Opinion: Beware legislation by rule

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill shares her belief that a bright light needs to be shined on the political process that is driving the toxic progressive policies in Washington state.

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill shares her belief that a bright light needs to be shined on the political process that is driving the toxic progressive policies in Washington state

Nancy Churchill
Dangerous Rhetoric

On Jan. 8, “The Gateway Pundit” published a piece with a sensational headline: “Bill Filed In Washington Would Authorize ‘Strike Force’ To ‘Involuntarily Detain’ Unvaccinated Families – Zoom Meeting on Proposed Agenda on Jan. 12, ’22 …” When the story hit, friends from all across the state began reaching out to me, some of them in panic.

Nancy Churchill
Nancy Churchill

On one hand, I’m glad when Washington state politics make national news headlines. A bright light needs to be shined on the political process that is driving the toxic progressive policies in our state. And that headline had a big impact: over 7,500 people logged into the meeting to weigh in on the action they thought was under consideration. Too bad that energy was misdirected.

On the other hand, I’m discouraged when the media outlets that I often read resort to hysterical and misleading click-bait “fake news” headlines. It’s time for the press to hold themselves to a higher standard. Honesty is the best policy when reporting the news. And while much of the content of the article was accurate, the headline was all “fake news”. The legislature was not considering a new law. The Board of Health was considering several rule changes. You cannot fix a Board of Health problem if you are calling your legislators.

What’s the difference between laws and rules?

In Washington, laws are made by our legislature, and can be found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Rules are made by boards and agencies and can be found in the Washington Administrative Code. WACs have the force of law, but are not made by lawmakers. They are made by entities the legislature has created and given lawmaking power to. The WACs are how the Board of Health has made an end run around the legislature during the management of the COVID crisis for two two years.

The argument for the creation of the administrative state is that lawmakers cannot possibly be experts on all the topics that come before them, so they need to give some of their power to real experts who will be able to make better decisions. Unfortunately, the impact is that unelected bureaucrats have an enormous amount of power to make life and death decisions, with no significant check on their authority. We see this problem at every level of government. The lawmakers gave away too much power and kept too little oversight authority. Our country, economy, safety, and rights are being destroyed by what President Trump rightly calls the “deep state.” 

On Jan. 12, the Board of Health met to consider updating rules, not pass laws. The laws it needed to come into compliance with were passed by the legislature before the COVID crisis hit. It published an agenda, and set a deadline for public comment that was only a few days after the agenda became available. Then, it refused to provide the meeting materials needed to make a thoughtful comment PRIOR to their deadline for comment. When the Gateway story hit, and the outcry became too great, they retroactively published a statement about “misinformation”, but it was too little, too late.

The worst part of the misinformation was that it became a distraction from a very important citizen’s petition which was filed by Xavier Figueroa, Ph.D. on behalf of Informed Choice Washington. This petition requested the Board of Health create a new rule to prohibit including emergency use products in the list of required childhood immunizations. (chapter 246-105 WAC).

Because so many people logged into the BOH meeting, the petitioners from Informed Choice Washington did not get ample opportunity to testify on behalf of their proposal. As a result, the board voted to reject the petition outright. It was a missed opportunity, and I hope Informed Choice of Washington will submit another petition on this matter.

Take effective action

If you care about the possibility of the Board of Health adding the COVID-19 vaccination to the required-for-school list, please write to the Board of Health at wsboh@sboh.wa.gov. State your case using facts and passion. Ask to be notified about the next meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that will be studying this possible rule change. You can find the meeting presentation from the first meeting here.

Next, plan to get involved in politics this year. Pick your issue or candidate, and really become an expert or valuable team player. Like Virginia, we can flip our legislature red if you will join the fight for lower taxes, parents’ rights, and public safety!

Finally, visit influencingolympia.com to register for a fun, self-paced class that will give you tools and resources you need to have more of an impact on the lawmaking process during the 2022 Legislative Session.

Following politics and getting involved is very important when your party is the minority party! It takes special skills and teamwork to influence the members on the other side of the political aisle. Politics is frustrating, but it’s also fun and rewarding! Get involved in Influencing Olympia! With your help, we can make America great again, again.

Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.

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K.J. Hinton
4 months ago

Swell. We acknowledge that. In fact, those paying attention already know it.

The question is what, REALISTICALLY, can be done about it?

Anybody can complain. When I was on legislative staff, my life was filled with dealing with complaints.

What was missing was REALISTIC alternatives. And this column is no exception.

And, we are NOT Virginia. We’re nowhere close to it politically.

