OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Inslee today called up National Guard troops to protect the State Capitol when the Legislature goes into session on Monday.
This comes in the wake of a protest mob forcing its way onto the grounds of the Governor’s mansion on Wednesday.
State lawmakers will find new fencing when they return to the State Capitol for beginning of the 2021 legislative session on Monday.
The new fencing surrounds the Capitol itself; the Supreme Court building and the legislative office buildings all have additional protection.
The new security measures are a response to the attack on the Governor’s mansion on Wednesday. A mob forced its way onto the grounds, just like a mob forced its way into the US Capitol on the same day.
“I think what we saw in Washington DC was heartbreaking and frustrating,” said House Speaker Laurie Jenkins.
Washington’s constitution requires lawmakers to meet in person on Monday, in order to pass the rules necessary to continue the session mostly remotely. Authorities have seen social media calls for protesters to invade the State Capitol.
“We have a very strong alignment with the executive branch and the legislative branch working together to make sure that Monday is safe,” Jenkins said.
The Washington State Patrol was grossly outnumbered when protesters broke into the grounds of the Governor’s mansion.
That’s why Governor Inslee has now ordered up to 750 members of the National Guard to help with security on Monday.
“We’re committed. And I think that we’re going to have a safe day and we’re going to do our absolute best to represent the people,” said House Republican Leader, J.T. Wilcox.
Once the session begins, helping the economy recover from the ravages of the coronavirus will be the top issue.
“We gotta be very, very careful, very thoughtful, on where, where we’re going to affect these businesses as they try to recover and provide good jobs for folks in Washington that just want to get back to work, to provide for their families,” said Senate Republican Leader John Braun.
In the wake of the police killing of Tacoma’s Manuel Ellis, and others that sparked a reckoning over racial justice, there will be a big push for police reform.
Federal Way Democratic State Representative Jesse Johnson is the vice-chair of the House Public Safety committee. He said, “I’m hoping that at the end of the session, we will have new standards in place around police tactics and conduct use of force duty to intervene, how we strengthen our accountability measures.”
Some of the organizers of protests scheduled for Monday have called them off, but it’s unknown who may show up anyway.
During this summer’s protests, Governor Inslee sent National Guard troops to Seattle unarmed.
The governor’s office says at least some of the troops on duty Monday will have their weapons.
Cox Media Group