Daily Sun News Editorial

Inslee should veto Senate Bill 6617

Legislators should not get away with direct assault on state Open Public Records Act

— Senate Bill 6617 smacks of being a backroom deal between political parties in Olympia anxious to cover up unlawful or immoral shenanigans by individuals in their House and Senate caucuses.

While that may or may not be the case, perception is reality in the real world away from the Capitol. And the public thinks the measure is meant as a coverup.

The measure that shields individual lawmakers from public disclosure laws was pushed through the Legislature like lightning. There was no public input. There was no open discussion. And there was no emergency.

The speed of the bill’s movement and lack of public participation makes us ask what are lawmakers up to? What are they hiding? Other government agencies and employees from cities to schools to courts have to disclosure public records, so why not individual lawmakers?

The responses from lawmakers are laughable, at best. At worst, the answers show an arrogance that needs to be nipped in the bud.

Yesterday, the state Sunshine Committee voted unanimously to ask Gov. Jay Inslee to veto the bill. We stand with the committee.

The legislation is nothing but political cover after the lawmakers lost a Open Public Records Act lawsuit filed by state newspapers. Last month, a judge ruled legislators are beholden to the public and must disclose public records — as required of other local and state government agencies and employees.

While the governor has denounced the measure, he has yet to publicly say he’ll veto it, probably because the Legislature could override it.

We are asking Gov. Inslee to veto Senate Bill 6617. We are asking him to take a stand on the public’s right to know.

Forget the possible override, governor, and just say “no” to lawmakers.


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