Washington State Senate passes bill to strengthen open meetings law

The Washington State Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s agency-request bill to increase transparency in government by enhancing penalties for violations of Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA).

The OPMA requires that all meetings of multimember governing bodies of local and state public agencies be open and accessible to the public.

Senate Bill 6171 would increase the penalties for knowingly violating the act’s requirements from $100 to $500, roughly in line with inflation since the law was enacted in 1971. The bill also adds an increased penalty of $1,000 for repeat knowing violations. Continue…