Rather, if the agency has a reasonable belief the individual will use the list for commercial purposes, the agency has an affirmative obligation to investigate how the requestor intends to use the list. See. Where can I find further information, guidance and support? See Nissen v. Pierce County (2015). If the investigation has been referred to the prosecutor or is closed, then the following exemptions could protect the identity of the juvenile witness or victim: disclosure of the complainant’s identity would endanger any person’s life, physical safety, or property; or. Some agencies apply this exemption to protect interview notes and reference check notes, but others do not. In the circumstance where records are located on personal devices or accounts or in a home office, agencies should have appropriate policies in place for managing retention and production of those records. What are the requirements related to retention of text messages? the extent the entity performed a government function; the extent public funds paid for the activity; the extent of government involvement or regulation; and. An agency may not require the use of a specific form or a particular method (e.g., NextRequest, email), but it may strongly encourage the use of one. The PRA in RCW 42.56.080 provides that: No official format is required for making a records request; however, agencies may recommend that requestors submit requests using an agency provided form or webpage. (b) This section shall not apply to contracts entered into prior to January 1, 1996, between the County of Santa Clara and a private entity for the provision of public records subject to disclosure under this chapter. 19. The Colorado Open Records Act "CORA" requires that most public records be available to the public. To be a public record, the call log must be "prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency" and relate to the conduct of government; in most circumstances, a personal call log will not meet this threshold. The FOI access regime replaces that of the Public Records Act, which was commonly referred to as the ’30 year rule’. See RCW 42.56.120(1). Find answers to common questions about the Public Records Act (PRA). They can be. The purpose of the law is to ensure an informed citizenry by providing the public with access to information that sheds light on an agency’s performance of its statutory duties. It is unclear whether interview notes and reference check notes are exempt. Public Records Act for Washington Cities, Counties, and Special Purpose Districts, Knowing the Territory - Basic Legal Guidelines for Washington City, County and Special District Officials. The Act contains a general definition of public records at Schedule 1 paragaph 2, specifies some exclusions, and goes on to list bodies which fall outside the general definition but nonetheless have been made public record bodies. The Federal Records Act of 1950 is a United States federal law that was enacted in 1950. The PRA does not require an agency to copy records into the specific electronic format requested or to deliver records in the specific electronic delivery method requested. Disclaimer of public liability. There is no exemption that covers dog license information. Government corporations or government controlled private entities are subject to FOIA if they are under substantial government control. See Belenski v. Jefferson County (2015) and MRSC's Blog Post PRA Employment Records Exemption Applies to Former Employee. FAQ: Are draft documents exempt from disclosure? While RCW 42.56.250(2) exempts applications for public employment, the exemption specifically excludes applications for vacancies in elective office. Are agency-related Facebook posts on a public employee's or official's personal Facebook account public records? This applies whatever the age of the records, they should also follow the good practice set out in the. Records of the executive branches of the federal and state governments, their agencies, and legislative and judicial agencies are subject, to varying extents, to open records laws. (See our analysis on the deliberative process exemption in the FAQ: Are draft documents exempt from disclosure?). Archives, Open Government Licence The first thing to note is that the prohibition only applies to lists of individuals and does not apply to lists of businesses or information about individuals where requestors could create their own list. Which records should be selected for preservation? Are draft documents exempt from disclosure? For a post to be "within the scope of employment," their job must require it, their employer must direct it, or it must further their employer's (i.e. Public records include all writings that are made, maintained, kept or held by entities that are subject to the Colorado Public (Open) Records Act for use in the exercise of functions required or authorized by law or administrative rule or involving the receipt or expenditure of public funds. No, to both questions. A public agency may notify parties who have a privacy interest in the records of its decision to disclose public records. However, if the information is in an electronic record, such as an Excel spreadsheet, that can be sorted to display lists of individuals, the prohibition applies. Note that bidders have special access to bids submitted for public works projects that are the subject of competitive bids. Warning: Some amendments have not yet been incorporated; Search within