OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Supreme Court justices had pointed questions for lawyers representing both the Legislature and a media coalition that has sued on whether changes to the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act throughout the years has affected what legislative records must be released.
The high court heard oral arguments Tuesday on the appeal of a case that was sparked by a September 2017 lawsuit filed by a media coalition, led by The Associated Press. The coalition has argued that lawmakers have been violating the law by not releasing emails, schedules and reports of sexual harassment. Lawmakers have long argued they are not subject to law that applies to other elected officials and agencies.
A Thurston County superior court judge ruled in January 2018 that while the offices of individual lawmakers are subject to the Public Records Act, the Washington Legislature, the House and Senate were not. The media coalition’s lawsuit had named the individual entities of the Legislature, as well as four legislative leaders. The Legislature has appealed the portion of the ruling that applies to the legislative offices, and the media coalition has appealed the portion of the ruling that applies to the Legislature, House and Senate.
The Supreme Court could take several months to issue a ruling.