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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 12, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Open Public Meetings Act

Amend to include punishments for violators

Next January, legislation should be introduced to amend RCW 42.30, the Open Public Meetings Act, to make it a gross misdemeanor (one year/$5,000) to violate that act [“City lawyer, state challenges council’s closed sessions,” page one, April 10].

Further, the threat of force or the use of force to violate that act should be a class C felony (five years/$10,000).

It should also be amended to make violations privately actionable, with punitive damages to to exceed nine times compensatory damages. Sovereign and limited immunity should be explicitly prohibited under the Open Public Meetings Act.

I’ve long considered that law to be toothless. Possibly criminal prosecution and losing one’s property would make it significantly more effective.

— Steven L. Kendall, Seattle

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