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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 law.
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.
Governor Inslee's Proclamation 20-28 relating to COVID-19 & Public Records
On March 24, 2020, Governor’s Inslee issued Proclamation 20-28 (Link) regarding the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA). Regarding the PRA, the Proclamation clarifies and suspends several PRA requirements during the current health crisis:
- PRA: Agencies must still respond to PRA requests during the COVID-19 disease outbreak.
- However, the proclamation temporarily suspends PRA language requiring agencies to provide an ability for the public to conduct PRA business at an agency office, in-person, such as in-person inspection of records or in-person submission of PRA requests.
- The proclamation also temporarily suspends the PRA requirement that agency offices must be open for public inspection and copying of public records for a minimum of 30 hours per week.
- The proclamation also temporarily suspends the PRA requirement that agencies respond to PRA requests within five business days.
In following this proclamation, the Office of the Attorney General we will not be accepting any in-person requests or offering/scheduling any in-person inspections until April 24, 2020, unless extended beyond that date.
The Office of the Attorney General will continue to accept public records requests by way of the following methods to submit a request:
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred method)
By letter to PRCS, PO Box 40100, Olympia, WA 98504-0100 or
By fax to (360) 586-2741
The Office of the Attorney General will continue to efficiently respond to public records requests. While there may be a delay in issuing 5-day acknowledgment letters, we will make every effort to respond to requestors within that timeframe. Thank you. Stay safe and be well.
How to request records
A public database of consumer complaints is available at data.wa.gov. Consumer complaints are not evidence of wrongdoing.
Attorney General Opinions and other public records regarding the Attorney General’s Office are available at www.atg.wa.gov
Public Records Unit
Office of the Attorney General
1125 Washington Street S.E.
PO Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504-0100
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