Margaret
Margaret
4 months ago

According to the WA legislative website glossary of terms.
“WAC -Washington Administrative Code. The administrative rules and regulations by which state agencies operate to execute the Laws enacted by the Legislature.”

What RCW law adopted by the legislature authorizes a local health officer at his or her sole discretion to order a medical examination, tests, treatment, vaccination, and decontamination and involuntary quarantine/isolation of people in WA state because they may have a communicable disease?

There seems to be a disconnect between laws adopted by the legislature, and the WACs written by state agencies to execute the Laws enacted by the Legislature in some cases.

Washington State has opened Quarantine/Isolation centers for infectious diseases like COVID in WA state, in Centralia, King County, Spokane , Spokane Valley and perhaps other locations.
The Washington Administrative Code re involuntary quarantine/isolation on the books today could be implemented today, and is concerning. See link for
WAC 246-100-040 Procedures for isolation or quarantine. (1) At his or her sole discretion, a local health officer may issue an emergency detention order causing a person or group of persons to be immediately detained for purposes of isolation or quarantine in accordance with subsection (3) of this section, or may petition the superior court ex parte for an order to take the person or group of persons into involuntary detention for purposes of isolation or quarantine in accordance with subsection (4) of this section, provided that he or she:
(a) Has first made reasonable efforts, which shall be documented, to obtain voluntary compliance with requests for medical examination, testing, treatment, counseling, vaccination, decontamination of persons or animals, isolation, quarantine, and inspection and closure of facilities, or has determined in his or her professional judgment that seeking voluntary compliance would create a risk of serious harm; and
(b) Has reason to believe that the person or group of persons is, or is suspected to be, infected with, exposed to, or contaminated with a communicable disease or chemical, biological, or radiological agent that could spread to or contaminate others if remedial action is not taken; and
(c) Has reason to believe that the person or group of persons would pose a serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of others if not detained for purposes of isolation or quarantine.
(2) A local health officer may invoke the powers of police officers, sheriffs, constables, and all other officers and employees of any political subdivisions within the jurisdiction of the health department to enforce immediately orders given to effectuate the purposes of this section in accordance with the provisions of RCW 43.20.050(4) and 70.05.120.
(3) If a local health officer orders the immediate involuntary detention of a person or group of persons for purposes of isolation or quarantine:
(a) The emergency detention order shall be for a period not to exceed ten days.
(b) The local health officer shall issue a written emergency detention order as soon as reasonably possible and in all cases within twelve hours of detention that shall specify the following:…
(5) A local health officer may petition the superior court for an order authorizing the continued isolation or quarantine of a person or group detained under subsections (3) or (4) of this section for a period up to thirty days…
(6) Prior to the expiration of a court order for continued detention issued pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, the local health officer may petition the superior court to continue isolation or quarantine provided:
(a) The court finds there is a reasonable basis to require continued isolation or quarantine to prevent a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of others.
(b) The order shall be for a period not to exceed thirty days.
(7) State statutes, rules, and state and federal emergency declarations governing procedures for detention, examination, counseling, testing, treatment, vaccination, isolation, or quarantine for specified health emergencies or specified communicable diseases, including, but not limited to, tuberculosis and HIV, shall supersede this section.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.20.050 (2)(d), 70.05.050, and 70.05.060. WSR 03-05-048, § 246-100-040, filed 2/13/03, effective 2/13/03.]

The procedures to implement WAC 246-100-040 Procedures for isolation or quarantine. , which may be involuntary, are further spelled out by the WA Dept of Health Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines and Forms.

Quarantine/isolation centers seem to be spreading like a new variant, to other states, and countries, many with similar rules as our state WACs including involuntary admission.
In Australia, involuntary quarantine/isolation of healthy people that have not tested positive for COVID has been reported, see Shocking: Quarantine Camp Prisoner Shares Details from Her 14-day Detention

In Canada, “As concerns about internationally identified COVID-19 variants hit closer to home, public health authorities are asking — and increasingly, ordering — people to isolate safely, away from others in their household.”

Paulina
Paulina
3 months ago

People are waking up and paying attention. That’s a good thing. It helps keep our government and unelected “experts” accountable.

Patricia martin
Patricia martin
3 months ago
Reply to  Paulina

Not sure you are waking up reading stuff referencing a right wing fake news purveyor.

Patricia martin
Patricia martin
3 months ago

The Gateway Pundit is hardly a news source to be believed. Steve Bannon, eh? And the references article is laughably a made up fever dream.