In Our View Gov Inslee Must Veto Public Records Bill

first_imgGov. Jay Inslee should veto the Legislature’s shameful attempt to make state government more secretive and less responsive to the public. He must send a strong reminder to lawmakers that they work for the people of Washington and that such a role does not place them outside the reach of the law.This issue carries such weight that The Columbian, in concert with other newspapers throughout the state, is publishing this editorial in the lead position on our web page and on Page A1 of the print edition. We believe it is essential for the public to be aware of and to understand the lengths to which lawmakers have gone to keep that public in the dark.On Friday, in action appalling in both intent and process, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation to circumvent a recent court decision. That ruling, in Thurston County Superior Court, determined that information such as lawmakers’ emails and schedules are subject to public disclosure laws — the same laws that must be followed by city and county officials throughout the state.Rather than recognize their duty as public servants, legislators cynically responded by creating and passing a bill to retroactively protect that information. Instead, the bill would make limited information available beginning July 1.In other words, a duly elected judge ruled that the Legislature has been violating the law regarding public records, so the Legislature changed the law. The action is an indefensible power play that poorly serves the citizens of the state.last_img

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