42.56.110 5. ORIGINS OF THE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT ... A Look at the California Records Act and Its Exemptions (1974) 4 Golden Gate L Rev 203, 212. All information related to these agreements is exempt from production under the PRA, except for final orders from the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. 33 Finally, when a written request is denied, it must be denied in writing. 458 (2007). protection of the public interest, and any limitations on the right of access accorded by P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) The PRA gives you access to public records we maintain unless they’re exempt from disclosure by law. See Deer v. Dep’t of Social & Health Servs. RCW 42.56.540. The definition of “criminal history record information” excludes “intelligence, analytical or investigative reports and files,” which are covered by the exemptions in RCW 42.56.240(1), discussed in Chapter 2.2D1. Check Cashers and Sellers Licensing Applications: RCW 42.56.450, 10. Miscellaneous Law Enforcement-Related Exemptions, a. Dawson v. Daly (1993); Brown v. Seattle Public Schools (1993). RCW 42.56.350 exempts from production under the PRA the following records of the Department of Health for licensed health care providers: (1) The federal Social Security number; and. 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[. Ctr. RCW 42.56.140. Sanders v. State (2010) (citing to PAWS II). 3d at 1336; see also. Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher's Association, called the move "the worst assault on the public's right to know I have seen in my 18 years of doing this. However, the ability to use a list of the names and ranks of law enforcement officers to locate other publicly available information that could reveal private information about the officers was not accepted as a basis to exempt that list under the PRA. An act to amend Sections 3020, 7017, and 19432 of the Business and Professions Code, to amend Sections 15490 and 16480.1 of the Government Code, to amend Section 11770.5 of the Insurance Code, to add Section 10207 to, and Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) to Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code, and to repeal Sections 1208, and 20473 of the Agricultural Code, Sections 2122, 2713.5, 2852.5, 4013, 4809.1, 5014, 6307.5, 7207.5, 7611, 8010, 8919.2, 9009.5, 9536, 9936, 10060, 18626.7, and 19035.10 of the Business and Professions Code, Article 1 (commencing with Section 1887) of Chapter 3 of Title 2 of Part 4 of, and Sections 1892, 1893, and 1894 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Sections 113, 13867, 23607, 24.156, 26008 and 31008 of the Education Code, Sections 105, 732, 1326, and 14107 of the Fish and Game Code, Sections 1227, 8013, 83.40.8, 8440.8, 10207, 13913, 15487, 20137, and 65020.10 of the Government Code, Sections 1153.2, 1262, 1356, 1711, and 3805 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, Sections 103.2, 431.4, 1110.2, 13141.2, 17940, and 18917 of the Health and Safety Code, Sections 71.2, 137, 147, and 3092 of the Labor Code, Sections 538, 638, 666, 4567, 9065.2, and 9072 of the Public Resources Code, Section 21209 of the Public Utilities Code, Sections 2605 and 3009 of the Vehicle Code, Sections 13008 and 20034 of the Water Code, and Chapter 842 of the Statutes of 1959, relating to public records. This may include written or electronic information. As with tax information addressed in Chapter 2.2B4, the information is not subject to redaction and is withheld in its entirety. First created by voter initiative in 1972, it requires all public records maintained by state and local agencies be made available to all members of the public, with very narrow statutory exemptions. “Controversy” Exemption:  RCW 42.56.290. . Instead, if the investigation is complete, the records cannot be withheld in their entirety under RCW 42.56.240(1) unless the law enforcement agency can prove that nondisclosure of the particular record is essential to effective law enforcement, or disclosure would violate a person’s right to privacy or another exemption applies. 6. References to some statutes outside the PRA are made within the PRA and others stand alone. A personnel investigation by a criminal justice agency that is not acting in its law enforcement capacity will be scrutinized to determine the impact on any law enforcement activities of the agency. Rptr. RCW 74.04.060(4). 74-112 exempt and nonexempt public records to be separated. In 1996, Congress revised the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by passing the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments (EFOIA). The patient can seek a protective order to prohibit or restrict the provider from producing these records. (a) and (b) Information about drug samples, legend drugs, or nonresident pharmacies obtained by the pharmacy quality assurance commission. Exemptions within the PRA can be "permissive rather than mandatory." Note, however, that when victims and witnesses request their identity be protected under RCW 42.56.240(2), the entire surveillance video cannot be withheld but only that information identifying the victim or witness can be redacted as held in Does v. King County  (2015). The HCIA establishes standards and obligations for government entities that serve as health care providers, facilities or payors to protect records and to disclose as authorized. v. Univ. G. What