In response to concerns about public employee privacy and with the support of PROTEC17, the Washington State legislature passed House Bill (HB) 1888 in March, which protects certain public employee information in public disclosure requests (PDRs).
The bill went into effect on June 11, 2020 and exempts the month and year of birth dates of government employees from public disclosure laws. These exemptions had previously been provided only for criminal justice employees, but now will be extended to all public employees.
This is an important step forward in protecting our members’ privacy because dates of birth can be used to align names with other databases, such as voter records, opening up the potential for fraudulence or harassment.
Anti-union groups like the Freedom Foundation/Opt-out Today regularly submit PDRs in order to send union members confusing misinformation. This group submitted several mass requests for public employee data in May and early June before the law took effect. Prior to June 11, PROTEC17 was able to exempt members with safety concerns, such as domestic violence and restraining orders, from the PDR lists.
Efforts continue in Oregon to shield public employee personal information from public disclosure. PROTEC17 will remain involved in these efforts in both Oregon and Washington.