things go around a lot of stuff comes through my e mail and I found this bit
that went to Fish Program's Jim Scott. Now it is about the open meetings act
and WDF&W's desire to usually ignore it. Back up to the Cabezon bit on the
North Coast or just the normal out of site negotiations with commercials. My PDRs produced a lot of documents with the
commercials more or less helping staff figure out there seasons. Again many feel this violates the open meeting
laws. Now it gets really interesting when you realize the same applies to
meetings with the Quinault Nation regarding setting seasons. So read away and
draw your own conclusions but I think WDF&W is about to have some more
So here is the C&P:
a news article about a judge's recent ruling citing the Liquor Control Board
for violations of the open meetings law by holding meeting with local officials
and stakeholders behind closed doors out of the public's view as it develops
WACs. My reading of the article finds the court ruling aligns with our
long-stated position that the Dept's historical used of "advisers"
and meetings with officials and advocates with a stated interest outside public
view while engaged in a rule making process is contrary to the standards of
transparency. I further point to the adoption of emergency rules at the
request of one or more of these "advisers" which has been a common
practice of the Department. Then, right beside those two actions comes
meetings, etc. behind closed doors with tribal co-managers wherein the public
is again blocked from view during the decision making process.
Since the Department has been delegated the decision authority on season
setting from the Commission, it is the decision making entity as were the
Liquor Control Board members in this instance and the ruling is applicable in
my view as follows:
All meetings of the governing body of a
public agency shall be open and public and all persons shall be permitted to
attend any meeting of the governing body of a public agency, except as
otherwise provided in this chapter.
(1) "Public agency" means:
(a) Any state board, commission, committee, department,
educational institution, or other state agency which is created by or pursuant
to statute, other than courts and the legislature;
(2) "Governing body" means the
multimember board, commission, committee, council, or other policy or
rule-making body of a public agency, or any committee thereof when the
committee acts on behalf of the governing body, conducts hearings, or takes
testimony or public comment.
When promogating policies, rules and setting seasons, it is my view that the
open meeting law applies the Director and Fish Program staff.
I only seek to share information of potential interest. No response to
this communication is requested.
Judge: Liquor board broke open meetings law
Associated PressNovember 3, 2014
SEATTLE — The
Washington Liquor Control Board broke the state's open public meetings law 17
times as it began working on rules for the recreational marijuana industry, a judge
Thurston County Superior Court Judge
Christine Schaller issued the ruling Friday in a case brought by Arthur West, a
critic of the legal pot law. The judge said that although the board broke the
law, it didn't take any actions at the meetings that would warrant throwing out
the marijuana rules it eventually adopted.
The meetings at issue came in the first three
months of 2013, soon after voters approved Initiative 502. As the three board
members — Sharon Foster, Chris Marr and Ruthann Kurose — traveled around the
state holding public hearings about the legal marijuana rules, they also
sometimes met quietly with local police, officials and prevention groups.
"In the early months following passage
of I-502, there were many questions about what legalization meant for local
communities," board spokesman Brian Smith said in an email Monday.
"When Board members traveled around the state to hold public forums, they
took time to meet with representatives of local government, law enforcement and
the prevention community, typically at their request. At these meetings, LCB
staff shared the proposed timeline for implementation, explained the process
the agency would use for gathering feedback and Board members listened to any
West said the private nature of the meetings
obscured the information the board was working with as it developed the rules,
which covered nearly every aspect of the new legal pot industry, from what
constitutes a serving size of marijuana to what sorts of security systems licensed
pot businesses must have.
"The rest of us didn't get to
participate in those meetings or find out what was said," West said.
The judge said she would hold a hearing later
this month about whether the board members broke the law knowingly.
If they did, the board members could each be
liable for penalties of $100 per violation, said Michele Earl-Hubbard, a
Seattle open-government attorney who is not involved in the case.
Judges around the state have been reluctant
to void actions taken by agencies over violations of the open meetings act,
"It doesn't incentivize anybody to
follow the law," she said.
Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/11/03/3467685_judge-liquor-board-broke-open.html?sp=/99/296/359/&rh=1#storylink=cpy
Posted on Thu, November 6, 2014
by Dave Hamilton