Aug. 7—Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, co-signed an open letter to Washington's citizens on Wednesday reaffirming her commitment to the Constitution. She was one of 12 Washington legislators, all Republicans, to do so.
"Due especially to the state of emergency declaration in effect since March 2020 and resulting mandates, along with recent legislation enacted which law enforcement officers across the state have said will put the public at greater risk, we the undersigned elected legislators do hereby reaffirm our sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitutional rights provided to Washington citizens," the letter stated.
"No person, no emergency order and no law have the authority to remove these Constitutional freedoms and rights from the people. They are fundamental to our state and nation and guaranteed to the citizens of Washington state and the United States of America."
I followed up with Kraft via email asking for specifics regarding which Constitutional freedoms she felt were under attack.
"The fact that we're still living under a 'state of emergency' over a year later, when clearly there is no emergency is extremely troubling," Kraft wrote.
"Under the 'state of emergency' people have been told what they can and can't do for over a year — forcing people to wear masks, closing businesses or significantly limiting their capacity, shutting schools and limiting students' ability to learn in-person, forcing people to isolate, quarantining people from seeing their loved ones, pushing Covid-19 vaccines, etc."
Noting that most of Kraft's examples of COVID-19 restrictions ended more than a month ago, I asked for clarification on her timeline. Here's that follow-up message in its entirety, for transparency's sake:
"I do want to clarify a point — under Washington's current approach, face coverings in businesses and other group settings are merely a recommendation, not a requirement (school settings are an exception). Businesses and individuals are responsible for making their own masking policies. COVID-19 vaccines are also voluntary, and businesses are free to make their own decisions with regards to how they approach customer and employee vaccination status. As of June 30, there are no limits on indoor capacity.
Where do you feel the current COVID-19 policies threaten the people's sovereignty over their own body and life? Or is this letter referring specifically to the restrictions in place during prior stages of the pandemic?"
Here's her answer, in full:
"The fact that we are still under a state of emergency and we're even talking about proclamations made past or present by only one person, the Governor, or even with the input of the 4-Corner leaders: Senate and House Democrats and Republicans leaders, instead of the entire legislature over this long of a period is extremely concerning. Running a government this way is not Constitutional and is definitely a threat to every citizens' sovereignty over their own body, life, property and rights.
In addition, to the point of one of your questions and recognizing these aspects fall outside of the Governor's mandates, I am extremely concerned by the recent movement we're seeing with businesses, healthcare organizations, and higher-education institutions mandating Covid-19 vaccines and requiring vaccination status to be reported by employees, and students. I personally believe these requirements are complete HIPPA (sic)— law violations and should be in any sound legal court of law."
—A note on HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and what it does and doesn't cover: HIPAA prevents healthcare providers from disclosing your own medical information to outside entities without your permission. People and organizations that must adhere to HIPAA include hospitals, individual physicians, nursing homes, pharmacies, and health insurers.
A bar bouncer asking for proof of your vaccination status upon entry has nothing to do with HIPAA. If that same bouncer somehow obtained your pharmacist's contact information, called them on your behalf and asked for your vaccination status — and then your pharmacist actually gave it to them, without your consent — you'd have a case for a HIPAA violation.
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