Opinion: The governor’s hardline vaccine mandate hurts the state, undermines the Legislature’s role and offers another example of why we need emergency powers reform


Elizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center discusses how Gov. Jay Inslee is ‘building division and targeting a group of Washingtonians.’

Elizabeth Hovde
Washington Policy Center

Elizabeth Hovde
Elizabeth Hovde

The COVID vaccines are protecting people from severe illness and death at impressive rates. Yet, instead of boosting confidence in them, easing doubts and finding ways to address concerns about the state’s stretched medical resources with the Legislature, Gov. Inslee is building division and targeting a group of Washingtonians. His vaccine mandate, considered the strictest in the nation, as people lose their livelihoods if not vaccinated, is not patient centered, feels punitive and ignores the fact that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can spread COVID-19. 

Meanwhile, he is erasing personal freedom, creating jobless individuals, increasing staff shortages and dismissing the concerns of some business owners who are being used as enforcers. 

This week, he boasted about the increases in vaccination rates among state employees ahead of his required October 18 vaccine deadline. Let’s be clear, though: He has been successful at forcing people to do something they’re opposed to doing by threatening their careers. That should not be a proud moment for any leader. And speaking in percentages allows the governor to gloss over the fact that thousands are facing job loss in Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee

Jerry Cornfield, political reporter for The (Everett) Herald, Tweeted, “Of 61,821 state workers, 89.53% were vaccinated as of Oct. 7. If you subtract 1,573 with approved accommodations, vax rate climbs to 91.87% per @WA_OFM. That leaves roughly 4,900 who could be in process of getting the jab or exemption, or in danger of losing their job.”

Cornfield also reported, “While Inslee predicted limited impacts, the mandate is already affecting some services,” and, “Washington State Ferries cancelled a number of sailings in recent days due to a lack of workers.”

Ferry workers, state troopers, public educators and public safety employees are among more than 100 workers suing the governor and state agency heads over the requirement.

People are already experiencing shortages in hospitals, a problem that will be exacerbated by the vaccine mandate. KIRO 7 News reports, “The Washington State Hospital Association issued a warning on Monday, saying hospitals statewide could lose 2% to 5% of their staff in one week. This means they’re expecting 3,000 to 7,500 employees to leave once the state’s vaccine mandate takes effect.”

The Seattle Police Department could be forced to fire up to 40 percent of its workforce when the statewide COVID-19 vaccination mandate goes into effect, according to data posted by the department and reported by many news outlets.

Feelings about vaccination and the choice to remain unvaccinated vary. The Legislature, which is supposed to represent us, should be discussing policies that promote public health while protecting civil rights and our democracy.

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

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K.J. Hinton
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K.J. Hinton
1 month ago

The problem… when I see this… is how quickly we forget.

No… not that Inslee did this…

But that we EXPLICITLY gave him the POWER to do this.

SJR8200 – Washington Senate Joint Resolution 8200, Government Continuation Legislation for Catastrophic Incidents Amendment (2019)https://ballotpedia.org/Washington_Senate_Joint_Resolution_8200,_Government_Continuation_Legislation_for_Catastrophic_Incidents_Amendment_(2019)

Over 65% of the people of this state who voted, voted for this (No, I was not one of them.)

Inslee has been dragged into court repeatedly over these edicts and WON EVERY TIME.

THIS IS WHY.

Does it suck? To many. Is it the law? Of course. Were we ASKED? Absolutely.

Don’t like the law? Then change it. But realistically, it WON’T be changed.

The dems hold significant Majorities in both houses. In 2020, Inslee caved the GOP candidate’s butt in by popular vote. Inslee got almost as many votes as this measure. He won by almost 5550,000 votes, claims to the cont5rary notwithstanding.

Many here would have him IGNORE the outcome of THIS vote and just do what THEY want, but at the same time, have him implement votes they like, such as the $30 car tab initiative.

That’s not how this works.

Inslee will do what he wants because when it comes to mandates, the man’s got all the cards and we have none. Dems control everything in state government that matters. And for the foreseeable future?

There’s no one damned thing we can do about it. Our support of this is not required. And when it comes to a shortage of medical personnel, that will be short-lived if it happens at all. They simply have no where else to go.

If they like eating and getting their bills paid, guess what? They’ll get vaxed.

This is a reality check, not an advocacy position. The next election will likely not significantly change control of the legislature and the initiative process will be of no particular help here because the majority of people in this state support huis edicts enough to continue to support him.

It is, what it is. Sorry.

Susan
Guest
Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  K.J. Hinton

Though I like your comment overall, after reading the link re: SJR8200, I’m not confident that giving the governor god-like powers is what that was all about. It certainly was not what I understood at election time. It seems to me to be about who directs & runs needed functions in the event of a catastrophe. I see lots of references to “the legislature” but nothing about giving the governor absolute rule. However, I’m not a legal scholar.

Your last paragraph, and last closing sentence, are likely (unfortunately) to prove true.

K.J. Hinton
Guest
K.J. Hinton
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

The requirement is that the leaders of the 4 caucuses, both the dems and the Republicans agree to these steps. That’s the “legislative” aspect of this situation.

This serves as the main reason why Inslee has won in court. Once agreed to, there’s no time limit unless it’s explicitly laid out in the agreement.

