Republican letters to Gov. Jay Inslee

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Throughout the 2020 interim, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, legislative Republicans sent Gov. Inslee and other government officials more than 30 letters. In these letters, legislative Republicans: requested changes to – and clarifications on – the governor’s orders; provided ideas on how to safely re-open the state economy; and advocated for the rights of Washingtonians. Due to election-year restrictions, Republican state representatives were not allowed to discuss these letters and their efforts in legislative communications (email updates, news releases, videos and telephone town halls) from May 11 through November 3.

Below are letters that some or all Republican state representatives signed on to and were sent to the governor and other government officials.

Jan. 22, 2021

State agencies/employers

We are not recommending or condoning our employers and employees defy the public health guidelines. It is simply a matter of educating and guiding those who are trying to do right by their business, employees and communities. Most want to do the right thing, yet they may need education, flexibility or financial assistance from their state government instead of instilling a sense of fear.

Jan. 15, 2021

Opposition to latest reopening plan

We are watching people suffer and families collapse, while depression, mental illness, suicide attempts, domestic violence, substance abuse, bankruptcies, and financial collapse are all on the rise. Our current path is not working, let our most capable electees from all around this state participate. We can protect our people, keep them safe from the virus and get people working. The citizens of this state deserve nothing less.

Jan. 11, 2021

Vaccine guidance for school employees

We urge you to revise your recent guidance so that all school employees who wish to get a vaccination can receive one in February as part of Phase 1B2.

Dec. 31, 2020

Homelessness crisis

Our state needs common-sense, sustainable solutions that break the cycle of homelessness, restore our communities, and protect our environment. We have been ready – for months – to come together at a moment’s notice to work on meaningful solutions for our state’s residents, communities, and businesses. We again ask for a renewed dialogue and approach on this critical issue. Hopefully you stand ready with the same commitment.

Dec. 1, 2020

Gyms and fitness facilities

We believe it makes no sense to penalize a sector that, according to data and studies, has not been a source of COVID-19 infections. The industry has proven it can safely provide a valuable service to the public during the pandemic.

Aug. 7, 2020

Bowling centers

Over the years, we have lost two of the three bowling centers – please take action to help assure we do not lose our only remaining center in Longview – or anywhere else in our state.

July 28, 2020

Temporary worker housing

Our concern is that growers are required to attempt to comply with the underlying rules, which took effect almost immediately, while waiting for L&I and DOH to review and approve these requests for variances. An expedited emergency rule requires an expedited review and approval process for these variances. We strongly encourage you to commit the staff resources and necessary authority to speed up this approval process.

June 5, 2020

Request for ESD audit

Based on the concerns I have outlined above, I am writing this letter to call for a formal audit of ESD to determine where the process broke down and to seek recommendations as how to correct the issues.

May 29, 2020

Special session

Our state government works best when all branches work together. The legislative branch, as a whole, has remained on the sidelines while you exercised your emergency authority. It is time for that to change.

May 26, 2020

Point Roberts

I am writing today asking you to give special consideration and priority to Point Roberts in Whatcom County in your Phased reopening guidelines.

May 11, 2020

AG William Barr

Our great concerns are: 1) that the COVID-19 outbreak has become – as many public health experts predicted – a lingering, chronic phenomenon; and 2) that our Governor’s erratic use of the extraordinary powers granted by the people will also linger, causing damage to the people’s constitutional rights and well-being far beyond the intended scope of our state law.

May 8, 2020

Data privacy

We look forward to receiving information you can provide on this topic and a more complete understanding of any personal data privacy issues that may arise in the context of our state COVID-19 response.

May 7, 2020

Telehealth

While we must not lose focus on our public health and the economy, it is a quality of life issue for those who are not able to receive the mental health services that they need. I am requesting on behalf of them and their loved ones that telehealth waivers be granted to out of state providers.

May 5, 2020

Whitman County

Please reconsider your decision and allow Whitman County to also apply for a variance so it can finally, if slowly, start its reopening process.

May 1, 2020

Decentralize and recover

We have capable elected officials and staff ideally situated in each county to take much of this tactical level decision making off your shoulders and allow you and your staff to focus on higher level strategy. We believe it is time to let them do just that.

April 30, 2020

Religious services

Churches, temples, and other religious institutions should be allowed to develop congregation-specific operational plans under the general guidelines already in place.

April 27, 2020

Agriculture

Please reconsider these draft rules and revise them so that we can have safety while providing the labor, wages and food needed to keep Washington’s economy going.

April 27, 2020

Bunk bed regulation

Farmers need flexibility to establish safe workplaces, not prescriptive regulations.

April 22, 2020

State lands

I am writing today asking you to open up our state lands to the public. Most outdoor activities can be done in a safe manner. It also provides mental health benefits for the people of our state.

April 21, 2020

Building codes

This is not the time to institute expensive difficult codes that will discourage the building of homes at an affordable price point.

April 20, 2020

Economic recovery

At a time when it feels like people are growing further apart, let’s come together and put Washingtonians back to work and begin our economic recovery.

April 20, 2020

Elected officials’ salaries

At a time when so many are unemployed, it makes no sense for elected officials to be granted a raise. The foregoing of scheduled increases would allow the savings to be directed to higher and better priorities of protecting programs for the most needy in our state.

April 17, 2020

Safe Economic Restart

We propose three sets of actions to enable the safe restart of Washington’s economy and promote its continued recovery over the long term. The earliest of these would focus on sectors that can return to safe operations with minimal risk to workers or customers, while giving hope to employers statewide that they will be able to follow suit.

April 17, 2020

Pet groomers

We propose three sets of actions to enable the safe restart of Washington’s economy and promote its continued recovery over the long term. The earliest of these would focus on sectors that can return to safe operations with minimal risk to workers or customers, while giving hope to employers statewide that they will be able to follow suit.

April 17, 2020

Antibodies testing

Antibody testing is therefore essential to getting Washingtonians back to work and accelerating what is already sure to be a long economic recovery.

April 16, 2020

Supply chain workforce

Please consider widening the role of CDL schools and State Driver’s License Agencies on the list of essential businesses, to allow the training of new CDL drivers to ensure a robust supply chain workforce.

April 2, 2020

Faith-based organizations

We also respectfully ask that you amend your order and designate faith-based organizations as a critical sector (essential workforce).

April 1, 2020

Boys & Girls Clubs

Executive authority is required to provide this organization with immediate financial assistance to continue their operations.

March 31, 2020

Residential construction

Therefore, we respectfully ask that if you decide to extend the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that you adopt the new DHS designations and reclassify residential construction as an essential service.

March 27, 2020

Licensed firearm dealers

Given this new information, and in the interest of being consistent with the federal list, we ask you to also update Washington’s list by designating licensed firearms dealers as essential businesses.

March 27, 2020

Recreational fishing

We would ask you to consider adding recreational fishing to your list of allowable essential activities under Stay Home—Stay Healthy.