Bill Would Make Lying to Legislature Illegal for State Employees


What some might call a longstanding political tradition is on the chopping block in the Evergreen State thanks to a new bill from Rep. Jim Walsh.

Walsh, a Republican from Aberdeen, has introduced a bill that would pave the way for disciplinary action against state officials and employees who knowingly provide false or misleading testimony to the state Legislature.

“Different versions of this bill have been around Olympia for several years. I took some of the best pieces of those other versions and put them together, narrowed them down and tightly focused them on a specific charge,” said Walsh, in a press release. “Employees of state agencies who knowingly present false information to a legislative committee should be fired.”

House Bill 2414 stipulates that a violation would have to be provided knowingly in order to be eligible for punishment. However, if the the state determined that a violation was provided purposely the offending employee would be subject to termination.

“It stuns me that there is currently no existing law on this subject. It should be illegal for an employee or representative of a state agency to lie knowingly to the Legislature. My bill would sharpen the RCW language and make it explicit that those individuals can be terminated,” added Walsh in the release. “Of course, I hope that we won’t actually have to fire many people. This refinement of the law will act as a deterrent. Government employees will stick to the facts and the truth when they testify.”

HB 2414 has been referred to the House State Government, Elections and Information Technology Committee in advance of a public hearing. The 2018 legislative session began on Monday and will run for 60 consecutive days.