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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In the current political environment in Olympia, we can count even minor victories as big wins. That's what happened with a legal challenge that I, and several of my colleagues, recently submitted to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

For several weeks, the governor's COVID-19 vaccine mandate message has been clear: obey or lose your job. Unyielding and unaccommodating to thousands of state employees who have protested in mass, the governor has steadfastly even refused COVID testing in place of the vaccine. Now, with the Biden administration setting the stage to issue a COVID vaccine mandate for all large employers, it should come as no surprise that our governor might attempt to do the same.

Back in May 2020, L&I began adopting emergency rules to regulate and enforce any failure of Washington state employers to comply with the governor's emergency COVID-19 proclamations in the workplace. A recently submitted emergency rule incorporated by L&I might have even set up an enforcement mechanism for the governor to extend his COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy to private employers.

That's why, with only minutes to spare before the statutory deadline, my colleagues and I offered a petition that would immediately repeal L&I's recently submitted emergency rulemaking package. Under RCW 24.05.350(3), any person can petition the governor to immediately repeal an emergency rule. The governor must either grant our petition by ordering the immediate repeal of the emergency rule or deny the petition — with a written explanation of the denial.

Perhaps our petition is the reason the governor's recent press conference did not include an announcement of an extension of his “no jab, no job” policy to private businesses. I like to believe our work, although the executive office would never admit it, had something to do with that.

Read more about our legal challenge to L&I's rulemaking here:

Pushing back on bad public policy

When you are fighting a war of attrition with long, protracted political battles, a victory like the one noted above is a good thing. It's good for the people and good for the state. While we may have only slowed down the road to this mandate a bit, it's an example of how we are busy fighting for you in Olympia. Here are a few other examples:

Other hot topics:

Links, resources, and information:

Redistricting

As many of you are already aware, the redistricting process has been underway for several months. According to state law, soon after the federal government publishes an updated census, the boundaries of our state's congressional and state legislative districts must be redrawn. This process helps ensure each district represents an equal number of residents.

The Washington State Redistricting Commission is made up of four voting members — two Democrats and two Republicans — and a fifth non-voting, non-partisan chairperson. Commission members draft map proposals and then discuss and debate their ideas until three of the four agree on a final plan.

It's not an understatement to say the results of the commission's work will decide the political fate of our state for the next ten years. The negotiations can be tough as each side looks for advantages for their party. By Nov. 15, the commission must approve all 10 congressional and 49 legislative district maps. If not, the Washington State Supreme Court will decide.

If you have not reviewed the maps or shared your input on the proposals, you still have time to do so. Here are some links to help:

Veterans Day

With Veterans Day right around the corner, it's gratifying that military vax holdouts may get more time to fight for their jobs. After filing a suit against the Biden administration, thousands of civilian and active-duty military plaintiffs won at least a temporary victory after a Washington D. C. district judge issued a restraining order preventing them from being terminated over religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccines.

It's estimated that one-third of the troops have declined to take the vaccine. The willingness of our military to sacrifice for our country should earn them our gratitude, not a pink slip. It's my hope that we honor the men and women who sacrificially serve and defend our country by allowing them to continue to do so, even if unvaccinated.

Stay in touch!

If you have any questions or concerns about state government-related matters, please contact my office. I appreciate your feedback, questions, and concerns. My contact information is below.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you and the great 19th Legislative District.

Sincerely,


Jim Walsh

State Representative Jim Walsh, 19th Legislative District
RepresentativeJimWalsh.com
428 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
jim.walsh@leg.wa.gov
(360) 485-0547 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000