The Association of Washington Cities, an Olympia-based organization advocating on behalf of Washington’s 281 cities and towns, recently honored Representative Joan McBride (D-Kirkland) and Representative Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) with AWC City Champion Awards.
Reps. McBride and Nealey were recognized on Jan. 24 at AWC’s City Action Days conference in Olympia. They are two of eight legislators recognized for championing city issues during the 2017 legislative session.
Specifically, they were recognized for their outstanding leadership and guidance working to pass legislation that helped modernize the Public Records Act.
“AWC is pleased to recognize Representatives McBride and Nealey for their work in the Legislature to help local governments serve their residents better,” AWC president and Buckley mayor Pat Johnson said in a press release. “Cities need champions in the legislature, and these two representatives certainly rise to the occasion, again and again.”
The specific legislation passed in 2017 includes HB 1594 and HB 1595, which among other things, updates the process for asking a requestor to clarify a request, allows cities to apply a service charge to exceptionally complex requests, prohibits overly broad requests for all of a city’s records, creates a grant program to improve public records management, and allows cities to charge a small fee for providing copies of electronic records.
“We appreciate Representatives McBride and Nealey for their work to cosponsor bipartisan legislation that strengthens and clarifies key portions of the Public Records Act,” AWC chief executive officer Peter King said in a press release. “It has an immediate and lasting positive impact on our cities.”
“For too long our local government entities were exposed to the financial burdens and risk of lawsuits as a result of vexatious requestors exploiting outdated public records laws,” Nealey said. “It was time to update the statute to curb the abuse, while still protecting open and transparent government. It took several attempts, perseverance and stakeholders coming together to find a solution. It is an honor to accept this award. However, it was a team effort. Many can take credit for this achievement, including the Association of Washington Cities for their involvement and support.”
“I was pleased to work with colleagues such as Representative Nealey in a bipartisan effort to modernize the PRA and to improve agency responsiveness and transparency,” Rep. McBride said.
AWC director and Waitsburg councilmember KC Kuykendall, along with Redmond Mayor John Marchione, delivered the awards.
“We are honored to deliver this award to these two outstanding representatives,” Kuykendall said in a press release. “Cities applaud their tireless work and successful bipartisan effort to address this years-long priority for cities and other local governments.”
City Champion Awards are a component of AWC’s Strong Cities, Great State campaign that brings cities and towns together to achieve greater results and deliver stronger services. This is the fourth year the City Champion Awards have been presented to select legislators.