It’s 49 against one as Washington governor imposes harshest vaccine mandate in nation, Ericksen says

Inslee is only governor to fire unvaccinated workers – other states breathe free

  • “We don’t need to live like this,” Ericksen says. “49 other states do not. Jay is out of touch. He should resign.”
  • Nearly 2,000 unvaccinated state employees fired
  • Proposed state regulation could extend vaccine mandate to private sector
  • Statute gives sweeping powers to governor in emergency that never ends

OLYMPIA – State Sen. Doug Ericksen, author of a bill that would prohibit discrimination against the unvaccinated, says Washington state has become a national leader in authoritarian government.

“Washington state is Number One in government coercion,” said Ericksen, R-Ferndale. “But I don’t think this is an honor the people of Washington want. This is the natural result of a system that allows the governor to declare an emergency and then keep his sweeping emergency powers as long as he likes. We passed the 600-day mark on Oct. 21, no end is in sight, and there are indications it could get worse.”

Inslee fired nearly 2,000 state employees Oct. 18 for failing to comply with his order that all workers under his control be vaccinated. The rule also applies to higher education employees and private health care workers. Ericksen has joined four other senators in calling for Inslee’s resignation, citing abuse of power.

Of 21 states with vaccine mandates, Washington is the only state that has terminated unvaccinated workers – and the mass firings are already having an effect in canceled ferry sailings, impaired state services and reduced law enforcement staffing. Currently the Department of Labor and Industries in in the process of adopting a new regulation that would allow the governor to impose a similar mandate on private employers statewide.

Earlier this year, Ericksen introduced Senate Bill 5144, which would have prohibited discrimination against the unvaccinated in employment, education, public accommodations and travel. Similar legislation has been passed in 12 states. But in Washington, majority Democrats in the state Legislature did not give the bill a hearing. Instead, they passed a resolution extending the governor’s emergency authority indefinitely, giving the governor sweeping authority to suspend laws and issue orders.

“Throughout this COVID situation, Inslee has been out of step with the rest of the country,” Ericksen said. “He says his vengeful act was based on science, but it’s certainly not the science understood by public health officials and elected leaders in every other state of the union.”

Ericksen noted that his anti-discrimination bill remains alive for reconsideration in the upcoming 2022 legislative session. The bill takes no position for or against vaccines, he said, but establishes that vaccination is a matter of personal choice. “Today the case for the bill is all the stronger, and I think we will see even greater public support in the coming session, as people begin realizing what an outlier Washington state has become.”

• 29 states have no vaccine mandates. They are –
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming. (More information here.)

• 12 states have passed anti-discrimination legislation. They are –
Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah. (More information here.)

• 18 states have imposed vaccine mandates on state government employees and/or health care workers, but have allowed testing and/or masking options, or broad philosophical or religious exemptions. They are –
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin. (More information here.)

• Two states have announced plans to terminate unvaccinated state employees and/or health care workers, but have not implemented them. They are –
Maine, Massachusetts.

• Only one state has fired unvaccinated state employees and health care workers. That state is –
Washington.