Key Award Winner Gloria Howell

Gloria Howell of Stevenson used public records requests to examine expenses of her county auditor and her investigation lead to criminal charges against and the resignation of then-auditor, Michael Garvison, in Skamania County. It takes courage and tenacity to be a watchdog of government.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government honored Gloria Howell with a Key Award for her efforts to keep government open in Skamania County. WCOG is here to ensure you have access to government records and meetings. But we need your help.

Transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government.

The Coalition was formed to act as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated promoting and defending the People's right to know in matters of public interest and in the conduct of the public's business. The Coalition's driving vision is to help foster open government processes, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

Featured News

Guest: Government needs to follow the law declaring government records to be public

The Seattle Times: January 22, 2015By: Michele Earl-Hubbard

THIS month, after eight years, a Public Records Act lawsuit — one of the longest of its kind in state history — will finally come to an end. While I am proud to have represented Beth and Doug O’Neill as their attorney in the case, O’Neill v.... READ MORE >

Remote testimony option progressing in Spokane and Tri-Cities

Washington Policy Center: January 14, 2015
By: Jason Mercier

You know it’s getting real when a job posting for a Senate Remote Testimony Clerk in Spokane goes out and the President of Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities volunteers the school to be a remote testimony location. As reported by KNDU Tri-Cities last night: “It... READ MORE >

Kudos to WCOG!

“Thank you for doing such an outstanding brief in this important case……. the  WCOG is reliably one of the  best and most  effective of the state  FOI... READ MORE >

Why support secret meetings?

A group of city lawyers has come out against requiring City Council committees to meet openly. Why support secret meetings? According to the group’s amicus brief filed with the Washington Supreme Court, it would be “incredibly burdensome” to notify the public about committee meetings. Toby Nixon, president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government and... READ MORE >

City did the right thing in improving citizen access

Port Townsend Leader: December 31, 2014
By: Fred Obee

We all say we want transparent government, but each legislative session, numerous bills are introduced to limit what you can learn about government operations. Every week, legitimate requests for information are rejected or ignored. Bit by bit, exemption by exemption, governments advocate for less public access,... READ MORE >

Public officials’ texts are public records

The Olympian: December 19, 2014

Most private businesses have policies that restrict the use of company-owned computers, cellphones and email to work-related communications. No employee expects a right to privacy on the company’s equipment. For private communication, employees must use their own phones or computers. For public officials, there is an additional twist. They must... READ MORE >

WCOG to honor Senate Majority Floor Leader Joe Fain

The Coalition is honoring Senator Fain, a Republican from the 47th District... READ MORE >

10 barriers to Obama’s police body cam plan

Crosscut: December 9, 2014
By: Bill Schrier

President Obama is redirecting at least $75 million in federal funding to buy body-worn video cameras for up to 50,000 police officers.  This initiative is driven partially by recent shootings of unarmed citizens in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.  Crosscut has extensively reported on this issue. In... READ MORE >

County Sheriff’s Office Faces Public Records Request for Every Document It Has

Government Executive: November 29, 2014
By: Michael Grass

It’s not uncommon for public records requests made by members of the media, public interest groups or ordinary citizens to frustrate local governments. Some of those requests might expose potentially embarrassing information. In other instances, resource-strapped local governments might get overwhelmed when trying to respond to such requests... READ MORE >

States Train Officials in Public Records Access

The PEW Charitable Trusts: November 24, 2014
By: Jenni Bergal

When Washington state Rep. Gerry Pollet took office in December 2011, one of the first things he said he did was start preparing a bill that would require open government training for public officials. As a citizen activist and public interest attorney, Pollet thought the... READ MORE >

Editorial: East Side’s inclusion in legislative hearing a good first step

The Spokesman-Review: November 20, 2014

A legislative committee meeting in Olympia will take testimony from three witnesses in Spokane on Friday morning in a history-making outreach to Washington citizens who live east of the Cascade Mountains. Eastern Washington legislators have complained for years that their constituents were shut out of a vital part of the lawmaking... READ MORE >

Editorial: The Public Records Act can be messy, but it’s your right

The Vidette: November 19, 2014
By: Steven Friederich

Requesting public records is easy. Responding to records can be messy. There’s a right way and a wrong way, and attitude is everything. City Attorney Dan Glenn tells me that in the two years I’ve been editor of The Vidette, staff have spent “hundreds of staff hours”... READ MORE >

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