State Senator Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) says he’s been told it’s possible that the governor could use his emergency powers to stretch the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to private businesses.
“I was alerted to it by colleagues from the House, and the timeline was essentially non-existent to do anything,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show. “I consulted with legal counsel in the House, and the problem is, it is so open-ended, it could reach almost anywhere.”
“That broad grant of authority, with over 600 days of emergency orders, should scare us,” he added.
The senator says legal counsel told him the emergency powers the governor has are so broad that it’s possible a vaccine mandate could be extended to what Schoesler referred to as “the mom and pop employer.”
He recognizes that emergency powers may have been needed in the first couple months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we needed to try to halt the spread of the virus. But now, he says, it’s become permanent.
“I don’t think the people that wrote our state constitution ever envisioned a governor having permanent authority, nor did the legislators or voters who have expanded it in the past,” he said. “There’s broad sweeping powers in the name of public health that should frighten any civil libertarian.”
Dori and Sen. Schoelser also discussed how the statewide vaccine mandate applies to corrections workers but not inmates who work in the prisons, and therefore for the state. Listen to the full interview online here or at the audio player above.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.