Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you are well and finding some positives as we continue wading through this pandemic. Session has ended and unfortunately, we are still operating under a state of emergency, with no end in sight.
I signed onto a bipartisan letter to the governor this week calling for standard and uniform movement of counties through the reopening plan. The letter comes after the governor's decision to pause movement in the Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan.
This decision was good news for counties that were failing both metrics and expected to be rolled back. However, the governor disregarded the Roadmap to Recovery plan for an additional two weeks and created some perceived differences as to how counties can move through phases.
King, Kitsap, Lewis, Pacific, Skagit, and Snohomish counties were failing BOTH metrics as of April 25, yet they have been given a reprieve. However, Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman counties were not provided that same consideration when they were rolled back earlier in April. Tuesday's decision damages both our confidence and our communities.
While I did sign onto this letter, I had reservations because I question why the majority party didn't place limits on the governor's emergency powers when it could have made a difference? I am saddened that we did not vote to exercise our authority over the governor's emergency powers during the legislative session. We had plenty of opportunities to do so.
Republican lawmakers introduced several bills to give more power to the Legislature during declared emergencies. House Bill 1557, which was a bipartisan effort, would cause a state of emergency to expire after 60 days unless extended by the Legislature and it would allow the Legislature to terminate a state of emergency on its own authority.
This is not a partisan issue and several Democrats expressed similar concerns, yet when it was time to vote none of them crossed party lines.
These bills were not aimed at limiting the power of a Democrat governor. They were designed to give the Legislature a voice in the decision-making process, which is how our state government should be run. The Legislature represents you and your voice should be considered.
For more than 14 months, we've been living under the governor's declared state of emergency. During that time, restrictions placed on counties across our state, and other decisions of this magnitude, have been made by the executive branch alone.
This letter calling for a more uniform process to move through reopening phases is reasonable and a good step, but why didn't we do more when we had the chance? Unfortunately, it's too little, too late.
I look forward to meeting in-person during our next session and I am hoping for bi-partisan efforts to solve problems. My district and Pierce County will benefit if we all work together.
It's an honor to serve you,