What You Need to Know About Washington Public Records and Open Meetings
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Understand how to make sense of the myriad of requirements of the public records and public meetings laws in Washington.
The public records and public meetings laws provide multiple challenges to local government agencies. The agency must provide training on an ongoing basis to protect taxpayers from daily penalties and legal fees, and to reduce the amount of the daily penalty if a record is inadvertently withheld. The public meetings laws reduce a certain amount of flexibility in agencies wishing to conduct impromptu or special meetings, or those wishing to consult with legal counsel. This topic helps agency officials make sense of the myriad, and often seemingly-contradictory requirements of the public records and public meetings laws. This topic will provide a checklist for compliance with public records laws, and a separate checklist for compliance with the public meetings laws. It will help you evaluate the impact of the most recent cases decided under Ch. 42.56 and Ch. 42.30 RCW, and provide agencies and practitioners with a thorough overview of the two sets of laws. Finally, this topic will review the most currently-litigated exemptions from the duty to produce records under ch. 42.56 RCW, the Attorney General rules at issue, and provide insights into compliance and how to avoid penalties under both sets of laws.
Milt Rowland, Foster Pepper PLLC
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