Senate committee weighs legislative records bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Media representatives and open government advocates argued against the latest effort by Washington lawmakers to set limits on what the legislative branch needs to disclose under public disclosure laws.

A public hearing on Senate Bill 5784 was held Wednesday before the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee, with opponents arguing that lawmakers want to change the law in their favor ahead of a hearing before the state Supreme Court on the issue of legislative records. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Jamie Pedersen, says he’s trying to find a compromise that ultimately makes the Legislature more transparent.

Lawmakers have argued they are not subject to the voter-approved Public Records Act, a sentiment that has been challenged by a media coalition that sued in 2017.

The measure states lawmakers would be subject to the law, with some exemptions, including one that would bar any release of deliberative process records.