Legislative records bill stalls in Washington Senate

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that sought to set limits on what the legislative branch needs to release under public disclosure laws has stalled.

The measure’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Jamie Pedersen, told the Herald of Everett Monday that because newspaper executives and media lobbyists blasted the legislation during a public hearing last week, the bill would not move forward. His bill would have made lawmakers subject to the Public Records Act, with several exemptions.

Lawmakers have argued they are not currently subject to the same disclosure rules that apply to other elected officials. A media coalition sued in 2017, saying lawmakers are subject to the law and were violating it by not releasing documents.

A Thurston County superior court judge ruled that while the Legislature, the House and Senate were not subject to the law, the offices of individual lawmakers were. That ruling has been appealed, and is currently awaiting arguments before the state Supreme Court.