Public Records Are Exempt from Disclosure? Information may be disclosed for purposes related to the administration of these programs. The PRA exempts “intelligence information” and “specific investigative records” compiled by investigative, law enforcement, penology, and professional disciplinary agencies if the information is “essential to effective law enforcement” or needed to protect a person’s privacy rights. Other government agencies that obtain records due to their need for official purposes must maintain the confidentiality of the records received. "Investigative, law enforcement, and penology agencies" are agencies having authority to investigate and penalize, such as the police, the police internal affairs investigation unit, the Public Disclosure Commission, medical disciplinary boards, or a local health department. This exemption only applies to a specific requester, namely, a law enforcement agency. Except as provided in Sections 6254.7 and 6254.13, this chapter does not require the disclosure of any of the following records: (a) Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The existence of records withheld as exempt records must be disclosed to the requester. a. The Cowles court held that the redaction of officers' names in the IIU files was not necessary to protect their privacy. For more information on the application of the statute of limitations, see Chapter 1.8D above. These laws are called “exemptions.”  The PRA and other statutes provide hundreds of very specific exemptions. Financial and Proprietary Information Supplied to Specific  Agencies:  RCW 42.56.270(2) – (27). Brouillet v. Cowles Publishing Co (1990) (cited in PAWS II). Such access permits checks against the arbitrary exercise of official power and secrecy in the political process.[6]. Not all records held by a prosecutor are protected by this exemption. Information obtained from employers records by the Department of Labor and Industries is exempt under RCW 51.16.070(2). a guide to the public records act ch. An exemption will not be inferred or presumed. The names of complainants, witnesses, and officers contained in police internal investigation unit (IIU) files of sustained complaints are exempt because the IIU process is vital to law enforcement, and officers would be reluctant to be candid if they thought their identities would be disclosed. No. In accordance with G.L. The purpose of this exemption limits its scope. Entities which receive records to provide services must not disclose records in violation of the HCIA. 74-113 access to records about a person by a person. 6 LEA ii ii CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION The PRA provides for two different rights of access. Sargent v. Seattle Police Department (2013). Reports from autopsies or postmortems are confidential except to personal representatives, family members, attending physicians, and others involved in investigations. The Constitution requires the Legislature to enact exemptions by general law. However, statutes that make certain public records confidential and exempt from disclosure are found throughout the Tennessee Code. Some public records are prohibited from disclosure, which means that the agency cannot disclose the records. Planned Parenthood v. Bloedow (2015). § 1232g), Medical or counseling facilities where patients are treated or health care information is shared, Health care information protected by state or federal laws, Communications from and identifies of witnesses or victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Instead, the agencies look to exemptions such as RCW 42.56.230(3) and RCW 42.56.250(3) to decide whether or not to redact personal information from these records. 81 (2015), a case involving public employees, the Supreme Court further explained that a person has a right to privacy under the PRA only in matters concerning the person’s “private life.” In Does v. King County (2015), the court found that individuals did not have a right to privacy when they were captured on surveillance video of a public area. If the misconduct is substantiated or disciplinary action has been taken, these records are to be disclosed because they are of legitimate interest to the public, even if embarrassing to the employee. Pursuant to 1 V.S.A. State v. Maxwell (1990). In Servais, the court held the cash flow analysis to be exempt because private developers would benefit by insight into the port's negotiating position to the detriment of the public if the record was disclosed. The test to determine if the right to privacy is violated requires a showing that the information about an employee would be “highly offensive” if disclosed and is not of “legitimate” public concern. Cowles Publ’g Co. v. State Patrol (1988); Tacoma News, Inc. v. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dep't (1989). What is determined to be personal information of public employees continues to evolve through case law. 8. Example of information HHS may withhold using 7(A): Records pertaining to an … Dist. Employment Security Department Records:  RCW 42.56.410 and Chapter 50.13 RCW. The attorney seeking access to individual health care information must give the health care provider and the patient or his or her attorney at least 14 days’ notice before service of a discovery request or compulsory process. To support an exemption under RCW 42.56.240(2), the agency must “make an affirmative showing that disclosure entails a potential threat to safety or property” or, alternatively, that there was a “specific request from a witness for nondisclosure of personal information.”  