University to hold hearing on public records

JESSICA ZHOU, Evergreen assistant news editor

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A public hearing on the university’s proposed changes to the Washington Administrative Code regarding public records requests will take place tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Lighty 401.

Among the changes is an amendment that would establish fees of 10 cents per page for electronic copies of public records, five cents for every four electronic attachments uploaded to an electronic delivery system, and 10 cents per gigabyte electronically transmitted.

These fees are the same as the amounts outlined in HB 1595, authorizing state agencies to charge for providing copies of electronic records to offset the costs of production or transfer of the record, which Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law in May.  Inspecting public records will remain free of charge.

In the past year, the office’s staff went from four employees to two employees, with an additional employee working half-time, said Anne Vassar, an employee in the public records office. She said the number of requested records at this point of the year is up by 25 percent compared to the amount from the same time last year.

The amendment states that not enough staff and funds were available to conduct a study and calculations of costs associated with providing copies of public records, and doing so would disrupt essential functions of the public records office.

The public is allowed to testify in the meeting, or submit written comments by 5 p.m. Wednesday to Deborah Bartlett, director of the Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms, mail code 1225, Pullman, WA 99164; e-mail [email protected]; fax 509-335-3969.