Our View: The power of the public

Gov. Jay Inslee’s veto of legislation that sought to exempt the state Legislature from the state’s Public Records Act shows the massive power of the public.

Give yourselves a round of applause.

It was your thousands of emails, phone calls and letters to the governor’s office that sparked intense last-minute negotiations leading to the veto and to some legislators urging Inslee to veto the measure despite the fact that they had voted for it.

The agreement came hours before Senate Bill 6617 would have become law on Thursday.

In return for the veto, a media coalition that sued over legislative records last year agreed that while an appeal is progress, it would not seek enforcement of the Thurston County Superior Court ruling that state lawmakers are fully subject to state public disclosure laws.

The media groups also agreed not to launch an initiative effort while the stay was in place.

Representatives will work on a task force with lawmakers to attempt to resolve issues while the court case continues. If the veto were to be overridden, it would have to happen this week, since the end of the legislative session is Thursday.

District 24 lawmakers — those who represent Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County — say such a vote won’t happen and that the issue will be addressed in the next legislative session.

So your input is still needed. Contact your legislators to tell them how you feel and to suggest any measures you would like to see enacted in the future.

Here’s how to reach them:

• Rep. Mike Chapman, D- Port Angeles, call 360-786-7916 or email [email protected]

• Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, call 360-786-7904 or email [email protected]

• Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, call his Olympia Office at 360-786-7646 or email [email protected]

You can write Chapman and Tharinger at P.O. Box 40600 and Van De Wege at P.O. Box 40424, Olympia, WA 98504. You also can call the legislative hotline at 800-562-6000, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays (closed on holidays and from noon to 1 p.m.) and leave a detailed message, which will be emailed to Chapman, Tharinger, Van de Wege or to all three.

Now that you have seen what you can accomplish, stay involved in your government.

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