Republican letters to Gov. Jay Inslee
May 29, 2020
Call for a special session
- We are writing to ask you to schedule and convene a special session of the Legislature.
- Our state government works best when all branches work together. The legislative branch has, as a whole, remained on the sidelines while you exercised your emergency authority. It is time for that to change. Our caucus stands ready to continue working with your office and the executive branch in responding to this pandemic. We have no question, however, that the Legislature must now have a formal role in guiding our state’s recovery. To that end we have proposed a framework and guidelines for a special session and encourage you to consider them. We want to work in a collaborative fashion with you and our majority colleagues in the Legislature to craft legislative solutions to help Washingtonians who are dealing with both the pandemic and economic desperation.
May 18, 2020
Contact tracing, testing and isolation plan and implementation
- There has also been a question as to whose authority and guidance is ultimately to be followed concerning the Contact Tracing, Testing and Isolation Steps and Implementation. Please clarify if the ultimate authority to be followed on this implementation is the state health officials or local health official’s authority. Some local health officials may not feel the state’s Contact Tracing, Testing and Isolation Plan is necessary in their county for varying reasons. Your clarification on this matter will be helpful and important for the people across our state.
May 11, 2020
Letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr
- We need your help.
- 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.
- Thanks for your attention to this letter. Please, have your staff at the Department of Justice get involved to help the good people of Washington protect their foundational, constitutional rights. The rights that make this nation great. Please call upon any of us to discuss this matter further.
May 8, 2020
Data privacy and security, contact tracing
- Are private technology firms providing data or data analytics that is, or has been, part of executive branch COVID-19 order decision-making? This question is inclusive of, but not limited to, data or data analytics about the movement of Washingtonians, and their awareness of, feelings about, and cooperativeness with social distancing orders. If so, please provide the following information:
- Who are those vendors?
- What data or analytics work is being received from private sector vendors? Can you provide a description of the analytical capabilities offered and the degree to which any particular data sets allowed for monitoring behavior at the level of specific neighborhoods, or other discrete geographic or demographic units?
- Have any state funds been expended for either data or data analytics? If so, how much and from what accounts?
- Is all of the information received from private firms, if any, subject to disclosure under public records laws, or is the executive branch claiming a privilege or exemption?
- Has any data held by the state been requested by, or provided to, private technology firms in furtherance of COVID-19 data compilation or analytics work and, if so, what was requested and what was provided?
May 8, 2020
K-12 educational recovery priorities
- Senate Republicans encourage the following priorities: school districts should focus on delivering instruction; resume traditional instruction in classrooms as soon as reasonable; consider impacts on marginalized students and adjust the school calendar as needed; consider impacts to school funding and cost of local bargaining agreements; and support graduating seniors as they transition to their colleges or careers.
May 1, 2020
Counter-COVID Campaign, Phase II: Decentralize and Recover
- Today, we are advocating for a Phase II that implements Decentralization and Recovery. Each of the 39 counties in Washington are represented by elected officials and supported by staff capable of waging the tactical fight against the virus and its impact on their communities. They have an in-depth, detailed understanding of the resources and response methods that will best suit their county. They also have the ability to be more directly receptive to citizens’ needs on a local level and are in a better position to determine which restrictions to impose or modify, which to remove, and the proper timeframe in which to do so.
- Empowering county-level leaders will have a number of positive effects. It will encourage creative solutions and the development and sharing of good ideas and best-practices, allow our economy to recover faster while still maintaining safety protocols, and it will enable you and your staff to focus on the larger strategy such as acquiring and appropriately allocating state resources and conducting interstate collaboration.
April 30, 2020
- Therefore, we respectfully request that you clarify your emergency restrictions to allow religious organizations to be permitted to conduct Holy Communion and other similar sacred rites under the same operational framework as restaurants serving take-out. Churches, temples, and other religious institutions should be allowed to develop congregation-specific operational plans under the general guidelines already in place. Promoting this flexibility for religious rites would benefit practitioners of the many faiths that comprise our communities.
- Maintaining distance between practitioners and the safety of the elements of religious rites should be of top concern. Individual congregations should decide if they would like to participate, how they would like to conduct these rites (perhaps by drive-up or walk-up in parking lots or inside their buildings), and how to allow congregants to participate as they feel led (for example, perhaps establishing “appointment windows” for individuals or families to attend or allowing congregants to request elements to be prepared and set aside for them).
April 27, 2020
Temporary agricultural worker housing
- Agriculture is the lifeblood of our state. We are already seeing and hearing farmers dumping crops, livestock not being able to be processed and store shelves going empty. The last thing we want to do is add to the issue and cause a larger food shortage. Again, we believe in practical safety measures to ensure worker, industry and community safety. 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
- By any measure, and compared with any other state, the Washington Temporary Workers Housing program is a success story.
- Farmers need flexibility to establish safe workplaces, not prescriptive regulations.
- The farmers of our state want to work with you to protect workers. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done.
April 20, 2020
- However, as we continue to require people to stay home, not working, their mental state begins to deteriorate. In communities across Washington stress and anxiety are increasing. We are also concerned about the potential increase of domestic violence, child abuse and suicide. While we must not lose focus on our public health, it is a mental health and quality of life issue for those who are out of work and stuck in their homes. The longer we operate under lockdown type conditions, the more vulnerable people become.
- Obviously, there are concerns about how we can put people back to work safely, but if we do not try soon, it will be harder to instill some discipline and direction as people lose their patience and become more frustrated. Implementing some basic guidelines to keep citizens safe and still productive, is worth the effort to move forward.
April 2, 2020
- While we appreciate you provided clarification that it is permissible for a few people to broadcast or livestream religious services, we would like additional clarification.
- We also respectfully ask that you amend your order and designate faith-based organizations as a critical sector (essential workforce).
- What we are advocating for is that faith-based organizations be allowed to have a limited number of staff in their facilities (as necessary) to answer phones, respond to emails, meet with people in crisis, and deliver necessary items such as food, clothing and financial assistance to those in need – while adhering to social distancing and other necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
March 31, 2020
- 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. This will enable a critical industry to resume operations in our state, while adhering to all of the requirements necessary to protect their employees and the public.
March 27, 2020
Licensed Firearms Dealers Are Essential Businesses
- Governor, our state’s list of essential critical infrastructure workers is based in large part on the corresponding list created by the federal Department of Homeland Security. We have learned that as of this afternoon DHS will have updated its guidance to include firearm retailers, manufacturers and ranges. 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
- We firmly believe there is a way to balance public health while also allowing folks to fish on Washington’s many rivers and lakes. We would ask you to consider adding recreational fishing to your list of allowable essential activities under Stay Home—Stay Healthy.