It’s been brought to my attention that the “well-intended” attempt by Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-Federal Way) to adjust fines for public-records violations may not have been intentional at all. Miloscia is shown below saying he never meant to boost the maximum fine from $100 a day to $500 a day. He moved an amendment to correct the “inadvertent mistake” before the bill ever made it out of committee.
What’s left is nothing to cheer, unless you are a public agency. The amended bill does nothing to adjust the upper limit for public-records fines – allowing inflation to weaken the law bit by bit – but does remove the $5 minimum fine agencies face for breaking the law. But that apparently hasn’t prevented it from sailing through the Legislature, where it’s awaiting one last vote from the House before heading to the governor.
It’s undoubtedly getting some help from the fact that Rowland Thompson, the lobbyist for the state’s daily newspapers, is listed in bill reports as supportive. After Miloscia made his amendment, Rowland showed up at the same committee hearing to testify on the original bill. No one on the committee apparently bothered to tell Rowland the bill had already been eviscerated.
The Center for Justice has a lot more on the mischief here.