Alex Garland’s Black Lives Matter 2015: Activists March Through Seattle’s Central District in Protest for Police Accountability

http://thedignityvirus.com/2015/01/10/black-lives-matter-activsts-march-through-seattles-central-district-in-protest-for-police-accountability/

More than 150 activists marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Juvenile Detention Center on 12th Ave. in Seattle during a demonstration for police accountability.

Activists took to the streets, stopping at several intersections along the way for moments of silence and speak-outs. Support was shown as the protest marched down Rainier Ave. as people put their fists up or raised hands in a sign of solidarity.

From the Facebook event page…

“We, as young people, have chosen to come forth and call out the many inequalities within the current Criminal Justice System. This system has blatantly devalued, dehumanized, and dismissed people of color. The Black and African-American Communities in the United States have especially been targeted. We are outraged with this systemic failure.

To not act is an injustice within itself. As citizens we need to step up and no longer allow law enforcement to abuse our powers. The current state of the Criminal Justice System has increased persecution of Black and African-American people.

We will no longer tolerate the mistreatment, lack of support, and denied opportunities for this community. We are addressing these issues through peaceful protests, unifying actions, and productive dialogues.

We invite law enforcement, elected officials, and community members to join the movement towards police accountability.

In order to ensure the mission of this protest is accurately portrayed we have come up with some guidelines. They are as follows:

***NO VIOLENCE***
• Do NOT touch the police officers
• Do NOT deface/destroy city or private property
• Do NOT move city or private property

If you do not follow these guidelines you will be asked to stop. If your actions continue you will be asked to leave.”

Peace & Love,
Women of Color for Systemic Change

“Black Lives Matter.” – Protest for Police Accountability

Third Party Candidates Disagree on Legalizing Marijuana, Education Policy

http://politic365.com/2012/11/01/third-party-candidates-disagree-on-legalizing-marijuana-education-policy/

 Christopher Goins

By Christopher Goins

Four third party presidential candidates debated civil liberties, education policy, and drug policy among other topics last week at a debate hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.

The debate was held last Tuesday, October 23, where participants Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson took on questions from moderators Larry King and Christina Tobin.

On Drug Prohibition and the Federal “War on Drugs”

All but one of the third party presidential candidates agreed on legalizing marijuana.

“We don’t need to just legalize marijuana, we need to end drug prohibition just like we ended alcohol prohibition and treat drug use and abuse as a public health and education issue and get it entirely out of the criminal justice system,” said Anderson, noting that the United States has the largest incarceration rate in the world.

“We have more in prison on drug offenses than Western Europe on all offenses,” Anderson continued.

Gary Johnson concurred on legalization.

“Ninety-percent of the drug is prohibition-related not use-related and that is not to discount the problems with use and abuse but that should be the focus. So let’s legalize marijuana now,” said Johnson. ”So let’s regulate it. Let’s tax it.”

Johnson admitted that he is “not a hypocrite on this issue,” acknowledging that he has smoked marijuana and drank alcohol in the past, but no longer does so.

“But I can tell you categorically that no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol and yet we are arresting 1.8 million a year in this country on drug-related crimes,” Johnson said.

Marijuana legalization “is not about advocating drug use,” says Johnson.

Additionally, Johnson noted that of those who graduate from high school, 50 percent of them have smoked marijuana, and added that is an issue that should be dealt with within the family and not the criminal justice system.

He also called “meth,” short for methamphetamine, the “boogeyman drug,” saying that use falls “disparagingly” on the poor.

“It’s the best example we can think of a prohibition drug. It’s cheap. It’s easy to make so the consequences fall disparagingly of the poor,” Johnson said.

The lone medical doctor on the stage brought her medical experience to bear onto the issue.

“As a medical doctor previously in clinical practice for about 25 years,” said Jill Stein, “I can say with a real understanding of the science and the health impacts, that marijuana is a substance that is dangerous because its illegal. It’s not illegal on account of being dangerous because its not dangerous at all.”

“It is well understood that the health impacts of marijuana are mainly the public health and safety impacts from the illegal drug trade associated with marijuana prohibition,” she continued. “So the most important thing we can do to get rid of the health problems associated with marijuana is to legalize it.”

Jill Stein says that on Day One a president could instruct the Drug Enforcement Agency to use science to determine what substances will and will not be scheduled.

“Because the minute science is used marijuana is off the schedule,” she said. “The same goes for hemp which is also a substance for which there are no bad drug effects. There are no bad health and safety effects.”

