John Braun

Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia

Senate Minority Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, in partnership with moderate Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, pre-filed legislation Thursday that would allow all businesses and activities impacted by statewide pandemic restrictions to resume as normal under Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s new “Healthy Washington” reopening plan.

“The legislature finds that Washingtonians have been patient and vigilant in the long fight against COVID-19,” the bill reads. “While the people must be commended for their endurance in the face of a historic trial, it is time for Washington’s government to demonstrate that it trusts Washingtonians to conduct their affairs with a sense of individual responsibility and due consideration for others.”

The bill would significantly alter Inslee’s new reopening plan, which will begin Monday, the first day of the legislative session. Phase 2 of “Healthy Washington” still confers strict rules on businesses, gatherings and ceremonies. Restaurants would be allowed to offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Indoor social gatherings, currently prohibited, would be capped at five people from outside a household, and limited to two households. Gyms would also be limited to 25 percent capacity.

The plan splits the state into eight regions, which will progress into Phase 2 if they hit four different metrics regarding case counts, hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and test positivity. It’s unclear how quickly regions will move into the less restrictive phase. The state average for test positivity is 10.6 percent as of Thursday — just above the benchmark set by Inslee. The state average for ICU occupancy also meets the requirement. Hospitalization rates and case rates are also both on the decline statewide.

In an interview with The Chronicle, Braun said that while he hopes to get targeted relief to businesses early on in the session, “most businesses just want the ability to say ‘stay out of my way, let me do my job within the rules.’” He said the best way to help businesses suffering during the pandemic is to allow them to reopen.

The bill is the second partnership between Braun and Mullet in the upcoming legislative session. Last week, the bipartisan duo also pre-filed a bill that would force public school districts to bring students back in-person if they hit a new metric on COVID-19 test positivity.

(8) comments

YourNeighbor

Is this virus magically less infectuous now? Actually, the new version is dramatically more infectious. We have restrictions in place. Enough people are ignoring those to shoot infection rates off the scale. And, you two idiots expect us to believe you when you suggest that Washingtonians' sense of "individual responsibility and due consideration for others" is going to improve things. See Spiffy's. See Spiffy's supporters. Tell us again about this great consideration for others we can expect.

Logger Jim

Trump won.

Born Again Pagan

The authors of this piece imply Washingtonians have "a sense of responsibility and due consideration for others". Some do but others (like the maskless crowds of protesters at the Farmboy and Spiffy's continue to threaten the safety of others. Having tasted Trump's Kool-aid they've gone completely bat-s... crazy like Diaper Don's loyal legion of brain dead terrorists at the Capitol. That insurrection should have been met with extreme violence regardless of whom the perpetrators. Just like losing the senate, they would have no one but themselves to blame for following and supporting The Orange Psycho. But thanks to propaganda machines like FOX, OAN, KELA, NEWSMAX, and many other far right liars, here we are. And don't get me wrong, there is fake news to the left as well. Its just that the evil is coming from the top right.

Logger Jim

Trump won.

YourNeighbor

This just caught my eye about your local republican in the state house from last week. That was when your hero introduced a bill "a bill that would force public school districts to ...". Seems like he used to be the sort of guy who you could count on for smaller government, less over reach, local control over local problems. No, Braun wants a law so the state can force you to do a thing in your school district. It doesn't matter what that thing is, either. If he can do it for one thing, he can do it for another. Your local control means nothing to Braun, and here it is. This is what you elected. You, once more, will get the government you deserve. You will be instead led by democrats at the state level. You sent Braun. You chose poorly.

Logger Jim

Trump won.

Lucky9

So is the Chronicle censoring comments that include truths? I posted yesterday that there are 7.5 million people in this state and according to the DOH, there are 272,000 cases of covid. I'm not sure if they're all active cases or if that is an ongoing tally. This total amounts to less than 4% of the population. I agree with Braun's idea of opening dining inside with restrictions. It makes complete sense.

Lucky9

I guess everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

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