Disclosure of Public Records.
The Public Records Act (PRA) requires state and local agencies to make all public records available for public inspection and copying unless a record falls within an exemption in the PRA or another statute that exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records. Exemptions under the PRA are permissive, meaning that an agency, although not required to disclose, has the discretion to provide an exempt record. The exemptions under the PRA are inapplicable to the extent that information, the disclosure of which would violate personal privacy or vital governmental interests, can be deleted from the specific records sought. The PRA is liberally construed, and its exemptions narrowly construed.
Certain specific personal and financial information is expressly exempt under the PRA. For example, except when disclosure is expressly required by law, the following information is exempt from disclosure under the PRA:
Additional exempt bank or financial information includes:
In addition, to the extent required to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy, an agency must delete identifying details when it makes a public record available. A person's right to privacy is violated only if disclosure would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and is not of legitimate concern to the public.
Lottery products are administered by Washington's Lottery (Lottery), a public agency established in 1982 to generate revenues for state programs through the sale of lottery products. A five-member Lottery Commission, made up of regional members appointed by the Governor, serves as the administrative rulemaking authority for the Lottery.
Through the administration of lottery products, the Lottery and its contracted vendors receive a variety of information on players, such as residential address, email address, phone number, and date of birth. The Lottery follows Washington's state record retention schedules regarding the maintenance of player data; most winner information is retained for six years after the transaction or final payment.
Personal and financial information concerning a player that is received or maintained by Washington's Lottery, or any contracted lottery vendor, is exempt from public disclosure under the PRA, except for a player's name and city or town of residence. Additional information may be disclosed with the player's prior written permission.
(In support) Washington's Lottery (Lottery) has a legislative mandate to produce maximum revenue for the state. Revenue from the Lottery goes towards funding various state programs, including education programs. This bill would help to protect the personal and financial information of lottery players, which can be the target of scammers. A failure to comply with the PRA can result in big costs for the Lottery, so due to the narrow interpretation of PRA exemptions, the organization often makes large releases of information to meet PRA disclosure requests. Currently there are PRA exemptions that exist to cover some information received by the Lottery, but they are subject to legal interpretation. This bill would add clarity and eliminate legal uncertainty, and not change any current practices of the Lottery.