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What just happened to Public Disclosure?


February 23, 2018, the Washington Legislature decided they did not have to abide by the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act, which requires, with subsequent judicial rulings, that state officials disclose their records. The Feb. 24, 2018, Seattle Times article, “Records secrecy slam-dunk” has more details.

This action was not legislative business as usual, with hearings, floor debates, negotiations and then a proposed bill. No normal procedures were followed. Both legislative bodies sidestepped their rules. Rejecting the Public Disclosure mandate, the Senate voted 41-7, and the Representatives voted 83-14, to keep many of their records secret AND be the internal gatekeeper. More simply, our state elected officials do not believe that they should adhere to the citizens’ mandate to disclose their interests.

In Districts 7 and 12 in Okanogan County, this is how our elected officials voted against the Public Records Act: Senator Shelly Short - YES, Representatives Jacquelin Maycumber and Joel Kretz – both YES; Senator Brad Hawkins - YES; Representatives Cary Condatta and Mike Steele – both YES. Our legislators want to be “above the law” of the people.

Are you OK with the Public Records Act not applying to our state legislators, but to all other elected government officials?

Regardless of your political inclinations, this is wrong and arrogant. No official is unaccountable. In our current times, now more than ever, transparency and open disclosure should be the norm.

If you disagree with your legislators’ vote, contact them now.

Sharon Sumpter



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