A push to gain access to the records of state lawmakers has recently been decided by the Washington State Supreme Court. Washington House Republicans’ Kelley Payne reports from Olympia.
PAYNE: In a lawsuit filed by a media coalition, the high court justices ruled legislators are subject to the state’s Public Records Act and must disclose documents such as calendars and emails.
Representative Jim Walsh supports the court’s decision, but says constituent privacy should be protected.
WALSH: “I get correspondence from constituents all the time that volunteer to me in an email or letter intensely personal, private information—health information, financial information because the constituent is asking for help with some problem in their lives. And, they’re offering personal details that we really should protect.”
PAYNE: A bill Walsh introduced during the 2019 session would give the media and public access to legislative records, while still protecting the private information of citizens contacting their elected officials.
WALSH: “I think we’ve got the basis of an agreement that everybody could sign on to.”
PAYNE: Walsh hopes to advance the bill during the upcoming 2020 legislative session, which begins January 13th. Kelley Payne, Olympia.