Letters to the Editor

What just happened to Public Disclosure?

February 23, 2017, the Washington legislature decided they did not have to abide by the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act, which requires, with subsequent judicial rulings, that state officials disclose their records. The Feb 24, 2018 Seattle Times article, “Records secrecy slam-dunk” has more details.
This action was not legislative business as usual with hearings, floor debates, negotiations and then a proposed bill. No normal procedures were followed. Both legislative bodies sidestepped their rules. Rejecting the Public Disclosure mandate, the Senate voted 41-7, and the Representatives voted 83-14 to keep many of their records secret and be the internal gatekeeper. More simply, our state elected officials do not believe that they should adhere to the citizens’ mandate to disclose their interests.
In District 7 and 12 in Okanogan County, this is how our elected officials voted against the Public Records Act: Senator Shelly Short - Yes, Representatives Jacquelin Maycumber and Joel Kretz – both Yes; Senator Brad Hawkins - Yes, Representatives Cary Condatta and Mike Steele – both Yes. Our legislators want to be “above the law” of the people.
Are you ok with the Public Records Act not applying to our state legislators but to all other elected government officials?
Regardless of your political inclinations, this is wrong and arrogant. No official is unaccountable. In our current times, now more than ever, transparency and open disclosure should be the norm.
If you disagree with your legislators’ vote, contact them now.

Sharon Sumpter
Winthrop

Vote them out

According to the Washington Post, Feb 15 2018, the following WA lawmakers have accepted National Rifle Association donations:
Rep. Dan Newhouse Republican Congressman, 4th District $4,000 including 2018.
Rep.  Cathy McMorris Rogers, Republican Congresswoman, 5th District $2,500 2016.
Rep. Dave Reichert, Republican Congressman, 8th District $5,000 2006-2016.
And then there is President Trump: At least $9.6 million in NRA funds in pro-Trump ads and another $12 million attacking Hilary Clinton.
Start with them. Vote them out.

Carole Schroeder
RN PhD
Twisp

Newhouse has failed to follow through

Trump’s most recent challenge to DACA failed when on Feb. 26, 2018, the Supreme Court refused to review lower court decisions that keep DACA in place indefinitely. This administration will undoubtedly continue to challenge the path to citizenship for people brought into our country at a young age. Newhouse could change that but apparently he won’t.
There are 19,500 potential citizens in Congressional District 4 alone who meet the criteria to walk the path to citizenship under the Dream Act of 2017. According to the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration this could improve Washington State’s GDP by as much as $527,582,000 per year.
In March 2016, Newhouse voted yes for the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time ever to submit an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court, opposing an Obama executive order that included an expansion of DACA.  In January 2017, Newhouse   co-sponsored H.R. 496, the Bridge Act, that would have extended  DACA for three years. However, Newhouse has failed to follow through with the procedure necessary to force a vote. If Newhouse would sign discharge petition 115-4, filed in September 2017, it could force House Speaker Paul Ryan to have a floor vote on the bill.
Actions speak louder than words. Don’t listen to what Newhouse says, look at what Newhouse does. If Newhouse wants to be a champion of this issue he needs to bring it to a vote. Ask him to take action now.

Respectfully submitted,
Pat Leigh
Winthrop

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