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PDFWAC 208-12-075

Processing public records requests.

(1) Order of processing requests. The department will process requests in the order that allows requests to be fulfilled in the most efficient manner feasible.
(2) Acknowledging receipt of a request. The department will acknowledge a request for public records within five business days after the department receives the request, by:
(a) Making the requested records available for inspection or copying or by providing copies of the records, including:
(i) If records are available on the department's website, by providing an internet address and link on the website to specific records requested;
(ii) If copies are requested and all applicable costs and deposits, if any, are paid by the requestor or other terms of payment are agreed upon, sending the copies to the requestor;
(b) Acknowledging receipt of the request and providing a reasonable estimate of when records or an installment of records will be available (the public records officer or designee may revise the estimate of when records will be available); or
(c) Acknowledging receipt of the request and asking the requestor to provide clarification for a request that is unclear, and providing, to the greatest extent possible, a reasonable estimate of time the department will require to respond to the request if it is not clarified;
(i) Such clarification may be requested and provided by telephone, and memorialized in writing;
(ii) If the requestor fails to respond to a request for clarification and the entire request is unclear, the department need not respond to the request; or
(d) Providing a written statement of denial of the request.
(3) If no response is received. If the requestor does not receive an acknowledgment of the records request within five business days, the requestor should contact the public records officer to confirm that the department received the request.
(4) Records exempt from disclosure. If a record or portion of a record is exempt from disclosure pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW or as otherwise provided by law, the department may withhold or redact such record. If records are withheld or redacted, the department will, in writing, state the specific exemption and provide a brief explanation of why the record or portion of the record is being withheld or redacted.
(5) Providing copies of records. Copies may be provided in either hard copy or electronic format, as requested. The cost for copies is set forth in WAC 208-12-090, and costs must be paid to the department prior to delivery of copies. Copies may be emailed or mailed to the requestor, may be made available to the requestor for pickup at the department's administrative office, or may be made available via a file sharing service.
(6) Records may be provided in installments. When a requestor seeks a large volume of records or collection and review of the records will be resource intensive, the public records officer or designee may provide copies or access for inspection of records in installments. Costs for each installment must be paid prior to delivery of the installment.
(7) Closing withdrawn or abandoned requests. The public records officer or designee may close a request when: The request is withdrawn by the requestor; the requestor fails to remit fees or a deposit when due, pursuant to WAC 208-12-090(8); the requestor fails to inspect records or retrieve copies of records within thirty days of notice that the records are available for inspection or retrieval; or the requestor fails to provide requested clarification within thirty days and the entirety of the request is unclear. The requestor will be notified in writing that the request has been closed. If a requestor seeks to reopen a closed request, the request may be opened as a new request.
(8) Bot requests. The department may deny a "bot" request, which is one of multiple requests from a requestor to the department within a twenty-four-hour period, if the request causes excessive interference with other essential department functions. RCW 42.56.080(3). A "bot" request means a records request that the department reasonably believes was automatically generated by a computer program or script.
(9) Protecting the rights of others. If the requested records contain information that may affect the rights of others, and which may be exempt from disclosure, the public records officer or designee may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.320.040, 42.56.040, 42.56.100, and 42.56.120. WSR 18-13-104, ยง 208-12-075, filed 6/19/18, effective 8/1/18.]
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