Important announcement related to COVID-19 outbreak

Following the Governor’s Proclamation 20-28-2 the Department of Commerce is suspending all in-person Public Records Act (PRA) activities until May 31, 2020. This includes activities permitting a requestor to walk into any Commerce office or facility during customary business hours to: submit a PRA request, physically inspect records or agency PRA procedures, copy records, and do other walk-in activities during business hours such as pay for and/or pick up copies of records.

Requesters may continue to submit requests via phone, email or U.S. Mail. Contact details can be found on the page below.

This proclamation also temporarily suspends the requirement to respond to PRA requests within five days of receipt until May 11, 2020.

If you have any questions related to the Department of Commerce Public Records Requests, please contact Agency Records Officer Lucy Collis (360) 725-2706 or (360) 481-4262

What are Public Records?

The Public Records Act ( Chapter 42.56 RCW) is a Washington State law that allows you to review government records. Public records include documents in all formats, whether electronic or paper, that relate to government operations or conduct. All of Commerce’s documents are considered public records, and are subject to public review, unless a law specifically exempts certain information from disclosure.

What records are exempt from disclosure?

Exemptions are listed in the Public Records Act, while others are found elsewhere in Washington and Federal law. Many of these exemptions are designed to protect privacy rights and legitimate business interests.

What if I only have a question or want more information about Commerce work?

General questions or requests for information are not typically Public Disclosure Requests. Commerce is not required to create new records, collect or analyze information, or conduct legal research under the Public Records Act. If you have general questions or would like more information about the Department of Commerce that you can’t locate from our website, please contact us:

Phone: (360) 725-4000
Email: communications@commerce.wa.gov

How do I request a copy of a public document?

Please email your request to publicdisclosure@commerce.wa.gov. Include your name, phone number, email address, and a description of the records you are requesting. The request must be for a specific identifiable record or series of records. The more precisely you identify the record you seek, the more efficient and effective we can be in locating and providing the appropriate documents.
Public Disclosure Requests may also be submitted by mail to:

Public Disclosure Requests
Washington State Department of Commerce
PO Box 42525
Olympia, WA 98504-2525

If you need assistance submitting your request, please call (360) 725-2706.

When will I receive a response to my public disclosure request?

You will receive a response within five business days. We will respond in one of several ways:

  • Provide the records (or a link to the portion of our website that contains the records).
  • We may request clarification.
  • If the documents are not readily available, we will provide a reasonable estimate of time that it will take us to produce the records.
  • For some large requests, we may have to produce the records on a partial or installment basis. We will also provide the estimated timeframes for each incremental delivery as we work through your request.
  • When legal exemptions apply, we may deny the request in whole or in part, either by withholding the requested records or redacting the documents, including an explanation of the denial.

Is there a fee?

There may be a fee for electronic records that are provided electronically. There is no fee for the in-person inspection of public records. We may charge 15 cents per page for paper copies of records or other actual costs associated with mailing or producing the records.

For details regarding Department of Commerce fees, please see our fee schedule. (PDF)

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