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Sen. Roach to introduce constitutional amendment addressing executive privilege

Sen. Pam Roach - Courtesy photo
Sen. Pam Roach
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Washington's Supreme Court today granted governors executive privilege, denying citizens access to certain public records.

In response to the ruling, Sen. Pam Roach (R-rural Auburn), a supporter of open government, announced she will introduce a constitutional amendment ahead of the 2014 legislative session that would close the loophole.

"I am disappointed with today's ruling, but am prepared to work with my colleagues and many open government advocates to ensure this loophole in our state's constitution is removed," said Roach, who chairs the Senate Government Operations Committee. "The public has the right to know what their government is doing, and the citizens have sent Olympia that message again and again.

"There are already more than 300 exemptions to public records access, which is a long way from the 10 that existed in 1972 when the Public Records Act became law. We should be eliminating exemptions, not making it more difficult for citizens to review the work of elected officials."

The preamble to the Public Records Act states: "The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created."

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