Marijuana should be regulated, Stein says, but not in a way that will lead to a monopoly like the tobacco industry “but permits small businesses to actually flourish.”

Former Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) said that he would not legalize drugs, but that he would cut back federal spending on the “war on drugs,” emphasizing that the so-called “war on drugs” is a minor part of the federal budget, and called drug use a state issue.

On the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

All of the candidates agreed on either repealing or vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill signed by President Obama on December 31, 2011, which the American Civil Liberties Union says codifies “indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history.”

“The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield,” said the ACLU in a blog post.

JIll Stein called the NDAA “a basic offense against the very foundation of american liberty,” and said that it should be repealed.

“We should also repeal the presidents interpretation of the enforcement act of 2001 – the military use act – that said that assassinations are in the power of the president,” Stein said.

The Justice Party candidate said: “What we have seen through the Bush years and now with President Obama has been so absolutely subversive and anti-American.”

Anderson continued: “There’s been no more anti-American act in our history than the NDAA. President Obama, don’t be fooled about this, in 2009 he asked for the power to indefinitely detain people without charges, without a trial, without legal assistance, and without the right to habeas corpus.”

“We are on the road to totalitarianism and that’s not an exaggeration,” Anderson said.

On Education Policy

Johnson explained that because of “guaranteed government student loans” prospective college students have no excuse for not pursuing education.

Colleges and universities, he contended, are “immune” from offering lower prices that they would otherwise have to if a prospective student had to re-think their ability to pay for tuition.

But, he added, “when that happens enmasse I guarantee you the cost of college tuition the price would drop dramatically,” noting that is a situation that currently does not exist.

He called the current state of affairs where college tuition is high and unaffordable is one of the “unintended consequences” of the current government intervention in higher education.

Jill Stein took a different view.

“I think its time to make public higher education free as it should be,” Stein said.

Stein likened the idea to the G.I. Bill and public high school education. But Johnson disagreed.

“Free comes with a cost. Free, very simply, is spending more money than what you take in,” Johnson said. “Free is simply accumulating more to the $16 trillion dollars in debt that we currently have. Free is gotten us to the point where we are going to experience a monetary collapse in this country, due to the fact that we continue to borrow and print more money than we take in,” he shot back.

“This is what has to stop in this country is the notion of free.”

But Anderson and Stein disagreed.

“We can not afford not to provide a great education and equality of opportunity for all of our young people in this country. We need to insist on prosperity, not austerity,” said Anderson, who was seconded by Stein.

In his rebuttal, Virgil Goode pointed out that President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both wanted to expand Pell grants and student loans, per Romney’s statements in a recent presidential debate.

“You’ve got four candidates you can look to if that’s your big issue,” Goode said, pointing to Stein and Anderson positions on education.

Tacoma Washington Council Seeks Possible Jan 6 2015 Hearing to Rule on MMJ Shop Closures

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/12/05/4012250_tacoma-council-could-set-hearing.html?rh=1

By Kate Martin Bellingham Herald Staff writerDecember 5, 2014

Next week, the Tacoma City Council could schedule a Jan. 6 hearing for residents to talk about unlicensed marijuana businesses in the city.

The council told staff this week to prepare to shut down more than 56 unlicensed pot shops. Many of those businesses serve medical marijuana patients. Letters telling store owners they have 90 days to close could be mailed by early next year.

The businesses are not licensed by the state and are thus illegal, staffers have said.

Both patients and business owners said they were surprised by the council’s decision. Currently there are five state-licensed stores operating in Tacoma that are allowed to sell retail marijuana, but patients have said they worry the retail stores won’t carry the medical-grade cannabis that they need to ease pain or other maladies.

If the council approves the public hearing, it could be set for 5:30 p.m., Jan. 6 in the city council chambers, 747 Market St.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542 kate.martin@thenewstribune.com @KateReports

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/law-lets-irs-seize-accounts-on-suspicion-no-crime-required/ar-BBbbfW3?ocid=mailsignout

The New York Times SHAILA DEWAN October 26, 2014
Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. © Angela Jimenez for The New York Times Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her funds, almost $33,000.The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”The federal government does.Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes.

The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up and settle the case for a portion of their money.

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.”

He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not affect seizures that have already occurred.

Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family for 27 years. © Bryan Thomas for The New York Times Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family…

The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five were prosecuted as a criminal case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Her money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports, which are reviewed by over 100 multiagency task forces.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, some grocery store owners in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When they neared the limit, they would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.

“My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S.” Lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold.

