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A writing includes not only conventional documents, but also videos, photos, and electronic records including emails and computer data. Identity of Requester RCW provides that agencies may not distinguish between requesters and must make records available to “any person.” However, the PRA recognizes that other statutes may limit which persons may receive records.

Third, the writing must be prepared, owned, used or retained by the agency. The consultant prepares a report and transmits the report to the agency. A record outside the possession of the agency can be a “public record.” The agency should require the consultant to return the report to the agency for public records processing (reviewing for exempt information, redacting, copying, etc.). The PRA applies in a more limited form to the Washington State Legislature. An example of a disclosure “specifically authorized or directed by law” is RCW , which requires a county assessor’s real property tax rolls to be available for public inspection. A written request is advisable for several reasons.

After reviewing the report and before receiving a public records request for the report, the agency returns all copies to the consultant. See 1.3 The PRA Applies to State and Local Agencies As noted above, only the records of an "agency" are covered by the PRA. Information about accessing legislative documents is available here. It confirms the date on which the record is requested. Identification of the requesting party, with address and telephone number, will also facilitate a request for clarification by the agency of any ambiguous request or allow the agency to determine if a person has the right to a record that would normally be exempt. For these reasons, if a requester makes an oral request, an agency may need to follow up to confirm the request in writing.

The PRA's definition of "agency" is broad and covers all state agencies and all local agencies. Courts have interpreted that definition to include a city's design and development department ( (2013)). The PRA does not apply to court case files; but those files are available through common law rights of access and court rules. Many agencies use public records requests forms, and make those forms available on their websites or at their offices.

1.1 The Public Records Act (PRA) is Interpreted in Favor of Disclosure The PRA was enacted by initiative to provide the people with broad rights of access to public records.

The PRA declares that it must be "liberally construed" to promote the public policy of open government: The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them.

The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.

The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created.

This chapter shall be liberally construed to promote this public policy and to assure that the public interest will be fully protected.

In the event of a conflict between [the PRA] and any other act, the provisions of [the PRA] shall govern. Courts shall take into account the policy of this chapter that free and open examination of public records is in the public interest, even though such examination may cause inconvenience or embarrassment to public officials or others. Courts interpret the PRA liberally to promote the purpose of informing people about governmental decisions.

WAC 3 (summarizing how PRA is interpreted by courts).

1.2 “Public Record” Is Defined Broadly The definition of a public record (other than a record of the Legislature) contains three elements. First, the record must be a "writing," which is broadly defined in RCW (4) to include any recording of any communication, image or sound.

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