Tacoma News Tribune...
Washington cities try to prevent large public records requests in upcoming legislative session
Lakewood has processed almost 78,000 pages in public document requests this year – and those are just the ones filed by a single resident – leading the city to ask state lawmakers for a change in public records law.
… That’s why Lakewood, along with other cities across Washington, are asking the Legislature to find a way to discourage people from making frequent, massive public record requests so they don’t drain local government resources.
The city, through the Association of Washington Cities, has made public disclosure law changes a priority in the 2010 legislative session.
AWC is working on a specific proposal that it plans to introduce in the upcoming session. It hopes lawmakers will change the law so habitual requesters will have to pay more for frequent, time-consuming requests, or at least be forced to specify what they want. Lakewood also wants mediation between local governments and requesters, rather than having to go directly to court.
Pam Roach's view on access:
The law should be applied equally. Access is access. Did it occur to anyone that the frequent users of the system are the watchdogs? Not everyone can do that. And, often the watchdogs are working on behalf of others who do not have the time.
Government needs to be open. It should open files, online, to everyone in a computer format that does not allow the user to change information and that redacts names as allowed by law.