Local News

Inslee faces intense pressure over bill exempting lawmakers from Public Records Act

OLYMPIA, Wash. - In a move that breaks with the norm, eight Washington state newspapers published editorials on their front page Tuesday morning. 

The editorials were all about Senate Bill 6617 that would exempt lawmakers from the Public Records Act. 

The bill was introduced last week, and passed by both chambers within 48 hours. 

If the bill becomes law, it would make some records public-- like legislator's calendars, and their communications with lobbyists. 

But official communication with constituents, among other things, would be private. 

Also included in the bill, if a records request is denied the appeal will not go to a court, but to a legislative committee. 

Governor Inslee has until the end of tomorrow to make either pass or veto the bill. 

He's under a lot of pressure as he faces this decision, and not just from the newspapers. 

That editorial on the front page yesterday, called the bill an 'egregious breach of the public trust,' and it seems the public just might agree. 

Inslee's office issued a tweet yesterday saying they were receiving so many calls that people were having trouble getting through. 



Inslee's staff said they took 1,800 calls yesterday, and got about 4 thousand emails (as reported here). Almost every single one was in opposition to the Public Records Bill. 

Governor Inslee declined to comment about the bill on Tuesday. 

In an appearance on MSNBC on Monday, he did call the legislation a 'bad idea,' but said he couldn't veto the bill because a 'veto-proof' majority of the state's lawmakers support it. 

More specifically, Gov. Inslee could still issue a veto on the bill, but then it would go back to Washington's House of Representatives and Senate, where it passed with strong majorities last week.


Information from KOMO News