See RCW 42.56.240(14). FAQ: How should an agency proceed if it receives a request for lists of individuals? The purpose of the law is to ensure an informed citizenry by providing the public with access to information that sheds light on an agency’s performance of its statutory duties. The one exception to this rule is redaction of body camera video recordings, where the cost to redact can be charged in some circumstances. If the investigation has been referred to the prosecutor or is closed, then the following exemptions could protect the identity of the juvenile witness or victim: disclosure of the complainant’s identity would endanger any person’s life, physical safety, or property; or. Chapter 132. See Mechling v. Monroe (2009) and Does v. Pierce County (2019). See Local Government Common Records Retention Schedule, DAN GS2016-006. It provides the legal framework for federal records management, including record creation, maintenance, and disposition.. History. When can public records be closed - access or copies denied? Note that bidders have special access to bids submitted for public works projects that are the subject of competitive bids. See RCW 42.56.120(4). california public records act California Public Records Act The PRA gives you access to public records we maintain unless they’re exempt from disclosure by law. See SEIU Healthcare v. DSHS v. Freedom Foundation (2019). The most risk-averse approach is to not apply the exemption to interview notes and reference check notes, given the PRA liability for wrongfully withholding a record; however, the answer is not clear so your agency attorney should be consulted on applicability of the exemption. This would include the names of finalists for a city manager position. The Public Records Act also prohibits agencies from giving or providing lists of individuals if the list was requested for a commercial purpose. The question is whether interview notes and reference check notes are  “submitted” with respect to an applicant. In accordance with this policy, public records are broadly defined to include "any writing containing information relating to the conduct of a public's business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristic[.]" The following payroll information must be produced: The following payroll information may be redacted pursuant to RCW 42.56.230(3) because the employee has a privacy interest in the information: Similarly, the following information is exempt and may be redacted under RCW 42.56.230(5) because of the employee’s right to privacy: Our take on tax withholding data is as follows: Are applications for vacant council positions exempt? The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA (5 U.S.C. CPRA Manual In 1968, the California Legislature enacted the California Public Records Act (CPRA) under Government Code (GC) sections 6250-6270. What information related to utility customers is exempt? v3.0, except where otherwise stated, Public Records Act – frequently asked questions. However, the following types of performance reviews are not exempt and must be provided upon request: Disciplinary records that reflect substantiated allegations of employee misconduct are not exempt and must be disclosed upon request. In most cases, agencies will find it easiest to provide this information in an exemption log. Once the security camera recordings are created, they are public records and no specific exemption applies to the recordings. MRSC offers a wide range of services to local governments and our contract partners in Washington State. For an overview of all the PRA-related information on our website, see our page Public Records Act. the government’s) interests. Note, however, that an employee’s internet browsing history is considered a non-archival, non-essential record and doesn’t have a required retention period (i.e., it can be destroyed once no longer needed for agency business). Most standard performance reviews are exempt under RCW 42.56.230(3); Dawson v. Daly (1993). There is no consolidated list of bodies whose records are public records. Some agencies apply this exemption to protect interview notes and reference check notes, but others do not. If an agency does not, it would be silently withholding a record, which is a PRA violation. Must elected officials submit a PRA request to obtain records from their agency? Is information about individuals who have signed up for a recreation program exempt? Likewise, there is no clear exemption that covers records related to an agency’s consideration of bids or RFPs (e.g., scoring notes). An agency-related Facebook post by a public employee or official on their personal Facebook account can be a public record if the post was made within the employee’s or official’s scope of agency employment. "Public records" defined. The Washington Supreme Court held in Cedar Grove v. City of Marysville (2015) that city-related records of a private consulting firm that provided professional services to the city were subject to the PRA since the firm was acting as the functional equivalent of a city employee. See West v. City of Puyallup (2018). the government’s) interests. For additional insight into this question, see our blog post Are Personal Notes Public Records Under the Public Records Act. 1. The Access to Public Records Act, or APRA, is a Rhode Island law that gives individuals the right to see and obtain public records. Sometimes. Governor Suspends In-Person Requirements in OPMA and PRA During COVID-19 Emergency, New Ruling Provides Guidance on “Specific Intelligence”, Upgrades Could Fix Everett’s Public Records