On May 4, 2020, Governor Inslee extended the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through May 31, 2020. On May 5, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-28.2 which extended certain statutory waivers and suspensions until May 31, 2020, except for RCW 42.56.520(1) – the “prompt response” requirement of the Public Records Act, which is only extended to May 11, 2020.

How does this affect prior statutory waivers for the Public Records Act (PRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA)?

RCW 42.56.520(1) is the “prompt response” requirement obligating agencies to provide an initial response to a records request within five (5) business days of receiving a public record request. This means that after May 11, public agencies will be required to provide their standard initial response letter within five (5) days of receipt of the request. This initial response either (a) provides the record or a web link to the record, (b) acknowledges receipt and provides a reasonable estimate of the time the agency will require to respond – you can factor additional time due to the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order, (c) seeks clarification of the request, (d) notifies additional time is required to notify third parties, or (e) denies the request.

The prohibition on in-person public meetings, and the suspension of requirements related to the Open Public Meetings Act has been extended to May 31, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the effect of Governor Inslee’s orders on the PRA or OPMA, please contact Katherine Deets of Chmelik Sitkin & Davis P.S.