Opinion: Inslee needs to end his employment-related vaccine mandate; if not, a bill being filed could

Elizabeth Hovde emphatically states if the governor won’t end this mistreatment of the unvaccinated and allow public jobs to employ people regardless of their vaccination status, legislators need to step in while they are still in session.

Elizabeth Hovde emphatically states if the governor won’t end this mistreatment of the unvaccinated and allow public jobs to employ people regardless of their vaccination status, legislators need to step in while they are still in session

Elizabeth Hovde
Washington Policy Center

Will 2023 be the charm? Realizations that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people could spread and contract COVID-19, which we knew back in 2021, were not enough to stop a misguided and punitive vaccine mandate on state employees before it even began. Nor were state staffing shortages, in part derived from the October 2021 firings of employees without COVID-19 shots. 

Elizabeth Hovde
Elizabeth Hovde

Also ignored was health information about protection gained through natural immunity, the reality that vaccines were widely available to those who wanted their protection and the fact that working-age people were not the population group dying from COVID-19 and filling the state’s stressed hospitals. Even the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decision to remove the distinction between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated months ago wasn’t enough. 

None of this has mattered. Instead, verbiage about the employment mandate that ruined careers and family budgets shifted from needing to protect others to needing to protect the workforce. (Yes, that’s the same workforce that lost nearly 1,900 workers because of the vaccine mandate.)

It’s a month past time for lawmakers in this year’s legislative session to intervene and protect this minority group of unvaccinated people in our state. 

They’ll finally have the chance. I spoke to Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen, R-Puyallup who is going to file a bill to end the permanent vaccine mandate for new state hires that Gov. Jay Inslee won’t. It will pair nicely with her bill to rehire fired workers who want their jobs back. That bill, House Bill 1029, is going nowhere, despite state lawmakers saying workplace issues would be a priority this session.  

The legislative action on the way is welcome news and good policy, as is the following decision: A Monday press release says, “Following updated public health guidelines, King County and the City of Seattle will no longer require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.”

Vaccine mandates are crumbling near and far, following the science. And I hope the state’s outlier status and news of Jacobsen’s bill filing convince Inslee it’s past time for his mandate to exit stage right, along with all the drama that has come along with it — unnecessarily and for no demonstrable public health benefit

Just a week ago, when President Joe Biden was making news for a May 11 decision to end COVID-19 emergency orders, Inslee continued to double, triple and quadruple down on his decision to make getting a COVID-19 vaccination a permanent condition of state employment. A news story tells that in an interview with KVI’s John Carlson Jan. 30, Inslee said, “People are welcome to come back and work for us,” continuing, “Simply, they need to comply with our existing rules.” Protecting the workforce from being sick was important, he said. 

Two days after this interview in which Inslee talked about people’s need to get the vaccine so they don’t have to be absent from work, sick with COVID-19, we learned that the vaccinated and thrice-boosted governor was having his second bout with COVID-19 and experiencing mild symptoms. 

“The governor’s office made about 26 notifications of exposure to office staff, people and groups who met with Inslee in his office, and the organizers of events or meetings the governor attended,” The Seattle Times reported. It added that the total number of people notified wasn’t available at the time of the paper’s report, but there were also a few external meetings the governor attended whose organizers were notified. 

I hope the governor is finishing up an easy recovery and that his sick and contagious status as a vaccinated person has him rethinking his outdated vaccine mandate. The state needs to end its permanent hiring ban on unvaccinated members of our society and allow our state to get back to work with reasonable personnel rules. 

If Inslee won’t end this mistreatment of the unvaccinated and allow public jobs to employ people regardless of their vaccination status, legislators need to step in while they are still in session. They’ll have a bill to end the permanent vaccine mandate for new hires to fast-forward and consider soon.

Elizabeth Hovde is a policy analyst and the director of the Centers for Health Care and Worker Rights at the Washington Policy Center. She is a Clark County resident.

Also read:

Receive comment notifications
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Gov. Inslee’s mandate defines “fully vaccinated” as 14 days after the two-dose series. The FDA just voted to do away with the original two-dose series in favor of an annual updated bivalant booster. This will make his mandate moot. If the Governor wants to keep the mandate, he will have change the language to require the latest bivalant booster. The usual term used is “up to date.” It is hard to see a mandate requiring “up to date” covid vaccines. Only 21% of WA residents have even bothered with the bivalant booster. The other 79% either see the covid vaccine as ineffective or unsafe (or both!)

1 month ago

California no longer pursuing K-12 COVID vaccine mandate – Axios 
2 days ago … California children will no longer need the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school, state officials announced Friday. Will it take more lawsuits to stop the killer jabs in WA. If CA stopped them, because they know they cause dead, vaccine injuries, blood clots what is wrong here in Washington or Clark County? Fire Dr. Melneck. He is the problem. Melneck and our county council should be up to date on the latest rulings against Covid jabs. Those jabs they recommend have caused dead and vaccine injuries. Inslee is NOT a doctor. How much is Melneck getting paid to enforce these killer jabs? Why hasn’t he told Inslee about CA stopping the Jabs in CA schools? This is murder and mayhem when doctor coheres patients to take jabs, knowing the cause death rates to go up and vaccine injuries! Recently, I heard of a Vancouver man taking the jab and dying 3 days later.

1 month ago
Last edited 1 month ago by Margaret
K.J. Hinton
1 month ago


First, neither bill stands a chance of passage.

Second, even if one or both did pass, he would veto them.

I get that LTE’s/articles like this are red meat to the base. But they ignore the reality that the left controls the entirety of state level government here in Washington and there is no way… NO WAY these bills stand a chance of surviving.

As long as the voter approved referendum remains in place, none of these things will happen. And the vote to approve his emergency powers went with him by a 2:1 margin.

I appreciate these legislative grenades as much as the next guy, but the problem is grenades like this, thrown this way, will only be picked up and thrown back.

This is not to say that I support Inslee’s mandates; on the contrary, many of them lack the common sense of a board fence.

But I don’t have to support something to deal with the reality confronting us.

Heads beat themselves against concrete walls until long after the bleeding starts. But reality doesn’t change and these efforts will never see the light of day in a form that would make any difference.

And it’s surprising Hovde doesn’t already know that.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
buy viagra online where can i buy viagra