Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson



Chapter 1: Public Records Act – General and Procedural Provisions

1.1 The Public Records Act (PRA) is Interpreted in Favor of Disclosure
1.2 “Public Record” is Defined Broadly
1.3 The PRA Applies to State and Local Agencies
1.4 An Agency’s PRA Processes Must Assist Requesters

A. General PRA Procedures
B. Public Records Officers

1.5 Agencies Must Retain Records Once Disclosure is Requested
1.6 The PRA Imposes Some Requirements on Requesters

A. Purpose of Request
B. Identity of Requester
C. Form of Request
D. “Identifiable Records” Requirement
E. Submitting PRA Requests

1.7 Agencies Have Duties in Responding to Requests

A. Initial Response Within Five Business Days
B. Adequate Search
C. Producing Records
D. Reasonable Time Estimate
E. Denials
F. No Liability for Good Faith Response

1.8 Agency Decisions May Be Reviewed Internally and In Court

A. Review by Agency of Its Own Denial
B. Attorney General Review of Denial by a State Agency
C. Third-Party Action to Prevent Disclosure
D. Filing Suit to Enforce the PRA
E. Attorneys’ Fees, Costs and Daily Penalty

1.9 Other PRA Provisions


Chapter 2: Public Records Act - Exemptions

2.1 Exemptions Permit Withholding or Redaction of Records

A. Application of Exemptions
B. No Stand-Alone “Privacy” Exemption

2.2 There Are Several Types of Exemptions

A. Exemptions of General Applicability
B. Personal Information
C. Public Employee Records
D. Several Exemptions Relate to Law Enforcement Information
E. Certain Business-Related Information is Exempt
F. Health Information Exemptions
G. Government Services and Benefits
H. Miscellaneous Exemptions


Chapter 3: Open Public Meetings Act

3.1 Introduction
3.2 The Courts Will Interpret the OPMA to Accomplish Its Stated Intent
3.3 Entities Subject to the OPMA

A. “Public Agency”
B. “Subagency”
C. Other Entities

3.4 “Governing Body”

A. Definition
B. Committees of a Governing Body

3.5 OPMA Meeting Procedures

A. “Action,” “Final Action” and “Meeting”
B. Types of Meetings Not Covered by the OPMA
C. Public Notice of Meetings
D. Secret Votes Prohibited
E. Attendance at Meetings
F. Right to Speak at Meetings

3.6 The OPMA Requires Notice of Meetings

A. Regular Meetings
B. Special Meetings
C. Emergency Meetings
D. Adjournments, Cancellations and Continuances

3.7 Executive Sessions Are Allowed for Specific Topics, Following OPMA Procedures

A. Procedures for Holding an Executive Session
B. Grounds for Holding an Executive Session

3.8 The OPMA Provides Remedies/Penalties for Violations
3.9 The OPMA Requires Training