies to improve access to records, and increasing penalties for agencies that do not comply with the law.
The bill prohibits a state or local agency from rejecting requests by labeling them "overbroad." Instead, agencies must seek clarifications, whenever possible, from the requestor. The bill also increases fines for agencies that don’t comply with the law.
The new law allows agencies to respond to large records requests to the public on an “installment basis,” by providing small batches of documents as they become available. Agencies will be allowed to stop assembling records if a requestor does not review or obtain copies of the first installment. In addition, agencies can charge a ten percent deposit of the estimated copying costs.
Agencies must also designate and publicly identify an employee to be its public records officer. And the new law allows the Attorney General to draft model “best practices” rules for state and local agencies on the details of providing public records.
“This legislation strengthens our state’s ‘sunshine laws’ enacted by voter-approved initiative more than 30 years ago,” McKenna said, “and re-emphasizes the ‘culture of compliance’ that citizens should expect from their government.”
HB 1758 went into effect on 7/24/2005.
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At McKenna’s urging, the Legislature passed House Bill 2266, aimed at curbing methamphetamine production. The new law requires retailers to keep the vast majority of products containing pseudoephedrine behind the counter. It requires customers to show identification and sign a purchase log.
“I’ve heard from law enforcement in Washington and across the country that putting these products behind the counter is the single most important step we can take to prevent the manufacturing of methamphetamine,” explained McKenna, who stepped in late last week, when the bill’s approval looked unlikely, to encourage lawmakers to reconsider. “I believe this is the most significant law enforcement legislation passed this session.”
HB 2266 went into effect on 7/01/2006.
This law has been a contributing factor in the significant reduction in meth production and related crimes in the state of Washington.
Operation: Allied Against Meth
The Legislature funded a $1.6 million increase in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, which McKenna requested to fight high-tech crimes such as internet fraud, identity theft, and online child pornography. This represents the largest new investment in consumer protection funding since the division was created thirty years ago and is possible due to cuts McKenna is making to office administration and overhead costs.
“I’m pleased that we’ve made such significant progress on the top three priorities I’ve outlined so far as Attorney General, and very much appreciate the support of the Legislature this session,” said McKenna.
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