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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

(Longview) Daily News Editorial For Soter-Fix Bill

The (Longview) Daily News writes this editorial urging the legislature to pass the Soter-fix bill. It say, in part:

"The Supreme Court went along with school officials, saying the "legal controversy" exemption applied because litigation was likely at the time the investigation took place.

"What kind of reasoning is this? One of the dissenting judges warned that the ruling 'essentially creates a public nondisclosure act, turning the act inside out so that documents are withheld from the public unless the public can demonstrate that no remotely connected litigation exists, past, present or future.'

"If authorities had previously chipped away at the Open Records Act, this ruling blasts a tunnel through the heart of it. It will just encourage government agencies to ask lawyers to prepare documents and attend meetings so they can claim attorney-client privilege.

"That's happening already, says Toby Nixon, a former legislator and president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. And it's an ominous trend, he warns: 'Keeping all communication between agencies and their attorneys secret is a recipe for bad and unaccountable decision-making and for potential corruption.'"