Will Inslee Veto Bill That Limits Transparency In The Legislature?

Feb 27, 2018

A dozen newspapers across Washington state are running editorials Tuesday demanding that Gov. Jay Inslee veto what they are calling a “secrecy” bill. It’s legislation that would exempt legislators from the state Public Records Act.

Newspapers, the Associated Press and public radio argued in a lawsuit that lawmakers are required to disclose emails, calendars, and other records. Last month, a judge agreed.

In response, House and Senate members fast-tracked bill 6617. It would keep a lid on documents that had previously been requested by reporters. The bill was rushed through both the House and Senate with all but 23 of Washington’s 147 senators and representatives voting in favor. 

The bill is now awaiting Inslee’s signature.

On Monday night, he told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes he doesn’t support it.

“I know that you can have full disclosure and transparency,” Inslee said.

“So, you’re gonna veto it,” Hayes asked.

“Well, I can’t unfortunately, because they have a veto-proof majority,” Inslee responded. “So I don’t have control at this moment.”

In fact, the governor can veto the bill—or he can let the law take effect without his signature. He has until Thursday to decide.

On Tuesday, 12 newspapers across the state ran editorials calling on the governor to veto the bill. It’s the first time in more than 100 years that the state’s largest newspaper—the Seattle Times—has run a front page editorial. An editorial and an opinion piece also ran on the front page of the Spokesman Review—the largest newspaper on the east side of the state.