System. Government corporations or government controlled private entities are subject to FOIA if they are under substantial government control. Yes. It also provides that governmental bodies may withhold government records from the public in specific instances. Within two business days of bid opening, the municipality must provide copies of the bids received to a requesting bidder (RCW 39.04.105). No, agencies may not charge for time spent redacting information in a record. RCW 42.56.240(2) exempts the names and identifying information of those who make code enforcement complaints if: Are records related to bids or RFP submittals exempt? if the investigation is still open, the entire investigative record is categorically exempt. So, if a government official uses his or her personal device for business, those texts, emails, or other business documents or communications are subject to the Public Records Act, unless it is exempt or confidential. See, Performance reviews of the agency’s chief executive officer, such as a city manager. See the FAQs on Informal Notes and Preliminary Drafts. 19. The Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, 44 U.S.C. While RCW 42.56.250(2) exempts applications for public employment, the exemption specifically excludes applications for vacancies in elective office. Sometimes. MRSC’s opinion is that building plans submitted to a local government are not exempt. The Public Information Act (PIA) provides a mechanism for citizens to inspect or copy government records. That test is: An agency must identify in its response to the requestor that it has withheld or redacted a document. Draft documents are not categorically exempt from disclosure, but may fall under the deliberative process exemption of RCW 42.56.280. California Public Records Act. See Gullien v. Pierce County (2001) and Gendler v. Batiste (2012). If a record would be exempt from disclosure if the employee were still employed at the agency, then the record remains exempt after the end of their employment. Can an elected official or employee maintain agency records at their home office or on their personal account or device? Under most circumstances, the answer is no. RCW 42.56.250(2) exempts from public inspection and copying all applications for public employment, including the names of applicants, resumes, and other related materials. No, to both questions. 3. (See Cowles Publishing Co. v State Patrol (1988) - holding that officer identities related to confirmed internal investigations are not exempt; Morgan v. Federal Way (2009) - holding that release of a disciplinary investigation report confirming many allegations of a judge’s inappropriate behavior did not invade the judge’s privacy, because many of the allegations were likely true and the substantial interest to the public of the elected judge’s job performance.). Remove; Previous hit; Next hit; Reprint as at 7 August 2020. What records are subject to the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA)? (See our analysis on the deliberative process exemption in the FAQ: Are draft documents exempt from disclosure?). This exemption is focused on the deliberative and policy-making process and the exemption disappears once the agency takes final action on the issue. The one potential exemption is the deliberative process exemption in RCW 42.56.280, which only applies before selection of a bidder. RCW 42.56.230(3) exempts personal information of employees, appointees, and elected officials. See the FAQs on Informal Notes and Preliminary Drafts. The Attorney General’s Model Rules on Public Disclosure encourage an agency to make available a public records request form in order to protect both the agency and the requestor. Nor do we create a new duty on the part of a public agency to search the records of all its third-party contractors each time it receives a PRA request. Strategies for Managing Difficult Public Meetings and Hearings The agency should send a closing letter informing the requestor that their request was closed and the reason why, if it has not already provided the requestor with this information in previous communications. Citing with approval an even broader definition of public records adopted by the California Attorney General, another court has stated: The CPRA is not applicable to the Legislature, which is instead covered by the Legislative Open Records Act. However, if the information is in an electronic record, such as an Excel spreadsheet, that can be sorted to display lists of individuals, the prohibition applies. In essence, a reverse PRA action is just legal action taken in opposition to an agency’s decision to disclose records … The court reviewed the definition of an "agency" subject to the Public Records Act, concluding in this case that the 501(c)(3) organization possessed no material governmental attributes or characteristics, even though the entity leased space in a public building in a public … In order to rely on this exemption, an agency must show: See PAWS v. Univ. Overview. 42.56.110 See Sheats v. East Wenatchee (2018), which held that a pre-employment polygraph required by the city was exempt. Public Records Act 2005. See Nissen v. Pierce Co. (2015). These laws identify types of records that must be made directly available to the public … A Washington Appellate case from 1989, Yacobellis v. Bellingham, held that the notes are not public records if they: If all of these elements are met regarding the personal notes at issue, the notes are not public records under the PRA. Records of a previous employee should be treated the same as records of a current employee. Text messages do not have a specific retention period—the period of retention is determined by the content of the text message itself. