Serving Franklin County, WA

Governor's virus proclamations extended indefinitely

Senate, House concur in giving governor ability to continue relate orders

OLYMPIA – Following a state Senate vote, Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus-related orders will remain intact indefinitely.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 8402 passed the Senate along a partyline vote, 28-19, with the House concurring. Two Senators, both Democrats, were absent.

Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy, attempted to sunset the emergency on Jan. 27, but Democrats opposed the amendment.

And newly elected Sen. Perry Dozier, R-Walla Walla, attempted to amend the resolution to advance all counties to Phase 2 of the governor’s newest phased-in reopening plan, “Healthy Washington-Roadmap to Reopening,” on Jan. 18. Democrats blocked that effort as well.

Under the concurrent resolution, gubernatorial proclamations 20-15, 20-20, 20-23, 20-28, 20-30, 20-31, 20-32, 18 20-36, 20-41, 20-43, 20-44, 20-45, 20-48, 20-49, 20-51, 20-52, 20-56, 19 20-59, 20-64, 20-65, 20-66, 20-69, 20-74, 20-79, 20-82 and 20-84 will continue until such time as Gov. Inslee determines a state of emergency no longer exists or until he chooses to rescind a proclamation.

The proclamations limit public attendance at government meetings, extend certain coronavirus exemptions and continue the governor’s orders prohibiting indoor table services at restaurants and bars, and keep gymnasiums, movie theaters and other indoor activities shuttered. They also limit the number of people who can be inside retail and other businesses, and encourage professionals to work from home.

The resolution did include a provision that allows the Legislature, at any time, vote to rescind or revoke the indefinite extensions.

Outside of Olympia, some local governments are moving to reject the governor’s coronavirus-related edicts.

The city of Mossyrock previously declared an emergency does not exist and is allowing all businesses in the corporate limits to reopen.

And just this week, Yakima County commissioners approved a proclamation calling for an end to the lockdown, as well as an end to Gov. Inslee’s current effort to usurp county health authority and group the state’s 39 counties into eight regional health groups.

Nearby, Benton County Commissioner Will McKay of Kennewick and Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier are calling for the governor to allow local jurisdictions to determine appropriate local coronavirus measures.

Meanwhile, multiple restaurants, bars and gymnasiums are planning legal action against the governor, the state Department of Labor and Industries and the state Liquor and Cannabis Board in an effort to keep their businesses open.

Some are also fighting fines and licensing revocations ordered by state agencies intent on keeping inside services shuttered, even though business owners claim the agencies may not have the statutory authority to take action because of a virus.

And across the state, some shuttered businesses have gone to a speakeasy model, offering inside services to patrons they know and trust while giving an outward appearance of being closed.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Author photo

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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