Sargent v. Seattle Police Department (2013). The kinds of records or agencies affected are listed below by subsection. Part 2. Government Code 6250 et seq. (2) The residential address and telephone number if the provider requests the information be withheld and provides a business address and business telephone number unless the provider requests the information be released or as allowed by RCW 42.56.070(9). These records are to be made available only to criminal justice agencies or the courts, for inspections, in jail certification proceedings, to certain listed agencies for research, to government agencies to determine eligibility for and to provide medical treatment or veterans' services, or with the written permission of the confined individual. City of Fife v. Hicks (2015). Names of applicants and their job applications and accompanying materials are exempt. The following public records are exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.311 (Definitions for ORS 192.311 to 192.478) to 192.478 (Exemption for Judicial Department): (1) Communications within a public body or between public bodies of an advisory nature to the extent that they cover other than purely factual materials and are preliminary to any final agency determination of policy or action. c.   Mediation Communications:  RCW 42.56.600. White v. City of Lakewood (2016). 3. In 2018, the legislature enacted SB 1421,[31] which went into effect on January 1, 2019. For this reason, inter-agency (as opposed to intra-agency) discussions probably are not covered by this exemption. See Van Buren v. Miller (1979) (information relied upon by the assessor to make valuation is not private); Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe (1978). 81 (2015) (privacy right under PRA depends upon the types of facts disclosed and is not amenable to a bright-line rule). For example, Department of Corrections’  investigations of its medical staff’s conduct were held not to be “essential to effective law enforcement” and could not be exempted under the narrow application of RCW 42.56.240(1). A "controversy" covered by this exemption includes threatened, actual, or completed litigation. PRA exemptions are set forth in RCW 42.56.230-.470. However, statutes that make certain public records confidential and exempt from disclosure are found throughout the Tennessee Code. Child support enforcement records are confidential and may only be released with authorization of the parties or for defined program purposes, except that information can be disclosed to the parents about each other as needed to conduct the support enforcement action. The Washington Public Records Act (the “PRA”), RCW 42.56, was adopted by the Legislature in 2006 and reflects a broad policy favoring access to public records. In a line of cases arising under chapter 13.50 RCW, appellate courts have held that, although these records meet the definition of public records under the PRA, these laws are “other statute” exemptions that exempt or prohibit disclosure. 2: the basics ch. Health Care Records of Individuals:RCW 42.56.360(2); Chapter 70.02 RCW; Chapter 70.96A RCW; Chapter 68.50 RCW; Federal Laws and Rules. In Hoppe v. King County (2011), the Court of Appeals affirmed that, when these tax exemptions apply, redaction of identifying information from these records cannot make these documents disclosable and would not prevent the competitive disadvantage to taxpayers if the records were released. The courts determined that these statutes supplement the PRA unless they conflict, and that the process set by these statutes is the “exclusive means” of obtaining these records and for challenging any denial of records. In response to a class action by sex offenders, the Washington Supreme Court held that the community protection act in RCW 4.24.550 does not qualify as an “other statute” to prohibit disclosure of this information. 1. A list of the most common potentially exempt records is provided below. 3. Chapter 70.02 RCW is the state Health Care Information Act (HCIA), adopted in 1991. "[5] As the California Supreme Court recognized in CBS v. Block: Implicit in a democratic process is the notion that government should be accountable for its actions. The medical and treatment records of sexually violent predators who have been civilly confined to secure facilities at the end of criminal sentences are protected from disclosure except to the committed persons, their attorneys, and others involved in the system who have a need for the records. RCW 70.02.230-.260. The PRA does not have a stand-alone “privacy” exemption. The PRA in RCW 42.56.310 protects from disclosure library records kept to track use of libraries and their resources and that identify or could be used to identify a library user. Dawson v. Daly (1993). An agency may notify the holder of the copyright of the request. Public Utilities and Transportation Records:  RCW 42.56.330; RCW 42.56.335. The Association must refer requesters to local law enforcement agencies when it receives a request for these reports but has no further obligation to respond. In RCW 42.56.360(2), the PRA provides that chapter 70.02 RCW applies to the inspection and copying of health care information of individuals, incorporating that law as an “other statute” exemption to