Signature drive starts today: Initiative 977 forces the Legislature to comply with the Public Records Act – What are they hiding?
RE: Signature drive starts today: Initiative 977 forces the Legislature to comply with the Public Records Act — What are they hiding?
We’re firing on all pistons this year, that’s for sure. Stopping tax bills and anti-initiative bills this session, a lawsuit protecting the initiative process, a lawsuit protecting the Rainy Day Fund, and now this.
Today, we are officially launching the signature drive for Initiative 977, the “Transparency in Lawmaking Act.”
Here’s the official ballot title (yesterday was the last day for anyone to challenge the Attorney General’s ballot title for I-977. Because no one did, we can now proceed with printing petitions and collecting signatures):
Initiative Measure No. 977 concerns legislative records. This measure would require the state legislature to make past, current, and future public records available to the public by applying the Public Records Act to the legislative branch of state government.
For decades, local governments have complied with the PRA, but the Imperial Legislature has always said the law doesn’t apply to them. They believe they are above the law.
What are they hiding?
The PRA was created by citizen initiative in 1972 — it’s poetic justice that another citizen initiative in 2018 reminds them that the people are still in charge.
The preamble for Initiative 977 reads: “The people find that the purpose of the state’s public disclosure laws is founded on the public’s right to know the business of their government and that transparency in government is an important component of representative democracy. That full access to information concerning the conduct of government on every level must be assured as a fundamental and necessary precondition to the sound governance of a free society. The people strongly support universal access to public records. The people therefore intend for the state legislature to comply with the state’s Public Records Act that has applied to other governments for decades and to make past, current, and future public records publicly available.”
You can read the complete text of I-977 here: https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/finaltext_1516.pdf
I-977 is an initiative to the Legislature. That means we have from now until December 31 to collect enough voter signatures to qualify.
After 20 years of doing this, we know better than anyone how difficult it is to qualify an initiative. Getting 350,000 signatures in the next 8 months is a Herculean challenge.
But there’s one thing I know for sure: you can’t succeed unless you try. And we’re gonna try.
What’s driving us to do this? Because we know, and you know, and every politician in Olympia knows, that Initiative 977 will get 80-90% of the vote IF WE CAN GET IT QUALIFIED. It is that “light at the end of tunnel” that motivates us to try.
So let’s work really hard over the next 8 months so we can all find out what they’re hiding.
Top 5 Contributors: Suzanne Burke, Puget Sound Chapter NECA PAC, Andrew Skotdal, Tim Eyman, Thomas O’Brien