Rep. Cary Condotta responds to his vote in favor of SB 6617


Cary Condotta, State Rep., 12th District

OLYMPIA - I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my vote on SB 6617 and the events leading up to it.  I believe many important details were left out of the reports coming from many media sources.  Being that many of these sources were also plaintiffs in a court case regarding legislative records, I question their ability to report on this matter without bias.
Prior to the recent court ruling this past January, the Public Records Act applied to the Legislature in a limited fashion. The ruling effectively turned each legislative office into an independent agency. That includes the potential to have rule making authority and require more staffing to receive and respond to requests. It also included no protections to the sensitive correspondence between my office and constituents and personal cell phone records. This had to be changed.
The truth is I voted to expand what we disclose to the public. My calendar, lobbyist communications and cell phones (not personal ones) were fully accessible under 6617. What was not included is the personal and confidential correspondence I receive from constituents. I work on their behalf and want to ensure that their private communications to me will remain private.
The Democrats are in control of both chambers so Republicans really did not have much to say about the process other than vote up or down on the policy changes. I voted in favor of the bill with many of my colleagues because it would have preserved constituent privacy. I believe the court ruling threatened that. Our caucus did present a bill early in session to address this issue but the majority party did not give it a hearing. With the governor’s recent veto of SB 6617 we are committed to finding a solution that balances transparency, but constituent privacy must be protected."
 

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