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The Latest: Gov. Inslee vetoes legislative exemption bill

March 2, 2018

Kento Azegami, left, and Jeanne Blackburn answer phones at the front desk at Gov. Jay Inslee's office in Olympia, Wash., on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Inslee's office has been receiving thousands of emails and phone calls asking him to veto a bill passed hastily by the Washington Legislature last week that would circumvent a recent court ruling that found state lawmakers are fully subject to the state's Public Records Act. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Latest on whether Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will veto a bill that circumvents a recent court ruling that found state lawmakers are fully subject to the state’s Public Records Act. (all times local):

9 p.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has vetoed a bill that sought to exempt Washington lawmakers from the state’s Public Records Act, and legislators agreed to not take another vote to override his action.

Thursday night’s agreement came hours before the measure — contested by media groups and open government advocates — would have become law.

In turn, a media coalition that sued over legislative records last year agreed to seek a stay of proceedings in the trial court during an appeal from last month’s court ruling that found state lawmakers are fully subject to the same broad public disclosure requirements that cover other local and state elected officials and employees at state agencies. The Legislature is in the process of appealing that ruling and while a stay was likely to be granted in the case regardless, the media groups agreed to officially request the stay with the defendants and to not seek enforcement of the order while the case is on appeal.

The media groups also agreed to not launch an initiative effort to change present law while the case worked its way through the appellate process.

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2:06 p.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is still weighing whether or not to veto a bill hastily passed by the Washington Legislature last week that circumvents a recent court ruling that found state lawmakers are fully subject to the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act.

Inslee has until midnight Thursday to take one of four options available to him: he can sign the measure, veto it completely, partially veto it, or take no action, in which case it would become law immediately. Lawmakers passed the measure on a wide enough margin that they could seek to override any full or partial veto.

The bill that passed Friday would retroactively specify that the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act does not apply to the legislative branch. The bill creates a more limited legislative disclosure obligation for legislative records, and would allow release of some lawmaker correspondence and records beginning on July 1.

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