STATEMENT: Republican senators disappointed by abrupt end to business-recovery task force

OLYMPIA…Sen. Lynda Wilson and Sen. John Braun made this comment today after Gov. Jay Inslee’s office abruptly disbanded the Business Recovery Legislative Task Force after only five meetings since April 17. The group comprised two legislators from each of the Legislature’s four caucuses.

“The sudden demise of the Legislative Task Force is surprising because the governor has acknowledged the state is looking at a long recovery from the COVID-19 situation. There is much more work this group could and should be doing to help guide that recovery. We were encouraged that the governor seemed to be moving away from a central-planning approach and was interested in considering other opinions, but this ended almost as soon as it began.

“The legislative branch is going to have to pick up many of the pieces from the state’s response to the pandemic. It makes sense for us to have open communication with the executive branch about that response. There ought to be a way for us to ask questions and make suggestions aimed at a safe, effective restart, whether it’s about collecting data or about minimizing the confusion and concern our businesses are experiencing. We’re disappointed about being shut out of the process again.”

Braun, R-Centralia, and Wilson, R-Vancouver, were among the Senate Republicans who helped develop the first plan for restarting Washington’s economy, released the same day as the task force’s first meeting. They also serve on the Senate Ways and Means Committee.