Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Since my last newsletter, many of you have shared concerns regarding the governor’s unlimited broad authority and whether it is constitutional. While I share these concerns, to date broad emergency powers such as those found in our state laws, have largely gone unchallenged. To pass a law that would limit the governor’s authority would require a vote by the legislature during a legislative session – which I am absolutely in favor of! I support a process that would require additional legislative involvement with the governor’s decision making if an emergency lasted beyond a certain period of time.
While the governor’s powers may change in the future, my immediate focus is to work as hard as I can to get Governor Inslee to change his current course. I have long-thought that a regional type of reopening could be done safely. While I do not believe that a state-wide shut down should continue, I am grateful that there is a process where counties with fewer than 75,000 residents can apply to the state Department of Health to reopen sooner. While I support the opportunity for these counties to open, I believe counties such as Spokane and Okanogan possess the tools to safely reopen for business as well.
While the governor has complete authority in state law regarding his stay home orders without legislative involvement, I won’t give up until our freedom to work, worship and get back to life are restored! In the beginning, I agreed that “temporary” actions were necessary to ensure that hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Now that we have more data, it is clear that a large majority of the state has exceeded the original goal. There is no rhyme or reason for so many counties and communities throughout the state to continue to be shut down. I have faith that local residents, businesses, and community leaders can move forward safely.