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In the ongoing quest to find a way to legally stop filling records requests from obnoxious inmates, Attorney General Rob McKenna is pushing two bills

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Reining In the Incarcerated Records Requestors

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In the ongoing quest to find a way to legally stop filling records requests from obnoxious inmates, Attorney General Rob McKenna is pushing two bills in the House and Senate that would allow a judge to rule the requests invalid if it seems they are done to harass and intimidate. Representatives and Senators dropped the bills, 1181 in the House and 5130 in the Senate, last month, and last night McKenna started rallying for public support.

"Our bills create high standard for governments seeking to enjoin harassing requests. Legitimate inmate requests for information regarding their cases, medical treatment or various other issues will continue to be filled. Our legislation is very narrowly tailored to address a limited number of harassing requestors who are using the [Public Records Act] improperly," McKenna said in a press release sent out last night.

McKenna's release includes data on their voluminous prison-based records requests. More below the jump:

  • As of September 2008, inmate public records lawsuits accounted for 78 percent of all public records lawsuits filed against the state. At that time, the Attorney General's Office was defending 68 public records matters involving inmates. Approximately 50 percent of the PRA lawsuits the AGO's Corrections Division is defending were generated by six inmates.
  • The number of new inmate public records lawsuits more than doubled between 2007 and 2008. During the current biennium alone, my office's work to defend against these lawsuits has cost state taxpayers roughly $500,000.
  • Offender requests accounted for 73 percent of all public records requests DOC received in 2007. That year, DOC staff spent approximately 12,500 hours responding to offender public records requests, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $250,000 (the equivalent of more than six full-time state workers).
  • During the first three quarters of 2008, DOC received more than 6,000 offender requests, roughly double the number received during the same period in 2007. DOC staff spent approximately 11,580 hours responding to these requests, many of which remain pending, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $237,600.
  • DOC has one public records staff person working full time on the requests of one inmate who has made more than 800 requests.

I put a call in to see if they'll say who. If it isn't perpetual filer Allan Parmelee, then it seems he may have some competition for the title: Most Frustrating Inmate.

Of course, even if the laws get passed in the legislature, don't be surprised if a constitutional challenge follows right on its heels.

 
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