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that provides the public with a right to access government records. Does it have to deliver records in a specific electronic delivery method requested (e.g., DropBox, flash drive, email)? The Privacy Act, passed by Congress in 1974, establishes certain controls over what personal information is collected by the federal government and how it is used. of Washington (1994) and West v. Port of Olympia (2014). See RCW 42.56.250(6). Which records should be selected for preservation? 42.56.090: Times for inspection and copying — Posting on web site. Find some information below that may help you obtain information from an arrest report or incident report via a public records request under the CPRA. What are the requirements related to retention of text messages? Does an agency need to copy records into the specific electronic format requested (e.g., PDF, PST)? The parties may then be given time to seek judicial review. Local agencies should develop policies on text messaging; please visit MRSC’s Text Messaging Policies webpage for examples of various policy approaches. § 132-1. For answers to frequently asked questions related to public records during the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to the governor's emergency orders, see MRSC's COVID-19 FAQs on Public Records. A record is defined by the Right to Know Law to be “information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that documents a transaction or activity of an agency and that is created, received, or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction, business or activity of the agency.” A record can take many forms. The California Public Records Act (CPRA) allows individuals to obtain certain information from police records. Are informal notes prepared and kept by an elected official or staff member exempt from disclosure? PUBLIC RECORDS ACT EXEMPTIONS Under GR 31.1 (j), “Court and judicial agency administrative records are open to public access unless access is exempted or prohibited under this rule, other court rules, federal statutes, state statutes, court orders, or case law. 1995, Ch. RCW 42.56.250(4) exempts personal information of employees and volunteers. The rights and duties set out in the Act apply only to a “public office or person responsible for public records,” which includes governmental subdivisions, private entities that are the “substantial equivalent” of public institutions, and other “persons responsible for public records.” Guides and indexes to the records are included in the facilities offered by The National Archives, oversee the place of deposit system on behalf of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, return records temporarily at the request of the transferring organisation, selection of records for permanent preservation under the guidance and supervision of the Keeper of Public Records, transfer of records to The National Archives or an approved place of deposit by the due date unless they need to be retained, in which case the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s approval must be obtained, formal applications for retention are made through The National Archives and reviewed by the Advisory Council. [t]hey shall not be placed in the legal or physical custody of any other person or agency, public or private, or released to individuals, except [as allowed under the law or these regulations.] For example, traffic accident reports may include protected health care information under chapter 70.02 (if a health care provider provided the information), driver’s license numbers, juvenile offender information (protected by RCW 13.50.100), or generally be protected by the child’s bill of rights in chapter 7.69A. British Council. They can be. under the FOIA (and the EIR) they participate in decisions to release or withhold records from public access: For records not yet transferred they make the decisions but, if the records are retained records (records held back from transfer with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s approval) they must, if intending to claim that the public interest lies in applying an exemption rather than releasing the information to an applicant, consult the Secretary of State, After transfer they must advise The National Archives on whether an exemption should be applied and, if The National Archives decided it should be, decide whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in applying an exemption, consulting the Secretary of State as described in the bullet point above. However, there are some exceptions concerning records made available under CORA. 42.56.100: Protection of public records — Public access. See Belenski v. Jefferson County (2016). Redacting information is considered part of making a record available for copying or inspection and an agency cannot charge for making a record available for inspection and copying. If an agency contracts with a private company to provide agency services, then that company’s records related to the agency’s business may be subject to the PRA. An agency can waive copying fees but must do so pursuant to an adopted policy regarding waiver of copying fees. Can an agency require a requestor use a specific form or method to submit a records request? The law provides guidelines for obtaining access to these records, and also defines which records are subject to public inspection and which are exempt. All rights