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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Great News from Washington State!

From the Great State of Washington, home of the 2007 FOI Summit:

Taxpayers may see more government records, and news reporters can protect their sources without being jailed under two bills Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law.

The measures were among some two dozen that Gregoire signed on April 27.

Under the new sunshine law, a state committee is to examine more than 300 exemptions to the state's public-records act, a voter-approved law that spells out which government documents must be publicly disclosed.

Attorney General Rob McKenna requested the measure, which he said would repair years of damage done by laws and rules that keep government information out of taxpayers' view.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the state's public-records law by initiative in 1972.

The measure called for disclosure of campaign finances, lobbyist activity, financial affairs of elected officers and candidates, and access to public records.

When it passed, there were only 10 exemptions to the public-records section. Since then, hundreds of exemptions have been introduced.

Gregoire also signed a measure that protects journalists from being jailed for refusing to reveal their confidential sources of information.

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