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42.17A.550  <<  42.17A.555 >>   42.17A.560

RCW 42.17A.555

Use of public office or agency facilities in campaigns — Prohibition — Exceptions.

No elective official nor any employee of his or her office nor any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition. Facilities of a public office or agency include, but are not limited to, use of stationery, postage, machines, and equipment, use of employees of the office or agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the office or agency, and clientele lists of persons served by the office or agency. However, this does not apply to the following activities:

     (1) Action taken at an open public meeting by members of an elected legislative body or by an elected board, council, or commission of a special purpose district including, but not limited to, fire districts, public hospital districts, library districts, park districts, port districts, public utility districts, school districts, sewer districts, and water districts, to express a collective decision, or to actually vote upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance, or to support or oppose a ballot proposition so long as (a) any required notice of the meeting includes the title and number of the ballot proposition, and (b) members of the legislative body, members of the board, council, or commission of the special purpose district, or members of the public are afforded an approximately equal opportunity for the expression of an opposing view;

     (2) A statement by an elected official in support of or in opposition to any ballot proposition at an open press conference or in response to a specific inquiry;

     (3) Activities which are part of the normal and regular conduct of the office or agency.

     (4) This section does not apply to any person who is a state officer or state employee as defined in RCW 42.52.010.

[2010 c 204 § 701; 2006 c 215 § 2; 1979 ex.s. c 265 § 2; 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 112 § 6; 1973 c 1 § 13 (Initiative Measure No. 276, approved November 7, 1972). Formerly RCW 42.17.130.]

Notes:

     Finding -- Intent -- 2006 c 215: "(1) The legislature finds that the public benefits from an open and inclusive discussion of proposed ballot measures by local elected leaders, and that for twenty-five years these discussions have included the opportunity for elected boards, councils, and commissions of special purpose districts to vote in open public meetings in order to express their support of, or opposition to, ballot propositions affecting their jurisdictions.

     (2) The legislature intends to affirm and clarify the state's long-standing policy of promoting informed public discussion and understanding of ballot propositions by allowing elected boards, councils, and commissions of special purpose districts to adopt resolutions supporting or opposing ballot propositions." [2006 c 215 § 1.]

     Disposition of violations before January 1, 1995: "Any violations occurring prior to January 1, 1995, of any of the following laws shall be disposed of as if chapter 154, Laws of 1994 were not enacted and such laws continued in full force and effect: *RCW 42.17.130, chapter 42.18 RCW, chapter 42.21 RCW, and chapter 42.22 RCW." [1994 c 154 § 226.]

     *Reviser's note: RCW 42.17.130 was recodified as RCW 42.17A.555 pursuant to 2010 c 204 § 1102, effective January 1, 2012.