Rep. Peter Abbarno urges immediate action on emergency powers reform

With policy committee cutoff approaching on Feb. 17, Rep. Peter Abbarno is urging the chair of the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee to hold a public hearing on emergency powers reform legislation – House Bill 1535. The bill, sponsored by Abbarno and Rep. Chris Corry, is identical to a bipartisan measure introduced last year – House Bill 1772.

Abbarno released the following statement:

“The pandemic exposed to many of us the lack of any meaningful limitations on the governor’s vast emergency powers. Since then, thousands of our constituents have asked the Legislature, as the lawmaking branch, to enact real checks and balances.

“Washington is a diverse state, full of people from different backgrounds with unique perspectives. To cast that all aside during an emergency and embrace what is effectively the rule of one person over the whole state is to betray the basic values we hold dear as Washingtonians. The residents of this state want balance and accountability in their government.

“Actions speak louder than words. With mere days from policy cutoff, we have seen no action from the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee on this critical issue. Instead, the committee has dedicated precious time and resources to issues like jail-based voting.    

“Eventually, the memory of the pandemic will fade away, along with the important lessons we learned. We cannot allow history to repeat itself. We owe it to future generations to find the right balance between the executive’s ability to deal with emergencies and proper oversight from the Legislature. Let’s come together as Washingtonians this session, regardless of party, and do our job as legislators.”


Washington State House Republican Communications