House passes Hawkins’ open government legislation
House passes Hawkins' open government legislation
A bill related to public agencies posting meeting agendas online was approved by the House of Representatives today by a vote of 85-13. The legislation is part of an ongoing effort by Rep. Brad Hawkins to increase transparency in government.
The state's Open Public Meetings Act, first enacted in 1971, only requires public agencies to issue notice of meetings (such as the date, time and location) and does not require public agencies to publish their meeting agendas.
“This bill is a modest first step at updating the Open Public Meetings Act to reflect our online society. Posting agendas online is important to providing more transparency in government,” said Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee. “This bill will help citizens know what a public agency plans to discuss so they can better determine if an issue is important to them.”
House Bill 2105 would require that agendas be posted online by public agencies at least 24 hours prior to a meeting. The bill provides exceptions for government entities without websites or with fewer than 10 full-time employees. It was approved by the House Government Operations & Elections Committee Jan. 22. The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents more than 100 community newspapers in the state, along with other supporters, testified in favor of the legislation during the public hearing.
“I'm pleased the House approved this legislation and I look forward to this being considered in the Senate. Hopefully, we can get this passed before the end of session,” said Hawkins.
The legislation now goes to the Senate for further consideration. The 2014 session is scheduled to adjourn March 13.
###Washington State House Republican Communications