Washington state house representatives Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) and Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor) released a statement on Monday rebuking the moves of L&I.
"This mandate from L&I demonstrates a complete lack of transparency, which dilutes public trust in our government and fails to show the agency's good faith in promulgating the rule. The reality is this move by L&I is a blank check for the agency to enforce any of the Governor's mandates or edicts on private employers."
"If L&I desires to make such a rule, it should do so in an open and transparent manner that allows public review and comment. Even if an opportunity for review and comment is not afforded [to] the public, L&I's website should host the proposed rulemaking to grant easy access to the public," they continued. "Furthermore, adopting such a broad, vague rule without clear direction will lead to arbitrary enforcement."
Walsh and Young questioned the ethics of Labor and Industries and warned the department could not demonstrate that it "exercised honestly" to arrive at the rules granted to Governor Inslee.
"There is no clear case for 'good cause' or 'the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare' as the governor's proclamation already addresses these issues, making L&I's mandate arbitrary and capricious," the representatives noted. "We call on the governor to immediately repeal this mandate. If L&I wants to push this policy, it needs to go through the proper channels and work with the Legislature."
In the video, Walsh says, "...this is not legal, and it's not moral. We are absolutely falling into some sort of Stockholm Syndrome that's taken a hold of the legislature here in Olympia. And rather than being that active check against the Governor’s abuses, we're following the Governor's lead. That's not what we're supposed to be doing. We're supposed to be standing up to that and representing you and giving you a voice in the John L O'Brien building or over there under the dome."
Inslee issued a vaccine mandate in August and, unlike other mandates across the country, provided no option to test out. His message was crystal clear, obey or lose your job. Despite mass protests across the state with thousands of state workers in attendance, Inslee followed through on his orders and terminated thousands that did not comply.
Those affected by the first wave of vaccine mandates were state and city workers including; firefighters, law enforcement officers, healthcare workers, public and private school employees, power line workers, caregivers, and more.