Bill strips governor of power to appoint PDC members

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2014 5:40pm
  • Local News

Updated at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed former state legislator Katrina Asay of Milton to the Public Disclosure Commission on Jan. 16, according to a governor’s spokesman.

Asay, a Republican, will replace another Republican ex-lawmaker, Jim Clements, whose term on the commission ended in December 2012. Asay’s appointment takes effect Feb. 7.

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Legislation introduced today would let lawmakers rather than the governor choose who serves on the Public Disclosure Commission, the state board which tracks spending in political campaigns and by lobbyists.

Under Senate Bill 6323, the terms of current commissioners would end July 31 and they would be replaced by four new members appointed by lawmakers. Leaders of the Democrat and Republican caucuses in the House and Senate would each appoint one of the new members.

Those four commissioners would pick a fifth commissioner by Jan. 1 2015 and that person would serve as chairman.

The bill also proposes to change the length of commissioner terms from five years to four years and to allow them to serve more than one term. Current law restricts commissioners to serving a single five-year term.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Governmental Operations Committee.

It is not immediately clear what prompted Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, to introduce the legislation. Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, is one of its 10 co-sponsors.

As of this morning, Gov. Jay Inslee had not filled two vacancies on the five-member commission. Current law says vacant seats be filled by the governor within 30 days of the vacancy occurring.

One seat has been open since December 2012 when former commissioner Jim Clements of Selah departed. The other opening came this month after Barry Sehlin of Oak Harbor completed his term in December. Coincidentally, both are former state lawmakers.

Commissioners receive $100 for any day they work and can be reimbursed for travel.

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