Update from Olympia

“We must continue to push back” is my mantra. I recently admonished my colleagues for failing to take up a resolution that would have called the Legislature back into session. I’m hearing from constituents and people all over the region, from each end of the political spectrum, that what the governor is doing with these unilateral mandates is wrong.

Under my proposal, the Legislature should have called itself into a special session by Sept. 14, but the Senate Rules Committee had not met for a procedural vote. It’s unlikely that the governor would call a special session to curb his own emergency powers, but under the state constitution the Legislature can call itself into session

The House and Senate early this year adopted joint rules, which begins with a resolution submitted to the Senate Rules Committee, something that has never been done in state history.

We set up this process, but it seems that the majority party is more concerned with protecting the governor’s autocratic powers than representing the people. My constituents are clear that they want the Legislature to act to curb the governor’s vaccine mandates and emergency powers, and protect local control in schools and fix flawed police reform legislation. We can’t do that if the majority refuses to even get on the record.

It appears, however, that rules we just put in place are flawed by requiring a specific date for commencing a special session, with no timeline for when the Rules Committee must convene to vote. On Aug. 31, I sent the resolution for consideration, but legislative leaders have yet to respond.

I want the people I represent to know that I am doing everything in my power to make their voices heard on these issues. All we are seeing is obstruction and delay from the majority. It’s not just my district either. These issues aren’t partisan. My advice to people frustrated over the erosion of their civil liberties and our democracy is to contact Democratic legislators and urge them to support this special session effort.

This isn’t a debate about being pro or anti vaccine. Sadly, it seems we’ve lost the ability to have any rational discussion about these policy issues and how the state should be responding. I’m approaching this from a pro-freedom perspective. If people want to get the vaccines, they should. But the state shouldn’t coerce, force, or threaten people who choose not to. I’m deeply concerned what these mandates will do. While they are meant to reduce virus deaths, are they going to cause more deaths because of lack of nursing staff in hospitals or harm public safety?