Washington Senate Votes to Restrict Governor’s Powers

Washington Senate Votes to Restrict Governor's Powers

(RepublicanPress.org) – It’s pretty serious when the Democratic-controlled state Senate turns on its own governor. But, that’s precisely what happened this week to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) with the introduction of a new bill.

On Tuesday, February 15, the Washington Senate passed a measure that would limit Inslee’s emergency powers to 90 days. Gov. Inslee issued Proclamation 20-05 on February 29, 2020, declaring a statewide State of Emergency as part of an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

After roughly 700 days, lawmakers have had enough of the emergency order’s restrictions, and they’ve passed SB 5909 by a bipartisan vote of 29 to 20. The bill limits the governor’s power to enforce a state of emergency to 90 days and grants the state legislature’s majority and minority leaders the ability to end it, even when the body isn’t in session.

Despite the measure’s bipartisan approval, some Republicans expressed concern over SB 5909, stating it doesn’t go far enough. As they recently pointed out, the bill only provides the mechanism for legislators to end a state of emergency after 90 days. However, it fails to force the legislature to review the measure, meaning it can defer the matter and do nothing if it so chooses.

The measure will move to the Washington House for consideration. It remains unclear, but doubtful, whether Gov. Inslee would sign SB 5909 if it eventually makes it to his desk.

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