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Author Topic: WDFW Public Record Requests  (Read 762 times)

Offline jaredwitman

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WDFW Public Record Requests
« on: November 13, 2017, 02:14:04 PM »
Has anyone ever tried to make a public records request of any sort of data the game department has on record? How did it go? I've been thinking of trying my luck with a few things....

Offline WSU

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 02:18:20 PM »
Yes.  It should work fine for you.  Let us know if it doesn't.

Offline Rainier10

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 02:38:34 PM »
Yep, super easy.  They even emailed me back with some questions to make sure they were understanding exactly what I was asking for.
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Offline JDHasty

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 02:44:55 PM »
See if they will fork over what you are asking for w/o making a formal request.  Formal PDR is a PITA for any agency to deal with and the smart money is usually on giving up what is being requested w/o being compelled to fork it over...  but that doesn't mean that the individual you are dealing with will appreciate that dynamic. 


If you need to make a request here is how to start it off

Pursuant to the state open records law, Wash. Rev. Code Secs. 42.56.001 to 42.56.904 , I write to request access to and a copy of:

Then you need to phrase your request broadly enough to capture the docs you need w/o at the same time burying the relevant info under a mountain of ancillary documentation that only serves to frustrate your ability to deal with it.   
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 02:50:34 PM by JDHasty »

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 04:14:15 PM »
Yes and their response was close to immediate and very professional. Make sure when making a FOIA request that you're specific about what you want but think of periphery that might include the items for which you're searching. For example, if you want to find out about the decision to hire Mary Jane Wolf Lover to work on the WAG, you might request "all correspondence relating to the search and hiring of the Wolf Advocacy Group Advisor, to include emails, phone and meeting transcripts, letters, or other pertinent forms of communication." If you ask for just emails, that's what you'll get.
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Offline DOUBLELUNG

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 04:39:15 PM »
I would definitely ask for the data before going the FOIA route.  But that is up to you.
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Offline Bushcraft

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 06:31:24 PM »
See if they will fork over what you are asking for w/o making a formal request.  Formal PDR is a PITA for any agency to deal with and the smart money is usually on giving up what is being requested w/o being compelled to fork it over...  but that doesn't mean that the individual you are dealing with will appreciate that dynamic. 


If you need to make a request here is how to start it off

Pursuant to the state open records law, Wash. Rev. Code Secs. 42.56.001 to 42.56.904 , I write to request access to and a copy of:

Then you need to phrase your request broadly enough to capture the docs you need w/o at the same time burying the relevant info under a mountain of ancillary documentation that only serves to frustrate your ability to deal with it.   


Yes and their response was close to immediate and very professional. Make sure when making a FOIA request that you're specific about what you want but think of periphery that might include the items for which you're searching. For example, if you want to find out about the decision to hire Mary Jane Wolf Lover to work on the WAG, you might request "all correspondence relating to the search and hiring of the Wolf Advocacy Group Advisor, to include emails, phone and meeting transcripts, letters, or other pertinent forms of communication." If you ask for just emails, that's what you'll get.

Extremely well said on both accounts.

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Offline JDHasty

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 06:52:10 PM »
I would definitely ask for the data before going the FOIA route.  But that is up to you.

Be good to them and it will come back to you.  I was involved in ADA advocacy for decades and if you have a rep for doing what you can to not make the PIO's job worse than it already is will be appreciated by them. 

Believe me, if you are good to them they will help you with process when they could just let you flounder on your own.   

Offline Bob33

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 07:10:44 PM »
I've done it. The process is not complicated.
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Offline Man Tracker

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 07:15:36 PM »
You can find the PDR form on their website.

Offline JDHasty

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2017, 07:16:40 PM »
I've done it. The process is not normally complicated.

It can become so though.  It does not hurt you one bit to treat those trying to fulfill your request decently and it may come back to your advantage to do so. 

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 07:23:58 AM »
I would definitely ask for the data before going the FOIA route.  But that is up to you.

Be good to them and it will come back to you.  I was involved in ADA advocacy for decades and if you have a rep for doing what you can to not make the PIO's job worse than it already is will be appreciated by them. 

Believe me, if you are good to them they will help you with process when they could just let you flounder on your own.

I just sent an email with Foia request in it and it was all very simple. Have you actually submitted any requests to the department for information? I get that you think FOIA will put up some barriers. That's not my experience at all. :dunno:
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Offline JDHasty

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 09:59:30 AM »
I would definitely ask for the data before going the FOIA route.  But that is up to you.

Be good to them and it will come back to you.  I was involved in ADA advocacy for decades and if you have a rep for doing what you can to not make the PIO's job worse than it already is will be appreciated by them. 

