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WASHINGTON – Building ramparts of secrecy around a $600 billion-plus coronavirus aid program for small businesses, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has moved from delay to denial in refusing outright to disclose the recipients of taxpayer-funded loans.
The move means members of the public and media will be able to witness the collective bargaining process in real time, even though state law allows that process to take place in private meetings. “Salaries are our largest cost, and the citizens ought to know how we’re negotiating contracts and how we’re trying to represent the best interests of both the taxpayers and our employees,” Commissioner Al French said.
Open-government advocates raised concerns Tuesday about Seattle officials’ abruptly scheduled special meeting to consider repealing the
Transparency and open government are important principles. If broadly and fairly applied, they should be supported. If not, it’s the cynical thrust and parry of politics.
The state auditor’s office confirmed it has received six complaints about how the Spokane Valley City Council handled the firing of former city manager Mike Jackson and other City Council business. Two of the complaints came from former council members.
Editorials covered open meetings, kindergarten classes, recycling and a U.S. haven for Filipino strongman Ferdinand Marcos
The members of the House Appropriations Committee were gathered, in one of those Capitol hearing rooms in Olympia, ostensibly for the purpose of gathering public testimony on legislative proposals. It was 10:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10.
By an encouragingly comfortable 77-19 margin, the Washington House of Representatives has passed legislation to restore a measure of access to public records that the Washington state Supreme Court closed more than a decade ago. Now, if Substitute House Bill 1689 receives similar acceptance in the Senate and wins the governor’s signature, booking photos of jail inmates charged with crimes will again be public records. That’s the way it is in many other states, and that’s the way it once was in Washington.
The good thing about the federal Freedom of Information Act is that it declares the kind of clarity about government operations that citizens require if they’re going to make a constitutional democracy work. The worst thing about the federal Freedom of Information Act is that it’s administered by government personnel, who, no matter their personal character, are components in the system whose activities are subject to disclosure, inspection and accountability.
BOISE – Idaho has much at stake in Washington’s big U.S. Supreme Court case over whether referendum petition signatures should be public. “Our initiative and referendum statute is very similar to Washington’s and Oregon’s,” said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, at whose request Idaho joined 22 other states in filing “friend of the court” briefs backing Washington’s position – that the signatures be made public. “I can’t think of something any more public, that should be public, than somebody signing an initiative petition that is basically using the legislative power reserved to the people,” Ysursa said. “It’s part of an open and transparent process, just like (legislators) voting on a piece of legislation would be. That was our basic reason to join in, and the other states that have initiative and referendum seem to agree with us.”
Idaho has much at stake in Washington's big U.S. Supreme Court case over whether referendum petition signatures should be public or not. "Our initiative and referendum statute is very similar to Washington's and Oregon's," said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, at whose request Idaho joined 22 other states in filing "friend of the court" briefs backing Washington's position - that the signatures remain public.