The coronavirus issue dominated the end of the 2020 legislative session and has escalated since lawmakers left Olympia on March 12th. Leaders from both parties are working together on plans to protect the public and the state’s economy. Washington House Republicans’ John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: The hundreds of people who were at the state Capitol are gone. The hallways are empty. But the threat of the coronavirus to Washington state demands no rest as legislative leaders, Governor Inslee, his cabinet and state agencies try to decide how best to protect the public from the pandemic.
House Republican Leader Representative J.T. Wilcox says it’s a critical time to put aside partisan differences and come together with other leaders as one Washington. . .
WILCOX: “We’re communicating well. And we just have to be a team here. This is not Republicans or Democrats right now. This is the Washington team trying to do the best thing for public health and for the economy, all at the same time.”
SATTGAST: Wilcox says protecting the public’s health is most important, but he’s also making sure leaders in Olympia and lawmakers across the state don’t forget about the small businesses that are the heartbeat of Washington’s economy.
WILCOX: “We don’t hear a lot of talk about small business or about people that are simply self-employed. And these are among the most vulnerable in this economic slowdown right now.”
SATTGAST: Through conference calls with other House Republican lawmakers, Wilcox says everyone is concerned and willing to help. He adds it may be too soon for a special session to address newly-arising needs from the COVID-19 crisis. But Wilcox doesn’t rule it out if the $200 million committed during the legislative session doesn’t go far enough, including the possibility to provide tax relief.
WILCOX : “We’re going to have to, as a government, be very responsive to changing facts and changing needs on the part of the people of Washington.”
SATTGAST: In the meantime, Wilcox encourages employers and families to find information and resources they need on this website: HouseRepublicans.wa.gov/coronavirus. John Sattgast, Olympia.