Washington lawmaker is locked out of capitol over COVID vaccine mandate

Oct 21, 2021, 2:40 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm

jim walsh, washington lawmaker...

(Screenshot from Rep. Jim Walsh's Facebook video)

(Screenshot from Rep. Jim Walsh's Facebook video)

A Washington state lawmaker says he’s been locked out of the state capitol in Olympia over the COVID vaccine mandate.

A widely circulated video shows state Representative Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) trying to get into the John L. O’Brien building.

“Normally my keycard will open this door,” Walsh says in the video. “It doesn’t open this door, today.”

The Chief Clerk of the House, Bernard Dean, confirmed that the card was, indeed, shut off because Walsh has not provided proof that he’s vaccinated against COVID-19.

“All members who have not submitted any vaccination information, and staff, their cards we deactivated on Monday,” Dean explained.

The House Rules Committee passed the requirement. It took effect on the same day that state employees had to prove they were fully vaccinated or had a valid religious or medical exemption. If not, they faced being fired. Over 1,800 state employees have been terminated due to the mandate.

Dean says lawmakers were warned, several times.

Walsh said there are consequences.

“I can’t access my office,” Walsh said. “I can’t access the floor, the main chambers, under the (capitol building) dome. I can’t do work.”

But Dean tells KIRO Radio that lawmakers can still do their constituents’ business. In fact, he says, “the majority of members and staff are actually working remotely,” and they have been since the height of pandemic.

Dean added that lawmakers don’t frequently visit the capitol between legislative sessions. When they are working — wherever they’re working from — they still get paid.

Representative Walsh appeared unmoved.

“Locking members out of their office if they don’t provide papers? Well, to me, that’s just not American,” he said.

Local News

FILE - The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. returns on C...

Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, an advocate for liberal priorities, dies at age 90

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a centrist Democrat who was elected to the Senate in 1992 in the “Year of the Woman” and broke gender barriers throughout her long career in local and national politics, has died. She was 90.

3 hours ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

Colleen West, KIRO 7 News

Bellevue Police warn of jewelry-for-cash scam targeting good Samaritans

Police are seeing a retuning scam in Bellevue that preys on good Samaritans, and it’s similar to one that’s been happening for years.

4 hours ago

BRAZIL - 2023/09/26: In this photo illustration, the Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a laptop s...

Associated Press

Apple leverages idea of switching to Bing to pry more money out of Google, Microsoft exec says

Apple was never serious about replacing Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine in Macs and iPhones, but kept the possibility open as a "bargaining chip'' to extract bigger payments from Google

5 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police vehicle...

Frank Sumrall

Report: Seattle Police ended contract with AI service after Auderer’s comments

SPD canceled its contract with Truleo less than a month after Officer Daniel Auderer's comments about Jaahnavi Kandula's death were captured, a report says.

15 hours ago

Washington wildfires...

Ted Buehner

Maui and Spokane: 2 public warning systems and the need for preparedness

The tragic wind-whipped Maui wildfire last month took many lives. How does the public warning system here shape up in comparison?

16 hours ago

spd auderer...

Frank Sumrall

Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer reassigned

Daniel Auderer, the officer who made inappropriate comments over the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, has been reassigned to a non-operational position.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Washington lawmaker is locked out of capitol over COVID vaccine mandate