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In Public View

Pete Springer/OPB

New developments in two public records cases in the Northwest will open up more information to the public.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, who wanted to make referendum petition signatures public. A group that collected signatures to try to put Washington’s domestic partnership law to a vote challenged the Secretary of State, saying its members feared harrassment if the names of those who signed were released. We discussed this back in September, when a federal judge kept the signatures under wraps.

The same week, the Oregon Court of Appeals sided with a newspaper that requested the names of people who hold concealed weapons permits in Jackson County. The Medford Mail Tribune asked for the list of names as part of the paper’s coverage of a high-profile case of a Medford teacher who challenged the local school board’s policy of not allowing guns on campus. We talked about this issue on our show a year and a half ago, when the paper won their case in a lower court.

Have you been following either one of these public records cases? Do you have a concealed weapons permit? Do you sign referendum or ballot initiative petitions? Will you think twice about either one now that a record of your signature or permit could become public?

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