Lawmakers Looking to “Close Revolving Door”

In a move to build trust in state government, lawmakers in Olympia are hoping to close the revolving door that lets state officials morph into lobbyists overnight. Dan Frizzell has more.

Sponsor Mike Pellicciotti, a Democratic state representative from Federal Way, says his bill aims to mandate a time-out between leaving public service and coming back into the marble halls of the Capitol as a lobbyist. It’s not an everyday occurrence in Olympia, but it happens, and when it does, it can give the illusion of conflict of interest even when none is present. In a representative democracy where trust in government has taken some serious blows, public faith is something that’s both vulnerable and invaluable. Pellicciotti wants to nurture that trust and close the revolving door.

PELLICCIOTTI: “Washington state does a lot of things right but we are way behind the curve on this issue.  Well over 35 have similar provisions already in place.  The federal government has a cooling-off period for two years, and in the state of Washington, however, there is no limit or cooling-off period before an elected official becomes a paid lobbyist, and that’s what I’m trying to stop.”

With several cosponsors on board, Pellicciotti’s bill got a public hearing this week and with enough support, it could be ready for a vote of the full House within a matter of days. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.