Attorney general releases open public records manual

By Steve Guntli

The Washington state attorney general’s office has released an updated guide to teach citizens how best to obtain and utilize public records.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the updated resource manual on October 16. The online Open Government Resource Manual explains and summarizes the state’s sunshine laws. The guide is available at atg.wa.gov/open-government-resource-manual.

“I am committed to enhancing transparency in government,” Ferguson said. “Open government is vital to a free and informed society, and this updated guide will help both public officials and the people they serve understand our state’s public disclosure laws.”

Assistant attorney general Nancy Krier coordinated the work on the manual, which was co-authored by several volunteer legal consultants. The manual includes links to relevant rulings, statutes, formal opinions and rules for the Public Records Act.

In 2013, Ferguson appointed two full-time open government ombudsmen to act as liaisons with the public. In 2014, a bill spearheaded by Ferguson’s office requiring public officials to undergo public records training was signed into law. The training law applies to public employees of school boards, libraries, fire protection, conservation water, flood, transportation, housing and hospital districts, as well as city councils and other state and local agencies.

Public records training is also available to the public at atg.wa.gov/open-government-training.

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