Assoc. Press v. Wash. State Legislature (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)Annotate this Case
Between January 25 and July 26, 2017, members of the news media submitted 163 ublic Records Act ("PRA") requests to the Washington senate, house of representatives and the Washington legislature as a whole as well as to offices of individual state senators and representatives. In response to some requests, senate and house counsel stated that the legislature did not possess responsive records; in response to other requests, senate and house counsel and some individual legislators voluntarily provided limited records. Some records that were provided contained redactions, though no exemptions were identified. The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review centered on whether the state legislative branch was subject to the general public records disclosure mandate of the PRA. The Court determined that under the plain meaning of the PRA, individual legislators were "agencies" subject in full to the PRA's general public records disclosure mandate because they were expressly included in the definitional chain of "agency" in a related statute. Furthermore, the Court held the institutional legislative bodies were not "agencies" because they were not included in that definitional chain, but they were, instead, subject to the PRA's narrower public records disclosure mandate by and through each chambers' respective administrative officer.