By Cole Lauterbach / The central square
(The Center Square) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has said he single-handedly saves lives with his powers as the state’s top leader.
In a maintenance with TVW’s Mike McClanahan, Inslee gave an in-depth look at his perspective on managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TV host asked Inslee, well into his second year in government by declarations of emergency, about dozens of legal challenges to his executive authority.
Inslee responded by giving her decisions sole credit for saving the lives of her compatriots in Washington.
“There is only one person in Washington state who has the capacity to save these lives right now, and it turns out that is the governor of Washington state,” Inslee said. Wednesday.
McClanahan quoted an editorial from a local judge criticizing Inslee for not including the state legislature in his executive order. Inslee said the legislature not only gives him the ability, but the responsibility, to pass his executive orders.
“We must act now and we must act against a pandemic,” he said, noting that he had faced around 30 lawsuits challenging his power. “I guess many of my decisions will continue to be challenged.”
Inslee credited his actions with saving lives, comparing Washington to neighboring Idaho.
“Not only is this constitutional, it has saved thousands of lives,” he said. “If we hadn’t taken the steps we took in Washington State, we would have lost thousands more to COVID. The reason I know it is, if you compare our death rates to other states. If we had had the same death rates as other states, like Idaho, thousands more people would have lost their lives. “
Critics of Inslee’s orders say he should cede authority to the rest of the Washington government.
“We are governed by press conference,” said Jason Mercier, director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center. “The executive must have emergency powers to respond to a crisis, but it must be time-bound and not indefinite. When it does, it leads to what we saw in the governor’s interview where he believes he alone has the wisdom to determine how everyone should live without the contribution of the legislature.
Mercier said the state legislature should assert itself, even if it ends up codifying similar policies.
“It’s not about policies, it’s about how they are implemented,” he said.
Inslee also hinted at new immunization mandates for students in state public schools.
“This is something that we are going to consider,” he said.