Inslee to face recall effort for COVID steps
May 20, 2021
PASCO - Five voters led by a Pasco City Councilman have filed a petition to recall Gov. Jay Inslee for abusing the powers of his office during the coronavirus pandemic last year.
The recall petition was filed with the Secretary of State's Office in Olympia on May 17.
Gov. Inslee has yet to respond to the recall petition.
Under the state Constitution, any elected official in the state can be removed from office for misfeasance, malfeasance, and violating an oath of office.
In the recall, residents C. Davis, Alexis Wallace, Rebecca Faust, Pasco City Councilman Simon Peter Serrano, and William Bisson accused the governor of crimes worthy of recall.
The first of five charges allege the governor overstepped his authority by restricting religious freedoms guaranteed by the state constitution.
The charge alleges the governor's "Stay Home-Stay Healthy" order violates Article I Section II of the state Constitution.
The state's founding document does not specifically give a governor authority to suspend basic constitutional rights due to a viral outbreak.
The second charge alleges the governor violated the state Constitution with coronavirus Proclamation 20-19, which prevented landlords from evicting those who fail to pay rent.
The proclamation violates Article IV, Section I of the state Constitution, the recall petition states.
The third charge alleges the governor exceeded his authority by suspending the state's Open Public meetings Act and infringed on "the People of Washington's right to petition the government for redress and infringing on the People's rights to peaceably assemble under the United States Constitution."
"Such a violation of R.C.W. 43.06.220(2)(g) constitutes misfeasance, a violation of the Governor's oath of office, or both; either result subjects the Governor to recall," the petition states.
In the fourth charge, petitioners allege the governor further exceeded his statutory authority by restricting the number of people gathering in Proclamations 20-05, 20-06, 20-07, and 20-11, as well as other gubernatorial mandates, the petition says.
"Such a violation results in a valid claim for misfeasance, a violation of the Governor's oath of office, or both; either result subjects the Governor to recall," the petition states.
In addition, the fifth charge alleges the governor illegally declared a statewide emergency on Feb. 29, 2020, "without just cause as he failed to make a finding that a public disorder, disaster, energy emergency, or riot existed in Washington State due to COVID-19," the petition states.
State laws do not specifically give the governor authority to declare an emergency over a public health outbreak if there is disorderly behavior, a physical disaster, energy emergency, or riot.
"Such a finding is a condition precedent to declaring a state of emergency and is required by R.C.W. 43.06.010(12), the petition states. "The Governor's illegal COVID-19 Proclamations result in a valid claim for misfeasance..."
Sections 33 and 34 of Article 1 of the state Constitution allow any voter to file for recall of an elected official by preparing a typewritten charge, naming the official and his/her office, and outlining any acts of misfeasance, malfeasance, or violation of oath of office.
Gov. Inslee isn't the only governor facing recall for allegedly overstepping their authority with coronavirus orders.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom faces recall next fall after 1.71 million voters in his state signed a petition to remove him from office for violations of constitutional rights and business and school shutdown mandates.