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WA State DOE Emergency Fee Rule?

July 20, 2016 Public Records Emergency Rule WAC 173-03-9000E Calculation of actual costs of producing copies of public records declared to be unduly burdensome—Adoption of statutory fee schedule.

 SO? THE DOE?  SOMEBODY DECLARED AN EMERGENCY DOE RULE?

 WAC… WAC… WAC…

WHY BOTHER WITH THE ACTUAL COST FOR PRODUCING COPIES OF PUBLIC RECORDS FOR THE PUBLIC?

HB 1595, passed in the 2017 legislative session

Chapter 304, Laws of 2017, sc. 3, amending RCW 42.56.120,

AND AN AGENCY MUST HAVE IN PLACE EITHER A STATEMENT FOLLOWING (PUBLIC?)  NOTICE AND PUBLIC HEARING THAT ESTABLISHES THE ACTUAL COSTS OF PRODUCING RECORDS….

AND THAT WOULD BE UNDULY BURDENSOME FOR THE DOE?

SO, THE DOE WILL ADOPT THE STATUTORY FEE SCHEDULE.

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—– Original Message —–

From: Ballard, Laura (ECY)

To: ECOLOGY-WAC-TRACK@LISTSERV.WA.GOV

Sent: Monday, July 24, 2017 4:44 PM

Subject: The following emergency rulemaking adoption was filed with the Office of the Code Reviser: Public Records Emergency Rule WAC 173-03-

The following emergency rulemaking adoption was filed with the Office of the Code Reviser:

July 20, 2016

Public Records Emergency Rule WAC 173-03-9000E Calculation of actual costs of producing copies of public records declared to be unduly burdensome—Adoption of statutory fee schedule.

For more information:

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/wac17303/1614ov.html

To join or leave ECOLOGY-WAC-TRACK click here:

http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ECOLOGY-WAC-TRACK

Thank you for using WACTrack.

Have a good day!

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Representative Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) and Representative Joan McBride (D-Kirkland) introduced the bills.  They would update the 1972 Public Records Act, INCLUDING FEES contained in the original law

HB 1595, passed in the 2017 legislative session

HB 1595 BECAME LAW ON JULY 23, 2017

Chapter 304, Laws of 2017, sc. 3, amending RCW 42.56.120,  

THE PROVISION OF THE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (PRA) THAT GOVERNS AGENCY CHARGES TO REQUESTERS FOR PROVIDING COPIES OF PUBLIC RECORDS.

According to a 2016 report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office, the number of requests increased by 36% from 2011 to 2015, and last year, state and local governments spent more than $60 million to fulfill 285,000 requests – a portion of which were automated “bot” requests from computers. Only 1% of the costs were recovered by the original law’s fee structure.

These amendments in HB 1595 were designed to modernize this provision to reflect changes in the way agencies PROVIDE copies of records to requesters.

and an agency must have in place either a statement following notice and public hearing that establishes the ACTUAL COSTS of producing records,

 or a rule that declares the calculation of actual costs would be “unduly burdensome.” Otherwise, an agency would not be able to impose copy fees on PRA requestors.

HB 1595  IS A NEW WA STATE LAW EFFECTIVE  JULY 23, 2017

WITH FEES BASED ON ACTUAL COST?

Representative Terry Nealey (R-Dayton)  said actual costs could also be based upon a SEATTLE CITY DETAILED COST STUDY.

“The city of Seattle estimates it will spend as much as $3 million this year for PRA request fulfilment, including electronic requests, but expects less than $10,000 in cost recovery,”

Representative Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) added. “Our legislation would enable an agency to study its actual costs of making and preparing for delivery electronic copies of documents for a requestor,

AND THEN CHARGE A MODEST FEE BASED ON COPYING COSTS.

WE THINK THIS WILL REDUCE VEXATIOUS REQUESTS WHILE PRESERVING ACCESS WITH AN UPDATED FEE SYSTEM.”

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AND, THEN CHARGE A MODEST FEE BASED ON ACTUAL COST?

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 Behind My Back | Fee Fie Foe Fum

www.behindmyback.org/2013/10/26/fee-fie-foe-fum/

Oct 26, 2013 – “Feefifofum” is the first line of a historical quatrain famous for its use in the classic English fairy … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fee-fie-foefum.

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ECOLOGY is taking the latter approach, declaring by rule that it will be “unduly burdensome” to calculate actual costs, and has already filed a pre-proposal to begin the permanent rulemaking process.

ECOLOGY will conduct this permanent rulemaking according to normal rulemaking procedures, but cannot complete it until some months after the requirements of HB 1595 take effect on July 23, 2017.

ECOLOGY finds that it is in the general welfare and the public interest, and benefits requesters and the agency, to adopt the emergency rule in order to preserve AND UPDATE FEES in accordance with the legislatively adopted schedule.

Without further action, this would create a period of months during which no statement or rule would be available to the public regarding PRA costs or the methods of calculating them, creating confusion and uncertainty regarding Ecology’s fee structure and ITS ABILITY TO CHARGE FEES.

Because this appears to be contrary to the intent of HB 1595 and the PRA,

ECOLOGY intends to adopt its declaration initially by emergency rule, to avoid confusion and to remain in compliance with the PRA, as amended.

This declaration will allow Ecology to utilize the statutory default fee schedule created by the Legislature in the 2017 amendments starting on July 23, 2017, the date the legislation goes into effect, and to be in full compliance with the PRA, as amended.

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ECOLOGY WILL CONDUCT THIS PERMANENT RULEMAKING ACCORDING TO NORMAL RULEMAKING PROCEDURES, BUT CANNOT COMPLETE IT UNTIL SOME MONTHS AFTER THE REQUIREMENTS OF HB 1595 TAKE EFFECT ON JULY 23, 2017.

 ECOLOGY has already filed a pre-proposal to begin the permanent rulemaking process.

A STATEMENT FOLLOWING (PUBLIC?)  NOTICE AND PUBLIC HEARING THAT ESTABLISHES THE ACTUAL COSTS OF PRODUCING RECORDS….

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To join or leave ECOLOGY-WAC-TRACK click here:

http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ECOLOGY-WAC-TRACK

Thank you for using WACTrack.

Have a good day!

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Has anyone received a definitive legal  answer to this question?

Behind My Back | WA DOE $50 Comment Recording Fee?

www.behindmyback.org/2017/07/12/6854/

Jul 12, 2017 – Protests must be accompanied by a $50 recording fee payable to the Department of …. www.behindmyback.org/2013/10/26/fee-fie-foe-fum/.

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