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Dear Friends,

We have spent the last couple of weeks debating and voting on bills on the “virtual” House floor. The debates have included many concerning and problematic bills. I will send you an email update later this week with an overview of some that legislation. However, in this update I wanted to give you an update on the House Republicans plan to get Washington state to Phase 3. Also, I wanted to send a reminder that we have rescheduled the virtual town hall meeting. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Virtual town hall Wednesday, March, 10

Some of you are probably aware, Rep. Walsh and I had to reschedule our 19th District Virtual Town Hall Meeting to Wednesday, March 10 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. We apologize for the inconvenience, but debate on the House floor has been running late into the evenings. We felt it was important not to miss any votes. We look forward to talking with you on Wednesday about the results of the past several days. There are many issues and bills to discuss.

Participants who have preregistered for the canceled March 6 conference will not need to register again. Those who would still like to preregister for the March 10 conference click here or go to RepresentativeJoelMcEntire.com and click on “get started” box in the drop-down at the top of the page. The conference can only accommodate the first 500 attendees. I look forward to our conversation.

House Republicans introduced Phase 3 plan

On Jan. 5, the governor announced his “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan. Since then, he has yet to identify a Phase 3 plan or guidelines. House Republicans have taken a proactive approach and introduced their own proposal. Last Thursday, at a news conference Republicans unveiled their Open Safe, Open Now plan.

Under our Republican plan, all students in grades K-12 would immediately return to the classroom and it would put people back to work.

PHASE 3: Effective immediately

  • RETURNING STUDENTS TO THE CLASSROOM
    • All children in grades K-12 would immediately return to the classroom for in-person instruction.
    • School districts would implement safety protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Experts from Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health have said distancing in schools should be reduced from six feet to three feet.
  • PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK
    • Hospitality businesses and venues statewide, such as restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums, libraries and other entertainment venues, open to 50% capacity.
      • There is no specific state restriction on restaurant table size. This would be left to county health authorities to determine.
    • Bars and restaurants would stop serving alcohol and close at midnight.
    • State parks and other state agencies whose function is tourism/recreation would resume bookings for day-use and overnight facilities at 50% capacity.
    • Indoor weddings and indoor religious services would open to 50% capacity.
    • Professional services would open to 50% capacity.

PHASE 4: Effective three weeks after implementing Phase 3

  • FULLY OPEN AT 100%
    • After a county has operated at Phase 3 for three weeks with no significant spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, all activities return to 100% capacity.
    • Bars and restaurants would return to serving alcohol until 2 a.m.

The governor was predictably dismissive about our proposal – stating Washington is not going the way of Texas. However, if he would have taken a closer look, this is not a Texas type plan. We believe people should continue to wear masks, get vaccinated and practice social distancing when appropriate. What is being proposed by Republicans is similar to what the Democratic governor in Connecticut has announced. Click here for more on their plan.

We cannot sit around and wait as no plan will be without risk. Republicans are being proactive – just as we have been with our operating budget proposal and COVID-19 relief package introduced earlier this session. Hopefully the governor will take a close look at our plan and be willing to consider some meaningful dialogue with us to move our state forward.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments. I look forward to speaking with you on Wednesday evening.

Your Humble Servant,


Joel McEntire

State Representative Joel McEntire, 19th Legislative District
representativejoelmcentire.com
409 John L. O’Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
joel.mcentire@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7870 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000