Open government forecast: Cloudy for Sunshine Week

The 2014 Legislature had several opportunities to make state government more open and accessible to the public. Sadly, it passed on most of them.

State lawmakers could have set an example for their congressional colleagues by approving a modest bill to improve campaign finance disclosure. Sen. Karen Fraser co-sponsored the bill, with strong bipartisan support, that would have better informed voters about who is funding the campaigns of elected officials and ballot measures.


Editorial: Open government training for elected officials should save money

When folks are elected to public office — from local school boards to city councils to county commissions — many have little to no experience with state law regarding public access to government information.

#When the citizens (and media) seek information inadvertent mistakes are too often made because some elected officials simply don’t understand the who, what, where, when, why and how of the state’s open government laws.

#And, as a result, it costs taxpayers a lot to settle lawsuits.


Washington Legislature passes Attorney General’s open government training bill

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s bill to strengthen Washington state’s open government laws by requiring training for most public officials has passed the Legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

Ferguson worked with Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, and Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, to secure approval of the “Open Government Trainings Act,” Engrossed Senate Bill 5964.


Editorial: Washington State House of Reps take strong action for open access

The state House of Representatives took strong, progressive action last week on two bills that improve citizen access to public information. Now they’re on to the Senate, where they deserve passage and enactment.

House Bill 2015 would require that meeting agendas be posted online by public agencies at least 24 hours before a meeting. It passed the House by a vote of 85-13. Rep. Brad Hawkins (R-Wenatchee) voted in favor of the bill; Rep. Cary Condotta (R-East Wenatchee) voted no. Both represent the 12th District, including the Methow Valley.


Time for Legislature to live by open government rules

With policy cutoff behind us, the list of living and walking dead bills (nothing is really dead till sine die) is being compiled. Among the proposals that didn’t even receive a hearing, however, is a bill based on WPC’s recommendation for the Legislature to truly provide Washingtonians the opportunity to participate in the legislative debate while also ensuring lawmakers live by the same open government rules the rest of the state’s public officials operate under.

As noted by Peter Callaghan of The Tacoma News Tribune:


Open Government Caucus Launches its Agenda


The bipartisan Open Government Caucus (OGC), led by a Seattle Democrat and an East Wenatchee Republican, hit the ground running at its first meeting this week. The caucus is co-chaired by Rep. Gerry Pollet, the Democrat, and Rep. Brad Hawkins, the Republican. They want to breathe new life into the work toward transparency and accountability on the part of elected officials and government staff.


Washington State Speaker Chopp protects public’s right to know

NFOIC state affiliate  Washington Coalition for Open Government‘s presented Speaker of the House Frank Chopp with its highest award Tuesday evening. The Ballard Thompson Award is given to the state legislator who demonstrated the most “outstanding dedication to the cause of open government” the previous legislative session.

The Olympian newspaper explains why:


Editorial: Proof Government should be an open book

Daily News – A position we often take on the Editorial Page is that Washington has some of the strongest state laws in the nation protecting openness and transparency in government processes and decision-making and that those laws should be honored and, when necessary, vigorously protected.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government, a citizens lobby, fights this battle almost every day. With the WCOG’s permission, we’re going to dip into their files today for an example of why we feel this issue is important not just to us, but to everyone.


NFOIC NR – Seattle-area Housing Authority completes settlement of 2013 Open Records and Open Meetings Lawsuit



Melissa MacGowan, Administrator


101E Reynolds Journalism Institute

Columbia, MO 65211

(573) 882-4856 ·

Supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation, the suit’s settlement

includes training from state’s Sunshine group


Tacoma candidates less than open with Washington Coalition for Open Government

From The News Tribune: I guess I could understand one or two candidates failing to complete the questionnaire that seeks their views on open government issues facing the state.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government’s questionnaire is one of many that candidates receiving during campaign season.

But of the 15 Tacoma candidates the coalition sent invitations to, just two replied.