Rep. Jim Walsh releases statement on ending the use of title-only bills

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, released the following statement regarding ending the use of title-only bills, also referred to as “ghost bills,” which bypass the public's right to scrutinize legislation.

The Aberdeen lawmaker has prefiled House Bill 2190 for the 2020 session which would require legislation to be introduced at least 72 hours prior to a public hearing or action taken by the Legislature.

Walsh says transparency is a bipartisan issue that should have strong support from both sides of the aisle.

“As recent media events have shown, the issue of title-only or 'ghost' bills is of great importance to the people of Washington state. Running bills with a title but no content is a shady practice. It's the opposite of transparency. And it's an insult to the people of this state, who expect to have the chance to see legislation before it's passed.

“Getting rid of ghost bills isn't a partisan issue. All sides have used them in the past. But, in the last legislative session, some of the most controversial tax hikes—pushed through Olympia after midnight—did, in fact, start out as title-only bills. The people are sick of this practice. It must stop.

“My bill to end the use of title-only legislation assures transparency in our state's lawmaking. I ask House Speaker-designate Laurie Jinkins, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Governor Inslee to join me in standing for good government and the people's right to know what's in their laws. Please help House Bill 2190 move through the legislative process quickly and properly—so this common-sense reform becomes law as soon as possible.”

The 2020 session, scheduled for 60 days, begins Monday, Jan. 13.


Washington State House Republican Communications