In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so the company began using the excess cash to pay vendors, and carried on for more than a decade.

More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Mr. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses.

The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court, and that Joseph Potashnik, the Hirsches’ first lawyer, had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Mr. Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.

“I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Mr. Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”

Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Mr. Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.

“We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement, because I was not guilty.”

Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe deposit box. All of the money came from his paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he finally deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money a second time. So he asked the bank teller what to do.

“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”

The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.

“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

Washington State Attorney General’s Office Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse

http://www.atg.wa.gov/prescriptiondrug.aspx#.VE57Q1dhBkg

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in Washington state. There are more deaths annually from prescription drug abuse than from meth, cocaine, and heroin combined.

What’s causing this epidemic? Drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Methadone are now commonly prescribed for pain. Painkillers offer relief to millions of Americans but present a hidden danger.

These kinds of prescription drugs are called “opiates.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “opiate” as a sedative narcotic, “[C]ontaining opium or one or more of its natural or synthetic derivatives.”  In a way, these drugs are the cousins of a better known—and more feared— drug: heroin. But unlike heroin, most people don’t know how potentially addicting and dangerous prescription opiates can be.

Some recreational users crush prescription painkillers and then ingest them in order to bypass the time-release function of the medications. This provides a somewhat immediate, and sometimes deadly, high.

When overdosed, prescription painkillers can cause a significant decrease in lung function and death. They can also be lethal when they’re combined with other prescribed or over-the-counter drugs. High-profile deaths include actor Heath Ledger, who died from a lethal combination of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.

Teenagers are increasingly experimenting with drugs commonly found in their parents’ medicine cabinets. According to the Healthy Youth Survey, 12 percent of 12th graders used prescription pain medications to get high in the past 30 days. The same survey also shows that an alarming number of younger kids experiment with these drugs. That’s why it’s critical to learn how to properly safeguard and dispose of your medications.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that more than 47 percent of teens get prescription drugs from their friends for free. About 10 percent buy them from their friends, and another 10 percent take them from friends without asking.

What the AGO is doing about prescription drug abuse in Washington State

The Attorney General’s Office uses funds from consumer protection settlements with drug manufacturers—including the makers of OxyContin— to provide grants to promote drug abuse prevention and prescription drug safety.  To date those grants have totaled more than $2.7 million and include:

  • $1,000,000 dollars to fund the Washington Prevention Summits and Spring Youth Forums, where kids learn to use the latest technology to create prevention programs in their schools.
  • $683,000 to the State Department of Health to create a prescription drug monitoring program to prevent the “doctor shopping” that allows addicts to get access to dangerous drugs.
  • $400,000 for the University of Washington  to educate doctors on drug marketing. The funding is a portion of the $9 million awarded in grants nationwide from a settlement with Neurontin.
  • $30,000 to The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Network to develop the Unwanted Medicine Return Program. This program promotes drug safety and a cleaner enviornment by promoting the safe disposal of unwanted medications.
  • $15,000 for Prescriptions for Life, a local nonprofit organization working to eliminate prescription drug abuse. The money will help pay for a new educational video that will be shown to students, teachers, school counselors, law enforcement, medical professionals and civic and business leaders.
  • $400,000 for the Washington Health Foundation launch a  program  to reduce prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse among college students, creating one of the first programs in the nation to target young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 (more below).

What the AGO is doing about prescription drug abuse in Tribal Communities

According to DOH, American Indians and Alaska Natives are hardest-hit by prescription drug abuse.
amind
The AGO has addressed this issue by targeting a series of grants for programs that address substance abuse prevention programs in tribal communities:

  • $101,700 for the Boys & Girls Club of America to establish two new clubhouses on Native American lands by 2011, targeting ages 7-18. The two anticipated newly established clubs on reservation lands should see an enrollment per club in excess of 700 youth.  Boys & Girls Club substance abuse programs include SMART (Skills, Mastery And Resistance Training) Moves.
  • $198,550 to the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board to provide four “mini-grants” of $30,000 each to tribal partners for community based projects to fight prescription drug abuse, and to fund a one-day regional training conference on prescription abuse among tribal members.
  • $25,250 to Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling to help pay for a 6-day youth camp called New Directions: Tribal Youth Music Academy for Addiction Awareness & Prevention.

