Governor vetoes controversial public records bill

What a difference a week makes. Last Friday we reported that state legislators — including all lawmakers from the Ballard area except for Sen. Reuven Carlyle — quickly voted to exempt themselves from the Public Records Act. The move was met with widespread criticism and rare front page editorials in newspapers across the state.

Last night, Democrats in the state House of Representatives wrote Gov. Jay Inslee a letter explaining they “made a mistake by failing to go through a full hearing process.” They urged the governor to veto the bill (SB 6617) and start over. The bill was signed by Ballard and Fremont-area lawmakers, Reps. Tarleton, Frame, Pollet and Valdez. Senate Democrats wrote a similar letter.

“Thanks to extensive communications with my constituents, I came to realize that although this bill was crafted with good intent, its expedited passage was antithetical to the very principles of good governance that I hoped it would preserve,” wrote Ballard-area Rep. Gael Tarleton in a statement emailed to My Ballard. “My colleagues and I invite the public to take an extensive role in the creation of new legislation to provide transparency and oversight at the Legislature.”

Once he had assurance lawmakers would not vote to override his veto, Governor Inslee promptly vetoed the bill last night.

“The public’s right to government information is one we hold dearly in Washington,” the governor wrote in a statement. “Transparency is a cornerstone of a democratic government, and I’m very proud of my administration’s record on public disclosure. I believe legislators will find they can fulfill their duties while being fully transparent, just like state and local governments all across Washington.”

11 comments on “Governor vetoes controversial public records bill”

  1. Why did he veto this. We don’t need to know what is going on in their bedrooms.

  2. Gael Tarleton is now trying to cover her ass for the shameful vote she took last Friday. The legislators think they are better than the voting public and don’t think we have a right to know what they are doing on behalf of voters. Do not forget SB 6617 in the next election cycle. Tarleton and all the other legislators that voted for SB 6617 should be voted out of office.

  3. “The legislators think they are better than the voting public”

    Uhhhh….How could you possibly disagree with this statement.

  4. This has nothing to do with what goes on in bedrooms, unless there are crimes or graft involved. I want to know what my elected officials are doing with my vote, tax money and trust. Transparency in legislative politics is not an invasion of privacy, but a fundamental part of the democratic process.

  5. They need the ability to work deals in private without being nitpicked by the nosy public.

  6. Yeah I got an “OMG I’m so sorry! How did this happen?” email from Noel Frame today. I told her if it was so “out of step with her values” (her words) she wouldn’t have voted for it. One precious gift I have for being in my mid-50s is the ability to smell a rat. Let’s just say, if Ms. Frame is nearby, you should hide your cheese.

  7. How else are they supposed to get insider information on investments if their records are made public?

  8. Sleepy Jay along with sideshow Bob Ferguson etc can’t be blamed here. They don’t want to be bothered that much, as they are very busy making names for themselves, at our cost, to run for bigger things. 38 years of “d” in Olympia brought it to this. Hubris is a good word here. Perhaps Jay needs to take his childish msnbc POTUS advice and “listen more” to the people. Perhaps after 38 effing years of “d’s” in Olympia will change soon? I can hope for change.

  9. I don’t think career politician hubris is a party issue. Both parties are rotten to the core. The only thing that matters is replacing incumbents and getting in some honest, fresh blood. We’d be better off with a random voter role selection like we have for juries than the corrupt, self-righteous takers we have now.

  10. It’s amazing how some parties don’t care about those who elected them and just go for the money. Really, where are the actions promised before? How can we trust people like these? Come, on… get a grip.

  11. @Scott: I know you can’t pass up an opportunity to try to dump on the political party you for some reason hate with every fiber of your body (my guess is too much Rush and Hannity?), but this bill was probably one of the most bipartisan bills that will ever come out of our state’s legislature. But hey, you somehow found a way to try to blame only the Dems for this…good job!

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