Tag Archives: legislative records

Newspaper Has Troubles With Legislative Records

Common sense says the emails of the Washington State Legislature should be public records, and consequently available to the public.  Especially with how broad and expansive Washington’s general public records statute is (and applies to the other state and local government agencies).

Over the weekend, the Tacoma News Tribune ran a wire story about the restrictiveness of legislative records.  The Associated Press (who wrote the article) investigated public records in the Washington State and were denied email records of legislators.

I wrote about this issue in Jan. 2016 on my constitutional law blog, IntermediateScrutiny.com.  In that article I argued that Washington’s separate more restrictive public records law just for the Washington State Legislature is unconstitutional.

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Washington State Legislative Records

The state of Washington uses two different public records laws.  If an individual is looking for records concerning the Washington State Legislature then the Legislative Records Act applies.1  Records sought from any other state or local agency is governed by the Public Records Act.2

This article will focus on the law itself.  On my Intermediate Scrutiny blog, I have argued the Legislative Records law is facially unconstitutional, but that is beyond the scope of this article.  This article is just to provide an introduction into Washington Legislative Records.

[U]nless the context requires otherwise, “legislative records” shall be defined as correspondence, amendments, reports, and minutes of meetings made by or submitted to legislative committees or subcommittees and transcripts or other records of hearings or supplementary written testimony or data thereof filed with committees or subcommittees in connection with the exercise of legislative or investigatory functions… — Wash. Rev. Code § 40.14.100.

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