Vaccine passports, income tax and unconstitutional vetoes draw fire

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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  June 1, 2021

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The pushback from the legislative session that concluded on April 25 continues to pour in for Governor Inslee. Taxpayers, Republicans, tribal leaders and even traditional allies like legislative Democrat leaders have called the governor out for overstepping his legal authority. You can read more about that below.

It has been nearly than 460 days since Washingtonians began living under the governor’s state of emergency. While he has finally acknowledged that it is time to reopen Washington, and has promised to do so by June 30, he made it clear in his pronouncement that he would not be ending the state of emergency, which has given him extraordinary control over the lives of individual Washingtonians.

There is also disturbing news about the executive branch’s new requirement that businesses enforce a vaccine passport for their employees.

I will continue to raise my voice in opposition to these abuses of the constitutional balance of power between the three branches of government.

Please let me know your thoughts on the issue of executive-branch overreach and abuse of emergency powers. Feel free to call, email or write at any time.

If you wish to convey your thoughts about the governor’s emergency power directly, you can contact Governor Inslee by writing to him at this address:

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

His office can be reached by phone at 360-902-4111 or toll-free at 1-800-833-6384.

You can also e-mail the governor’s chief of staff, Jamila Thomas, at

Remember, it’s your government, and you have a right to be heard!

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Video Update:

TVW’s review of the 2021 session


Click on the image above to watch Sen. Padden discuss policing bills on TVW’s Inside Olympia.

Police reform legislation was one of the most high-profile and contentious issues of the 2021 legislative session. TVW’s Austin Jenkins discusses the issue with Democratic State Rep. Jesse Johnson of Federal Way and Republican State Sen. Mike Padden of Spokane Valley on the network’s Inside Olympia program.

In the News:

WA protects the little guy from bullying by lawsuit

By Seattle Times Editorial Board | May 17, 2021

Washington is about to become a safer place for the public to participate in government. Deep-pocketed bullies won’t be allowed to use the courts to intimidate people into silence anymore.

In the past, the bullying has come by way of a SLAPP lawsuit. That stands for “Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation.”

A typical SLAPP suit goes something like this: A rich company, developer or individual proposes something controversial. Some people speak out against it. …The company doesn’t want all that bad publicity mucking up the chances of approval and tarnishing its name, so it files lawsuits against the agitators. It files one against the local newspaper, too, so that reporters think twice about covering what’s happening.

Washington had an anti-SLAPP law, but the State Supreme Court struck it down in 2015 because it denied litigants access to a jury trial. This year, the Legislature passed an upgraded version that addresses the court’s concerns.  …It was bipartisan work in Olympia. Sen. Jamie Pedersen, a Seattle Democrat, and Sen. Mike Padden, a Spokane Republican, took the lead advancing UPEPA. Meanwhile, Allied Newspaper Publishers, a press organization, provided strong support.

Click here to learn more.

Inslee administration to require vaccine passports; to be enforced by business owners

By Mark Harmsworth, Washington Policy Center | May 24, 2021

covid passport

New COVID workplace restrictions, issued by Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I) late last Friday, May 21st, require employers to check employee vaccine documents before allowing relaxation of social distancing and mask requirements in the workplace.

The new state rules require an employer to confirm, and have employees prove their vaccine medical status. The process used to verify vaccination, and the medical status of the employee’s vaccination record, including the employee medical information must be made available for L&I for inspection.

… Most troubling though, is the L&I rule that an employee badge or credential be marked to show vaccination status, a clear violation of medical privacy. The rules also do not allow any medical, personal or religious exemptions.

Click here to learn more.

In the News:

Inslee’s pair of partial vetoes out of line

By the Union-Bulletin Editorial Board | May 23, 2021

When both sides of the aisle are angry over the same thing, it’s clear that the issue in question needs to be addressed.

Due to Gov. Jay Inslee’s partial vetoes on subsections in a pair of carbon-cutting bills Monday, many legislators across the spectrum are calling the governor’s actions unconstitutional and calling the courts to challenge the vetoes.

… The governor’s partial vetoes not only breaks apart the hard-won bipartisan teamwork, but nullifies provisions made to balance out the “takes” of the two bills with some “gives” in the transportation package.                         

Click here to read more.

In the News:

Tribal Leaders, Legislators Slam Inslee Over Vetoes in Climate Bills

By Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times | May 22, 2021


Willie Frank III talks to Gov. Jay Inslee about his father Billy Frank Jr. and the Nisqually River behind the Wa-He-Lute Indian School earlier this year at Frank’s Landing. JARED WENZELBURGER / JARED@CHRONLINE.COM

In an unusually harsh public scolding, Washington tribal leaders unloaded on Gov. Jay Inslee Friday for his veto this week of a section of a carbon-cap bill that required improved consultation with tribes about climate investments made under the act. 

It started right at the top, with Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, which represents 500 tribes across the country.

"This week, Jay Inslee committed the most egregious and shameless betrayal of a deal I have ever witnessed from a politician of any party, at any level," Sharp said.

"After using and exploiting Tribal Nation's political capital to pass his climate bill, Jay Inslee made the cowardly decision on the day of the bill's signing to ambush Tribal leaders by suddenly vetoing all Tribal consultation requirements.”

Click here to read the full story.

Second lawsuit filed challenging Washington capital gains income tax

Another lawsuit has been filed claiming Washington’s new 7% tax on capital gains is unconstitutional.

By KING 5 | May 21, 2021

Former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s recently passed capital gains tax. The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Douglas County Superior Court, is the second lawsuit filed against the tax.

The most recent lawsuit was filed on behalf of a coalition of farmers, business owners, investors and the Washington State Farm Bureau. It claims the law is unconstitutional by labeling the capital gains tax as an excise tax instead of an income tax.

“If this is an excise tax, it’s an illegal one,” McKenna said in a statement.

Click here to read the full article.

Save the Date:

Law & Justice Committee to meet in June work session to discuss gun-control measures

Mike Padden

The work session is scheduled for Wednesday, June 16, from 9:30 to 12 p.m., and will be held remotely via Zoom. You can watch coverage live at 

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!

Phone: (360) 786-7606

Street address: 106 Irv Newhouse Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA 98504

Postal address: PO Box 40404, Olympia, WA 98504

Email address:

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden's Olympia office, which will be open starting Jan. 6, at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton who is the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.