reserved. States have varied requirements on who is eligible to request a list of voters, what information the list contains, what information is kept confidential, and how information contained in voter lists may be used. The copies can be certified as authentic copies if requested. Environmental Information Regulations 2004, Code of Practice on the Management of Records, Friends of The National Is the contact information (personal email, residential address, personal phone no.) Sometimes agencies will ask whether the deliberative process exemption in RCW 42.56.280 could exempt interview notes and reference check notes. Thus, whether planning commissioners are considered appointees or volunteers, their home address, phone number, and other personal information, as listed in the statutes, is exempt. Agencies should adopt their own policies for the provision of electronic records, keeping in mind that what is reasonable and technically feasible for the copying and delivery of electronic records for one agency may not be for another, especially for smaller local governments that lack the electronic resources and staffing of larger agencies. See Nissen v. Pierce County (2015). To be a public record, the call log must be "prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency" and relate to the conduct of government; in most circumstances, a personal call log will not meet this threshold. FAQ: Are draft documents exempt from disclosure? Can an agency charge for the time it spends redacting records? The Federal Records Act was created following the recommendations of the Hoover Commission (1947-49). The PIA generally requires a governmental body to release information in response to a request for information. Are call logs from a personal phone a public record? However, if an agency reviews an employee’s personal call log for a disciplinary matter or as part of their cell phone reimbursement policy, then, arguably, the log has been “used” and that use was related to the conduct of government. Are background checks conducted as part of the hiring process exempt? Juvenile offenders: Disclosure of juvenile offender records are covered by RCW 13.50.050 and not the Public Records Act. See RCW 42.56.070(8) and our analysis on the commercial purpose prohibition in the FAQ: How should an agency proceed if it receives a request for lists of individuals?. No. Per RCW 42.56.070(8), the PRA prohibits the disclosure of “lists of individuals” for a commercial purpose. Public records include all writings that are made, maintained, kept or held by entities that are subject to the Colorado Public (Open) Records Act for use in the exercise of functions required or authorized by law or administrative rule or involving the receipt or expenditure of public funds. There is no exemption that protects the bids and RFPs submitted by the bidding contractor and consultant. . The most obvious potential exemption is RCW 42.56.250(2), which exempts from disclosure any employment application materials submitted with respect to an applicant. 42.56.080: Identifiable records — Facilities for copying — Availability of public records. The following utility customer information is exempt, per RCW 42.56.330(2): A utility customer’s name and account number are not exempt. The Federal Records Act of 1950 is a United States federal law that was enacted in 1950. Under this Act, records were opened on 1 January, 30 years after the date of the last paper or entry in a record, plus one extra year, to ensure that all papers on the file were at least 30 years old. (2) "Person in interest" means the person who is the subject of a record or any representative designated by that person, except that if that person is under a legal disability, "person in interest" means and includes the parent or duly appointed legal representative. With regard to copyright protections, rather than assert an owner’s potential copyright-protected records, third party notice under RCW 42.56.540 could be a better approach. The court did qualify their holding as follows: We are not articulating a new standard that makes every record a government contractor creates during its engagement with an agency a public record subject to the PRA. For more information about disclosure of juvenile records, see MRSC’s webpage on Disclosure of Juvenile Law Enforcement Records. However, according to the Attorney General’s Model Rules on Public Disclosure, “[i]n general, an agency should provide records in the format requested if it is reasonable and feasible to do so.” See WAC 44-14-05001. It is possible the deliberative process exemption could apply during agency consideration of the bid/RFP; make sure to carefully review and apply all the exemption factors before relying on RCW 42.56.280 to withhold records relating to the agency’s consideration of the bid/RFP. Public Records Act for Washington Cities, Counties, and Special Purpose Districts, Knowing the Territory - Basic Legal Guidelines for Washington City, County and Special District Officials. Yes. See WAC 434-615-020. Is an employee's personnel file and payroll record exempt? A good starting point is the Records Collection Policy (PDF, 0.12MB), Subscribe now for regular news, updates and priority booking for events.Sign up, All content is available under the Open Government Licence In some cases, though, for example where only one document is redacted, it may make more sense to identify the statute and provide the brief explanation on the redacted document itself. Disciplinary record that reflect unsubstantiated allegations of employee misconduct also must be