I had the pleasure of attending WAPRO's annual Fall Conference last week, and as always, it was a whirlwind day full of information.
I want to summarize some of the highlights from the presentations regarding the 2017 legislative update to the Public Records Act.
In addition to the changes widely discussed, a few laws were adjusted regarding exemptions. If any of these apply to your work, you should review these bills and the statues effected.
- Biometric IDs were mentioned in 3 different bills (1493, 1717, 2213)
- Public/Private IT networks (infrastructure) (1829)
- GPS data regarding home locations of any public employee (5207)
- Mental Health Records (5435, 1477)
Most agencies are aware the legislation involved significant changes to the fee schedule. What seems to have been overlooked was the effective date. Per guidance provided by the Attorney Generals Office, if you have not complied with the new requirements, you are not in compliance with current law. It is important that you address this element as soon as possible.
JLARC and Sightline are hard at work on the reporting requirements. Definitions of the reporting items are expected in November. Also, the PRA now requires agencies to keep a log of public records requests. This requirement has been codified in RCW 40.14.026(4).
The Attorney General's Office has updated their video training on the PRA and OPMA to reflect the new laws. There is also an FAQ available on the new training requirements.
Whew. I know all of these changes can seem overwhelming. Hang in there. And ask for help when you need it!