Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we near the end of session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 25, I have been intently focused on the issue of emergency powers reform. For more than a year now, Gov. Jay Inslee has ruled unilaterally without any input from the Legislature. That needs to change. Washingtonians were never meant to be governed by proclamation and executive order for months on end. If we do not take action before session adjourns, the governor will continue to have the ability to do whatever he wants without regard for the input from state lawmakers or you, our constituents. Your voice belongs in the legislative process, in the committee rooms and chambers of the Legislature, where it can be heard, understood, and weighed.
Last month, I introduced House Bill 1557, which is designed to ensure adequate legislative involvement in long-lasting states of emergency. Specifically, it would cause states of emergency to expire after 60 days unless renewed by the Legislature. The measure would also allow the Legislature to terminate, on its own authority, an emergency declaration. Such reforms would bring us in line with what many other states are already doing. More importantly, they would provide all 147 state lawmakers a proactive role during uncertain and unprecedented times.
Later this afternoon, I will make a motion on the House floor to place House Concurrent Resolution 4402 on the Second Reading Calendar. The new resolution, if passed, would waive previously established cutoff dates from an earlier resolution and allow House Bill 1557 to be considered on the floor for a full vote. When state representatives take a roll-call vote on the new resolution, it is my hope nine House Democrats will join all 41 House Republicans to pass HCR 4402 and allow House Bill 1557 to receive a full chamber vote.
Starting at noon, you can tune in live to floor action by clicking on this link.
This pandemic is serious and the need for an effective, coordinated response remains important. But this should not prevent the Legislature from examining how our state government should respond to emergencies in the future. This is too important of an issue to put off until next year. We must act now.
House Bill 1480 signed into law
My bill to help businesses in the hospitality industry mitigate the economic impact of the governor's shutdown orders has been signed into law. House Bill 1480 will temporarily codify into law a number of curbside, takeout and delivery privileges granted to liquor licensees by the state's Liquor and Cannabis Board. Among other temporary privileges, certain licensees will be authorized to continue selling factory-sealed bottles and cans of beer, wine, and spirits to customers in combination with the sale of to-go food or by delivery with a food order.
Many of the businesses in the hospitality industry have been struggling to keep their doors open, which is why House Bill 1480 is so critical. I am grateful for the bipartisan support the bill received throughout the process, from its introduction to its approval on the House and Senate floors. For as long as the pandemic lasts, we must continue working together to pass sound legislation that will ensure our businesses can remain open and carry on as staples in our communities.
Please continue reaching out to me with your comments, questions and concerns. My email address is Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7902.
I also encourage you to stay involved in the legislative process by following House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook, visiting The Ledger, and utilizing the resources listed in this document. Finally, please bookmark my legislative website, where you can find all of my public communications.
It is an honor to serve you.