Gov. Jay Inslee tonight vetoed ESB 6617, a bill related to public disclosure obligations of the Legislature. Inslee received a request Thursday evening from a number of legislators to veto the bill after they reached an agreement with media organizations about a process for working together on the issue.
Plaintiffs from the media lawsuit have agreed to join defendants in seeking a stay of proceedings in the trial court during the appeal, and further agree they will not try to enforce the trial court’s order during the appeal. The governor’s veto message and the veto request from the Legislature and media plaintiffs are linked below.
Following his veto, Inslee issued the following statement:
“The public’s right to government information is one we hold dearly in Washington. Transparency is a cornerstone of a democratic government, and I’m very proud of my administration’s record on public disclosure. I believe legislators will find they can fulfill their duties while being fully transparent, just like state and local governments all across Washington.
“I want to thank the legislators who have reconsidered this bill and asked me for this veto tonight. Since this bill passed, my office and lawmakers have heard an unprecedented level of response from the public. Those messages were heard loudly and clearly. I now hope lawmakers, the media, and other stakeholders will work together to resolve differences through a process the public can have faith in.
“I believe the Legislature’s overwhelming vote on the bill was a good faith attempt to increase disclosure and transparency. Though I expressed concerns about the outline of the bill, I did tell legislators I would let the bill become law if they delivered it with enough votes to override a veto. However, that was before I saw the process which failed to meet public expectations for openness and delivered a bill that fell short.
“I appreciate that both sides have been open to discussions during the past few days and will work together to find the right approach to this important issue.”