Time To End Inslee’s Emergency Powers
When is enough enough? That's what a number of Washington State Republican legislators want to know. How long can Democrat Governor Jay Inslee hold on to his "emergency powers" to basically run the state like a dictator.
Over the past year on KIT's Morning News radio show we have continually asked most of the electeds in the 13th, 14th & 15th District as well as our County Commissioners and City Councilors about the expiration date of the Governor's emergency pandemic superpowers. The answer is almost always the same - it's partisan and it's complicated. So far, the Democrat majority seems content to let the Democrat Governor call all the shots.
Conservatives say the state runs better when the voice of the local people is represented at the table, instead of just the Governor and an inner circle of advisors making unilateral decisions about Coronavirus criteria for moving through phases of restrictions, getting businesses back to work and getting life back to as close to normal as reasonable care allows.
The trouble is England's Sir John Dalberg-Acton was right when he said "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men...". Once you have that "It's an EMERGENCY - set aside the rules -I'm in charge now" kind of authority, it's hard to give it up.
We have seen courts in some states like Wisconsin and Michigan push back on decisions made by their governors for being unconstitutional in that they usurped powers that should belong to the legislatures.
But what are the chances of that happening here? I say about Fat or None which are the same, BUT, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. 15th Dist. State Representative Jeremie Dufault shared with us a letter sent to members of State Republican leadership which essentially says, "hey gang, enough is enough and it's time to end the Emergency Declaration that put the state reins entirely in Jay Inslee's hands. Here is the actually content of the letter.
"We are writing to request your immediate assistance and attention to ending the governor’s state of emergency concerning COVID-19. We are now more than one year past the date when Gov. Inslee issued his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order on March 23, 2020.
Thankfully, we have been seeing trends move in the right direction. Case numbers have been in decline, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are down, schools have started in-person learning again, and last week restaurants, theatres, indoor and outdoor sports venues moved to 50% re-opening capacity.
We are encouraged by these steps and the course we are on to fully return to normal. The people of Washington have been telling us they are ready to get back to living life to the fullest. We are at an important point in this journey and need to ensure our ability as elected leaders to deliver on their request.
There is less than one month left of the 2021 legislative session. For the reasons above, we are asking you as our Senate and House leaders to prioritize and take action to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration before this session ends. We are here to support your efforts and work on behalf of our constituents. It’s time we truly move forward and together ensure a strong future for Washington. "
Will Republican leadership act to the encouragement? Will it make any difference if they do? Will anyone on the left break ranks and join? Tick Tock....
Newly elected County Commissioner Amanda McKinney said it best. Paraphrased, she said something like an emergency is a short term acute event which may require special powers to enable quick action and triage. A crises is something different. It is a serious problem but can be managed under existing procedures. The Pandemic was an emergency and it has caused a crises but is no longer an emergency - it can be managed. Time for the people's elected representatives to get back to work managing the pandemic for the betterment of all.