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Tag: public records

Secretary Reed tapped for open-government honor

Secretary Reed tapped for open-government honor

Secretary of State Sam Reed, who has made government transparency and access to public records a signature issue during his three terms, has been ann0unced as the 2011 winner of the James Madison Award of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. The award honors Reed’s “appreciation for, and dedication to, the cause of open government since taking office,” including advocacy of accessible and accountable government, preserving and displaying public records, battling successfully in the Supreme Court to defend the public’s…

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R-71 petition challenge heading back to court

R-71 petition challenge heading back to court

Protect Marriage Washington, gay-marriage opponents who forced a public vote on the state’s new domestic partnership law last November, are heading back to court to try to ban public release of the 138,000 names of people who signed Referendum 71 petitions. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case called Doe v. Reed, ruled 8-1 on June 24 that, as a general matter, release of petitions does not violate voters’ constitutional rights. But the court also left open the possibility of…

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R-71 records: McKenna, Reed head to Supreme Court

R-71 records: McKenna, Reed head to Supreme Court

Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed hope to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s strong voter-approved Public Records Act and the policy of allowing release of initiative and referendum petitions, as most states do. Reed, the state’s chief elections officer, is the respondent in the closely watched Doe v. Reed lawsuit that could affect how petitions are handled across America.  He and McKenna met with the press on Monday to describe the landmark…

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R-71 petitions: Supreme Court sets April hearing

R-71 petitions: Supreme Court sets April hearing

The U.S. Supreme Court has set an April 28 hearing date for a nationally watched public records-elections case arising from Washington’s practice of allow public release of initiative and referendum petitions under terms of the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act. The high court last month agreed to hear an appeal brought by opponents of Washington’s new “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law.  Now the court has scheduled the oral arguments for Wednesday morning, April 28, the last case currently docketed…

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Court to decide Jan. 15 whether to take R-71 case

Court to decide Jan. 15 whether to take R-71 case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will decide on January 15, 2010, whether to accept or reject the appeal of last fall’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld Washington State’s practice of treating ballot measure petitions as releasable public records. The high court will meet on the 15th to review several cases, voting on each whether to accept or reject. The court likely will announce later that day or the following Monday if it will take…

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WA to high court: Don’t take R-71 petition case

WA to high court: Don’t take R-71 petition case

The Washington Attorney General is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to turn aside a request to block the state from releasing Referendum 71 petitions. On Jan. 8, the high court is expected to consider a request from R-71 opponents to hear their challenge of an appeals court decision that upheld the state’s practice of treating petitions as releasable public records.  We should know shortly thereafter whether the court will take the case.  The earliest it could get on the calendar…

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R-71 Part Deux: Will high court take up disclosure ban?

R-71 Part Deux: Will high court take up disclosure ban?

The continuing court battle by foes of Referendum 71 to shield their petitions from public view stepped up a notch Friday with filing of papers formally outlining the reasons why they want the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case and uphold a disclosure ban. A 30-second recap: In September, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma agreed to Protect Marriage Washington’s request to block the Secretary of State from the scheduled release of over 9,000 R-71  petition sheets…

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‘Looming over gay-rights vote’: Disclosure debate

‘Looming over gay-rights vote’: Disclosure debate

Washington’s hot ballot measure dealing with domestic partnerships, Referendum 71, is getting national media attention, along with Maine, which is voting on actual gay marriage.  But in Washington, the debate is sometimes eclipsed by a legal and public relations war over whether the R-71 petitions should be released as a public record, or kept confidential. The New York Times’ William Yardley visited this disclosure battle in a Sunday newspaper piece ,calling the dispute a collision of “privacy, free speech and elections in…

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High court continues ban on releasing R-71 petitions

High court continues ban on releasing R-71 petitions

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to continue blocking, at least temporarily, Washington State from releasing Referendum 71 petitions under the state’s Public Records Act. The high court, ruling in a request by Justice Anthony Kennedy, agreed to keep in place Kennedy’s order that bans release of the documents while appeals are being sought. The court thus suspends the ruling last Thursday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the R-71 documents are releasable.  That means that, at least…

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Releasing petitions: What’s the deal?

Releasing petitions: What’s the deal?

Katie Blinn, assistant state elections director, wraps up in a new narrative the background history on why the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, treats initiative and referendum petitions as releasable public records. Blinn, an attorney and former legislative committee counsel, traces the litigation in state and federal court and recounts the history of petition sheets that have been released in prior years – and those that await the green light from the courts. Please follow and…

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