WA Republican lawmakers want say in COVID-19 recovery

VIDEO: Republican lawmakers are again pushing Gov. Inslee to call a Special Session

Republican state lawmakers are again pushing Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session of the Washington Legislature as they seek to have a say in COVID-19 safety and recovery plans.

They say they shouldn’t be left out of the plans.

Republican Drew MacEwen represents the Mason County town of Union and is the ranking member of the House Commerce Committee.

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“I think there are things that we could have probably looked at doing to again, maximize, the safety for all involved. But less on the economic impact that businesses are going to face,” he said.

MacEwen wants to help small businesses by suspending B-and-O tax payments until April, then stretching out payments over the following three months.

He also wants to delay payments for liquor and business licenses and put a cap on increases in unemployment insurance that he said could go as high as 700%.

“We’ve got to provide some relief in that regard. Otherwise, you’re going to see more and more people lose their jobs,” he said.

Inslee also announced small-business relief plans as he announced the new restrictions.

“I’m committing another $50 million to mitigate the impact on businesses and workers. And we fully intend to get that money out as soon as possible,” he said.

“Well, I appreciate it that our governor is taking steps to protect public health,” said Republican state Sen. Hans Zeiger.

He represents Puyallup and is the ranking member of the State Government Committee. “It is tremendously disappointing to me when we have executive actions that are being taken without any kind of consultation with the Legislature,” he said.

The governor has consulted with lawmakers at times during the pandemic. Still, Republicans want Inslee to call a full-blown special session of the Legislature. Even though the Legislature is going to meet in a couple of months anyway.

“Well, because the governor has issued an executive order that has immediate impact, and the Legislature needs to be a team player and a partner in making sure that that succeeds,” Zeiger said.