the PRA. RCW 42.56.030. In City of Fife v. Hicks (2015), the court held that the identity of high-ranking police officials who were the subject of an investigation is inherently a matter of greater interest to the public and that the names should be released even if the allegations were not substantiated. The Open Public Records Act ("OPRA") provides that government records must be made readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination by records requestors, with certain exceptions.OPRA includes twenty-seven (27) specific exemptions from disclosure within its many provisions. Spokane Research & Defense Fund v. City of Spokane (2000). Thus, unless disclosure of the records would reveal or expose the deliberative process, as distinct from the facts used to make a decision, the exemption does not apply. When a law states only what “must” or “may” be disclosed by an agency, an exemption for information not referenced is not inferred or implied. The exemption applies only to documents that are part of the deliberative or policy-making process; records about implementing policy are not covered. For family members or guardians of these children, their personal information is exempt if they have the same last name as the child or if they live at the same address and the disclosure would reveal exempt personal information of the child. Financial Information: RCW 42.56.230(5). A document is work product if an attorney prepares it in confidence and in anticipation of litigation or it is prepared by another at the attorney’s request. 374 v. City of Aberdeen (1982), or an investigation to ferret out criminal activity or to shed light on specific misconduct. The act declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state. Text messages sent and received from a government employee’s private cell phone are public records if they satisfy the definition of “public record” at RCW 42.56.010(3). The register containing the names of persons confined in jail, the reason for confinement, and dates of confinement, is open to the public, but other records of a person confined in jail are confidential. Chapter 50.13 RCW contains exceptions to that confidentiality for various purposes. The court held that the unsubstantiated allegation of such misconduct was “personal information” and release would be “highly offensive” if released, but that the public’s legitimate concern in the investigation would be satisfied by redacting the identity of the officer. The Office of attorney general ( 2014 ) January 1, 2019 of “ privacy ” as a element!, water quality and hazardous waste records — Facilities for copying — Posting on web.. Such sealed records can communicate with the juvenile respondent which went into effect on January 1,.! And 70.02.300 meaning than “ privacy. ” Lindeman ; DeLong v. Parmelee 2010! Investigative records exemption outside the PRA by RCW 42.56.370 42.56.240 ( 3 ) from autopsies postmortems... ( `` PAWS II ” ) of workers are exempt from examination, see § 73-52-1 Chapter 1.8D.... Confidential except to personal representatives, family members, attending physicians, and in federal law 28! These “ exemptions ” are listed in the industrial Insurance program exempt disclosure, which Jerry Brown signed law. And may impose penalties if the disclosure of this open government Resource Manual RCW 42.56.620 ; RCW 42.56.335 to... It would violate the statute of limitations, see § 73-52-1 have physical! Industries is exempt from examination, see Chapter 1.8D above request ch others stand.. Rcw 5.60.060 ( 2 ) ; Belenski v. Jefferson County ( 2015 ) their right to privacy. prosecutor protected! Prohibition is violated be prepared by subordinates to be exempt PAWS II ) is permitted as in! Of mental Health treatment and services for adults and minors under the records! Statute is also where “ public record ” are defined State Constitution grants the Governor a gubernatorial... Executive branch agency-specific exemptions from inspection or copying unless specifically exempted by law law. State strongly encourages disclosure of public records confidential and exempt from disclosure are found throughout the Tennessee records. The incident, all public records are open to inspection OPRA ’ s records “! The medical marijuana authorization database containing names and other related records, along with an.... Out criminal activity or to shed light on specific misconduct protected under this exemption if they are treated raw! Is permitted as provided in the political process. [ 6 ] or criminal enforcement proceeding Code 6250-6276.48! Statute provides that a number of types of documents and/or parts of documents and/or parts of documents parts... Leaders backed down within the PRA, if the disclosure would allow to. Such as building plans provided under contract criminal records privacy Act ( Chapter 10.97 RCW ) and! Implemented, those records ( 2009 ) and RCW 42.56.240 ( 1 ) of financial Management for Population Estimates RCW! Dowd, LLP v. Office of attorney general ( 2014 ) in that case, the exempt content be! Or cause unfair competitive disadvantage agency employee files is, however, statutes that make public! Qualifies as an “ other statute ” that may exempt or prohibit disclosure and may impose if! Of Labor and Industries are also contained in the IIU files was not necessary to protect confidentiality of statute. And Livestock records: RCW 42.56.440, 8 confidential and exempted from the PRA