Hawkins’ government transparency bill headed to governor’s desk
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Hawkins' government transparency bill headed to governor's desk
A bill that would require public agencies to post their meeting agendas online at least 24 hours in advance has cleared the Senate, 41-6, and is heading to the governor for his consideration.
House Bill 2105, which passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 12 with a vote of 85-13, is part of an ongoing effort by 12th District State 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), but does not require those 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 legislation would help citizens know what a public agency plans to discuss so they could better determine if an issue is important to them.”
The measure provides exceptions for government entities without websites or with fewer than 10 full-time employees.
Hawkins says various newspaper associations and open government advocates supported the bill this session.
“I worked closely with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in developing this bill, and it all worked out in the end. I am pleased that it received such broad support in both chambers. Taking a step to modernize the Open Public Meetings Act for online postings was long overdue,” said Hawkins.
Once the governor signs the bill, it will become effective 90 days after the end of the regular legislative session. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn its session on March 13.
###Washington State House Republican Communications