Gov. Inslee vetoes public records exemption law after voter outcry

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Gov. Inslee vetoes records exemption bill passed by state Legislature (photo: Twitter)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee vetoed a bill that overwhelmingly passed the State House and Senate but which generated an outpouring of local news media and voter criticism for exempting state elected Legislators in the Olympia capital from public records requests.

Inslee waited until three hours before his veto deadline would have expired to make the official announcement even as the public sentiment against the bill--known as SB 6617--had been building for days.

KVI's John Carlson opened his Friday show by saying, " I told ya he was gonna blink. I said, 'you watch, he'll blink'". Carlson continued saying that the veto resulted from how the Democratic controlled State House and Senate originally advanced and passed what became known as SB 6617, "What the Legislature was trying to do was controversial and debatable. The way they did it (passing SB 6617 to Inslee) made it the issue. That they were trying to exempt themselves from transparency and they were getting sneaky about it. That's what really crippled them: how they did it."

Washington Policy Center's Jason Mercier truly captured how silent the State House and Senate were in advancing and passing this public records exemption law to Gov. Inslee.

According to KVI's sister station, KOMO News, the governor's office was flooded with thousands of emails and phone calls this week from voters asking him to veto the bill. More than a dozen newspapers and other news agencies also published editorials urging the governor to veto.

Gov. Inslee tweeted Thursday night that he heard those messages loud and clear.

The governor also thanked state lawmakers who have reconsidered their votes and sent letters asking him to veto the bill, including House Democrats, House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

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