Elizabeth Hovde shares why the Washington Policy Center recommends the Legislature repeal this mandate when it meets this coming January
Washington Policy Center
Rules have been made, comments have been compiled, and despite its unpopularity, it looks like Washington state employees in executive and small-cabinet agencies are going to be stuck with Gov. Jay Inslee’s outdated COVID-19 vaccine mandate as a condition for ongoing employment. New employees in executive and small-cabinet agencies will also be mandated to have an initial vaccine series.
Boosters will not be required, making the whole mandate look a bit silly — knowing that vaccine immunity wanes. Instead, boosters were bought in negotiations with public employee unions. Taxpayers will be on the hook for paying a public employee who wants or is coerced into getting a booster $1,000 in booster-incentive pay. Read more here.
Washington’s Office of Financial Management (OFM), which was charged with rulemaking for Gov. Jay Inslee’s permanent vaccine mandate as ordered in Directive 22-13.1, has reviewed all the written comments and oral testimony it received in the time that was allotted for the public to weigh in. That time has now ended. A letter summarizing all the feedback was sent to OFM Director David Schumacher, who was appointed director of OFM by Inslee in 2013.
Now, the director can approve the rules OFM staff crafted that create “new provisions for non-represented employees to continue the requirement to be fully vaccinated, or granted exemption/approved accommodation, and requiring employers separate an employee for failure to comply with COVID-19 vaccination requirements.” If he does, the rulemaking will be filed with the Code Reviser’s Office, with an effective date of Nov.1. I’m told by OFM that the rulemaking will then be posted on the agency’s website within a day of filing. You can follow rulemaking activity and see updates here. See the civil service rules in Washington Administrative Code 357 here.
The Executive Cabinet consists of 24 agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and the Department of Corrections — all of which have had heartburn caused by the vaccine mandate. See the full group of state agencies here. Every small-cabinet agency can be seen here.
Inslee also encourages other state agencies to join him in a permanent COVID-19 vaccine mandate. His directive reads, “I call upon our higher education institutions, our independent agencies, our boards, councils and commissions, and other separately elected officials to consider similar requirements within their agencies and jurisdictions.” So far, I am unaware of any takers. It appears other agencies led by different leaders might agree with the numbers and science that show this mandate is inappropriate and that it does not bring a demonstrable public health benefit.
COVID-19 is serious, but it is no longer a public-health crisis. It has become like other viruses that we have to deal with in a reasonable and voluntary way. And you can spread or contract COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status.
Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employment does not serve the public or the state workforce. People of working ages – and they are who the vaccine mandate applies to – have never been the ones dying from COVID-19 in a way that depletes hospital resources or workforces. Staffing shortages have been exacerbated by the governor’s vaccine mandate, on the other hand.
When the deadline for vaccination passed, numbers from OFM showed nearly 1,900 people were fired, resigned or retired due to the mandate on state employees. People’s careers were ruined, their individual and family finances suffered, and state service levels were harmed and remain worrisome.
Washington Policy Center recommends the Legislature repeal this mandate when it meets this coming January.
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.
- ‘I collapsed’: Documentary stuns with life-altering COVID-shot injuriesA newly released documentary film is stunning its audience with overwhelming evidence of life-altering injuries from the COVID vaccines.
- Phone COVID-19 exposure notifications in Washington state have endedWashington State Department of Health ends program that sent COVID-19 exposure notifications to residents’ phones. With the recent end of the federal public health emergency, federal funding for a variety of pandemic-related programs has dried up.
- ‘Noxious and harmful’: New study shatters myth that masks protectA new study suggests that wearing COVID masks may have caused problems with high blood pressure, reduced thinking ability, increased respiratory problems, and the inhalation of excessive carbon dioxide, potentially leading to harmful effects on health.
- Gov. Inslee rescinds COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employeesMore than 1,800 state employees were initially fired or voluntarily left their jobs for failing to comply with Inslee’s vaccine mandate.
- COVID tests declared unsafe, mass recall issuedFDA warns of bacterial infection risk and inaccurate results in a recall of SD Biosensor’s Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Tests distributed by Roche Diagnostics, affecting numerous lot numbers. The FDA reported that about 500,000 tests were distributed to CVS Health.
- Opinion: Federal vaccine mandate on employees is ending; Washington state’s remainsElizabeth Hovde believes the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for remaining and future employees of small cabinet and executive agencies is misguided, discriminatory and outdated.
- ABC News censors Bobby Kennedy remarks critical of COVID vaccines‘Instead of journalism, the public saw a hatchet job.’
- Big Pharma under investigation for COVID-vaccine fraudTexas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched an investigation into Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for possible violations of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act over alleged COVID vaccine fraud and misrepresentation of efficacy and safety of the vaccines.
1,900 is a lot of people fired. It sounds like these are just the state employees. Do we know the number for health care workers and teachers? I remember at this time last year lots of hospital staff were doing sign-waving protests, but I don’t ever recall hearing the number who were fired from local hospitals.
I know of al least one school district that had 100% compliance… some employees applied for and were granted religious exemptions, with no questions asked. It was a double edged sword for the district – firing teachers would lead to overloaded classrooms (and increased costs of paying teachers for having more students in their rooms) and and potential problems with the union when their current contract is up.