GOP lawmakers suing governor to speed up state’s reopening

Five Republican lawmakers have filed a federal lawsuit, saying Governor Jay Inslee's reopening plan isn't fast enough.

“We filed suit today in federal district court asking that the governor's proclamation's extension be declared unconstitutional," said Joel Ard, the lawmakers' attorney.

"There is not an emergency in the state of Washington anymore," he declared.

The lawmakers believe the governor has overstepped his boundaries, and that it's now time to get the state fully back to work.

Governor Jay Inslee shot back.

"I think it would be a horrific surprise to the 800 families that lost a loved one to think this is not a crisis," he said at an afternoon news conference.

The federal lawsuit was filed at the start of Phase 1 of Inslee's four-phase plan to reopen the state.

It has been a slow start. Car washes are allowed to be open but some, like Brown Bear, are still closed. And with curbside deliveries now being allowed, some retailers say their customers won't see much of a difference.

“We are not saying that this is not a crisis that does not exist," insisted Rep. Andrew Barkis, (R) Olympia. "We agree that this has been a crisis of epic proportions for the state of Washington."

The lawmakers said they initially supported the governor's emergency declaration. But they believe it has worked and that it is time to move on. Rep. Kelly Chambers, (R) Puyallup, said this was a message they have tried to send Inslee repeatedly. "There've been many, many letters sent without any response."

She was asked if the lawsuit was a last resort.

"It's part of the way our system is created, of checks and balances," she said. "The court is a check on the governor's authority. And it's time that we ask those questions and have the court address this."

The lawmakers acknowledged that a court case could take a long time to reach a judge’s desk. They said a decision on whether they would seek a preliminary injunction could come in the next few days.