Wash. panel splits on public records restrictions



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Lawmakers are split on whether to move ahead with a plan that could limit how governments respond to requests for public documents.

A Senate panel deadlocked on a 3-3 vote Thursday on an effort to approve the measure. Republican Sen. Pam Roach was not in attendance but can still cast a vote.

Lawmakers did vote to remove language from the bill that allowed agencies to seek a court order blocking a request if they could prove it was “significant burden.” They kept in rules that would permit agencies to adopt policies limiting the amount of time devoted to responding to records requests.

Some local government officials are seeking the law change to deal with abusive requesters. Open government advocates say there are already tools to deal with excessive requests.