Part 2: releasing DOC inmates not the right call

Legislative update from Olympia

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news conference

Photo curtesy of The Olympian

COVID – 19: not a reason to release inmates

Dear neighbor,

Last week, I shared with you my frustrations regarding Governor Inslee’s decision to release over 1,000 inmates from our state’s correctional facilities. Yesterday, I was joined by law enforcement officials and crime victims for a news conference voice their opposition to Governor Inslee’s planned release of 1,167 prison inmates from our state’s Department of Corrections facilities due to coronavirus.

Additionally, we spoke about the arguments that were heard by the Washington State Supreme Court in the Colvin v. Inslee case.

To learn more, you can watch the news conference here.


Restarting Washington's economy

As we continue looking ahead to what our lives will look like in the future, there is much uncertainty. What will our new normal look like? How will COVID-19 impact our lives in the future? It is likely that our routines will still include social distancing and other safety precautions to ensure we do not see another wave of coronavirus hit our state. One thing I am confident of is the need to begin to reopen our state’s economy in a prudent and measured manner. It is vital that we continue to do all we can to prevent virus deaths. But, I believe the time is now to begin reopening the state, county by county or regionally, to business, to recreation and to life.  In whatever way this occurs, it is incumbent upon each of us to continue to do our part to stay safe so our actions going forward don’t overwhelm our hospitals.

Last week, Republicans in the state House of Representatives and Senate introduced our plan for safely restarting Washington’s economy, while continuing our efforts to combat the coronavirus. I believe employers across Washington can implement safe working protocols to keep their workers and customers safe. Washington has done a great job in “flattening the curve”; it is time to safely restart sectors of the economy while honoring the public-health precautions.

Some highlights of this plan include:

  • A moratorium on all state-agency rulemaking not related to the current crisis. Rules are important, but at a time when many businesses are simply trying to survive, the making of new rules seems less than essential. Relief from rulemaking goes hand-in-hand with relief from taxes.
  • Deliver on the massive testing capabilities promised by state health officials ahead of the business-closure order. Direct the appropriate state agencies to acquire antibody tests and work with employers to screen workers. Workers found to have the antibodies resulting from the COVID-19 infection will be immediately eligible for employment.
  • Allow operations to resume in economic sectors that fit one or more of these criteria: low-risk, personal health, environmental protection, aid to elderly/physically challenged, alternate quarantine locations, assisting businesses with tax-related requirements, or property protection. Examples: auto dealers, solo landscape services, car washes, remodeling companies/contractors, residential construction, hairdressers/barbers, flower shops, RV parks, dentists, installers of home/commercial security systems, and accountants/tax preparers.
  • Exempt small businesses from paying sales and B&O taxes for one year.
  • Forgive first-quarter small-business B&O taxes for 2020 and allow deferral of remaining quarterly taxes to the end of 2020. It makes more sense for state government to assist employers through this difficult time, so they can return to becoming regular taxpayers, then to see employers fail and drop off the tax rolls completely.
  • Forgive payments related to unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and paid family leave for April 2020 through the month that the business-closure order is lifted or amended, as appropriate

To read the full proposal, click here.

As always, it is a pleasure and an honor to represent you.


April 24, 2020

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Fun fact…

Get to know your 39th Legislative District state senator better!

Senator Wagoner...


Sen. Wagoner’s siblings are all “Ks” Karl, Kirk, Klint and sister Kasey!