State Sen. Maralyn Chase named to ‘Sunshine Committee’

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Democratic 32nd District State Sen. Maralyn Chase has been appointed to the Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee, also known as the Sunshine Committee, which exists to make government more open to the public.

Chase, who also sits on the Senate’s committee on trade and economic development and the Senate committee on energy, environment and telecommunications, said Thursday that she is excited to begin her new role on the Sunshine Committee.

“The Legislature is conducting the public’s business and I believe that business should be as transparent as possible,” she said. “When exemptions to disclosure are codified in public law, our democracy is diminished. The Sunshine Committee is an instrument of transparency and accountability. It’s a prime example of what makes a democracy great.”

The state attorney general’s office provides staffing and support for the Committee. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that Chase would be a welcome addition.

"Sen. Chase has been a long-time advocate for open government," Ferguson said. "I'm proud to welcome her to the Sunshine Committee where her insight and expertise will be extremely valuable."

The Sunshine Committee is comprised of 13 legislators, attorneys and open government advocates. It was established in 2007 to ensure that state public records are accessible for citizen examination.  When Washington’s public-records law was set up in 1972 there were 10 exemptions from full public disclosure.  Today there are more than 300 exemptions to the Public Disclosure Act.

Chase represents Shoreline, part of northwest Seattle, Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and the rest of the 32nd Legislative District.


Anonymous,  June 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM  

I hope that the committee improves the transparency not only for the legislature, but also for any agency that receives a significant source of its funding from the state taxpayers. This "transparency" might include having the following on their and/or audio of their meetings, agendas, and staff reports; quarterly reports of their major revenues and expenditures, with details for the larger items; and major project status reports (on time or not, if not, why not...on budget or not, if not, why not). Yes, this costs money, but it beats writing a blank check, while providing solid ground for supporting/not supporting further requests for state funding.

One area in the legislative arena is transportation funding. One viewpoint is that gas tax revenues are way down, due to having higher MPG vehicles and people driving less, the other is that regulations are costing so much that little gets to the project construction or maintenance. Can this committee daylight this information to show us how transportation is funded? Re: the transportation plans that are under consideration, how much is going towards maintenance, an issue in the spotlight due to the May 23, 2013 collapse of the Skagit River bridge? I've seen an account of there being just 11%, with most of that towards stormwater.

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