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Published on Friday, February 14, 2014

Open government bills pass House

As we approach next Tuesday’s deadline for bills to pass their house of origin, two bills AWC has been working on have already been approved by the House of Representatives.

The first bill, HB 2121, requires elected officials and public record officers to receive training in public records, open meetings, and records retention. Its Senate companion, SB 5964, makes this training optional and has not been brought to a vote of the full Senate. AWC is supportive of open government training.

The second bill, HB 2105, requires cities with a website and at least 10 employees to post the agendas of regular city council meetings on its website 24 hours in advance of the meeting. The substitute also clarifies that agendas may be amended after posted and failure to post an agenda does not invalidate an otherwise legal action nor provide a basis for awarding attorney fees or seeking a mandamus or injunction under the Open Public Meetings Act. AWC worked with the sponsor and others to make this bill workable for cities.

HB 1298, implementing the Sunshine Committee recommendations, also passed the House this week. As we previously wrote, the provisions for disclosing finalists for management positions have been removed.

The Legislature could still act on a number of other open government bills. The bill allowing cost recovery for commercial public records requests, HB 1037, and a number of public record exemption bills are eligible for floor action but have not yet been brought up for a vote. We’ll provide a status update on these bills in next week’s Bulletin.