Governor’s Office agrees to pay $70,000 to BIAW to settle public records lawsuit

The State Building Code Council has been the focus of recent controversy with its moves to ban natural gas in new commercial buildings.
The State Building Code Council has been the focus of recent controversy with its moves to ban natural gas in new commercial buildings.

The State Building Code Council has been the focus of recent controversy with its moves to ban natural gas in new commercial buildings

Jason Mercier
Washington Policy Center

The Governor’s Office recently agreed to settle a public records lawsuit with the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) by paying the trade group $70,000. The settlement was first reported by Center Square. According to the settlement agreement signed on April 5:

“Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Governor’s Office will pay $70,000, inclusive of all penalties, costs, and fees, to BIAW to resolve the Public Records Act lawsuit.

The Governor’s Office does not concede error in either the State Building Code Council lawsuit or the Public Records Act lawsuit. The Plaintiffs to both the State Building Code Council and the Public Records Act lawsuits acknowledge that the Governor’s Office did not act in bad faith in making the appointments at issue and in responding to BIAW’s Public Records Act request.”

In a press release announcing the settlement BIAW said:

“The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) and the Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC) and others have agreed to resolve a legal dispute with Gov. Jay Inslee over his handling of appointments last summer to the Building Code Council.

Under the settlement announced today, the two members of the Building Code Council the governor appointed will resign. Then the governor must replace them with nominees from BIAW and AGC. The governor’s office must also pay BIAW $70,000 in connection with a separate Public Records Act lawsuit.”

The State Building Code Council has been the focus of recent controversy with its moves to ban natural gas in new commercial buildings. The move to ban natural gas is occurring without direct legislative approval. As reported by KING 5:

“Sen. Lynda Wilson, a Republican and non-voting member on the council, said the decision should have been up to legislators, not council members appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat. 

‘I’m very frustrated with the fact that it was the Building Code Council that decided this,’ said Wilson, R-Vancouver. ‘They are unelected and unaccountable to the public.’”

Also on the agenda for the State Building Code Council is a proposal to ban natural gas in new residential construction as well.  

Jason Mercier is the director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center.

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