To the editor:
Bainbridge Island’s state representatives displayed utter and complete contempt for their constituents Feb. 23.
State Reps. Sherry Appleton and Drew Hansen and State Sen. Christine Rolfes voted to exempt legislators from the state Public Records Act requiring governments to turn over documents when citizens request them.
Requesting documents under the Public Records Act is one way citizens and media have to hold government accountable. Bainbridge Island residents rely on the act to hold the city accountable.
The legislators, however, felt they were exempt from the act. A judge recently ruled otherwise, saying the “plain language” of the law made it clear they were not.
So the legislators, in secret, crafted a law exempting themselves, making it retroactive and, in a further “screw you” to citizens, prohibited legal challenges to documents withheld under the new law.
If this weren’t bad enough, there were no public hearings and no floor debate. The bill was crafted as “emergency” legislature, avoiding the normal committee hearing process and public input. It was all over in 48 hours.
The bill pass with veto-proof majorities, but Gov. Jay Inslee should veto this bill nevertheless. The vote was solidly across party lines. Bipartisanship is largely dead on just about every other issue.
If Gov. Inslee vetoes the bill, the public may get their only shot at expressing opposition to the closed, secret-government bill and an attack on accountability.
Contact Inslee urging him to veto this legislation.