Lawmakers Take Action to Strip Down Governor’s Emergency Powers

Lawmakers Take Action to Strip Down Governor's Emergency Powers

( – One of the problems throughout the pandemic has been Democratic governors using emergency powers to control their state. Washington has been under a state of emergency for almost 700 days. As a result, the legislature is now trying to limit Governor Jay Inslee’s (D) power.

On February 15, a bipartisan state Senate passed SB 5909. The legislation seeks to limit a state of emergency to 90 days if the legislature isn’t in session. It’s been almost two years since the Democratic governor declared the emergency, yet lawmakers in the state still have no authority to terminate it once it has started.

Under the new bill, leaders from the House and Senate could terminate the state of the emergency if it goes past the 90-day mark. To do so, lawmakers would just have to submit the termination order in writing.

Surprisingly, a Democrat was the primary sponsor of the bill. Senate Majority Whip Emily Randall said the bill isn’t “about one mandate or one governor,” but is instead about ensuring the system has “adequate checks and balances.” During a public hearing on the bill, Washington residents testified in support of it. Some of them said Inslee’s emergency orders caused them to lose their jobs and businesses.

The legislation will now go to the House.

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