Washington State House Democrats


Governor’s authority during a state of emergency

Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, he has implemented a series of emergency responses to slow the spread of the virus, including the most recent statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars, recreation facilities and gatherings of over 50 people.  

These are strong actions, however Washington’s Constitution and laws grant the governor a broad set of powers during official state emergencies. This includes, having more authority over use of the National Guard, streamlining regulations that may hinder efficient government response, establishing restrictions on public gatherings and curfews, and prohibiting all other activities that reasonably protect and maintain life, health property and public peace.  

Emergency declarations and responses should not be taken lightly. We should all do our part and follow the new requirements instituted by the state of Washington until we can effectively slow the spread of this highly contagious disease.  

Learn more in the Seattle Times