Washington House facility access limited to vaccinated through January
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Lawmakers and legislative employees at the Washington state House must prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access House facilities through early January, under a rule adopted by a House committee late last month.
The policy took effect Monday, the same day that a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline passed for many state workers and others to provide proof of vaccination — or an accommodated exemption — in order to keep their jobs. More than 1,800 state workers were either fired, resigned or retired due to the mandate.
Legislative staff and lawmakers are not covered by Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccination requirement, so policy for the House and Senate facilities are left up to leaders within each chamber. In the House, the Executive Rules Committee — which handles chamber policies — comprises four Democrats and three Republicans.
Bernard Dean, the chief clerk of the House, said the change in facility access is only for the 2021 legislative interim and said that no decisions have yet been made on whether to extend the policy to the legislative session that begins on Jan. 10.
Secretary of the Senate Brad Hendrickson said the Senate has not adopted a similar interim policy, but that decisions on building access and what format session will take in January are expected soon.
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