State Senators propose better access to lobbyist reports

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state senators want everyone to have better access to lobbyist reports.

A group of lawmakers led by Republican Sen. Joe Fain proposed a bill Thursday that would require lobbyists to pay a $200 annual fee to fund the development of electronic reporting system. Detailed lobbyist reports are currently filed on paper, making it difficult to track details such as which lawmakers they are taking out to restaurants.

The new bill in the Senate is similar to an idea proposed in the past by Democratic Rep. Jim Moeller.

The Associated Press and a consortium of public radio stations such as KUOW and KPLU coordinated over three weeks last year to get a glimpse into how often lobbyists provide free meals to lawmakers. Over a four-month span, the state's 50 most active lobbyists pampered legislators with hundreds upon hundreds of meals, totaling a projected value of more than $65,000.