OLYMPIA… Senate Republican Leader John Braun offered these remarks after the Senate majority avoided taking action today on Senate Bill 5114, which would immediately move all eight regions of the state to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest economic restart plan:
“SB 5114 is the bipartisan plan to safely reopen Washington. It received an enormous outpouring of support at a public hearing before the Senate’s state government committee a week ago. This morning the Republican leader on that committee made a motion asking for a vote. Instead of responding to the motion, the committee chair adjourned the meeting. The restaurants and other small businesses that are struggling across our state deserve something more encouraging than that.
“Republicans trust the employers of Washington to reopen safely. We’re serious about giving them that opportunity. One way or another they need to get to Phase 2 of the restart plan. This afternoon we made a motion aimed at bringing the safe-reopening bill to a full Senate vote. For the second time today, our request for a vote on SB 5114 went nowhere. The majority dodged it by rejecting the motion.
“We don’t question that the governor and the majority want to protect public health. It just makes little sense that both are so resistant to letting restaurants resume indoor service at 25-percent capacity when it’s clearly a meaningful form of pandemic relief that wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime. People want to gather. They can do so at house parties out of public view, or in the controlled environment of a restaurant or bar. Just yesterday the governor finally acknowledged there is no such thing as a zero-risk environment. We have confidence that small businesses are ready to minimize the risk to all who step inside. Republicans are not going to let up on this.”