Prescription drug abuse on campus

The Attorney General’s Office has partnered with the Washington Health Foundation, the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and other national organizations to provide an online health community and a set of resources to help college kids confront the prescription drug epidemic.
The Washington Health Foundation asks college students to be part a part of the solution – to help address prescription and over-the-counter drug misuse and abuse. Learn more on The Washington Health Foundation’s Web site.  There, you can tell your story, share your ideas, explore innovative resources, and participate in social media discussions

University of Washington Infection Control Experts Prepare with Federal and Local Public Health Leaders

  • UW Medicine, local and state health officials discuss Ebola response planning with the news media at an Oct. 6 press conference in Seattle. Susan Gregg

As the news media has reported, West Africa is experiencing an ongoing outbreak of the Ebola Virus. The first U.S. patient recently diagnosed with Ebola infection in Texas serves as a reminder that all hospitals must prepare for the potential of international travelers who present to their local healthcare facility with symptoms and possible exposure to Ebola, novel respiratory viruses, or other infectious diseases.

UW Physicians in Infectious Disease at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle have coordinated with Seattle-King County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control to develop plans for the identification and management of patients with potential Ebola infection, explained Dr. John Lynch, medical director of Infection Control and Employee Health at  Harborview. These plans are based on CDC guidelines and recommendations.

The CDC states that the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is very low.  Transmission can be prevented with appropriate precautions using the same infection control practices and personal protective equipment we use every day and which our staff is already trained, said Lynch, who is a UW associate professor of medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Ebola is spread through direct contact (with open skin or mucous membranes) with blood or bodily fluids from infected individuals or animals.  You cannot get Ebola through the air, water, or food.

Symptoms of Ebola may appear between 2 to 21 days after exposure and include fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and bleeding.  Treatment is primarily supportive with fluid resuscitation, which has been a challenge in the affected countries.

In addition to potential travelers from an affected country, many U.S. healthcare workers have been providing medical care in West Africa. A few U.S. healthcare workers who were infected with Ebola have been transferred back to the United States for further care and all have recovered.  In anticipation of more returning healthcare workers, the CDC and state and local public health departments are partnering with regional hospitals that may be willing to care for infected U.S. residents returning from West Africa.

Consistent with its mission and role of serving the public, especially residents of Seattle/King County, Washington state and the region encompassing Alaska, Montana and Idaho, and its role as the Disaster Control Hospital for Seattle and King County, Harborview will consider accepting U.S. residents with potential Ebola who may require medevac from West Africa. This would be done in close coordination with our public health colleagues.

Acceptance will be dependent on the current hospital capacity and ability to maintain our critical functions as the Level I adult and pediatric trauma and burn center for the region. UW Medicine physicians and UW employees at Harborview are leaders in infectious diseases, virology, and infection control.  As a public safety-net hospital, Harborview has a longstanding relationship with Seattle/King County Public Health. The Ebola planning efforts are an excellent example of coordination among the CDC, state and local public health, and the Harborview team.

Lynch and Dr. Timothy Dellit, associate medical director for Quality Improvement and Risk Management, will host brown-bag sessions for Harborview staff to apprise them of the planning and to answer questions.

More  on UW’s research and educational response to Ebola:

Washington State Legislature Chapter 42.30 RCW OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT

http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.30&full=true

RCW Sections

42.30.010 Legislative declaration.
42.30.020 Definitions.
42.30.030 Meetings declared open and public.
42.30.040 Conditions to attendance not to be required.
42.30.050 Interruptions — Procedure.
42.30.060 Ordinances, rules, resolutions, regulations, etc., adopted at public meetings — Notice — Secret voting prohibited.
42.30.070 Times and places for meetings — Emergencies — Exception.
42.30.075 Schedule of regular meetings — Publication in state register — Notice of change — “Regular” meetings defined.
42.30.077 Agendas of regular meetings — Online availability.
42.30.080 Special meetings.
42.30.090 Adjournments.
42.30.100 Continuances.
42.30.110 Executive sessions.
42.30.120 Violations — Personal liability — Civil penalty — Attorneys’ fees and costs.
42.30.130 Violations — Mandamus or injunction.
42.30.140 Chapter controlling — Application.
42.30.200 Governing body of recognized student association at college or university — Chapter applicability to.
42.30.205 Training.
42.30.210 Assistance by attorney general.
42.30.900 Short title.
42.30.910 Construction — 1971 ex.s. c 250.
42.30.920 Severability — 1971 ex.s. c 250.

Notes:

Drug reimbursement policy recommendations: RCW 74.09.653.

42.30.010
Legislative declaration.

The legislature finds and declares that all public commissions, boards, councils, committees, subcommittees, departments, divisions, offices, and all other public agencies of this state and subdivisions thereof exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of this chapter that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 1.]

