OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today welcomed the approval of his bill to update the Open Public Meetings Act by the House State Government Committee. Ferguson’s agency-request legislation would modernize the penalties for knowingly violating the Act’s requirements from $100 to $500, roughly in line with inflation since the law was enacted in 1971. The bill also adds an increased penalty of $1,000 for repeat knowing violations.
“Ensuring open government is the best way to promote good government,” Ferguson said. “I am pleased this overdue update has passed its first legislative hurdle.”
“I am disappointed, however, to see this bipartisan legislation receive a party-line vote,” Ferguson added. “Transparency in government should not be a partisan issue. I call on members of both parties to support this legislation on the House floor.”
Committee Chair Sam Hunt (D-Olympia) was joined by Vice Chair Steve Bergquist (D-Renton) and Reps. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) and Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace) in supporting the bill.
Ranking Minority Member Jeff Holy (R-Cheney), Assistant Ranking Minority Member Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) and Rep. Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) voted in opposition.
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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov