A bill inspired by reporting of records in a Thurston County sexual harassment case has passed the House.
Attorneys who represented the county prosecutor's office originally denied requests by The Olympian for records regarding the costs of the case, which resulted in a $1.5 million settlement against the county. The records ultimately provided showed the total case costs were about $6 million, and Olympia Democratic Rep. Brendan Williams sponsored a bill that would require disclosure of attorneys' fees paid by government agencies.
House Bill 1897 was brought to the floor Monday evening but was delayed by what Williams said was a late attempt to amend the bill to exempt some charges from being made public.
"The insurance lobby had stepped forward with an amendment that I think substantively defeats the bill," Williams said Tuesday. "I looked at it and said I don't want to be culpable of defeating my own bill."
In the end, the amendment failed, and the bill passed 94-2 late Tuesday evening. It now goes to the Senate, where Williams said he still is looking for a sponsor to guide the bill through a committee hearing and to a final vote.
Adult homes closer to bargaining rights
The House on Wednesday approved a bill that would give adult family home operators bargaining rights with the state.
Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia, sponsored the bill, which is being sought by the Washington Federation of State Employees. The union represents the workers, who care for a small number of disabled adults in their homes and are paid for their services by the state.
"The size of adult family homes has conspired against their needs and conspired against the government response," Williams said.
The bill, HB 2111, is modeled after previous laws that have given similar bargaining rights to home-care workers and child-care workers, Williams said.
-- Adam Wilson