Spokane-area Reps. Shea, Volz on group studying open records for Washington Legislature

Two Spokane-area representatives were named to a group trying to develop rules for records the Legislature long believed could be kept private but a judge has ruled should be open to the public.

Reps. Matt Shea, of Spokane Valley, and Mike Volz, of Spokane, are the House Republican Caucus choices to sit on a Public Records Act task force. That group is part of a compromise that followed a contentious few days in February during which legislators passed a controversial bill to exempt themselves from parts of the state Public Records Act, but many later asked Gov. Jay Inslee to veto it. The compromise was announced along with the veto.

Shea and Volz both voted for that bill. Shea – a sometime critic of the news media – was one of two House members who spoke in favor of it during an unusual legislative process that took less than an hour for the bill to pass both chambers.

The bill was roundly criticized by the state’s news media, with rare front-page editorials in many Washington newspapers. Shea accused opponents of the bill of having “for-profit” motives. (Read more)