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AGO News Releases with Topic: Open Government
Requires training for thousands of public officials to improve transparency and reduce lawsuits

 Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s bill to strengthen Washington state’s open government laws by requiring training for public officials was signed into law today by Governor Jay Inslee with strong bipartisan support. The law takes effect July 1, 2014.

Requires training for public officials to improve transparency and reduce lawsuits
Bill now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s bill to strengthen Washington state’s open government laws by requiring training for most public officials has passed the Legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

Flanked by a bipartisan group of legislators, Attorney General Bob Ferguson unveiled a 2014 legislative agenda focused on veterans, open government, safer communities and protections for consumers against businesses who do not play by the rules.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced he has selected Olympia attorney Nancy Krier to serve full time as the office’s Open Government Assistant Attorney General.

AG alleges association skirted disclosure rules in $7.2 million contribution to No on Initiative 522 campaign

Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court alleging that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) violated the state’s campaign disclosure laws. Ferguson alleges the GMA illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors. The funds were spent to express opposition to Initiative 522, a measure requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods, seeds and seed products in Washington.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson today informed the members of the Washington State Sunshine Committee he has restored the Open Government Assistant Attorney General to a full-time position. Ferguson will begin recruitment today.

OLYMPIA – Tracy Lundeen and Ken Paulson experienced a kind of terror that, fortunately, most people will never know. Tracy was stalked for nearly two decades by a boy she met when she was just 13.

 Former Evergreen State College professor fined for conduct involving international study program

OLYMPIA – A former Evergreen State College professor has received the largest penalty ever imposed by the board that polices ethical lapses by state employees.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna expressed gratitude to legislators today for supporting several of his 2011 legislative proposals.

 Only open government bills, eminent domain bill sidelined so far

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are again showing their support for Washington State Attorney General’s proposed legislation, enabling most of his proposals to advance beyond the Legislature’s first major cutoff date of the year.

SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna’s bill to help fight identity theft by increasing penalties for mail theft will be considered by a legislative committee this week.

OLYMPIA – The Legislature will hear public testimony on 11 bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna this week, 10 pertaining to open government and protection of private property. Monday, Jan. 17: Community Safety: Corrections Savings - Three strikes for frivolous lawsuits , 1:30 p.m., House

OLYMPIA – Five bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna are scheduled for public hearings this week.

Bills to save money, foster open government and protect consumers receive bipartisan support

OLYMPIA – Legislators from both parties joined Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today to announce proposals to save money, protect the vulnerable and make government more accountable.

OLYMPIA – A former habitat biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has been fined for multiple violations of the Ethics in Public Service Act.

 Doe v. Reed briefs celebrated; McKenna’s chief deputy receives Marvin Award

SEATTLE – Four members of Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office have received prestigious national awards for their public service. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) held its summer meeting in Seattle this week. On Wednesday, officials presented awards to members of McKenna’s Solicitor General’s Office and to his chief deputy.

 State government’s chief lawyer says court loss would invite ballot fraud

WASHINGTON, DC – Laws granting access to government records are constitutional, and the public’s right to double-check election officials and signature gatherers should be upheld.

Secretary of State Sam Reed will join Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna in Washington, DC, at the end of the month as McKenna argues his third US Supreme Court case, defending the constitutionality of Washington’s voter-approved public records law.

 Attorney General-sponsored bills survive the committee process with overwhelming support

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna expressed his gratitude to state legislators today for allowing several AG-requested bills to be approved by key committees, setting the stage for final legislative approval.

OLYMPIA — Families who have lost their homes due to an inability to pay their property taxes are being targeted by individuals who want to take the little money they have left after the foreclosure sale. Legislation proposed by the Attorney General’s Office aims to protect these families from scammers and help them keep as much of their money as possible.

OLYMPIA–Attorney General Rob McKenna today issued the following statement on the US Supreme Court’s decision to hear Doe v. Reed, a case involving the release of Referendum 71 petitions containing the names and addresses of those who signed the measure.

“This case involves a direct attack on public disclosure and transparency in elections. It affects not only all Washington state initiatives and referenda but also has major ramifications for every state with an initiative and referenda process and similar laws regarding public disclosure.

 OLYMPIA – State Attorney General Rob McKenna wants state lawmakers to make it harder for government to seize private property under the guise of economic development or reducing blight, only to sell the confiscated real estate to private developers.

 Bipartisan group of legislators join McKenna’s call to get tough on domestic abusers, criminals who exploit children or seniors 

OLYMPIA — When shocking crimes are committed by repeat offenders, members of the public often ask elected officials why they didn’t do more to keep those criminals off the streets.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will be joined by a bipartisan coalition of legislators on Monday as he rolls out his agenda for the 2010 legislative session.

OLYMPIA… The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed and granted an immediate stay of a lower court’s preliminary injunction blocking the release of Referendum 71 petitions containing the names and addresses of those who signed the measure.
The state Attorney General’s Office, in consultation with the Secretary of State’s office, today announced it will appeal a preliminary injunction granted yesterday in federal court. The injunction blocks the release of the names and addresses of those who signed Referendum 71.
State Attorney General Rob McKenna and state auditor Brian Sonntag are teaming up once again to increase access to government information through public records and open public meetings.
 OLYMPIA – Open government advocates have a new resource at the Attorney General’s Office. The AGO has launched “Unredacted: Uncovering the truth about Public Records and Open Public Meetings.”
OLYMPIA – As state legislators prepare to head home, Attorney General Rob McKenna was gratified that many of his consumer protection, community safety, and open government priorities had been approved by the Legislature. Some have already been signed into law and others await the Governor’s signature.