Jack Burton
Guest
Jack Burton
1 month ago
Reply to  K.J. Hinton

All too true Mr. Hinton. It happens on the local level too. People run for school board, get elected by a significant majority, and as soon as they do something that a tiny minority doesn’t like they tell us they are not “representing the people”.

If the GOP wants to compete in Washington they have to adapt. I believe the old tenets of the party (fiscal conservatism, small government, personal responsibility) would be more successful than the victimhood and “own the libs at all costs” message that dominates the party now. Elections have consequences. On the federal level the GOP has the electoral college to insulate them from democracy…. at the state level they need to provide a platform worth voting for.

K.J. Hinton
Guest
K.J. Hinton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

So, is the answer to become, say, democrat-lite? They’re doing that as it is.

For example, the largest gas tax/tab fee increases to date in this state’s history so far were introduced and passed by the GOP controlled Senate first. They killed efforts to put a referendum clause on it and supported efforts to add an emergency clause (some emergency, eh?) to make it that much more difficult to gather signatures to contest it on the ballot.

Many of them also voted to support the McCreary budget, which caused our property taxes to explode (while accomplishing nothing to improve academic outcomes)… resulting in massive revenue surpluses that, instead of giving back, the legislature just finds more ways to spend. (in our neck of the woods: Senators King, Rivers, Wilson, Braun, Reps Harris, DeBolt and Vick)

Regardless of how we got in this situation, here we are. And we have to deal with the reality that faces us. And the reality is that increasing efforts to turn this into some sort of socialist mecca are succeeding. Stalin redistribution or Inslee redistribution.

Makes no difference to me.

K.J. Hinton
Guest
K.J. Hinton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

So, is the answer to become, say, democrat-lite? They’re doing that as it is.

For example, the largest gas tax/tab fee increases to date in this state’s history so far were introduced and passed by the GOP controlled Senate first. They killed efforts to put a referendum clause on it and supported efforts to add an emergency clause (some emergency, eh?) to make it that much more difficult to gather signatures to contest it on the ballot.

Many of them also voted to support the McCreary budget, which caused our property taxes to explode (while accomplishing nothing to improve academic outcomes)… resulting in massive revenue surpluses that, instead of giving back, the legislature just finds more ways to spend. (in our neck of the woods: Senators King, Rivers, Wilson, Braun, Reps Harris, DeBolt and Vick)

Federally, I’m glad the Constitution of the United States insulates them and us, to a certain extent, from the tyranny of the left.

Regardless of how we got in this situation, here we are. And we have to deal with the reality that faces us. And the reality is that increasing efforts to turn this into some sort of socialist mecca are succeeding. Stalin redistribution or Inslee redistribution.

Makes no difference to me.

Jim Durham
Guest
Jim Durham
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

If the GOP wants to compete, they will have to cheat! What’s good for the goose……………..

Jim Durham
Guest
Jim Durham
1 month ago
Reply to  K.J. Hinton

The reason SJR8200 was even on the ballot in 2019 is because the communists new their planned pandemic was coming. Once again, King Inslee and his handlers totally fooled Washington State into screwing themselves. Just like he is doing right now with all of his lies and threats about the vaccination. The man is evil and has blood on his hands.

Margaret
Guest
Margaret
1 month ago

Adverse events reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, VAERS, among people 12 and up, include life threatening anaphylaxis allergic reactions, heart attacks and heart disorders like myocarditis/pericarditis, blood clots in the brain and throughout the body, strokes, seizures, paralysis, vision impairment and other neurological conditions, amputations, deaths, miscarriages, and premature births. For details See Reports of Serious Injuries After COVID Vaccines Near 112,000, as Pfizer Asks FDA to Green Light Shots for Kids 5 to 11 • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)
“Dr. Patricia Lee, a licensed physician in California, said her experience with patients harmed by the COVID vaccine “does not comport with claims made by federal health authorities regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.” See article Physician to FDA, CDC: In 20 Years of Practicing Medicine, ‘I’ve Never Witnessed So Many Vaccine-Related Injuries’ • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

Residents, families, and healthcare providers of those who have suffered adverse health events including deaths after vaccination should report the event to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.

Residents who have been harmed by the mandate may want to learn more about Washingtonians to Recall Inslee.,

Jim Durham
Guest
Jim Durham
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

The anti-vaxxers? You mean the citizens of Washington State that refuse to inject fetal tissue into their bodies or suffer the severe side effects of the vax? I personally know of 4 adults that are suffering life threatening side effects within 2 weeks of getting the 2nd jab. That’s all of the fricken science I need to see and I’m being VERY sincere about it.

Susan Garrison
Guest
Susan Garrison
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Durham

what fetal tissue? none.
you don’t even know that one simple fact.

Scott Hooper
Guest
Scott Hooper
1 month ago

Civil rights are not at all impacted; nobody is coming to your home to forcibly vaccinate you.

Employee rights–and customer rights–are rights too, and adding more vaccine mandates–perhaps the most important of them–to an already long list does nothing but strengthen our businesses and improve safety for everybody, including those vaccinated whether they wanted to or not.

Most jobs won’t let you work without pants, yet that is harmless. How is it hard to see that blocking people from potentially infecting patients is not obviously the right thing to do.

Inslee is doing the right thing. So political, misguided and misinformed and intransigent have many become, we do indeed have some serious issues to overcome, but ensuring safety for those seeking services is most definitely not one of them.

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Guest
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