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The legislature finds that many businesses, associations, and organizations providing goods and services to the public, conducting other activity in Washington, or otherwise affecting residents of Washington now operate nationally or globally and often maintain their business records in a location outside the state of Washington. The legislature further finds that bringing persons or organizations committing crimes in Washington to justice is a matter of great public interest because crimes have a significant effect on businesses, associations, and other organizations that conduct business in Washington, as well as on Washington citizens. Crimes result in significant harm and losses to persons, businesses, associations, and other organizations victimized, as well as persons not directly victimized when businesses or others more directly affected by the crimes must raise prices to cover crime losses. The ability of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to effectively perform their duties to the public often depends upon law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys being able to obtain and use records relevant to crimes that affect Washington's citizens, businesses, associations, organizations, and others who provide goods or services, or conduct other activity in Washington. In the course of fulfilling their duties to the public, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys must frequently obtain records from these entities, and be able to use the records in court. The ability to obtain and use these records has an impact on Washington citizens because it affects the ability to enforce Washington's criminal laws and affects the deterrence value arising from criminal prosecution. Effectively combating crime requires laws facilitating and requiring that all those who possess records relevant to a criminal investigation comply with the legal process issued in connection with criminal investigations or litigation.
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