this Act. There is an exemption for the personal information of a child enrolled in a parks and recreation program, but there is no similar exemption for adults. A Washington Appellate case from 1989, Yacobellis v. Bellingham, held that the notes are not public records if they: If all of these elements are met regarding the personal notes at issue, the notes are not public records under the PRA. If the agency requires that a background investigation be conducted in order to hire an individual, then the material is exempt under RCW 42.56.250(2). The following utility customer information is exempt, per RCW 42.56.330(2): A utility customer’s name and account number are not exempt. See SEIU Healthcare v. DSHS v. Freedom Foundation (2019). Thus, whether planning commissioners are considered appointees or volunteers, their home address, phone number, and other personal information, as listed in the statutes, is exempt. Yes. the government’s) interests. The parties may then be given time to seek judicial review. If a record would be exempt from disclosure if the employee were still employed at the agency, then the record remains exempt after the end of their employment. But doctors and hospitals remain subject to HIPAA’s confidentiality restrictions even if information included in those records became public. These laws identify types of records that must be made directly available to the public … Draft documents are not categorically exempt from disclosure, but may fall under the deliberative process exemption of RCW 42.56.280. The one potential exemption is the deliberative process exemption in RCW 42.56.280, which only applies before selection of a bidder. However, other text messages are more substantive, containing content that does trigger a retention requirement. However, two exemptions/prohibitions to be considered when handling a request for building plans are copyright protections under federal law and RCW 42.56.270, which exempts: [v]aluable formulae, designs, drawings, computer source code or object code, and research data obtained by any agency within five years of the request for disclosure when disclosure would produce private gain and public loss. See RCW 42.56.230(2)(a). California Public Records Act Policy FAQ: How should an agency proceed if it receives a request for lists of individuals? To view the answer to a question, simply click on the question. The most obvious potential exemption is RCW 42.56.250(2), which exempts from disclosure any employment application materials submitted with respect to an applicant. The Washington Supreme Court held in Cedar Grove v. City of Marysville (2015) that city-related records of a private consulting firm that provided professional services to the city were subject to the PRA since the firm was acting as the functional equivalent of a city employee. If your question is not addressed here or you wish to contact one of our staff attorneys directly, please use our Ask MRSC form or call 1-800-933-6772 (toll-free) or (206) 625-1300. An agency-related Facebook post by a public employee or official on their personal Facebook account can be a public record if the post was made within the employee’s or official’s scope of agency employment. That test is: An agency must identify in its response to the requestor that it has withheld or redacted a document. Are background checks conducted as part of the hiring process exempt? Are records in possession of an agency consultant considered public records? The California Public Records Act (CPRA) allows individuals to obtain certain information from police records. No, agencies may not charge for time spent redacting information in a record. In identifying the document withheld or redacted, the agency must cite the specific statute that exempts the record and provide a brief explanation on how that statute applies to the record at issue (RCW 42.56.210). Agencies should adopt their own policies for the provision of electronic records, keeping in mind that what is reasonable and technically feasible for the copying and delivery of electronic records for one agency may not be for another, especially for smaller local governments that lack the electronic resources and staffing of larger agencies. were created solely for the government official’s or employee’s convenience or to refresh the official’s or employee’s memory; are maintained in a way indicating a private purpose; are not circulated or intended for distribution within agency channels; are not under agency control; and. See, Performance reviews of the agency’s chief executive officer, such as a city manager. The CPRA is not applicable to the Legislature, which is instead covered by the Legislative Open Records Act. How should an agency proceed if it receives a request for lists of individuals? The Citizen’s Guide to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) has been prepared by the Government Records Council to help the public understand the requirements of the State of New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (N.J.S.A. .. What rights do members of the public have to inspect or obtain copies of public records? If a requestor does not view or pick up records made available to them, how long does an agency need to wait before it closes the request? See RCW 42.56.250(6). Are interview notes or reference check notes exempt? Are call logs from a personal phone a public record? It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Performance reviews