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Inside Olympia — New Report on Government Transparency

Washington’s Public Records Act (PRA) is a little over 50 years old, passed into law in 1972 via citizen initiative. A half century later, the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WashCOG) has issued a report sounding an alarm on what it sees as the erosion of the principles in the PRA, amidst opposition from elected officials.

For our episode during national “Sunshine Week,” host Austin Jenkins explores the findings of the recently released study with former Seattle Times Executive Editor and WashCOG Board Member Mike Fancher.

The WashCOG study contends that government transparency is eroding for several reasons:

1. The Washington Legislature Undermines the PRA

2. Public Officials and Agencies Obstruct Requesters

3. Agencies Fail to Properly Maintain, Organize and Disclose Records

4. Open Government Training Is Inadequate and Often Wrong

5. The Public Records Acts Needs to Hold Officials Accountable

 Jenkins and Fancher also discuss the legal battle of “legislative privilege” currently being fought between the media and the Legislature, and the work of the state’s Public Records Exemptions “Sunshine” Committee, which has had difficulty getting its recommendations heard by the Legislature.