Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, introduced a bill that would allow for disciplinary action for state officials and employees who knowingly provide false or misleading testimony to the state Legislature. The 19th District lawmaker says it should be illegal for a state agency employee to present false testimony.
“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. “Employees of state agencies who knowingly present false information to a legislative committee should be fired.”
House Bill 2414 would clarify that the violation must be done knowingly. If it is determined a state agency employee has given false information to the Legislature, they can be terminated from employment.
“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,” continued Walsh. “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.”
Walsh’s bill has been referred to the House State Government, Elections and Information Technology Committee, where it awaits a public hearing.
The 2018 legislative session will begin Jan. 8 and run for 60 consecutive days.