Senate to local governments: "Transparency for thee but not for me"
The Senate just passed SB 5553 (48-1) requiring local governments to post details about their agendas online at least 72 hours before holding a public meeting. While this is a great development, especially with national Sunshine Week starting March 13, the vote is rife with irony in light of the Senate's refusal to take action on SB 5419 requiring increased transparency for legislative public hearings on certain bills.
The message from the Legislature to local governments concerning open and transparent government continues to be "do what we say and not what we do."
According to RCW 42.30.020 the Legislature is exempt for the state's open public meetings law that every other local legislative body in the state is subject to.
In another irony, SB 5553 was adopted with an emergency clause. Apparently requiring local governments to provide adequate public notice is an emergency but the Senate can't even be bothered with voting on a proposal to increase legislative transparency.
In related news, a bill introduced on Saturday is already being considered on the floor of the House today --- without a public hearing.
HB 2011 would change the collective bargaining rules for employees of the Department of Corrections. The bill is a priority of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE). Here is an email update WFSE just put out about the bill:
"Help our Community Corrections members win binding arbitration in bargaining over safety issues. House Bill 2011 must pass the House today to stay alive. Community Corrections officers work dangerous jobs – two Longview members came under gunshot fire in February. Call 1-800-562-6000. Tell your two House members to support HB 2011 to give Community Corrections staff binding arbitration over employee safety issues."
HB 2011 was introduced two days ago and already is on today's House floor calendar. No public hearing or committee review was scheduled.