showing substantiated misconduct. Can an agency charge for the time it spends redacting records? PUBLIC RECORDS ACT EXEMPTIONS Under GR 31.1 (j), “Court and judicial agency administrative records are open to public access unless access is exempted or prohibited under this rule, other court rules, federal statutes, state statutes, court orders, or case law. See Belenski v. Jefferson County (2016). Note that the deadline for transfer to The National Archives is being reduced to 20 years following amendment of the PRA through the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. california public records act California Public Records Act The PRA gives you access to public records we maintain unless they’re exempt from disclosure by law. However, if an agency reviews an employee’s personal call log for a disciplinary matter or as part of their cell phone reimbursement policy, then, arguably, the log has been “used” and that use was related to the conduct of government. A record can be a document, paper, letter, map, book, tape, photograph, film or sound recording, information stored or maintained electronically and a data-processed or image-proces… An employee's/official’s communication is "within the scope of employment" when their job requires it, their employer directs it, or it furthers their employer's (i.e. Public Records Act 2005. A good starting point is the Records Collection Policy (PDF, 0.12MB), Subscribe now for regular news, updates and priority booking for events.Sign up, All content is available under the Open Government Licence With one call or click you can get a personalized answer from one of our trusted attorneys, policy consultants, or finance experts! See RCW 42.56.120(4). In both cases, the name of the applicant is exempt under RCW 42.56.250(2). So, if a government official uses his or her personal device for business, those texts, emails, or other business documents or communications are subject to the Public Records Act, unless it is exempt or confidential. Are informal notes prepared and kept by an elected official or staff member exempt from disclosure? The agency should send a closing letter informing the requestor that their request was closed and the reason why, if it has not already provided the requestor with this information in previous communications. Upcoming Webinars – Watch our live webinars (including Q&A sessions) to learn about key issues from the convenience of your own desk! The most risk-averse approach is to not apply the exemption to interview notes and reference check notes, given the PRA liability for wrongfully withholding a record; however, the answer is not clear so your agency attorney should be consulted on applicability of the exemption. The Privacy Act, passed by Congress in 1974, establishes certain controls over what personal information is collected by the federal government and how it is used. CPRA Manual In 1968, the California Legislature enacted the California Public Records Act (CPRA) under Government Code (GC) sections 6250-6270. However, if the request is not pursuant to the duties of the elected official’s office, then the PRA, including the charging of any fees, will apply. The copies can be certified as authentic copies if requested. See Nissen v. Pierce County (2015). . the government’s) interests. 42.56.080: Identifiable records — Facilities for copying — Availability of public records. ß2201-2209, governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents that were created or received after January 20, 1981 (i.e., beginning with the Reagan Administration). Likewise, there is no clear exemption that covers records related to an agency’s consideration of bids or RFPs (e.g., scoring notes). the complainant indicates a desire for nondisclosure at the time the complaint is filed. PRA/OPMA E-Learning Courses – Free video courses for city/town elected officials on the Public Records Act (PRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). If the elected official needs the records in order to perform the duties of their office, then the official’s request for records shouldn’t be handled as a PRA request unless the agency has adopted its own policy regarding such requests. A record is defined by the Right to Know Law to be “information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that documents a transaction or activity of an agency and that is created, received, or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction, business or activity of the agency.” A record can take many forms. If a text message is used for a “transitory” purpose (such as “I will be 10 minutes late to our meeting”), then the text has no retention value and need not be saved. Note, however, that an employee’s internet browsing history is considered a non-archival, non-essential record and doesn’t have a required retention period (i.e., it can be destroyed once no longer needed for agency business). Strategies for Managing Difficult Public Meetings and Hearings A post that only minimally or incidentally furthers an interest of the government, without more, is not a public record. A federal law that keeps citizens in the FAQ: are draft documents at issue, call. Period to wait agency require a requestor use a specific form or method should treated. Be public records under the PRA records be closed - access or copies denied made, maintained, finance! Web site of employment test, then it is not a public.. 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