House approves Haler bill that would clear the way for joint county meetings
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A measure that would allow two or more counties to hold joint meetings and vote on issues of mutual concern cleared the House of Representatives Wednesday. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.
Sattgast: It’s less than a six-and-a-half mile drive from the Benton County Courthouse annex in Kennewick across the Columbia River to the Franklin County Courthouse in Pasco. Both counties share much of the same issues. And many people think of the Tri-Cities as a single regional metropolitan area. But under state law, the commissioners from the two counties cannot meet together to discuss issues of mutual interest or benefit.
So 8th District Representative Larry Haler has proposed a bill that would let the county commissioners meet and work together. The Richland Republican made his case for the measure Wednesday on the House floor.
Haler: “The attorney general also made an opinion on this that the only way we could resolve this issue where two county commissions could not meet together, according to his interpretation of the law, was to pass a bill here. And this is the bill. This will allow county commissioners on adjoining counties to meet in session, as long as it is an open public meeting. And they can also take a vote as long as you have a quorum that is necessary.”
Sattgast: Haler says constituents could be served more efficiently and effectively if adjoining counties with similar interests are allowed to work together. The measure passed the House unanimously. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
John Sattgast, Olympia.
###Washington State House Republican Communications
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