Washington task force on public records set to convene

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A public records task force created after Washington lawmakers attempted to exempt themselves from the state’s Public Records Act is set to convene its first of four meetings.

Wednesday’s inaugural meeting will address the topic that caused animus between the Legislature and a coalition of media groups that sued last year: the issue of legislative records and lawmakers’ assertion that they are not subject to the same disclosure rules that apply to other elected officials.

The creation of the task force came after a battle over a bill earlier this year in which lawmakers had sought to change the law to retroactively specify that the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act did not apply to the legislative branch. The bill was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The task force comprises eight lawmakers, three media representatives, three members of the public, and an open government advocate.