Notes:

     Reviser’s note: Throughout this chapter, the phrases “this act” and “this 1971 amendatory act” have been changed to “this chapter.” “This act” [1971 ex.s. c 250] consists of this chapter, the amendment to RCW 34.04.025, and the repeal of RCW 42.32.010 and 42.32.020.


42.30.020
Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context indicates otherwise:

(1) “Public agency” means:

(a) Any state board, commission, committee, department, educational institution, or other state agency which is created by or pursuant to statute, other than courts and the legislature;

(b) Any county, city, school district, special purpose district, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision of the state of Washington;

(c) Any subagency of a public agency which is created by or pursuant to statute, ordinance, or other legislative act, including but not limited to planning commissions, library or park boards, commissions, and agencies;

(d) Any policy group whose membership includes representatives of publicly owned utilities formed by or pursuant to the laws of this state when meeting together as or on behalf of participants who have contracted for the output of generating plants being planned or built by an operating agency.

(2) “Governing body” means the multimember board, commission, committee, council, or other policy or rule-making body of a public agency, or any committee thereof when the committee acts on behalf of the governing body, conducts hearings, or takes testimony or public comment.

(3) “Action” means the transaction of the official business of a public agency by a governing body including but not limited to receipt of public testimony, deliberations, discussions, considerations, reviews, evaluations, and final actions. “Final action” means a collective positive or negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members of a governing body when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance.

(4) “Meeting” means meetings at which action is taken.

[1985 c 366 § 1; 1983 c 155 § 1; 1982 1st ex.s. c 43 § 10; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 2.]

Notes:

     Severability — Savings — 1982 1st ex.s. c 43: See notes following RCW 43.52.374.


42.30.030
Meetings declared open and public.

All meetings of the governing body of a public agency shall be open and public and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the governing body of a public agency, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 3.]


42.30.040
Conditions to attendance not to be required.

A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a governing body, to register his or her name and other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance.

[2012 c 117 § 124; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 4.]


42.30.050
Interruptions — Procedure.

In the event that any meeting is interrupted by a group or groups of persons so as to render the orderly conduct of such meeting unfeasible and order cannot be restored by the removal of individuals who are interrupting the meeting, the members of the governing body conducting the meeting may order the meeting room cleared and continue in session or may adjourn the meeting and reconvene at another location selected by majority vote of the members. In such a session, final disposition may be taken only on matters appearing on the agenda. Representatives of the press or other news media, except those participating in the disturbance, shall be allowed to attend any session held pursuant to this section. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the governing body from establishing a procedure for readmitting an individual or individuals not responsible for disturbing the orderly conduct of the meeting.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 5.]


42.30.060
Ordinances, rules, resolutions, regulations, etc., adopted at public meetings — Notice — Secret voting prohibited.

(1) No governing body of a public agency shall adopt any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, order, or directive, except in a meeting open to the public and then only at a meeting, the date of which is fixed by law or rule, or at a meeting of which notice has been given according to the provisions of this chapter. Any action taken at meetings failing to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be null and void.

(2) No governing body of a public agency at any meeting required to be open to the public shall vote by secret ballot. Any vote taken in violation of this subsection shall be null and void, and shall be considered an “action” under this chapter.

[1989 c 42 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 6.]


42.30.070
Times and places for meetings — Emergencies — Exception.

The governing body of a public agency shall provide the time for holding regular meetings by ordinance, resolution, bylaws, or by whatever other rule is required for the conduct of business by that body. Unless otherwise provided for in the act under which the public agency was formed, meetings of the governing body need not be held within the boundaries of the territory over which the public agency exercises jurisdiction. If at any time any regular meeting falls on a holiday, such regular meeting shall be held on the next business day. If, by reason of fire, flood, earthquake, or other emergency, there is a need for expedited action by a governing body to meet the emergency, the presiding officer of the governing body may provide for a meeting site other than the regular meeting site and the notice requirements of this chapter shall be suspended during such emergency. It shall not be a violation of the requirements of this chapter for a majority of the members of a governing body to travel together or gather for purposes other than a regular meeting or a special meeting as these terms are used in this chapter: PROVIDED, That they take no action as defined in this chapter.

[1983 c 155 § 2; 1973 c 66 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 7.]


42.30.075
Schedule of regular meetings — Publication in state register — Notice of change — “Regular” meetings defined.

State agencies which hold regular meetings shall file with the code reviser a schedule of the time and place of such meetings on or before January of each year for publication in the Washington state register. Notice of any change from such meeting schedule shall be published in the state register for distribution at least twenty days prior to the rescheduled meeting date.