produced, although the employee’s identity may be exempt under some narrow circumstances under RCW 42.56.230(3). Under most circumstances, call logs from a public employee’s personal phone are not public records to which the PRA applies. There is an exemption for the personal information of a child enrolled in a parks and recreation program, but there is no similar exemption for adults. Text messages on a public employee’s or official’s personal phone are public records if the message is within the public employee’s or official’s scope of employment. Thus, whether the name of a person accused of sexual harassment in an unsubstantiated allegation is still exempt under Bellevue John Does 1-11 v. Bellevue School District is a question your agency attorney will need to weigh in on. Is dog license information, including pet type and owner contact information, exempt? There is also special provision for Welsh public  records: under the, allows records not selected for preservation to be presented to another institution as an alternative to destruction, require departments to keep records of their work or to manage those records over and above safeguarding them and selecting them for preservation, determine when public records are released for public access – that happens under the, records already in the Public Record Office at the time of the 1958 Act, administrative and departmental records belonging to Her Majesty, in the UK or elsewhere, in right of Her Majesty’s Government, and in particular records of or held in any government department and records of offices, commissions or other bodies under HMG in the UK, records of other bodies if their own legislation brings them within the PRA or they have been brought within its scope in some other way, e.g. This page provides 50-state information on access to voter lists. There is no exemption that covers dog license information. See. Traffic accident reports are not categorically exempt, although some information in the report may be exempt. Are building plans submitted with permits exempt? For a post to be "within the scope of employment," their job must require it, their employer must direct it, or it must further their employer's (i.e. If the notes were handled as personal notes, it is possible they are not a public records subject to the PRA. Receive the latest research news, answers to selected questions, and other timely information. But, whether the notes themselves are exempt is unclear. Records of the executive branches of the federal and state governments, their agencies, and legislative and judicial agencies are subject, to varying extents, to open records laws. Are records of a previous employee exempt? The Public Records Act also prohibits agencies from giving or providing lists of individuals if the list was requested for a commercial purpose. Are records in possession of an agency consultant considered public records? If all of these elements are met regarding the draft documents at issue, the documents are exempt under RCW 42.56.280. However, note that the legislature adopted a new exemption in the 2018-19 legislative session to protect investigations of harassment in employment. The records of these private companies relating to the government function may be presumed to be public records under the RTKL. An employee’s personnel file is not categorically exempt, but certain information is exempt, including: Likewise, an employee’s payroll record is not categorically exempt. v3.0, makes provision for the Public Record Office (first set up by the, gives various powers and duties to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, some of which have since been delegated to the Keeper of Public Records, gives various powers and duties to the Keeper of Public Records, including the power to acquire non-public records, sets up the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s, allows public records to be retained by a department for a further period if the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport gives their approval, makes special provision for public records relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland, allowing them to be transferred there where appropriate. the extent the entity performed a government function; the extent public funds paid for the activity; the extent of government involvement or regulation; and. Sometimes, bidders will claim their bids are exempt as proprietary information under RCW 42.56.270(1) or (11). Are draft documents exempt from disclosure? But the information that has been released on social media or in other online sources is likely beyond practical control, and it may become be fodder for anyone with a web connection to collect and re-use. Upcoming Workshops – In-person workshops held at various locations around Washington State. Effective January 1, 1996.) To view the answer to a question, simply click on the question. An employee's/official’s communication is "within the scope of employment" when their job requires it, their employer directs it, or it furthers their employer's (i.e. This is summed up in the long title of the Public Records Act – ‘An Act to make provision with respect to public records and the Public Record Office’. ß2201-2209, governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents that were created or received after January 20, 1981 (i.e., beginning with the Reagan Administration). December 3, 2020, Taking the Oath of Office During a Pandemic (The Secretary of State’s retention schedules sets the retention period for various types of records.)
2020 who is subject to the public records act