Ericksen introduces resolution declaring emergency 30-day session on COVID issues

Lawmakers shouldn’t debate income tax, radical agenda when public is kept at a distance, Ericksen says

  • Ericksen resolution keeps Legislature to emergency-related bills, “must-do” legislation.
  • Will be advanced during rules debate as 2021 session opens Monday.
  • When Legislature restrains public, lawmakers should restrain themselves.

OLYMPIA – Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, has introduced a resolution to keep the Legislature’s focus on COVID-19 – and block efforts to pass a sweeping agenda of taxes and environmental legislation at a time when the public can’t fully weigh in.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 8400 would limit the Legislature to measures dealing with the COVID crisis and to the passage of budgets, the Legislature’s central duty. The measure would prevent consideration of an income tax, low-carbon fuel standards, a rewrite of the Growth Management Act and other proposals Democratic leaders hope to pass in a year when the public is required to stay away.

COVID precautions this year will keep lawmakers away from the House and Senate floors, and public access to the Capitol and legislative offices will be sharply restricted.

“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. “We need to play fair with the people of Washington. If we’re going to restrain the public, the Legislature needs to restrain itself.”

For technical reasons, the resolution would require adjournment of the regular legislative session, which opens Monday. Lawmakers would immediately reconvene in a special legislative session, specifically limited to COVID and budget-related legislation. The resolution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House.

“We need to put the focus where it belongs – on the struggle of working families, small business, landlords and everyone else in this state who has been affected by the governor’s lockdown orders,” Ericksen said. “My Democratic colleagues are fond of saying no crisis should go to waste. But taking advantage of this situation to pass a radical agenda that wouldn’t stand a chance in ordinary times is just plain wrong.

“I hope this resolution will provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection among Democrats and Republicans alike about the trust the people have bestowed on us. We should be better than this.”