Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement last Tuesday (Jan. 12) announcing the extension of actions taken by the state to ensure the safety and security of Washingtonians, legislators, state employees and the buildings of the Capitol Campus.
"Based on the recommendation of the Washington State Patrol, current security measures on the Capitol Campus will remain in place through federal Inauguration Day (Wednesday, Jan. 20) due to evolving intelligence on security threats posed in all 50 state capitals following the violence in our nation's capital, as well as recent illegal and dangerous actions associated with non-permitted events on our state's Capitol Campus.
"The Washington National Guard will continue to support the security focused efforts of the Washington State Patrol and the temporary fencing that has been placed around the restricted area of the West Campus.
"These unfortunate, necessary security precautions could last longer, but we are hopeful that we will soon see political temperatures cool and threat levels come down, bringing a related easing of these restrictions.
"For public safety, many roads and trails will continue to be closed. Measures such as road closures and vehicle barricades support people's ability to peacefully assemble and express their freedom of speech in non-restricted areas without the concern of vehicles impacting their activity. These measures also preserve 24/7 emergency vehicle access.
"Buildings on the Capitol Campus, including the Legislative Building, have been closed to the public since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Law enforcement remains present to help ensure that all sides have the opportunity to legally exercise their free speech rights and peaceably assemble in non-restricted areas."
Inslee Issues Statement on
Start of Legislative Session
Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement last Monday (Jan. 11) on the first day of the 2021 legislative session:
"Today convenes one of the most unique and challenging legislative sessions I can remember for our state. As the pandemic era has forced us all to adapt our processes, the Legislature is no exception. At the same time, decisions await legislators that will impact our state for generations going forward.
"These are my priorities for this legislative session: Relief, recovery and resilience. Relief for the here-and-now; a recovery plan to turn the corner; and resilience for our long-term wellbeing, including economic health, public health, a stronger education system, and greater preparedness for future challenges, including climate change.
"My agenda calls for immediate action on $200 million more in aid for small businesses, and landlords and tenants. My priorities also include getting more children back into the classroom in safe and healthy environments this year, as well as improving the state's public health system so more lives can be saved from this pandemic.
"We must have more assistance to workers who have lost their jobs. We need to help everyone get back to a safe work environment. We need to keep people from losing their housing and get more who are experiencing homelessness under a safe roof.
"The pandemic era has made this inequity that much clearer, as the concentration of wealth at the top has only accelerated while Main Street has suffered and more families wonder whether they can afford food and other basic needs. That's why I want to fund the Working Families Tax Credit. We can help fund it with a capital gains tax; one that would impact less than 2% of Washingtonians. At the same time, we're going to lower unemployment insurance taxes for small businesses that unexpectedly had to lay off record numbers of employees.
"When we do come through this emergency, we are not going back to normal; we are going to create a better normal, together. This goes beyond COVID-19. We can't just address economic disparities without acknowledging racial disparities.
"We think of one another as equal because it is one of this nation's principles, but we can't be equal until we live as equals. My legislative agenda takes aim at these inequities in all of these areas, whether it's reforming independent investigations, environmental justice, improving our health systems, expanding job training and early childhood education.
"I look forward to honest conversations with the Legislature about these issues and action that will benefit all Washingtonians."
"Healthy Washington -
Roadmap to Recovery"
Reopening Plan Takes Effect
Washington is now in the first phase of the state's new reopening plan, Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery, which took effect Monday (Jan. 11). The plan follows metrics in health systems across eight regions of the state, and each region's ability to move to the next phase of reopening will be based on data updated weekly.
As the state sees improvement in COVID activity, each of the eight regions, which are organized based on health system resources, will have the opportunity to open more activities that are currently restricted.
The state Department of Health will assess the health metrics for each region on a weekly basis to determine whether any regions are eligible to advance a phase forward.