Islanders travel to Olympia to testify about UAC measure

A bill that would exempt King County’s Unincorporated Area Councils from having to comply with the requirements of the state’s Public Records Act unanimously passed out of one Senate committee and headed to another on Monday.

Senate Bill 5677, sponsored by Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island), was introduced earlier this month in response to what Nelson saw as a problem on Vashon, where all nine board members resigned from the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council last July due to concern about the impact of having to comply with the far-reaching Public Records Act.

Last week, four Islanders traveled to Olympia to testify about the measure before the Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee: Hilary Emmer and Dan Schueler argued in favor of Nelson’s measure, while Tom Bangasser and Tim Johnson — both current members of the community council’s board — argued against it.

Emmer also brought a written statement from former board member Kyle Cruver, who testified in favor of the bill. Emmer told the Senate committee that the demands of the act are onerous on an organization like Vashon’s community council.

“Many of us have jobs. We have no paid staff. We have no office,” she told them.

But Bangasser, calling the bill “seriously flawed,” said the legislation oversteps current laws “and would extend immunity for willful or criminal misconduct.” The bill is now before the Senate Rules Committee.

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