For the purposes of this section “regular” meetings shall mean recurring meetings held in accordance with a periodic schedule declared by statute or rule.

[1977 ex.s. c 240 § 12.]

Notes:

     Effective date — Severability — 1977 ex.s. c 240: See RCW 34.08.905 and 34.08.910.Public meeting notices in state register: RCW 34.08.020.


42.30.077
Agendas of regular meetings — Online availability.

Public agencies with governing bodies must make the agenda of each regular meeting of the governing body available online no later than twenty-four hours in advance of the published start time of the meeting. An agency subject to provisions of this section is not required to post an agenda if it does not have a web site or if it employs fewer than ten full-time equivalent employees. Nothing in this section prohibits subsequent modifications to agendas nor invalidates any otherwise legal action taken at a meeting where the agenda was not posted in accordance with this section. Nothing in this section modifies notice requirements or shall be construed as establishing that a public body or agency’s online posting of an agenda as required by this section is sufficient notice to satisfy public notice requirements established under other laws. Failure to post an agenda in accordance with this section shall not provide a basis for awarding attorney fees under RCW 42.30.120 or commencing an action for mandamus or injunction under RCW 42.30.130.

[2014 c 61 § 2.]

Notes:

     Intent — Finding — 2014 c 61: “The legislature intends to promote transparency in government and strengthen the Washington’s open public meetings act. The legislature finds that it is in the best interest of citizens for public agencies with governing bodies to post meeting agendas on web sites before meetings. Full public review and inspection of meeting agendas will promote a greater exchange of information so the public can provide meaningful input related to government decisions.” [2014 c 61 § 1.]

42.30.080
Special meetings.

(1) A special meeting may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the governing body of a public agency or by a majority of the members of the governing body by delivering written notice personally, by mail, by fax, or by electronic mail to each member of the governing body. Written notice shall be deemed waived in the following circumstances:

(a) A member submits a written waiver of notice with the clerk or secretary of the governing body at or prior to the time the meeting convenes. A written waiver may be given by telegram, fax, or electronic mail; or

(b) A member is actually present at the time the meeting convenes.

(2) Notice of a special meeting called under subsection (1) of this section shall be:

(a) Delivered to each local newspaper of general circulation and local radio or television station that has on file with the governing body a written request to be notified of such special meeting or of all special meetings;

(b) Posted on the agency’s web site. An agency is not required to post a special meeting notice on its web site if it (i) does not have a web site; (ii) employs fewer than ten full-time equivalent employees; or (iii) does not employ personnel whose duty, as defined by a job description or existing contract, is to maintain or update the web site; and

(c) Prominently displayed at the main entrance of the agency’s principal location and the meeting site if it is not held at the agency’s principal location.

Such notice must be delivered or posted, as applicable, at least twenty-four hours before the time of such meeting as specified in the notice.

(3) The call and notices required under subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. Final disposition shall not be taken on any other matter at such meetings by the governing body.

(4) The notices provided in this section may be dispensed with in the event a special meeting is called to deal with an emergency involving injury or damage to persons or property or the likelihood of such injury or damage, when time requirements of such notice would make notice impractical and increase the likelihood of such injury or damage.

[2012 c 188 § 1; 2005 c 273 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 8.]


42.30.090
Adjournments.

The governing body of a public agency may adjourn any regular, adjourned regular, special, or adjourned special meeting to a time and place specified in the order of adjournment. Less than a quorum may so adjourn from time to time. If all members are absent from any regular or adjourned regular meeting the clerk or secretary of the governing body may declare the meeting adjourned to a stated time and place. He or she shall cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided in RCW 42.30.080 for special meetings, unless such notice is waived as provided for special meetings. Whenever any meeting is adjourned a copy of the order or notice of adjournment shall be conspicuously posted immediately after the time of the adjournment on or near the door of the place where the regular, adjourned regular, special, or adjourned special meeting was held. When a regular or adjourned regular meeting is adjourned as provided in this section, the resulting adjourned regular meeting is a regular meeting for all purposes. When an order of adjournment of any meeting fails to state the hour at which the adjourned meeting is to be held, it shall be held at the hour specified for regular meetings by ordinance, resolution, bylaw, or other rule.

[2012 c 117 § 125; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 9.]


