The 2021 remote legislative session is underway

2021 legislative session • January 15, 2021

Washington State House Republicans

Dear Friend:

The 2021 legislative session started on Monday. Opening-day ceremonies did not include the normal pageantry like in years past. Instead, state representatives were required to enter the House chambers alone, wear N-95 masks, social distance, and vote in groups to accommodate coronavirus protocols. Entering the Capitol Campus was also different, with unprecedented security measures in place in the aftermath of the terrible and unacceptable events in Washington, D.C. 

Following day one, the 105-day legislative session became largely remote or virtual. House floor action and committee meetings are being held by Zoom. The facilities on the Capitol Campus are closed to the public. Most staff are working from home. And only 15 members from each caucus are allowed on campus.


I had the coronavirus earlier this year, but fortunately a mild case. My House Republican colleagues and I understand the seriousness of the disease, but we also consider the work of the Legislature as essential. We know the legislative process relies on citizen involvement.

My caucus had input on the House operations plan and fought for more options for the public to be involved. But, ultimately, final decisions were controlled by the majority party. 

Governor’s inaugural address, Republican response  

The governor shared his pre-recorded inaugural address on Wednesday. His themes were “relief, recovery and resilience.”

Rep. Drew Stokesbary provided the Republican response, which you can watch or read here. Drew highlighted real solutions from Republicans, emphasized the need to help citizens and businesses recover, and held the governor accountable for failures at the Employment Security Department and the state’s poor vaccination rollout. I invite you to compare the two speeches.

Following these addresses, Republicans held a news conference to answer questions from the media. This was my second media event within a week, having also participated in the AP Legislative Preview on January 7. Republicans will hold weekly media availabilities on Tuesdays throughout the session. 

How you can be involved  

While the remote session will be difficult for members, staff and most importantly the public, there are ways for you to be involved. Several, in fact. Here are some helpful links:

We must act sooner rather than later

I want to acknowledge how difficult these last ten months have been on everyone. I have listened to – and learned from – constituents and stakeholders who have shared their personal stories with me. Many of them are heartbreaking.

You have sacrificed, struggled, and lived under uneven emergency orders for too long. And the consequences have been devastating on so many levels. In today’s news cycle alone, there are stories on foster youth falling behind academically, mental health providers inundated with patients seeking treatment, a sharp increase in fatal overdoses in King County, and businesses struggling to survive. And I’m concerned that the governor’s new “Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery,” combined with our state's very slow rate of vaccination, are taking us farther down this road of despair.

Republicans spent the interim sending letters to the governor asking him to clarify or change his orders, offering solutions, and calling for a special session. The governor largely ignored our ideas. We are now bringing these solutions – and many others – to the table. And the Legislature needs to act sooner rather than later. I talk about how state lawmakers can do this in my video update from earlier today.  

Today's floor action 

Republicans in the Legislature united against Senate Concurrent Resolution 8402 this week. The House debated and voted on this measure a few hours ago.

SCR 8402 bundles 26 proclamations from the governor and extends them until the termination of his state of emergency or until rescinded by gubernatorial or legislative action. While House Republicans agree with a lot of the policy, we do not believe in surrendering our legislative authority. You can read my statement on this issue here

In closing, I hope you find these email updates informative. If not, you are welcome to unsubscribe below. If you know someone who might be interested in signing up for them, they can do so here


Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912