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    1. [FAAS] Fw: {not a subscriber} EMail Help Needed to Open Access to Public Records
    2. Beth Brown
    3. I received the following e-mail from Bob Witherspoon who is the president of the Washington State Genealogical Society. Therefore, this e-mail is directed to those who do research in the State of Washington. Bob's snail mail and e-mail addresses are at the bottom of the forwarded message, as well as Bob's phone number, should you need further information. I know that there are many strong feelings on both sides of this issue. If this isn't of interest to you, please use your delete button. If this is of interest to you . . . please, please . . . let your opinion be heard. > We need your help in emailing the state legislature this weekend to show > support for two bills with significant impact on our ability to do family > research. > > HB 1153/SB 5275, Managing Confidential Records > >House Bill 1153, and its companion bill Senate Bill 5275, deal with > placing a time limit on how long certain records in the State Archives system > can be kept closed to public inspection and copying. > >Currently, there are more than 100 various types of information which are > exempt from public disclosure, including personal information in any files > maintained for students in public schools. Only a few of these exemptions > state how long the information can be kept from the public. The rest of the > exemptions are open-ended, thereby keeping the records sealed forever. > >Under HB 1153 and SB 5275, records transferred to the state archives may > be exempt from public disclosure for a maximum limit of 75 years from when > the records were created. If the law already sets a shorter time for release > of a specific record, the archives will follow the shorter limit for opening > the record to public inspection. > > It is unlikely that an 80-year-old will object to the release of personal > information held in his or her kindergarten records, and that information > could advance the research and liven up the telling of that person’s family > history. > >I believe the public has a right to know what its government is doing, > so long as it does not jeopardize national security or the basic rights of > the individual. I think the public has a need to know, from some perspective > of time, why the government took the actions it took so that errors in > judgment are not repeated. And surely individuals have a vested interest in > the social and medical histories of their ancestors so they can understand > what issues and conditions affected their moral upbringing and physical > health. HB 1153 and SB 5275 will help us retain these rights and interests. > > HB 1153, Managing Confidential Records, already has been approved by the > State Government Committee and will be sent to the full House of > Representatives for enactment into law. Please email your state > representatives, and ask for their vote to approve this bill. > > SB 5275, Managing Confidential Records, will go before the Government > Operations and Elections Committee of the Senate on Tuesday, February 11, > 2003, for public hearings. Please send emails now asking for support from > your state senator, and email Senator Pam Roach, chair of the Goventment > Operations and Elections Committee, and the members of that committee, to ask > them to pass the bill on for adoption by the full Senate. > > > Senate’s Government Operations and Elections Committee: > > Pam Roach, chair: [email protected] > Val Stevens [email protected] > James Kastama [email protected] > Darlene Fairley [email protected] > Jim Horn [email protected] > Bob McCaslin [email protected] > Aaron Reardon [email protected] > > Thank you for your help to establish a finite limit on the exemption of > records from > public inspection and copying. > > Bob Witherspoon > President, Washington State Genealogical Society > PO Box 491 > Belingham, WA 98227-0491 > 360-734-9835 > [email protected]

    02/09/2003 08:07:09