District 19 Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, will push to end title-only bills this legislative session. The type of legislation is also known as “ghost bills.”
The tactic — introducing bills without content, amended later in the process — has been heavily criticized, including by major newspaper editorial boards, as limiting transparency and public participation.
Bills have also been introduced in the past to put an end to the practice.
“While this is my first legislative session, I am familiar with title-only bills. As I followed the Legislature the last few years, it received a lot of media attention, and rightfully so,” McEntire said in a press release. “This is about ensuring our citizens have access and opportunity to provide input on legislation before it is passed.”
House Bill 1324 is co-sponsored by fellow Republican Rep. Jesse Young, of Gig Harbor, and says that title-only bills “contribute to a culture of opacity that undercuts the public trust” — trust that is even more important during a mostly-virtual session, McEntire said. In addition to prohibiting title-only bills, committees would also be required to give more public notice before holding a public hearing or making major amendments to a bill, unless doing so receives a two-thirds majority vote of the committee where the bill is pending.
The bill is not yet scheduled for a public hearing.