Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made national headlines this week when he stood up to President Trump and told him to do more listening and less tweeting about the absurd idea of arming school teachers to …
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made national headlines this week when he stood up to President Trump and told him to do more listening and less tweeting about the absurd idea of arming school teachers to prevent shootings in schools across the nation.
Good for Inslee.
Now it's time for Inslee to stand up to Washington state legislators who are trying to hide public business from the public.
Legislators who represent Jefferson County – Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, Rep. Mike Chapman and Rep. Steve Tharinger – were in lockstep with their colleagues when they voted in favor of Senate Bill 6617, which would protect them from having to disclose communications with anyone who is not a lobbyist. In short, they voted to exclude themselves from having to follow the Open Public Records Act.
They voted to prevent you, Joe and Jane Public, from seeking information on whom they are talking to, how they craft the laws that determine how much we pay in taxes and what their thinking is behind how they vote.
Jefferson County commissioners don't get to do that, nor do Port of Port Townsend commissioners or Jefferson County Public Utility District commissioners. Even volunteer commissioners on tinybudget public boards throughout the state must abide by the Open Public Records Act.
If Inslee signs SB 6617, legislators will be exempt from that important law, which, upon being approved by the people of the state of Washington, has shed light on so many issues over the years.
The Seattle Times, for example, used that records law to uncover emails showing that city officials were plotting to keep former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in office after sex-abuse allegations against him became public. Locally, The Leader has used that law to dig into the backgrounds of officials running for office as well as those currently in office.
The Open Public Records Act is your law. It belongs to the people of the state of Washington – not the legislators.
Gov. Inslee stood up to Trump. Now he needs to stand up to state legislators who are trying to turn back the political clock to the days of the good ol' boys.
Call Gov. Jay Inslee today at 360-902-4111 and urge him to listen to the people of the state of Washington and veto this backward piece of legislation.
– Allison Arthur