Counties revolt against WA governor’s ‘stay home’ order

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is facing a small rebellion over his “stay home” policy during the COVID-19 outbreak. (YouTube, TVW)

One county commission, and one sheriff in a different county 150 miles away have launched what appears to be the beginnings of a revolt against Washington State’s Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee and his continuing “stay home” order to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tri-City Herald is reporting.

The Franklin County Commission—a rural county in south-central Washington that is part of the 4th Congressional District which Inslee once, and only once, represented in the early 1990s—voted unanimously this week to defy the governor’s shut down any longer.

At the same time, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney announced he will not enforce Inslee’s order, saying it violates the Constitution, according to the Seattle P-I.com.

Between 2,500 and, by some estimates, about 4,000 Washingtonians gathered on the Capitol campus in Olympia Sunday, demanding that Inslee open up the state. But according to the Seattle Times, the governor is taking a go-slow approach that could keep state businesses essentially shut down well into the spring.

Many gun stores in the state have remained open despite Inslee’s March order that did not include them as “essential businesses.” Several gun dealers have cleverly improvised changes in business that have allowed them to keep their doors open, and serve customers.

Franklin County commissioners are all Republicans. A spokesman for the governor’s office warned their decision could put them in legal jeopardy, and likewise for businesses in the unincorporated parts of the county that re-open.

Sherriff Fortney’s vow to not enforce the continuing shutdown came almost immediately after Inslee appeared on statewide television to reveal the state will not be able to lift many of the restrictions by Monday, May 4, as had been previously indicated. The sheriff did not clarify whether his defiance will include re-opening of the concealed pistol license application process, which requires fingerprinting, but with many first-time gun owners now wanting to carry their firearms outside the home, there is an increased demand for application services, which have been suspended by many law enforcement agencies around the state.

The anti-gun-rights Moms Demand Action circulated an email supporting Inslee’s signing of gun control legislation, which they described as “gun violence prevention programs.” Inslee also signed legislation creating the “Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention” within the Commerce Department. Opponents describe it as a taxpayer-funded gun control agency.

Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed filed suit in U.S. District Court seeking to enjoin the state from enforcing provisions in Inslee’s stay home order banning “all public and private gatherings and multi-person activities for social, spiritual and recreational purposes, regardless of the number of people involved, except as specifically identified herein,” according to KCPQ News, the Seattle Fox affiliate.

Freed contends the order limiting “multi-person activities for social, spiritual and recreational purposes” violates the Constitution, at least where religious gatherings are concerned, the report explained.

There is growing pressure on public officials to get the economy back on track, not just in Washington but around the country. Recent demonstrations in Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere illustrate public frustration with the stay-at-home orders.


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