The situation regarding Senate Bill 6617 has been resolved. This bill concerned the history and past actions of the state’s political leaders on a massive scale. It is critical that this bill was vetoed because it is vastly important to the welfare of the people of Washington state.
If passed, this bill would have exempted Washington lawmakers from the State Public Records Act. In other words, it would have denied the public access to records about the governors’ dealings in the past, meaning that the bill would have been detrimental to government transparency.
It initially passed the state Senate and House of Representatives by a vast majority without a public hearing on February 23, 2018. However, Washington state governor Jay Inslee vetoed the bill following public outcry and ensured that the state’s governors will remain transparent for the time being.
The importance of openness and transparency in the United States government cannot be stressed enough. American citizens have to know that they can trust the authoritarian bodies that are watching over them. Washington’s government officials were thinking about themselves when they originally voted “yes” on this bill. This action also suggested the possibility that they may have gotten into some shady dealings in the past, or may have been planning to.
If government officials wish to earn respect and trust among the citizens they govern, they must be willing to let them see their history, including anything that may be controversial. There are few things more heartbreaking in the political realm than discovering that a government official who you trusted committed horrendous acts of misconduct behind the scenes.
The people of Washington were outraged when this bill initially passed. Gov. Inslee’s office received a plethora of phone calls, emails and letters from citizens urging him to veto the bill when it reached him. Democrats in the House and Senate expressed their regret at passing the bill and requested Gov. Inslee to erase it from existence. It is fortunate that Gov. Inslee heard the cries of the people of Washington and decided to veto the bill. He did his part, and the bill eventually died in committee.
The State Public Records Act was enacted to keep track of the actions of the state government and inform the public about what they have done, and it is imperative that its principles are kept intact for the long-term future. This exemplifies how important it is to make your voice heard regarding crucial matters, especially in the world of politics. Despite what certain people may say, cries for change do indeed matter.
This was a great victory for the state of Washington and it now serves as a precedent of the effectiveness of public protest. Thanks to Gov. Inslee, transparency in the state government will continue to be displayed for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, everyone will take a lesson from this turn of events and realize that their voices matter. Positive outcomes for political matters are never guaranteed, so everyone who cares must contribute to their cause.