HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 98-4744, by Representative Lisk

     BE IT RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives establishes the following policy guidelines applicable to publications of the House of Representatives:

     1.  DEFINITIONS.  For these purposes, "publications" include all communications with a person or entity other than the House of Representatives, its members and employees, made in writing, by facsimile, by video or audio recording or electronically.  "Publications" include, but are not limited to letters, newsletters, press releases, brochures, web pages, newsnet and usenet postings, videos, audio recordings, meeting announcements, reports, speech notes, and talking points.

     2.  CONTENT RESTRICTIONS.  All publications produced at public expense by the House of Representatives, must comply with the following content restrictions:

     A.  TONE AND TENOR.  All publications must use language that, in tone and tenor, is respectful of other legislators and the legislative process.  Language is not permitted in publications that would be unacceptable if expressed in floor debate.  Full and open debate of legislative issues necessarily involves criticism of views.  Publications may contain language criticizing measures and attacking arguments, but may not include language attacking those who hold those views or make those arguments.  Language in publications may not include harsh expressions about other members, must avoid personalities, and may not impute or impugn motives.  See House Rule 16(H) and Reeds Parliamentary Rules, Rule 212.

     B.  RELEVANCY.  All publications must be relevant to the process, activities, issues, business, or duties that are part of the normal and regular conduct of the House and its members.  The following rules are intended to guide decisions regarding relevancy:

     (1) Publications on legislation and legislative issues.  (a) Publications related to legislation and legislative issues intended for distribution during a session must be focused toward specific legislation pending before the current session. 

     (b) Publications related to legislation and legislative issues intended for distribution when the legislature is not in session must be focused toward legislation from the immediately preceding session or issues anticipated for the next session.

     (c) Research publications, commonly referred to as "white papers" or "issue research," are not subject to these restrictions as long as the publication is objective and relevant to providing objective information on public policy issues.

     (2) References to elections that directly or indirectly imply desired or expected future election results, or reflect on the implications of past election results other than ballot measure results, are prohibited.  References to election results that are not relevant to legislation or legislative issues in accordance with this section are prohibited.  References to ballot measure elections that violate the opinions and decisions of the Legislative Ethics Board and RCW 42.52.180 are prohibited.

     (3) Slogans.  Slogans that promote individual legislators are not permitted.

     (4) Publications of a personal nature.  Publications of a personal nature are not permitted, except in accordance with opinions and decisions of the Legislative Ethics Board.

     C.  GENERAL COMPLIANCE.  All publications must comply with opinions of the Legislative Ethics Board, Standards of Conduct Regarding Use of Public Facilities, and such policies and guidelines for House of Representatives publications found in the House Procedures and Guidelines for Publications and Mailings and as may be adopted by the House Executive Rules Committee, including but not limited to format and materials restrictions, and restrictions on the use of photographs.

     3.  CAUCUS MAILING AND PUBLICATION RESTRICTIONS.  Other than routine office correspondence, caucus publications prepared for distribution to the general public are not permitted.

     4.  COSTS.  Costs of all publications by members will be charged to the production, printing, and postage allowances set in accordance with RCW 42.52.185(4) by the House Procedures and Guidelines for Publications and Mailings.


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