42.30.100
Continuances.

Any hearing being held, noticed, or ordered to be held by a governing body at any meeting may by order or notice of continuance be continued or recontinued to any subsequent meeting of the governing body in the same manner and to the same extent set forth in RCW 42.30.090 for the adjournment of meetings.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 10.]


42.30.110
Executive sessions.

(1) Nothing contained in this chapter may be construed to prevent a governing body from holding an executive session during a regular or special meeting:

(a) To consider matters affecting national security;

(b) To consider the selection of a site or the acquisition of real estate by lease or purchase when public knowledge regarding such consideration would cause a likelihood of increased price;

(c) To consider the minimum price at which real estate will be offered for sale or lease when public knowledge regarding such consideration would cause a likelihood of decreased price. However, final action selling or leasing public property shall be taken in a meeting open to the public;

(d) To review negotiations on the performance of publicly bid contracts when public knowledge regarding such consideration would cause a likelihood of increased costs;

(e) To consider, in the case of an export trading company, financial and commercial information supplied by private persons to the export trading company;

(f) To receive and evaluate complaints or charges brought against a public officer or employee. However, upon the request of such officer or employee, a public hearing or a meeting open to the public shall be conducted upon such complaint or charge;

(g) To evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment or to review the performance of a public employee. However, subject to RCW 42.30.140(4), discussion by a governing body of salaries, wages, and other conditions of employment to be generally applied within the agency shall occur in a meeting open to the public, and when a governing body elects to take final action hiring, setting the salary of an individual employee or class of employees, or discharging or disciplining an employee, that action shall be taken in a meeting open to the public;

(h) To evaluate the qualifications of a candidate for appointment to elective office. However, any interview of such candidate and final action appointing a candidate to elective office shall be in a meeting open to the public;

(i) To discuss with legal counsel representing the agency matters relating to agency enforcement actions, or to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party, when public knowledge regarding the discussion is likely to result in an adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency.

This subsection (1)(i) does not permit a governing body to hold an executive session solely because an attorney representing the agency is present. For purposes of this subsection (1)(i), “potential litigation” means matters protected by RPC 1.6 or RCW 5.60.060(2)(a) concerning:

(i) Litigation that has been specifically threatened to which the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party;

(ii) Litigation that the agency reasonably believes may be commenced by or against the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity; or

(iii) Litigation or legal risks of a proposed action or current practice that the agency has identified when public discussion of the litigation or legal risks is likely to result in an adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency;

(j) To consider, in the case of the state library commission or its advisory bodies, western library network prices, products, equipment, and services, when such discussion would be likely to adversely affect the network’s ability to conduct business in a competitive economic climate. However, final action on these matters shall be taken in a meeting open to the public;

(k) To consider, in the case of the state investment board, financial and commercial information when the information relates to the investment of public trust or retirement funds and when public knowledge regarding the discussion would result in loss to such funds or in private loss to the providers of this information;

(l) To consider proprietary or confidential nonpublished information related to the development, acquisition, or implementation of state purchased health care services as provided in RCW 41.05.026;

(m) To consider in the case of the life sciences discovery fund authority, the substance of grant applications and grant awards when public knowledge regarding the discussion would reasonably be expected to result in private loss to the providers of this information;

(n) To consider in the case of a health sciences and services authority, the substance of grant applications and grant awards when public knowledge regarding the discussion would reasonably be expected to result in private loss to the providers of this information.

(2) Before convening in executive session, the presiding officer of a governing body shall publicly announce the purpose for excluding the public from the meeting place, and the time when the executive session will be concluded. The executive session may be extended to a stated later time by announcement of the presiding officer.

[2014 c 174 § 4; 2011 1st sp.s. c 14 § 14; 2010 1st sp.s. c 33 § 5; 2005 c 424 § 13; 2003 c 277 § 1; 2001 c 216 § 1; 1989 c 238 § 2; 1987 c 389 § 3; 1986 c 276 § 8; 1985 c 366 § 2; 1983 c 155 § 3; 1979 c 42 § 1; 1973 c 66 § 2; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 11.]

Notes:

     Intent — 2014 c 174: See note following RCW 43.333.011.     Captions not law — Liberal construction — Severability — Effective dates — 2005 c 424: See RCW 43.350.900 through 43.350.903.Severability — Effective date — 1987 c 389: See notes following RCW 41.06.070.Severability — 1986 c 276: See RCW 53.31.901.

