As the governor and the Department of Labor and Industries unveiled new plans for Washington’s reopening, the guidance on vaccinations and masks for businesses and employees was met with consternation. One city in the 31st Legislative District, represented by Sen. Phil Fortunato, went so far as to pass a resolution effectively making it a sanctuary against the new rules, taking a stance similar to legislation that Fortunato co-sponsored during the 2021 legislative session to prevent vaccine discrimination.
“I’m pleased that people are waking up to what exactly the government is doing with these rules,” said Fortunato, R-Auburn. “Since the majority was unwilling to protect the rights of workers and small business, local jurisdictions should step up to ensure their communities are inclusive and stop all forms of discrimination.”
Resolution No. 2937 was approved unanimously at a Tuesday Bonney Lake city council meeting. While acknowledging the municipality has no legal ability to waive rules or protect businesses from penalties, the city has drawn a line in the sand, calling for an end to all restrictions by June 30. The city also stated that it “opposes any government mandated requirements or restrictions on citizens to show proof of vaccination status in order to access local businesses, houses of worship, or cultural events…”
“It is important that we as citizens of Washington stop seeing each other as a danger. It is time to reclaim our personal responsibility, restore individual liberties, and empower our citizens,” said Bonney Lake Councilwoman Angela Ishmael. “We must reject the idea of vaccination segregation, and I’m thankful for the leadership and support from Senator Fortunato on these efforts. It is time to rebuild community again.”
Fortunato is calling for a possible special legislative session to address the onslaught of new rules that will drive a wedge in communities based on vaccination status.
“The rules put forward by Inslee and L&I are unworkable,” said Fortunato. “They are driving our state into a paranoid surveillance operation, pitting people against each other, and it must stop. What is being asked is a clear violation of people’s privacy and property rights. We can’t put people in a position of either losing their ability to conduct business or violate someone’s medical privacy.”
Under threat of fines and penalties, L&I’s new rules require employers to act as vaccine police, keeping written records of employee vaccination. During a webinar this past Tuesday, even L&I admitted the practices could put employers in “dangerous waters.”