Timeline: Legislative public records debate

Feb 23, 2018

Lawmakers may adopt a controversial public records bill sometime tonight. Here is a timeline of this public records controversy: 

As for what WPC thinks should happen, the following is from our Policy Guide:

Policy recommendation: The legislature should make itself subject to the Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act . . . To lead by example, the legislature should subject itself to all the requirements of the Public Record Act and Open Public Meetings Act on the same basis as other public entities in Washington.

Updated 4:45 p.m.

Comment from Rep. Melanie Stambaugh on SB 6617:

"I am deeply disappointed in the legislature’s blatant disregard for transparency in the legislative process. This is a time where the legislature should come together to make government more transparent, not less. The very process utilized to craft and pass this bill violates the public trust. For the last year I have been telling people that government is out of line by not allowing access to information that belongs to the people. SB 6617 is another example of this.

Legislators were restricted in this debate and were not allowed to verbalize any argument against this bill on the House Floor. The House Floor debate consisted of one 'pro' speech from each side of the chamber and there were not any speeches against this bill, despite there being several 'no' votes. This is wildly different from other bills where members are freely able to stand and speak. It is very disappointing.”

Additional Information
Should state lawmakers be held to same public disclosure requirements as local officials?