Braun, Wilcox Say Residents Deserve Answers About State of Emergency


Sixteen months into the COVID-19 state of emergency, the state Legislature’s top Republican leaders say Gov. Jay Inslee needs to be clear with people how long he intends to keep it in place. 

Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, and House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, said in a news release a new emergency order from Inslee indicates the emergency declared Feb. 29, 2020, will continue at least through September.

“Without a declaration of emergency there can’t be emergency proclamations. Although the governor didn’t come right out and say he’s extending the state of emergency past the end of summer, it isn’t difficult to read between the lines,” said Braun. “While we’re pleased the governor’s economic restrictions have finally been lifted, it’s hard for him to suggest the people can return to a sense of normalcy unless the emergency is declared over as well.”

Wilcox said there is no reason not to tell the public how long he intends to maintain the state of emergency.

“On May 13 the governor was able to declare June 30 would be the statewide reopening date, no matter how many Washington residents had been vaccinated by then,” he said in the prepared statement. “If he could make such a life-changing prediction six weeks in advance, he also should be able to declare when the state of emergency will be over,” said Wilcox.

Braun said the state is not designed to be run by one person. 

“We’re not suggesting the pandemic itself is over,” he said. “We simply aren’t hearing the governor explain why he should continue to have absolute authority — not when government’s response to the pandemic is clearly focused on vaccinations, and local governments should be trusted to take the lead. If something more serious arises, the legislative branch has proven it can meet quickly to make decisions, using technology if necessary, to ensure the voices of the people are heard.”