Bill to Move Entire State to Phase 2 Gets First Hearing Tomorrow

Date: January 19, 2021

Bipartisan measure seeks to open up more businesses as quickly as possible

OLYMPIA, Wash., Jan. 19, 2021—Is Gov. Jay Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery becoming a Roadmap to Ruin? Proponents of Senate Bill 5114 will make the case for the latter, tomorrow, January 20, when their measure gets its first hearing before the Senate State Government & Elections Committee, which starts its business at 8 a.m.

“Governor Inslee’s latest re-opening plan, Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery, takes a regional approach, tying rural areas to one or more urban centers. Consequently, we are skeptical that this new plan is anything more than a Roadmap to Ruin, particularly for our small and rural counties,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for NFIB, which is supporting SB 5114. “Last week’s announcement by the state Department of Health that, for the second week in a row, all counties will remain in Phase 1 reinforces that belief.”

Originally introduced by bipartisan co-sponsors, Sens. John Braun (R) and Mark Mullet (D) – both NFIB members – the bill would move the entire state immediately to Phase 2. It would also give the Legislature, not the governor, responsibility for designing additional phases of re-opening and determining when the state advances or regresses between phases. That, Connor added, should be quite useful since the governor’s plan still has no Phase 3 or above.

While there is very little difference between activities allowed under Phase 1 and 2, for small businesses the key distinction is that restaurants, fitness centers, and indoor entertainment venues would be allowed to serve customers indoors at 25% capacity in Phase 2. That is an important step forward, and that step needs to be taken now.

NFIB Washington is encouraging its members who are interested in testifying online, submitting written comments, or simply having their position noted for the record to use this link, select “State Government & Elections” and “1/20/21 8:00 AM” from the drop-down menus, then click the circle for “SB 5114 Reopening/public health.” That will launch additional options for signing-up to testify, provide written comments, or just noting your position on the bill (PRO). That step then requires you to enter your name and contact information. Under “organization,” list your business name, or leave it blank. You should receive a confirmation email right away.

Keep up with the latest Washington state small-business news at www.nfib.com/washington or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_WA or on Facebook @NFIB.WA

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For more than 77 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.

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