Share this story...
covid seattle, reopen
Latest News

WA Senate Republican Leader: ‘End the emergency’ when state reopens

A marquee on the Paramount Theater reads "One Year Closed, 3/11/20 - 3/11/21" on March 15, 2021, in Seattle, Washington.(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The governor says the state will be reopened by June 30, and possibly sooner. State Senate leadership on the Republican side is pushing for sooner. In fact, they’re pushing to fully reopen by June 15.

“We see states around the country and our neighbors to the south in Oregon and California, all of them committing to open up June 15th, or in many cases earlier than that as recognition that our numbers are falling consistently around the country and around the state,” State Senate Republican Leader John Braun told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

“Our hospitalization stays are down, our mortality rate is way down, and our vaccination rate is rising. So I think it’s the right thing to do,” Braun said about reopening Washington on June 15. “I, well, candidly, I think we could have opened up even sooner, but I think June 15 is a reasonable date, … gives people time to plan for it, and yet doesn’t delay it any longer than necessary.”

Washington representatives, senators push to reopen state before June 30

While Braun does have concerns that Gov. Inslee won’t move the date any earlier, he says that won’t stop him from pushing.

“I think those of us who see that we should have put the trust in the people of the state of Washington to make decisions long ago, we’ve got to keep pushing because if we don’t, I’m afraid it could go even longer,” he said. “We can’t let up the push. We’ve got to do it safely, I want to be clear about that, but we can do it safely, and we could do it safely much sooner than he thinks.”

Braun also says that once the state is reopened, it’s time for Inslee to end the emergency declaration.

“If it’s safe to fully reopen, and I certainly believe it is, why do we still need an emergency declared in place? We have a functional state government as intended by our founders. I think it’s time to end the emergency at the same time we reopen the state,” he said.

While he admits he’s not a lawyer or judge, the judicial system has given quite a bit of leeway to emergency powers in the past.

“But I think that gets harder as this goes on, especially when you say, ‘hey, it’s safe enough to fully reopen.’ Why do you retain this power?” Braun asked.

“I think at some point it becomes a court challenge,” he added. “It’s the wrong way to do it. The right way is for the governor to simply say, ‘hey, I no longer need these emergency powers, emergency over.’ We still have some things we know that we have to do to make sure we keep people safe, but we can do that in the normal method of governing our state.”

Why does Braun think Inslee changed his mind about reopening?

“I think there’s a growing pressure around our state and around the country to recognize the numbers for what they tell us. It’s simple as that,” he said. “The numbers no longer say there’s a huge risk, now that doesn’t mean there’s zero risk, but there’s not this huge risk of death to large segments of our population.”

“The folks who are most vulnerable are broadly immunized, and we’re making traction on other folks,” he added. “… The numbers haven’t justified it for a while and eventually the public pressure is just catching up with [Inslee] and he’s being forced to act. It’s unfortunate that he’s not looking at that ahead of time, … but it’s good, frankly. I don’t love the timeline, but I think at least we’re headed in the right direction.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Most Popular