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WA lawmaker: We need relief from the government’s COVID-19 response

The Capitol Building in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The Washington state Legislature is soon to convene down in Olympia, but they say because of COVID they’re going to have to make big changes. Democrats also have an increased majority in the Legislature. What does this imply for the upcoming year? State Senator Doug Ericksen represents Whatcom County and joined the Dori Monson Show to discuss what to expect.

“We don’t know what’s gonna happen next Monday when the Legislature goes back into session,” he said. “I was in Olympia over the weekend, and right now, every road leading to the Capitol Dome, the people’s house of politics, is blocked off and closed by barriers, by ecology blocks, massive concrete structures to prevent people from even being able to drive to the Capitol building.”

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“Next week, the Democrats want to convene remotely, using Zoom, or Skype, or Microsoft meetings, or whatever else people want to try to use to participate in the process,” he added. “And we’ve seen what’s happened over the past nine months with Jay Inslee running the entire state of Washington from his bunker without any public process or legislative meetings.”

Ericksen says he’s worried about what a remote setup would imply for the legislative process, and the types of policies that Democrats will attempt to pass.

“I’m just really concerned about the Democrats are going to try to sneak through under the cloak of COVID darkness, as I call it, where they block out the public from participating and want to run a huge agenda, with tax increases, defunding police, allowing felons to vote, all types of things,” he said.

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“There’s so much being advocated right now. I feel so bad for our law enforcement officers when I look at the agenda that’s being pushed, and these are our heroes of our communities to keep our families and kids safe, who have been absolutely demonized over the past year, and we anticipate more radical anti law enforcement legislation coming forward,” the state senator said.

For Ericksen, a priority is focusing on changing the manner in which the government has responded to COVID-19, and finding better ways to reopen society.

“The other thing, which I think we should be focusing on the Legislature is relief from the COVID-19 virus, and to be honest with you, the COVID-19 virus response,” he said. “On Monday, I’m going to introduce a Senate concurrent resolution, which says we will adjourn immediately from the regular session, and then we will immediately begin a 30-day emergency session just to deal with COVID.”

“Just to get our kids back in school, just to go and start reducing and eliminating these ridiculous fines on our people just trying to make a life running a restaurant, to start getting our businesses open immediately, and to address the people who have been financially harmed, whether they’re unemployed, whether they’ve lost their business, whether they can’t collect the rent, whether they can’t find a place to pay rent at … We’ve done a lot to create this problem, to be honest with you, in terms of the COVID response, and we should focus like a laser on fixing that problem and not going down the other pathway of all the other bills that Democrats are introducing.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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