Key hearing to be held in legislative records case

Washington state teacher settles discrimination suit

A key hearing will be held on a public records lawsuit filed against the Washington Legislature by a coalition of news organizations.

After several weeks of cross motions being filed in the case, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese is holding a summary judgment hearing at 1:30 p.m Friday.

The coalition, led by The Associated Press, sued in September. The news organizations are challenging state lawmakers’ assertion they are excluded from stricter disclosure rules that apply to other elected officials and agencies.

The lawsuit focuses on how the Legislature interprets a 1995 revision to a 1971 definition of legislative records. Lawyers for the House and Senate regularly cite that change as a reason to withhold records, arguing that most lawmaker records – including calendars and text messages – are not considered public.