The Daily Evergreen

Letters to the Editor | Legislature should not hide records

JESSE WAITE, Pullman

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Judge Lanese’s ruling against legislative exemptions to the Public Records Act was definitive and obvious: The legislature is a state agency and hence subject to the act, as a rational person would conclude. Last fall I submitted requests for records pertaining to 12 Democrat legislators’ actions to de-register the WSU College Republicans, a direct violation of students’ constitutional rights. The legislative response has been to repeatedly deny the requests under legislative exemptions nullified by Lanese’ ruling. Gerry Pollet, a self-proclaimed transparency advocate, retaliated against the request as that of an “ally of white supremacy,” for inquiring of his party’s latest de jure assault on free speech. He has since introduced HB 2886, a bill professing to improve access to legislative records but that would specifically exempt the requested records and most records of public interest. Setting aside these legislators’ gross hypocrisy, their actions demonstrate how legislative record exemptions provide refuge for misconduct, which could not occur if they simply obeyed the law. The appeal of Lanese’s ruling reveals legislators incontinent with fear of disclosure, clinging to an unlawful legacy of secrecy. Others must ask, for what?