House and Senate Republicans are working on legislation for the 2021 session in January that would revamp the governor’s emergency powers. They’re frustrated Governor Inslee has ignored their repeated requests for a special session to provide input to the coronavirus restrictions and funding for relief during the COVID shutdown. Washington House Republicans’ John Sattgast reports.
SATTGAST: Republicans leaders in the House and Senate feel the Legislature has been sidelined as the governor has continued for nearly nine months to issue emergency proclamations that have crippled the economy with little relief during the pandemic. During a virtual press conference Friday, House Republican Leader Representative J.T. Wilcox said reforms are needed to ensure the Legislature is involved, especially if a state of emergency lasts longer than 30 days.
WILCOX: “If a state of emergency is going to be continued past a certain date or longevity, then the Legislature should be called in. And we now know that we can do a virtual session of the Legislature. And the Legislature should be involved in decisions regarding whether or not we are going to have a state of emergency that doesn’t really have a clear end.”
SATTGAST: Only the governor or a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate can call a special session. So far, Governor Inslee has refused to do so, supported by majority Democrats in both chambers. Wilcox worries some small businesses in Washington might not survive before the Legislature meets in regular session starting January 11th.
John Sattgast, the state Capitol.