OLYMPIA – After several weeks of intensive review, Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced his draft model rules for public disclosure are now available for public comment.
“We visited 13 cities around the state from July through October to gather input from people who request public records and people who respond to these requests,” McKenna said. “These Open Government forums provided us with tremendous insight and great ideas for best practices to help improve access to public information. Once the rules were drafted, we exposed them to intensive internal scrutiny before filing them for public comment.“
The rules were developed at the direction of the Legislature as part of a comprehensive public records law unanimously approved during the 2005 session.
“While these rules are non-binding, they provide best practices for requestors and agencies on the public records disclosure process,” McKenna said. “The model rules also incorporate guidance to aid requestors and agencies, incorporating many practical solutions to recurring public records issues.”
The model rules are designed to reduce litigation and assist smaller local governments and citizen requestors by allowing them to avoid “re-inventing the wheel” on recurring issues, McKenna said.
The proposed model rules were widely distributed to a group of nearly 1,000 stakeholders, including local government, state agencies, legislators, community activists, the media, and others on November 23, 2005. The proposed model rules and a web-based comment form were also posted on the Attorney General’s Web site.
The proposed model rules will appear in the Dec. 7, 2005 State Register and a public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the General Administration Building, 1st floor auditorium, 210-11th Ave. SW in Olympia.
Upon consideration of the public comments and adoption by the Attorney General’s Office, the model rules will be published in the Washington Administrative Code.
Contact: Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725