Republican State Lawmaker Seeks Shortened Session Focused Only on Coronavirus Pandemic


State Sen. Doug Ericksen is seeking a shortened legislative session to address only business related to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Ericksen's Senate Concurrent Resolution 8400 would change the scheduled 105-day legislative assembly to a 30-day emergency meeting, according to details of the measure on the Ferndale Republican's website.

It allows for legislators to meet again in September to discuss regular state business, Ericksen told The Bellingham Herald in an interview.

"We can come back when this crisis is averted," he said.

Ericksen represents the state's 42nd District, which includes northern Bellingham neighborhoods, rural Whatcom County, and its smaller cities.

Washington's part-time Legislature is scheduled to open its session Monday, Jan. 11, and end April 25.

All legislative business is being conducted remotely — by phone or online — to limit spread of COVID-19.

Lawmakers in at least 28 states have taken similar measures to allow remote discussion or voting since the pandemic flared in March 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"Democrats are using the cloak of COVID to block the public from participating in the legislative session while they try to advance the most radical agenda in state history," Ericksen said at his Senate website. "We need to play fair with the people of Washington. If we're going to restrain the public, the Legislature needs to restrain itself."

Ericksen's measure would require a two-thirds' vote of both legislative houses.

Democrats have a 57-41 majority in the state House and a 28-21 majority in the state Senate.

Gov. Jay Inslee is also a Democrat.


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