Last week Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-15, Sunnyside) stormed out of a meeting of the Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee to protest multiple bills coming up for executive session when they were not previously listed on the committee's agenda. "Again, no time to prepare," Honeyford said before leaving the hearing. The Washington Policy Center's Jason Mercier has picked up on the story and on Friday wrote a post that included a letter Honeyford sent earlier in the week to senate majority leader Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) expressing his continued frustration:
The lack of consideration for the public and minority party was so prevalent that the ranking member left before the meeting ended, having had more than he could tolerate . . .

SB 5815 is the most egregious example, but not only because of the surprise public hearing and vote that followed immediately. Even though none of us or the general public knew the bill would be heard, two county officials were present to testify in support of the measure. How that happened we can only guess, but is suggests an unseemly sort of collusion that again shut the public out of the process . . .

We certainly had hoped this session would not bring more of the surprise public hearings, votes on 'ghost' bills and other tactics that prompted responses such as Senate Bill 5419, which would mandate specific notice and waiting periods before legislative action. However, the EWE committee's proceedings were not only reminiscent of what we saw in 2009 and 2010 but also did not represent, as your Monday blog put it, 'working honestly together.'"

According to the Washington Policy Center's post, Brown has not yet given  Honeyford an explanation or response.

Honeyford objected again during Thursday's meeting of the Senate Ways & Means committee, where a bill to shut down TransAlta's coal plant came up for a hearing even though it hadn't been on that day's agenda. Committee chair Ed Murray (D-43) responded to Honeyford by saying that he was moving the bill up from Friday's agenda. Murray ultimately relented and scheduled an additional hearing on Friday but still continued with Thursday's hearing on the bill.

Honeyford isn't the first to complain about a lack of legislative transparency this session. In early February we highlighted a bill by Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10) that would have required driver's license applicants to prove they were in the US legally. Opponents felt the bill was rushed under the radar without the required five-day notice.

We have a call in to Murray's office.
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