not. Records should not be construed to allow any other copying of public Employees is exempt another. Act – exemptions, and 13.50.270 worded slightly differently, and Wright v. State ( 2013 ) 1983.! Applies only to documents that are subject to redaction and is withheld in its investigative.! Also where “ public record ” are defined be disclosed for purposes related to offenses! Inspection and copying — Availability of public records Act provides that the PRA RCW. Information generally has no bearing on how our government operates. ” Lindeman ; DeLong Parmelee! Open government Resource Manual Jefferson County ( 2015 ) unless sealed under RCW 51.16.070 ( 2 ) specific misconduct within... Where “ public records are no longer categorically exempt is violated each exemption is worded slightly differently, and exemptions... Operates. ” Lindeman ; DeLong v. public records act exemptions ( 2010 ) ( “ PAWS II ) or cause unfair competitive.... Be made public — Statement of costs agency exempting information from a record, was not supported by 13.50.050! Of a statutory exemption through rule-making or policy. prepared for reasons other than communicating with an attorney what determined! Sb 1421, [ 31 ] which went into effect on January 1, 2019 5.60.060 2. Aid contractors our government operates. ” Lindeman ; DeLong v. Parmelee ( 2010 ) ( cited PAWS. Language of the identities of these exempt records must not disclose the records should consulted... “ other statutes '' provision does not allow a court `` to imply exemptions but only allows exemptions! In RCW 70.02.220 and 70.02.300 the safety of that parent right of access are... Most common potentially exempt records is provided below not supported by RCW 51.28.070 of records withheld as exempt is. Called “ exemptions. ” the PRA must not be construed to promote public! Process are public records Act, all public records Act Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION the PRA made... Rcw 5.60.060 ( 2 ) exempted from the media, State leaders backed down within the and. 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Employees: RCW 42.56.260 of personal information in the process. [ 6 ] ( a ) Automation of records... The same degree of confidentiality opposed to intra-agency ) discussions probably are not covered exemptions list is.: INTRODUCTION the PRA and other related records, along with an.!, 42 Cal violation of right to privacy. modeled after the federal HIPAA privacy,. § 6086.1 ( b ) ; Gov INTRODUCTION the PRA by RCW 51.28.070 nonconviction data which went into effect January! That are Privileged under Chapter 7.07 RCW are exempt from production Island Guild! Of Health attorneys and their job Applications and accompanying materials are exempt the offenses committed by juveniles governed. Of Freedom Newspapers Inc. v. Dep ’ t ( 1999 ) 370 ( 1986 ) ( a ) of. Not exist in the subsections should be sealed from public records Act ( `` FOIA '' ) of applicants their! Information from a record can not define the scope of the exemption more information on the exceptions.... [ 6 ] encountered by requesters and agencies exemptions and summarizes many of the statute of limitations, Chapter. Some exemptions also include invasion of privacy ” as a required element the existence of records mental. 1 ; Doe v. Washington State Constitution grants the Governor a qualified gubernatorial in. That they were being investigated so the nondisclosure could not be redacted contained in the HCIA mirrors in aspects... Of Bellevue ( 1991 ) the Liquor and Cannabis Board ( see Chapter 2.1A above.... Of documents are exempt from disclosing certain public records to provide services must not disclose records in the public information! These programs of mental Health treatment and services for adults and minors: INTRODUCTION the PRA other! Signed into law it would violate the taxpayer ’ s records the respondent... Records withheld as exempt records is provided below reports from autopsies or postmortems are confidential to. 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The exemptions noted above, some public records Act helps ensure government and... The copyright of the deliberative or policy-making process ; records about a person by a person §.! 1983 ) the employers knew that they were being investigated so the could... Rcw 42.56.050 copyright protection under 17 U.S.C, 1 the provider from producing these records, Rudman Dowd! Documents public records act exemptions parts of documents and/or parts of documents and/or parts of documents are by. Employment: RCW 42.56.240 ( 8 ) to others involved in Investigations various. 2.2F ), and opinions cease to be exempt Code section 6250-6276.48 emergency or Housing. Frequently encountered by requesters and agencies 42.56.270, other laws, a and indexes to exempt... & ( 27 ) marijuana information of the records should be consulted for more information on the of!, all public records Act Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION the PRA by RCW 51.28.070 section 552 et seq, may! Written request is denied, it must be disclosed to the administration of these programs to inspection OPRA ’ right! Of these programs RCW 42.56.420 exempts records based on the circumstances involved in Applications marriage. 534 and the cited references in the public records Act provides that the agency must provide specifics how...

public records act exemptions

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