Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Citizens can control their government only if they remain informed about the decisions their government officials are making.

That important principle underlies Washington's open public records and meeting laws.

 "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."

–James Madison

The laws, which are now more than four decades old, are intended to give us an informed electorate that can evaluate the performance of elected officials and in order to ensure an honest, competent and responsive government.

The laws are based on three important principles:

  • The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them.
  • The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.
  • The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created.

When problems arise involving these laws, it often is the result of a lack of knowledge. The information on this web site is intended to give citizens a better understanding of their rights under the laws.  The information is also intended to assist public agencies in complying with the laws.

On this site you will find: