Public Disclosure Requests

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Make a public disclosure request

CTS/WaTech provides records as required by state law (RCW 42.56). CTS/WaTech believes in the importance of the public’s right to know about its operations and activities. Many public documents are available on our website and may be located by using the search function on the site.

If you do not find the information you seek on the website, you may make a public disclosure request. Instructions on how to do that are below:

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PUBLIC RECORDS ACT AND COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and subsequent order to close all state government agency offices across Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-28 to temporarily suspend the rules governing the Public Records Act (PRA). This suspension applies to in-person requests and access to records housed within state facilities, as well as the five-day time limit agencies are normally given to respond to PRA requests. The proclamation is effective from March 24 until midnight, April 23, unless extended beyond that date.

Specifically, the Governor’s proclamation calls for the following temporary actions:

  • Agencies must still respond to PRA requests during the COVID-19 disease outbreak.
  • The requirement that agencies respond to PRA requests within five business days is also suspended. As described, agencies must still respond to PRA requests. Under normal circumstances, agencies are required to send a response within five business days of receiving the request (excluding day of receipt). However, these are not normal circumstances because of the COVID-19 disease outbreak. The proclamation temporarily suspends the requirement to respond in five days. The proclamation does not prohibit an agency from responding within five days or as soon thereafter as is feasible under the circumstances; and if it is possible to do so, it may be helpful to the agency and the requester in preventing a later backlog of work.
  • The proclamation suspends PRA language requiring agencies to provide the public the ability to conduct in-person PRA business at an agency office (such as in-person inspection of records or in-person submission of PRA requests).
  • The proclamation also suspends the PRA requirement that agency offices must be open for a minimum of 30 hours per week for public inspection and copying of public records. Agencies must still have their hours posted on their websites.

For any questions, please contact Public Records Officer Brianna Southworth at publicrecords@watech.wa.gov.

How to file a public disclosure request

It is recommended to make requests in writing or by email so both parties have a record of the request. If this is not possible, we will be pleased to discuss a request over the telephone and place it in writing for the requestor. Requests and questions about public records should be directed to:

Brianna Southworth
Email: publicrecords@watech.wa.gov or publicrecords@cts.wa.gov
Phone: 360.407.8980

Information to include in a public disclosure request

Requestors should include the following information in their requests:

  • Name, address, email address and telephone number of the person requesting the record;
  • Date on which the request is being made; and
  • Description of the record(s) requested.

FEES

Potential costs of a public disclosure request

CTS/WaTech will charge for copies of records pursuant to the default fees in RCW 42.56.120(2)(b) and (c).  CTS/WaTech will charge for customized services pursuant to 42.56.120(3).  Under RCW 42.56.130, CTS/WaTech may charge other copy fees authorized by statutes outside of chapter 42.56 RCW.  CTS/WaTech may enter into an alternative fee agreement with a requestor under RCW 42.56.120(4).

Currently, such fees shall be:

  1. Fifteen cents per page for photocopies of public records, printed copies of electronic public records when requested by the person requesting the records;
  2. Ten cents per page for public records scanned into an electronic format;
  3. Five cents per each four electronic files or attachment uploaded to email, cloud-based data storage service, or other means of electronic delivery;
  4. Ten cents per gigabyte for the transmission of public records in an electronic format;  and
  5. The actual cost of any digital storage media or device provided by the agency, the actual cost of any container or envelope used to mail the copies to the requestor, and the actual postage or delivery charge.

Note:

  • Charges may be combined to the extent that more than one type of charge applies to copies produced in response to a particular request.
  • The requestor is required to pay the fees in advance of receiving the records unless a fee waiver is granted.
  • CTS/WaTech shall not charge for information that would be routinely posted on its publically available website.
  • CTS/WaTech will make a good faith effort to use the most reasonable cost-efficient method available to the agency as part of its normal operations. 
  • A requestor may ask CTS/WaTech to provide a summary of the applicable charges before any copies are made. 
  • The requestor may withdraw or revise the request to reduce the number of copies and the associated fees.

Customized Service Charges

CTS/WaTech may include a customized service charge for certain public records requests that require the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations or provide customized electronic access services when such services are not used by the agency. The customized service charge may reimburse up to the actual cost of providing these services.

Requestor Fees and Deposits

CTS/WaTech shall require an advance deposit of 10% of the estimated fees when the copying fees for an installment or an entire request, or customized service charge, exceeds $25. All required fees must be paid in advance of the release of the copies or an installment of copies, or in advance of when a deposit is required.  CTS/WaTech will notify the requestor of when payment is due.

Responding to a public disclosure request

Within five (5) business days of receiving the request, as required by law, CTS/WaTech will respond in one of the following ways:

  • Acknowledge the request and provide a reasonable estimate of time needed to respond; and/or
  • Ask for clarification if the request is unclear; or
  • Deny the request.

Material exempt from public disclosure

The Public Records Act provides that certain types of records and information are exempt from public disclosure. Where exempt information can be deleted from a record (redacted), the record will be provided without the exempt information. Whenever CTS/WaTech withholds all or part of a record, we will identify the applicable exemption and provide it to the requestor.