Governor signs Rep. Stephanie Barnard-sponsored bill into law

The governor recently signed House Bill 1645 into law. Under the measure, counties may hold regular meetings outside of their county seat once per calendar month or quarter.

Rep. Stephanie Barnard, R-Pasco, sponsored HB 1645, a change requested by Benton County commissioners unable to host meetings in the more populous areas of Kennewick and Richland.

“This bill makes a small change that will have a big impact. It’s about people. Now there will be more opportunities for community members to take part in these meetings,” said Barnard. “That’s important because to do our jobs effectively, elected officials need to hear directly from the people they represent.”

County authorities are responsible for the short and long-range policy goals for the county government and its residents. Constituents taking part in county-level meetings can make their concerns and comments known about a variety of local governmental issues.

Barnard noted that the primary aim of her bill was about civic engagement, giving more people — especially those with limited time or access to transportation — the chance to attend county-level meetings.

“By holding these meetings in more populated areas, more people can attend. More access means more participation. I’m excited to have facilitated this change in the law.”

HB 1645 will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the 2023 session.


Washington State House Republican Communications