One of the other challenges we have is making sure that there is much-needed oversight of the executive branch. Despite plans to reopen the state no later than June 30, the governor still refuses to relinquish his unilateral control by ending the state of emergency. Some agencies, such as the Department of Corrections, have a history of major management issues. Others, like the state Department of Labor and Industries, are overstepping their appropriate authority while limiting the liberty of Washingtonians.
Members of the Senate Freedom Caucus last week called for a special legislative session to reverse new state rules that turn employers into vaccine police. Under these rules, issued by Labor and Industries on May 21, employers can relax masking and social-distancing requirements, but only if they verify that employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Workers must produce documentation that they have been injected with the COVID-19 vaccine, or sign statements attesting to vaccination. Employers are to mark workers according to their vaccination status. Customers are allowed to operate on the honor system – no proof of vaccination required.
These new rules are an invasion of worker privacy, a bureaucratic nightmare for employers – and a form of government coercion that eliminates freedom of choice for people across the state. The Freedom Caucus isn’t anti-vaccine, but we firmly believe that these decisions ought to remain a matter of personal choice.