Legislative News from Representative Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, and Representative Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline
March 2, 2018
OLYMPIA – In response to significant constituent concerns, 41 House Democrats, including Representatives Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, and Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline, signed a letter to Governor Jay Inslee urging a veto of a bill on public records that the legislature passed last week. The Governor vetoed the bill.
The bill moved through the legislature quickly last Friday, bypassing the regular legislative process, which is meant to ensure that there is adequate time for the public to review and comment on legislation.
“While Representative Ryu and I voted for this legislation as it passed the House, we strongly disagree with the rushed and secretive manner in which the bill was passed,” said Rep. Kagi. “We want to sincerely apologize to our constituents and commit to working during the interim on a solution that makes the legislature more open to the public while still protecting sensitive constituent information. We made a mistake and are moving forward to fix it.”
Senate Bill 6617 created new obligations regarding the public disclosure of legislative records. Under the bill, for the first time legislator calendars and correspondence between legislators and lobbyists would be available for public disclosure. The bill protected constituent correspondence from disclosure.
“I am working, along with Rep. Kagi, to provide for the release of my calendar and correspondence with lobbyists,” said Rep. Ryu. “I know from my years in local government that releasing records is not only doable, it is an important tool to hold elected officials accountable and creates a stronger democracy.”