RTDNA applauds Washington governor for vetoing legislative secrecy bill

March 2, 2018 11:30

The Radio Television Digital News Association and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force today praised Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Washington) for vetoing Senate Bill 6617, which would have exempted the Washington State Legislature from the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act.
 
On February 28, RTDNA wrote Gov. Inslee seeking the veto on behalf of its more than two dozen members, broadcast and digital journalists, who live and work in Washington state. Thousands of Washingtonians also reached out to the governor seeking a veto.
 
On February 23, with unprecedented speed and with no committee hearings or public debate, the Washington Senate, followed immediately by the Washington House, passed Senate Bill 6617 by veto-proof margins. The vote came about a month after a judge ruled the legislature was in violation of the Washington Public Records Act. That ruling came in a case in which some Washington news organizations had sued the legislature for not releasing some public records.
 
In his veto message, Gov. Inslee revealed that legislative leaders had agreed not to vote to override his veto, and that the legislature and Washington news organizations had agreed work together to resolve their differences.
 
“RTDNA applauds Gov. Inslee, as well as the leaders of the Washington State Legislature and the news organizations in the state, for working together to prevent secrecy from triumphing over transparency,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director. “The public has a need to know how its elected officials are conducting business on their behalf. Journalists are their surrogates in that process.”
 
For more information on the story, view these stories from Washington state RTDNA member stations: RTDNA formed the nonpartisan Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access, and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. RTDNA is a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the archive of record for threats against press freedom in America. Reach out to RTDNA by emailing pressfreedom@rtdna.org.