Lawmakers ask for end to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order

State GOP lawmakers sent a letter to top legislators this week asking for their help to get Gov. Jay Inslee to cool it with the State of Emergency.

Washington’s been under the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency protocols since March 23, 2020. The letter, authored by Rep. Vicki Kraft of Vancouver, requests assistance from across the aisle in pressuring Inslee to end the order before the legislature adjourns on April 25.

“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,” the letter states. “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.”

Kraft, who’s been critical of the expanded powers given to Washington’s executive branch during emergencies, said that a full year is too long to remain in a state of emergency.

The state’s executive powers are among the strongest in the country — current law allows Inslee to renew proclamations every 30 days with limited input from the legislature.

“It makes sense to allow the governor the ability to quickly respond to an emergency for a limited time, such as an earthquake, or when Mt. St. Helens erupted, or when wildfires consumed entire Eastern Washington communities,” Kraft said in a written statement. “However, nearly a year of power for one person to set state policies without the involvement of the people’s representatives is not the way our government is supposed to work.”

The letter was delivered to the Senate majority leader, the Senate Republican leader, the Speaker of the House and the House Republican leader. Twenty-three lawmakers cosigned.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, case counts have been creeping up since early March. The last week averaged 958 new cases diagnosed per day, compared to 678 cases per day the first week of the month.

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