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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.

Sincerely,

Jason Mercier

Director, Center for Government Reform

Washington Policy Center (Tri-Cities office)

2815 St. Andrews Loop, Suite F

Pasco, WA 99302

(509) 547-2234

http://www.washingtonpolicy.org

Twitter @OlympiaWatch

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/washington.policy.center

Track bills: washingtonvotes.org

Improving the transparency, accountability and performance of government

 

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