Reps. Young and Walsh push back against L&I’s new statewide mandate against private employers

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) filed an Emergency Rulemaking package last week with the Office of the Code Reviser (OCR). This package, which is an update and expansion of some earlier L&I rules, sets up an enforcement mechanism for the current Governor to extend his COVID vaccine mandate to all private employers in Washington.

Reps. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor and Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, issued the following statement:

“This mandate from L&I demonstrates a complete lack of transparency, which dilutes public trust in our government and fails to show the agency’s good faith in promulgating the rule. The reality is this move by L&I is a blank check for the agency to enforce any of the Governor’s mandates or edicts on private employers.

“If L&I desires to make such a rule, it should do so in an open and transparent manner that allows public review and comment. Even if an opportunity for review and comment is not afforded the public, L&I’s website should host the proposed rulemaking to grant easy access to the public.

“Furthermore, adopting such a broad, vague rule without clear direction will lead to arbitrary enforcement.

“L&I cannot demonstrate that it ‘exercised honestly and upon due consideration’ or a ‘process of reason’ to arrive at the rule as L&I simply deferred to the governor’s proclamation and allowed for enforcement of the ‘safe place’ rule where ‘no specific rule’ exists.

“There is no clear case for ‘good cause’ or ‘the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare’ as the governor’s proclamation already addresses these issues, making L&I’s mandate arbitrary and capricious.

“We call on the governor to immediately repeal this mandate. If L&I wants to push this policy, it needs to go through the proper channels and work with the Legislature.”


Washington State House Republican Communications