Legislative branch public records requests
Through state law (RCW chapter 42.56, originally created by citizen initiative) and county code, the public has the right to full access to records concerning the conduct of government that are not exempt from disclosure under applicable law. The public records law is mindful of providing this access while also protecting individuals' privacy rights and promoting the efficient administration of government.”
Public records include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristic.
"Writing" means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photographing, and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation, including, but not limited to, letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, motion picture, film and video recordings, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, diskettes, sound recordings, and other documents including existing data compilations from which information may be obtained or translated.
The Legislative Branch includes the Council, the Clerk of the Council, the County Auditor, the Office of Citizen Complaints, the Board of Tax Appeals and Equalization, King County Television, the Office of the Hearing Examiner, the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight and the Office of Economic Forecast and Analysis. All non-exempt records of the Legislative Branch are available for review and copying Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding legal holidays and furlough days.
The Public Records Officers for the Legislative Branch and its agencies are:
Council, Board of Appeals/Equalization, Hearing Examiner, King County TV, Office of Economic Forecast and Analysis:
Janet Masuo, Legislative Records Manager, 206-477-1023, Clerk.Council@kingcounty.gov
Auditor: Rachel Reitz, Office Manager, 206-477-1032, Rachel.Reitz@kingcounty.gov
Ombudsman: Janna Lewis, Deputy Ombudsman, 206-477-1050, Janna.Lewis@kingcounty.gov
Requests to review or copy the Legislative Branch's public records may be made in writing on the Legislative Branch's request form, by letter, fax, or email.
The following information needs to be included:
- Name, address, telephone and or email address of the requestor;
- Sufficient information to identify the public record; and
- Date of the request
- A statement that the request is not for a list of individuals for commercial purposes.
- There is no charge for inspecting public records
- Black and white copies (8 ½ x 11) are 15 cents per side
- Mailing includes actual cost of postage and shipping container
- Other media will incur actual cost of materials
- Large Requests (RCW 42.56.120)
- The Legislative Branch agency may charge a deposit of up to ten percent of the estimated cost of an entire request before copying records
- May provide copies in installments
- May require advance payment prior to providing additional installments
Payments must be made payable to the Office of the Clerk of the Council.
Cash and Checks are currently the only accepted forms of payment.
A number of public records are available online free of charge. These records include:
- legislation at https://mkcclegisearch.kingcounty.gov/custom/king/legislation.htm
- Council and committee agendas, minutes and videos at https://mkcclegisearch.kingcounty.gov/custom/king/calendar.htm
- Audit reports at https://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/auditor/Reports.aspx
- Appealing assessed valuation of property at https://www.kingcounty.gov/property/PropertyTaxAppeals.aspx
- Hearing Examiner case digest at https://www.kingcounty.gov/independent/hearing-examiner/case-digest.aspx
- Ombudsman's information at https://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/Ombudsman.aspx
Function of Public Records Act Officer
- Oversee compliance with the Public Records Act
- Provide the fullest assistance to requestors
- Coordinate department response to requests
- Protect records from destruction
- Fulfill requests in a timely manner
Within five business days of receipt of a request, the public records officer shall do one or more of the following:
- make the records available to the requestor for inspection or copying;
- send copies to the requestor, if copies are requested and payment terms of payment are agreed upon,
- if copies are not immediately available, provide the requestor a reasonable estimate of when the records will be available;
- request clarification from the requestor, if the request is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records. The clarification may be requested and provided by telephone, in which case the public records officer shall make a written record of the clarification. Based on the clarification, the public records officer may revise the estimate of when records will be available. If the requestor fails to clarify the request, the agency need not respond to it.
· deny the request and notify the requestor of the denial, including a written statement of the specific reasons for the denial
All records will be released if they do not fall within the specific exemptions of the Public Records Act or other statutes which exempt or prohibit disclosure of specific information or records. Possible bases for exemption may be found in chapter 42.56 RCW, http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.56, or at MRSC, http://www.mrsc.org/Publications/pra09.pdf#page=77.
The Public Records Officer will describe why each withheld record or redacted portion of a record is exempt from disclosure.
Lists of Individuals for Commercial Purposes - Lists of individuals requested for commercial purposes may not be provided, because this is prohibited by state law (RCW 42.56.070 (9)).
Third Party Notification – In the event that the requested records contain information that may affect the rights of others and may be exempt from disclosure, the Public Records Officer in accordance with RCW 42.56.540 may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure, including providing a copy of the request.
Later discovered documents – In the event additional responsive records are discovered that existed at the time the request was made, the requestor will be promptly notified by the Public Records Officer and provided an opportunity to review the records and request copies..
Withdrawn or abandoned requests – When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill his or her obligations to inspect the records, pay the deposit or make final payment within thirty days for the requested copies, the Public Records Officer will close the request and notify the requestor the request has been closed.
A requestor may submit a written request petitioning the review of any denied record to:
Chief of Staff
1200 King County Courthouse
516 Third Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
The appeals officer will provide the requestor with a written response.
The Public Records Officer for the King County Council and the legislative branch of government is Janet Masuo, Legislative Records Manager, 206-477-1023, Clerk.Council@kingcounty.gov.
To obtain records from the executive branch of King County, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For King County Superior Court Records, please click here.
For King County Sheriff records, please click here.
Legislative branch public records request form
To obtain records from the executive branch of government, please e-mail: email@example.com.