Washington’s high court OKs releasing names of low-level sex offenders

The personal information of thousands of low-level sex offenders could soon become public after Washington’s highest court ruled in favor Thursday of releasing a statewide database to a Franklin County woman.

The Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision reverses a ruling in King County Superior Court that the State Patrol couldn’t release the names, addresses and other information of Level 1 sex offenders to Donna Zink.

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Higher fines OK’d for violating Washington’s open meetings law

The penalties will be pricier for public officials who knowingly attend meetings in violation of Washington state’s open-meetings law.

The state’s Open Public Meetings Act requires all meetings of governing bodies of public agencies to be open to the public.

The law covers agencies, commissions, departments, education institutions, local governments, special purpose districts and state boards. Continue…

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Washington state bill targeting public records access is dead

A controversial Washington state bill that would have allowed local agencies to prioritize how they fulfill public records requests is dead.

House Bill 2576, which drew criticism from open-government proponents, but had strong support from local government entities, has been placed in the Washington State House Rules Committee “X” file, and will receive no further consideration this session, said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Joan McBride, D-Kirkland.

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Editorial: More open, accountable government is needed in Washington

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has two legislative proposals this year that can remove recent tarnish from Washington state government’s once sterling reputation for integrity and ethics in government.

The Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan organization that grades states for ethics, gave Washington a D-plus grade this year, down from past years.

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Op-Ed: Washington state’s public records act legally loots taxpayers’ pockets

Let's be very honest about what's what here. The current version of the Washington State Public Records Act (PRA) a/k/a/ RCW 42.56 wastes local tax dollars. 

It is a prescription for blatant abuse and it is has in fact been blatantly abused over and over in our state, particularly so in my hometown of Gold Bar where the community came close to being bankrupted over its abuse by just a few malcontents.

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Editorial: What’s in a tax break? Washingtonians should know

Imagine if your employer refused to say what’s being deducted from your paycheck, or your bank declined to reveal what’s automatically withdrawn from your account.

That’s the situation for Washingtonians trying to figure how much state revenue is given up through myriad tax breaks.

Some of these tax breaks are important for economic development. But the public and lawmakers must know their costs to decide if they’re worthwhile investments. 

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Washington’s open meetings law doesn’t stop informal meetings, court rules

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that a small group of San Juan County council members did not violate the open public meetings law by meeting informally with county officials and employees.

Affirming a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court said the team of council members working on an update of the county's critical areas ordinance did not constitute a committee of and did not act on behalf of the council. Continue…

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