Legislature Decides It’s Neither Goose nor Gander with respect to the PRA.

Washington lawmakers passed a bill Friday that removed themselves from the Public Records Act — deciding that emails and other documents are off-limits and making the Legislature its own gatekeeper with respect to public disclosure.

SB 6617 was introduced on Wednesday, it specifies that the Public Records Act (PRA) does not apply to the Legislative branch and instead creates minimal public disclosure requirements for the legislative and legislative branch agencies and provides exemptions to the disclosure requirements.  There was a “work session” on it on Thursday, and by Friday afternoon the Senate Bill 6617 passed the Senate, without debate, 41-7. Minutes later, House lawmakers approved it 83-14.

“This is just the latest example of us hiding documents from the public,” said Senator Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way. “I believe there’s no reason the legislature needs a different public records act than the executive branch or all of the local governments in the state.” 

The Governor did not state decisively whether he would sign it or not. He did, however, note that if it passed with a two-thirds majority that it is “veto” proof; which is a pretty strong indication that he is likely to sign. 

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Brian Enslow

Brian has spent the majority of his career in public service and brings over 15 years of state fiscal and policy experience. He has carefully built a reputation in Olympia based on integrity and credibility. He provides advocacy and influence in executive and legislative processes and strategic consulting and strategy development for clients. Prior to forming his firm, he served as the Senior Policy Director at the Washington State Association of Counties.
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