No More! Yakima Rep. Says Time To End Governor’s Emergency Powers
House Bill 1772.
It should be unnecessary.
Can We Legislate Common Sense
It is common sense. It codifies doing business the way our government was designed to do in the first place, not only in Washington State but in the very founding of the country.
We the people are supposed to be governed by the trifecta structure - Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches of government. Each with specific duties and responsibilities, each with an important role to play with checks and balances on each other to ultimately ensure the best outcomes for the citizens.
Not Supposed To Work That Way
What happens when that breaks down? Do you want the Governor running the Supreme Court? (I'm sure he would like it but would we?) Do want the Speaker of the house, Laurie Junkins, running State Government. She received 54,770 votes from Washington's 27th legislative district which is basically northern Tacoma. Does that give her a mandate to govern the entire state? (NO)
Like him or not, 3-time elected Governor Jay Inslee received 2,294,243 votes or about 56% of the statewide total of over 4-million in the last election...a much broader voter approval base from which to govern. But even that isn't intended to grant the Governor unlimited, unchecked authority to control all aspects of life in Washington. (as is the case in the pandemic)
Unlimited Power Is Tyranical
Kings have that kind of power. Tyrants take, hold, and wield that kind of supreme authority. In some cases, in emergency situations, legislatures grant such authority to governors on a limited basis, in order for them to make the necessary, expedited, short-term, unilateral decisions to address the most pressing emergent needs.
But at some point, an emergency stops being an "emergency" and becomes a management issue and that's when the collected wisdom of the elected representatives of the people from 49 districts state-wide should be reintroduced to help in decision making and problem-solving.
Washington is one of only four states in the nation that hands over unilateral authority to the governor to declare and maintain a state of emergency. We are way past any definition of an emergency. Inslee is two years into his emergency powers and has no intention of voluntarily giving them up.
Both Parties Need To Support HB 1772
Yakima Representative Chris Corry's Bill, House Bill 1772 would give the governor 60 days of emergency control and then require the participation and consent of the legislature,
There must be limits. The framers of our state constitution never intended for the governor to wield the kind of power he’s maintained for more than 22 months now. Clearly, when quick action is needed, the executive branch must be able to respond. But when a state of emergency lasts for months or even years, it’s difficult to justify prolonged unilateral — nearly autocratic — authority by the executive branch,” said Corry. “The public must have a voice in how to move forward. That’s the job of the Legislature.
There is some Democratic support for the measure but will it be enough to pass or to override a veto by the Governor -- that remains to be seen.