Withholding public records costs Port of Tacoma $159,000

The Port of Tacoma violated the state Public Records Act last year, acted in bad faith and showed gross negligence during the process, according to a decision handed down this week by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson. The price of that failure: $159,000, including the maximum penalty — $100 per day — for…


Washington state court upholds fine against governor’s staff in records case

From The Olympian:

The state Court of Appeals has upheld a $2,175 fine against Gov. Chris Gregoire’s staff for illegally withholding a three-page briefing document that Olympia activist Arthur West requested in 2009.

Gregoire initially claimed the record was protected by “executive privilege” – a controversial legal position that is now under legal challenge by open-government advocates in a separate case being heard Thursday in the state Supreme Court.


NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for September 14, 2012

A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week:

Indiana jail records coming to smartphones


New records could surface following Wash. Supreme Court decision

From Yakima Herald-Republic:

A long-running legal effort by the Yakima Herald-Republic to learn how attorneys spent more than $2 million in taxpayer money to defend a pair of murderers has taken another step forward. 

The state Supreme Court, in declining to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that unsealed some of the spending records, has opened the way for the eventual release of potential new information.


Washington State candidates seek open records

From The News Tribune

Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee both pledge to, if elected, open public access to more government records.

How each would fulfill that promise differs, except in one significant way: Both gubernatorial hopefuls said they would decline to claim a special exception to disclosure for the governor’s office.



Public Records Help Washington Watchdogs Sniff Out Corruption

From KUOW.org:

"Trust and confidence in governmental institutions is at an all–time low. High on the list of causes of this citizen distrust are secrecy in government and the influence of private money on governmental decision making."

It sounds like it could have been written by Occupy Seattle protesters. Or maybe by the tea party. But the statement actually accompanied a ballot measure that Washington voters passed back in 1972.