(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- The state of Washington’s House of Representatives will be allowed to continue with its vaccine mandate, after a state judge dismissed part of a lawsuit that was challenging the policy in court.
The policy states that all members of the state House must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to gain entry to the House floor and even their offices in the state house.
In response, six Republican members of the state House filed a suit in November that sought a temporary injunction against that rule. They claimed the policy “unfairly limits access,” while also violating the members’ rights under the First Amendment.
But, Mary Sue Wilson, a superior court judge in Thurston County, disagreed. She ruled that the Republicans didn’t prove the temporary injunction they were seeking was warranted.
In her ruling, she said:
“Simply put, the plans do not prevent the plaintiff legislators from participating in the legislative process.”
She noted that all lawmakers are still allowed to work remotely if they don’t want to, or can’t, be vaccinated against COVID-19. When they do that, they’re still able to participate in all hearings and vote on bills.
One positive slice of news for Republicans is that the judge said her ruling only applied to the request for a temporary injunction, and not the overall lawsuit.
On October 18, the mandate set by Governor Jay Inslee that all state employees had to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to remain in their jobs went into effect. While his mandate didn’t apply to any legislators or their staff members, leaders in both the state Senate and House ended up creating their own vaccine mandates.
In September, the House Executive Rules Committee voted on that policy. The four Democrats who sit on the committee voted in favor of the policy, while all three Republicans who are on that committee voted against it.
In October, one Republican representative, Jim Walsh, posted video of him trying to access the House building using his ID badge, but he was unable to get in.
He said the rule was a “slippery slope toward lawlessness” as well as being “un-American.” Further, he urged legislators to act against the governor’s “unlawful behavior” instead of following in his lead.
The state Senate has slightly different rules. Staff and members of the Senate can opt to not provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, if they instead provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was taken 72 hours within the timeframe that they want to access either the Senate floor or Senate offices.
The Senate provides on-site testing three days every week — on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If staff members or legislators take one of these tests, they’ll be billed for the cost of it.
In the state Senate, every person has to wear a mask while inside, unless they are in an office by themselves.