Legislature focuses on open government reforms
January 22, 2014
By Jason Mercier
The people's right to know has received a serious shot in the arm this session with numerous open government bills under consideration. The Attorney General's proposals to require training of government officials have already received executive action in the House and public hearings in the Senate. Several bills have also been introduced to make more budget related information available online. Now come proposals to require the Legislature to provide more opportunity for the public to participate in the legislative debate and ensure the public records act applies to the records of the Governor and Legislature.
Here are some of the open government reforms that have been introduced:
HB 2104: Providing contract information online for state capital and transportation projects.
HB 2121: Concerning training public officials and employees regarding public records, records management, and open public meetings requirements
HB 2369: Increasing legislative transparency by providing mandatory notice and waiting periods before legislative action, banning title-only bills, and opening all legislative committees to the public.
HB 2651: Requiring creation of a higher education transparency web site
HJR 4217: Amending the Constitution regarding the people's right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business
SB 5964: Concerning training public officials and employees regarding public records, records management, and open public meetings requirements
SB 6183: Requiring public employee collective bargaining sessions to be open meetings
SJR 8214: Amending the state Constitution to state that the Governor is subject to public records requests.
Prior to session starting legislative leaders discussed how, if at all, the state's open government laws should apply to the Legislature. Here is video of their comments.
Along with giving these open government reforms serious consideration, hopefully lawmakers will also continue to explore opportunities for remote testimony options for citizens.
Director, Center for Government Reform
Washington Policy Center (Tri-Cities office)
2815 St. Andrews Loop, Suite F
Pasco, WA 99302
Track bills: washingtonvotes.org
Improving the transparency, accountability and performance of government