Justia Communications Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Washington Supreme Court
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Between January 25 and July 26, 2017, members of the news media submitted 163 ublic Records Act ("PRA") requests to the Washington senate, house of representatives and the Washington legislature as a whole as well as to offices of individual state senators and representatives. In response to some requests, senate and house counsel stated that the legislature did not possess responsive records; in response to other requests, senate and house counsel and some individual legislators voluntarily provided limited records. Some records that were provided contained redactions, though no exemptions were identified. The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review centered on whether the state legislative branch was subject to the general public records disclosure mandate of the PRA. The Court determined that under the plain meaning of the PRA, individual legislators were "agencies" subject in full to the PRA's general public records disclosure mandate because they were expressly included in the definitional chain of "agency" in a related statute. Furthermore, the Court held the institutional legislative bodies were not "agencies" because they were not included in that definitional chain, but they were, instead, subject to the PRA's narrower public records disclosure mandate by and through each chambers' respective administrative officer. View "Assoc. Press v. Wash. State Legislature" on Justia Law

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New Cingular Wireless PCS LLC, an affiliate of AT&T Mobility LLC, provides both wireless voice telephone services and data services to customers in the city of Clyde Hill. Clyde Hill imposes a local utility tax on wireless telephone services, which applies to both voice and data services. New Cingular had for years collected utility taxes from Clyde Hill's residents on all charges for wireless and telephone voice and data services, and paid the tax to the city. In this case, the issue presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether the cellular service provider could challenge a city fine through an action for declaratory judgment in superior court. The trial court dismissed, holding that a declaratory judgment action was improper and judicial review should have been sought by way of a statutory writ of review under RCW 7 .16.040. The Court of Appeals reversed, reinstating the declaratory action and remanding for a decision on the merits. Finding no reversible error in the Court of Appeals' judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. City of Clyde Hill" on Justia Law