New state Senate Minority Leader John Braun who this past week spoke to the WR Board of Directors, is calling for a more collaborative approach in Washington State’s effort to help defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Braun is expected to introduce a bill during the 2021 Legislative session to reform current executive powers to include the Legislature as well as the Governor in addressing statewide emergencies such as the pandemic. Next year’s session is scheduled to start on January 11.
Braun and many other legislators say the Legislature must become involved in seeking solutions, not just the Governor as has been the case with various executive orders that led to hundreds of permanent store closures and record state unemployment.
Washington Retail, too, is encouraging a more collaborative, bipartisan approach to addressing the pandemic and the safety of shoppers and retail employees.
Retailers have spent millions to make their stores safer while enforcing Governor Inslee’s orders mandating facial coverings for shoppers and employees and social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, many stores have been hanging on with strict protocols that limit store capacity to 25% of what is normal. Other businesses such as restaurants, gyms and bowling alleys must remain closed through January 4 further impacting thousands of jobs in communities across the state.
Senator Braun’s bill, if approved, would include more voices from both sides of the state in coming up with the best ways to defeat the virus. It is in the state’s best interest to weigh more input on how to proceed to full economic recovery as soon as possible.
The current crisis demands bipartisan teamwork and cooperation between the Governor and the Legislature. Some of the state’s best minds include legislators who know their constituents and who stand ready to help.
As the New Year approaches, new vaccines are on the verge of approval for distribution It is a time of renewed hope.
Done right, 2021 also can be a year when teaming up together with business, the Legislature and Governor can quickly and safely repair our struggling economy for the benefit of everybody in the state.