- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A bill that would allow local agencies to restrict time spent responding to public records requests has passed a House committee on a 5-4 vote.

House Bill 2576, passed Thursday by the House Local Government Committee, would also create a Public Records Commission to handle disputes between requesters and agencies. Original language that would let local agencies charge records requesters that intend to resell the data for profit was removed by the committee.

Many local agencies testified at a hearing for the bill last week that responding to overbroad, harassing records requests can prevent them from performing essential agency functions.

Open government advocates such as the Washington Coalition for Open Government testified the bill wouldn’t prevent harassing requests, and would hurt the ability of good-faith requesters to access public records.

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