Using a Public Records Act that hasn’t been updated in 45 years, an individual going by the name of Robert Hungerschafer will gain access to the personal information of all DOC employees.
On February 16, the state will release the full name, job classification, seniority, union membership, bargaining unit, pay scale, along with other information of thousands of corrections employees.
The requestor also asked for dates of birth, but the state rejected the request.
Almost nothing is known about this individual, or whom he is affiliated with. We do know that this person or organization has submitted several requests in the past.
Under the current law, the state does not verify the identity of persons making a public records request, so there is no way to know who will receive this information.
Despite obvious concerns that a faceless person will obtain the personal data of public safety employees, this type of request is legal under the Public Records Act.
As of now, there is no clear way to prevent individuals from obtaining your information if it is subject to public disclosure, even when their intent is to harass or intimidate.
That needs to change. We are working in Olympia to pass a bill (SB 5326) that would provide a layer of protection for public safety employees from Public Records Act requests.
Under SB 5326, our DOC members and other law enforcement members would have the ability to seek legal damages if their personal information, obtained through public disclosure, is used to harass or intimidate any person or for commercial purposes.
Senators Kirk Pearson (R), Senator Sharon Brown (R), and Maureen Walsh (R) introduced the bill, and it expected to receive bipartisan support. You can contact your lawmakers by calling the legislative hotline at (1-800) 562-6000.
Tell them to pass SB 5326 and fix the Public Records Act to protect corrections employees!