42.30.120
Violations — Personal liability — Civil penalty — Attorneys’ fees and costs.

(1) Each member of the governing body who attends a meeting of such governing body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter applicable to him or her, with knowledge of the fact that the meeting is in violation thereof, shall be subject to personal liability in the form of a civil penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars. The civil penalty shall be assessed by a judge of the superior court and an action to enforce this penalty may be brought by any person. A violation of this chapter does not constitute a crime and assessment of the civil penalty by a judge shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense.

(2) Any person who prevails against a public agency in any action in the courts for a violation of this chapter shall be awarded all costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred in connection with such legal action. Pursuant to RCW 4.84.185, any public agency who prevails in any action in the courts for a violation of this chapter may be awarded reasonable expenses and attorney fees upon final judgment and written findings by the trial judge that the action was frivolous and advanced without reasonable cause.

[2012 c 117 § 126; 1985 c 69 § 1; 1973 c 66 § 3; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 12.]


42.30.130
Violations — Mandamus or injunction.

Any person may commence an action either by mandamus or injunction for the purpose of stopping violations or preventing threatened violations of this chapter by members of a governing body.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 13.]


42.30.140
Chapter controlling — Application.

If any provision of this chapter conflicts with the provisions of any other statute, the provisions of this chapter shall control: PROVIDED, That this chapter shall not apply to:

(1) The proceedings concerned with the formal issuance of an order granting, suspending, revoking, or denying any license, permit, or certificate to engage in any business, occupation, or profession or to any disciplinary proceedings involving a member of such business, occupation, or profession, or to receive a license for a sports activity or to operate any mechanical device or motor vehicle where a license or registration is necessary; or

(2) That portion of a meeting of a quasi-judicial body which relates to a quasi-judicial matter between named parties as distinguished from a matter having general effect on the public or on a class or group; or

(3) Matters governed by chapter 34.05 RCW, the Administrative Procedure Act; or

(4)(a) Collective bargaining sessions with employee organizations, including contract negotiations, grievance meetings, and discussions relating to the interpretation or application of a labor agreement; or (b) that portion of a meeting during which the governing body is planning or adopting the strategy or position to be taken by the governing body during the course of any collective bargaining, professional negotiations, or grievance or mediation proceedings, or reviewing the proposals made in the negotiations or proceedings while in progress.

[1990 c 98 § 1; 1989 c 175 § 94; 1973 c 66 § 4; 1971 ex.s. c 250 § 14.]

Notes:

     Effective date — 1989 c 175: See note following RCW 34.05.010.Drug reimbursement policy recommendations: RCW 74.09.653.Mediation testimony competency: RCW 5.60.070 and 5.60.072.

42.30.200
Governing body of recognized student association at college or university — Chapter applicability to.

The multimember student board which is the governing body of the recognized student association at a given campus of a public institution of higher education is hereby declared to be subject to the provisions of the open public meetings act as contained in this chapter, as now or hereafter amended. For the purposes of this section, “recognized student association” shall mean any body at any of the state’s colleges and universities which selects officers through a process approved by the student body and which represents the interests of students. Any such body so selected shall be recognized by and registered with the respective boards of trustees and regents of the state’s colleges and universities: PROVIDED, That there be no more than one such association representing undergraduate students, no more than one such association representing graduate students, and no more than one such association representing each group of professional students so recognized and registered at any of the state’s colleges or universities.

[1980 c 49 § 1.]


42.30.205
Training.

(1) Every member of the governing body of a public agency must complete training on the requirements of this chapter no later than ninety days after the date the member either:

(a) Takes the oath of office, if the member is required to take an oath of office to assume his or her duties as a public official; or

(b) Otherwise assumes his or her duties as a public official.

(2) In addition to the training required under subsection (1) of this section, every member of the governing body of a public agency must complete training at intervals of no more than four years as long as the individual is a member of the governing body or public agency.

(3) Training may be completed remotely with technology including but not limited to internet-based training.

[2014 c 66 § 2.]

Notes:

     Findings — Short title — Effective date — 2014 c 66: See notes following RCW 42.56.150.


42.30.210
Assistance by attorney general.

The attorney general’s office may provide information, technical assistance, and training on the provisions of this chapter.

[2001 c 216 § 2.]


42.30.900
Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the “Open Public Meetings Act of 1971″.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 16.]


42.30.910
Construction — 1971 ex.s. c 250.

The purposes of this chapter are hereby declared remedial and shall be liberally construed.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 18.]


42.30.920
Severability — 1971 ex.s. c 250.

If any provision of this act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

[1971 ex.s. c 250 § 19.]

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