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Exemption Lists

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While the state strongly encourages disclosure of public records, state law does allow for some information to be withheld. These “exemptions” are listed in the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56). Other exemptions are found elsewhere in Washington law, and in federal law.

Many of the exemptions are designed to protect the privacy rights of other individuals. Other exemptions are designed to protect the investigative functions of law enforcement and other agencies with investigative responsibilities, as well as the legitimate business interests of other citizens.

You should refer to the Public Records Act itself for specific exemptions. Below are two exemption lists that identify common exemptions. If the City determines that an exemption applies, it must identify the specific exemption or other law it believes justifies its denial and explain how that exemption applies to your request.

The Public Records Act does not required the City to collect information or organize data to create a record not existing at the time of the request. The more precisely you an identify the record you seek, the more responsive the City can be.