About the Public Records Act

 

Background

In 1972 the voters in state of Washington adopted Initiative 276, which requires that most records maintained by state, county, city governments, and all special purpose districts be made available to members of the public. The public disclosure statutes have been frequently revised over the past three decades. In 2006 these disclosure statutes were removed from Ch. 42.17 RCW and recodifies in Ch. 42.56 RCW. The statutes are now referred to as the Public Records Act (PRA). Although the public records disclosure statutes do not apply to judicial records (case files), the legislature has specifically extended their coverage to state legislative records. In addition, the public records disclosure statutes apply equally to "every county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation, or special purpose district or any office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency thereof, or other local public agency." RCW 42.56.010(1)

 

Definition

The definition of what is a "public record" is quite broad - RCW 42.56.010(3). The definition of "writing" is also broad - RCW 42.56.010(4).  Papers, photos, maps, videos, and electronic records are all covered by the Public Records Act.

 

Exemptions

All local government records are available for review by the public, unless they are specifically exempted or prohibited from disclosure by the state statutes.  A listing of the primary exemptions is found at RCW 42.56.230 through RCW 42.56.480. Numerous other exemptions and disclosure prohibitions are sprinkled throughout the state statutes. 

Want to Request a Public Record?   Request those records by returning this form to the District.  The District charges $.15 per page copied.  Please note that the District will respond to your request within 5 business days  of receipt.

2013 Columbia_Public_Records_Request_For[...]
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Colmbia Valley Water District

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