OLYMPIA--Attorney General Rob McKenna and 12 other Republican state attorneys general this week applied a little peer pressure to Republican senators, urging them to support a  law that limits the federal government’s ability to force reporters to reveal their confidential sources.

Attorney General Rob McKenna and Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler successfully rallied 39 of their fellow state attorneys general to join them in urging Senate leaders to support the Free Flow of Information Act (S. 2035). The act recognizes a qualified reporter’s privilege and brings federal law in line with the laws of 49 states and the District of Columbia.
March 19, 2008 > OPINION: Transparency matters

Access to government information is crucial in an information age. Sunshine Week is much, much more than an opportunity for policymakers and newspapers to talk about open government.

Sunshine Week is the time for the public to remind government officials that the work they do matters. People care and they want to be informed.

Wins and losses in the field of open government should be carefully tallied. Every citizen should know where their elected leaders stand on these issues and should urge them to support transparency at every opportunity.

That is the spirit of Sunshine Week.

The recent Sunshine Week poll indicates that more than 90 percent of respondents feel open government is important both at the state and local levels.  Let’s use technology in our favor and increase transparency for those we serve

As both Attorney General and a former King County Council member, I have always believed in the core principle of transparency in government as a means of building trust and demonstrating accountability...Let’s use technology in our favor and increase transparency for those we serve.
Public officials conducting public business are accountable to the public even when discussing topics that are exempt from public disclosure.  Recording executive sessions would provide officials with important proof of sensitive discussions that could help them when disputes arise in the future, saving valuable time and money for government and the taxpayers they serve.
OLYMPIA--At a hearing in Seattle today, Attorney General Rob McKenna urged Federal Communications Commissioners to take adequate time to fully study the impacts of its proposed rules on media consolidation before adopting them.
OLYMPIA…The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA) awarded Attorney General Rob McKenna the Freedom’s Light award during its annual convention Friday in Yakima. The award recognizes those who have supported the freedom of the First Amendment and work hard to protect that right. McKenna received the award along with Rep. Lynn Kessler.
OLYMPIA…The Washington Coalition for Open Government awarded Attorney General Rob McKenna with the Key Award during its annual awards breakfast today at the Washington Athletic Club.
OLYMPIA…The Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee or “Sunshine Committee” will hold their second meeting on Tuesday, September 18. The meeting will be in the Utilities and Transportation Commission’s hearing room located at 1300 Evergreen Park Drive SW in Olympia from 9am to Noon.

OLYMPIA…The Office of the Attorney General announced today that the Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee’s Criteria Subcommittee has set the agenda for their first meeting. The meeting will be held Wednesday, September 12 from 9am to Noon at the Administrative Office of the Courts located at 18000 Pacific Highway South, Suite 1106, SeaTac, Washington.

OLYMPIA…The Office of the Attorney General announced today that the agenda has been set for the first meeting of the Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee or “Sunshine Committee.”  The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Aug. 28 in House Hearing Room C in the John L. O’Brien on the Capitol Campus.  Campus Map

OLYMPIA…Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that the Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee or “Sunshine Committee” will hold their first meeting on Tuesday, August 28. The meeting will be in the House Legislative Building in Hearing Room C from 9am to Noon. 

OLYMPIA…Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that the Eminent Domain Task Force will hold its first meeting Tuesday, August 14.  The meeting will be in the Chief Sealth room at the Attorney General’s Seattle offices from 9am to Noon.
Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that he has promoted Deputy Solicitor General Tim Ford to assistant attorney general for government accountability effective June 18. Ford will serve as the Attorney General’s open government ombudsman and will promote government accountability by encouraging access to public records and proceedings.
OLYMPIA…Attorney General Rob McKenna is proud to announce the Washington Coalition for Open Government has awarded its Key Award to Greg Overstreet, special assistant attorney general for government accountability for the Attorney General’s Office.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today unveiled his 2007 package of open government legislation, which includes three bills reforming the Public Records Act and a joint-request bill with Governor Chris Gregoire requiring government agencies to provide actual notice to property owners when the agency is considering condemning private property.

Olympia – News reporters would be legally protected from being compelled to disclose the identity of confidential sources under legislation approved today by the Washington State House of Representatives.
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced formal adoption of a model rule on public disclosure.
A bipartisan group of state representatives will sponsor the House of Representatives’ version of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s request legislation to protect by law a reporter’s confidential sources.
OLYMPIA - A bipartisan group of legislators will sponsor Attorney General Rob McKenna's request legislation to create a reporter shield law in Washington this session.
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.
OLYMPIA – Consistent with his support for a federal reporter shield law, Attorney General Rob McKenna plans to request a state reporter shield measure in the 2006 legislative session.
OLYMPIA –Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced updates to his series of Open Government Forums, including:
OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna will headline a series of Open Government Forums, sponsored by a number of major daily newspapers across the state, in an effort to increase citizen involvement in government and to gather input for model rules on public disclosure.
OLYMPIA -- Attorney General Rob McKenna today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, Connecticut, in which the Court held that taking for "economic rejuvenation" satisfies the “public benefit” requirement in the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause in the U.S. Constitution.
OLYMPIA - Attorney General Rob McKenna today joined attorneys general across the country in an amicus curiae—or friend-of-the-court—brief to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a qualified reporter’s privilege to refuse to disclose confidential news sources.
OLYMPIA - Attorney General Rob McKenna said today he was pleased Senate Bill 5735, the Public Disclosure Act legislation he requested, was approved by the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee, despite his concern about an amendment added by the committee.
Olympia - Attorney General Rob McKenna testified today before the House State Government Operations and Accountability Committee urging lawmakers to support legislation that would increase the public's access to public records.
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