An Act Relating to Legislative Transparency Model Language

The Washington Policy InstituteMarch 15, 2011

An Act Relating to Legislative Transparency
Model Language

The Legislature finds that transparency and public disclosure in the legislative process is vital to a representative democracy and that the purpose of public hearings is to respectfully hear from the public so that citizens are provided the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to state law. It is the intent of the Legislature, therefore, to provide adequate notice before public hearings or votes so that citizens are able to participate in the legislative process in a meaningful way.
This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Legislative Transparency Act."
(1) All bills introduced, and any proposed substitute, striking amendment, or conference committee report thereon, must be made publicly available to the members of the Legislature and the public at least seventy-two hours before such a bill is eligible for a public hearing, is eligible for legislative action, or is eligible to be voted on by the senate or the house of representatives.

(2) At least seventy-two hours notice shall be given of all public hearings held by any legislative committee. Such notice shall contain the date, time and place of such hearing together with the title and number of each bill, or identification of the subject matter, to be considered at such hearing.

(3) No bill shall be eligible for legislative action of any kind unless it has first been subject to a public hearing in the same session of consideration. 

(4) No bill shall be eligible for legislative action on the floor of either the senate or house of representatives until forty-eight hours after it has been placed on the floor calendar.

(5) No bill shall be eligible for final passage in either house of the Legislature unless copies of the bill, in the final form to be passed, have been made available to the members of that house of the Legislature and the public for at least twenty-four hours.

(6) This section may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to the house of the Legislature in which it is pending, and every individual consideration of a bill or action suspending this section must be recorded in the journal of the respective house of the Legislature.

No bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.  No bill shall be eligible for public hearing or legislative consideration of any kind unless the bill shall lay forth in full the changes to any act or sections of law. Title only bills shall be prohibited.

Filed Under : Transparency

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