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:

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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:

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Wash. Supreme Court: Governor can claim ‘executive privilege’

From NFOIC: In the ruling that open government groups view as a setback, the Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that constitutional separations of power gives that state's governor an "executive privilege" to withold government documents from disclosure that is broader than what might be recognized under a statutory open government law.

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Public Records Help Washington Watchdogs Sniff Out Corruption

From KUOW.org:

"Trust and confidence in governmental institutions is at an all–time low. High on the list of causes of this citizen distrust are secrecy in government and the influence of private money on governmental decision making."

It sounds like it could have been written by Occupy Seattle protesters. Or maybe by the tea party. But the statement actually accompanied a ballot measure that Washington voters passed back in 1972.

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