Attorney General Rob McKenna has a full legislative agenda for the 2011 Legislature. He proposes:
• To create an Office of Open Records that would serve as a pilot program allowing disputants in public records cases to pay a fee and have their cases resolved by an administrative review judge. The program would build on the existing Office of Administrative Hearings and, McKenna hopes, give parties a way to resolve cases without litigation.
• To create a “three strikes” law for inmates who file frivolous public records requests. This would allow an inmate to recover legal and court costs but not the $5 to $100 per day penalty that can be imposed on a government that fails to deliver records properly.
• To limit the award of attorney fees in Consumer Protection Act cases to cases in which a judge finds the state’s action was malicious or frivolous. He also would clarify that the act applies to state-based companies’ actions that occur out of state. McKenna contends some inmates have found a way to make money using records requests to cash in on government errors.
• To prohibit a notary public from deceptively advertising his services or from advertising legal services unless the practitioner is an attorney. He said “notaries” in Mexico have a lawyer’s role and that some immigrants are deceived here by ads from nonattorneys.
• To create a felony crime of mail theft that can, as appropriate, be filed for serious offenses. He said mail theft is tied to methamphetamine use and identity theft, but the law does not differentiate between mail and other thefts.
• To revise anti-gang statutes, which he has sought in past years, to let local governments file nuisance abatement actions in cases where at least three gang-related incidents have occurred in a year on a particular property. He also would seek protection orders that limit a proven gang member from engaging in certain actions in a known gang area, and also to end deferrals for gun offenses in juvenile cases.
• To limit the use of eminent domain actions done to promote economic development. He also would narrowly define blight and give property owners 120 days to fix up targeted property before it could be condemned using the state Community Renewal Law.