Editorial: Washington Judge’s order imperils journalistic independence

A King County judge’s order that The Seattle Times and other media must turn over unpublished content to the police is a blow to independent journalism. The order imperils journalists documenting this summer’s historic protests and sends the wrong message about the media as a check on government power. Journalists’ unique role and responsibility is…

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Washington Governor Inslee relaxes open government laws

To further facilitate the social distancing and stay-at-home orders put in place in the past two weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee suspended several parts of the state’s government transparency laws this week. The order, which is in effect until April 24, temporarily waives certain requirements of Washington’s Open Public Meeting and Public Records acts. Public meetings…

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The Stranger Editorial: Why We Are Calling for an Audit of Private E-mail Use at the City (of Seattle)

City employees in the mayor’s office and possibly the City Council appear to be conducting government business on private e-mail accounts and failing to disclose these communications through public records requests, so we’re doing something about it. Earlier this month we signed onto a letter calling for an audit examining the use of private e-mails…

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s top staffers used private email accounts to talk head-tax strategy

Four of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s staffers used private email accounts when planning with political consultants what to do immediately after the City Council reversed course on a controversial business head tax to raise money for housing and homelessness services, according to records released Friday to The Seattle Times. The June 11 messages — shared via Gmail…

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Governors Association Works with Eight States to Improve Health Data Sharing

Eight states are in the early stages of a collaboration with the National Governors Association that could enhance their ability to use and share health-care data enterprise-wide, ultimately improving operations and services to residents. On June 13, NGA, which works with governors on public policy and governance issues, announced a health policy partnership around data best practices…

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Mill Creek (WA) manager seeks $1 million in damages from city

“The City Attorney (Scott Missall) and Mayor Pro Tem (Brian Holtzclaw) told Mrs. Polizzotto that the council asked them to convey to Mrs. Polizzotto that it was unanimous in its position that it did not want Mrs. Polizzotto to leave city employment, and further conveyed that she had the support of the entire council.” By…

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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…

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Recent legislative actions in Kentucky, Iowa and Washington demonstrate urgent need for state FOI and open government reforms

      NEWS RELEASE March 23, 2018 Contact: Daniel Bevarly  •  239.823.1811 dbevarly@nfoic.org   Recent legislative actions in Kentucky, Iowa and Washington demonstrate urgent need for state FOI and open government reforms Existing laws directing state government transparency and accountability to residents are under threat. Three recent actions by state legislatures in Kentucky, Washington…

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Washington state ranks nearly last in new tax-transparency index

[Dick] Conway has worked as an economist and forecaster for business and government for more than 30 years. In 2001, he served on a committee commissioned by the state Legislature to examine Washington’s tax system and how well it functions. He’s continued that research on his own ever since.

In a report released last month, Conway devised a system for ranking the 50 states on the “transparency” of their tax structure — in other words, how easily folks can tell how much they pay in total taxes.

Washington ranked 49th out of 50.

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