A four-minute primer on open government

Maybe the wisest thing state lawmakers did this year was require that Washington officialdom learn some fundamentals about open government.

All elected policymakers and records officers must now get formal training on the state’s Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act within 90 days of taking office. They also have to take a refresher every four years.

Here’s a quick primer from an open-government point of view:

• If a member of the public asks for a public record, turn it over. The public owns it, not your agency. Really.

• If the document is potentially embarrassing, turn it over anyway. If you think it’s embarrassing now, just wait until a judge orders you to release it after you’ve tried to hide it from the public for six months. Continue>>>