December 30, 2019

Elected and appointed officials who file annual financial affairs disclosure (F-1) reports with the Public Disclosure Commission should be aware of new laws that modify some of the reporting requirements.

Here are three need-to-know changes:

1. Small jurisdictions redefined

The definition of small jurisdiction has expanded to exclude more officials from the requirement to file F-1s.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, officials and candidates from jurisdictions with 2,000 or more registered voters must file an F-1 report. Previously, the threshold had been 1,000 registered voters.

The higher threshold exempts about 150 additional jurisdictions. If you’re unsure of what your jurisdiction’s registered voter count was as of the last general election, contact the PDC at pdc@pdc.wa.gov.

2. New dollar ranges

Dollar-code ranges for reporting the values of compensation, real estate, assets and debt have expanded to provide more meaningful disclosure.

Previously, the ranges topped out at $120,000 and more. Now the highest category is $1 million and above.

3. Residential address exemption for certain officials

As of Jan. 1, judges, prosecutors and sheriffs, as well as their spouses, registered domestic partners and dependents, do not have to report the location of residential property. They are still required to disclose the city, state, the type of residence and the nature of ownership.

The PDC’s new F-1 electronic filing application will incorporate these changes when it launches Jan. 2, 2020.

The new online system is designed to simplify the user experience, prevent errors and answer questions about who must file and when.

The new system also will allow the public easier access to the financial affairs disclosure reports filed with the PDC.

Parts of that new system – including the ability for filers to view past F-1 statements – are now available. See how to get signed up.

State law requires filers to use the electronic system, unless they receive a hardship exemption from the PDC.

If you lack the technological ability to use the electronic system, email the PDC at pdc@pdc.wa.gov with an exemption request that explains why you are unable to file electronically.