Washington FOIA Laws

Washington Open Public Meetings Act

The Washington Open Public Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Chapter 42.30 of the Revised Code of Washington define the law. The law states that a meeting is a gathering in which any action is taken. Granting or reviewing license applications, acting in a judicial capacity, and collective bargaining sessions are all exempt from the law. If violated, the court may assess penalties on the individual board members of up to $100.

Open Public Meetings Act Chapter 42.30 RCW

Closed: Meetings about national security matters and site selection; acquisition of real estate; and personnel matters.

Washington Public Records Act

The Washington Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Washington law defines records as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.”A recent Supreme Court ruling has said that accident reports are also public records.

Anyone can request records and a statement of purpose is not required, nor are there restrictions placed on the use of records. The Washington Public Records Act allows 5 days for records responses.

Public Records Act Chapter 42.56 RCW

Exempt: Personal student or patient information; employee files; and some investigative records.

Visit, Washington Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.