Believe me, if you are good to them they will help you with process when they could just let you flounder on your own.

I just sent an email with Foia request in it and it was all very simple. Have you actually submitted any requests to the department for information? I get that you think FOIA will put up some barriers. That's not my experience at all. :dunno:

Yes, I have.  I did lots of ADA advocacy and have filed lots of requests on behalf of individuals and groups, sometimes you can experience public employees who think it is smart, or whatever, to play games with them. 

Offline bigtex

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 04:29:15 PM »
FOIA is for federal agencies
PDR is for WA state agencies

Some WA agencies will only accept your request if you actually say PDR, if you say FOIA they'll say they're not governed by FOIA.

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Offline Special T

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 05:06:45 PM »
FOIA is for federal agencies
PDR is for WA state agencies

Some WA agencies will only accept your request if you actually say PDR, if you say FOIA they'll say they're not governed by FOIA.

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Amazing how using the correct verbiage is the main barrier to information many times.

When i was researching information for the Archery Club it was so much easier to ask for information in person since I was a layperson and knew none of the technical terms. It was harder because I had to meet up at thier convience  but worth the effort.

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Offline olyguy79

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 05:26:40 PM »
FOIA is for federal agencies
PDR is for WA state agencies

Some WA agencies will only accept your request if you actually say PDR, if you say FOIA they'll say they're not governed by FOIA.
Amazing how using the correct verbiage is the main barrier to information many times.

When i was researching information for the Archery Club it was so much easier to ask for information in person since I was a layperson and knew none of the technical terms. It was harder because I had to meet up at thier convience  but worth the effort.
As it should be.

If you get a ticket for speeding but the officer accidentally wrote the statute for running a stop sign, the government will have to amend the citation or the judge can dismiss the case and the government can issue a citation with the correct statute. The judge isn't going to say "well you know what the officer means..." Well shouldn't citizens be held to the same standard? If someone calls up WDFW (or any state agency) and says I want to FOIA xyz I see no problem with the agency saying sorry we aren't obligated to follow FOIA.

There's a lot of internet wannabe "experts" who see one thing and assume it applies to everything. People assume FOIA is for all government, nope just federal. Probably cause is needed for an arrest, sorry nope it's probable cause. We elect representatives to a "state congress", nope WA doesn't have a congress it has a state legislature. And so on.....

Offline Bob33

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 05:36:30 PM »
There's a lot of internet wannabe "experts" who see one thing and assume it applies to everything. People assume FOIA is for all government, nope just federal. Probably cause is needed for an arrest, sorry nope it's probable cause. We elect representatives to a "state congress", nope WA doesn't have a congress it has a state legislature. And so on.....
There are also a lot of well meaning people who don't file FOIA/PDR requests every day. Many may file only one in their lifetime. I would certainly expect a higher degree of knowledge from someone writing a traffic ticket to someone doing something he's never done before, and probably never will again.

Yes, they can be treated by government agencies like idiots and ignored for not using the proper language. Is that the type of government we want?
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Offline Special T

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 05:59:48 PM »
My research was made easier by my easy going attitude and flexible schedual.

My point is that using the correct terminology makes the process easier face to face and very difficult if you don't know it in writing. Everyone that helped me was polight and professional despite my ignorance. Acknoleging your personal shortcomings, face to face contact, and polight mess goes a long way.

You only get to play hard nosed super sluth when you know the verbiage, how the system works, and your pretty sure you know the answer but need physical proof for a lawsuit.  If you have to ask about doing a FOIA request you not a super sluth.

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Offline Special T

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Re: WDFW Public Record Requests
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 06:04:38 PM »
There's a lot of internet wannabe "experts" who see one thing and assume it applies to everything. People assume FOIA is for all government, nope just federal. Probably cause is needed for an arrest, sorry nope it's probable cause. We elect representatives to a "state congress", nope WA doesn't have a congress it has a state legislature. And so on.....
There are also a lot of well meaning people who don't file FOIA/PDR requests every day. Many may file only one in their lifetime. I would certainly expect a higher degree of knowledge from someone writing a traffic ticket to someone doing something he's never done before, and probably never will again.

Yes, they can be treated by government agencies like idiots and ignored for not using the proper language. Is that the type of government we want?
The issue of written requests is a benifit and hindrance. Written responce s are binding so they must me super careful. After talking with a agency employee and interpreting my polight butchering of terms, I was given thier email to request in writing the documentation. I did it on my phone and had a copy in less than 30 min.

Just like some people Visio cops to document, civil service folks want documentation to prove they filled the letter of the law.

FYI I've always found that buying a friend of a friend a cold one, explaining the situation and what documents or verbiage to use is the best $ ever spent!

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