Kessler defends bill to tape secret meetings in talk before Port Angeles chamber

PORT ANGELES — State Rep. Lynn Kessler vowed Monday to bring back her bill allowing audiotaping of government agencies’ executive sessions “again and again and again.”

Her promise during a speaking engagement before the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce was made despite opposition from a Clallam County commissioner and Port Angeles city councilwoman.

Kessler, D-Hoquiam and one of three North Olympic Peninsula state lawmakers, was addressing the chamber’s weekly luncheon meeting at the Port Angeles CrabHouse Restaurant.

After discussing the recent legislative session, including the state ferry system and its new director, Paula Hammond, Kessler said:

“Now I want to talk to the elected officials.”

In the 2008 legislative session, Kessler — who is also House majority leader — sponsored House Bill 3292 which was killed by enormous opposition from local government officials before it ever came to a vote on the floor.

HB3292 would have required local governments to tape their executive sessions and keep the recordings for two years.

If credible evidence, supported by a legal declaration or affidavit, was presented that an open meetings law violation occurred during a closed-door session, a judge would review the tape in private.

If an open meetings act violation was found, only the offending section of the tape would be released.

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