Washington’s 2021 legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 11th, but most of the proceedings are going to take place virtually and not in person at the state capitol building in Olympia in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Those plans aren’t sitting too well with the group Washington Three Percent, who’ve announced plans to occupy the state legislative building when the session kicks off in a couple of weeks.
Matt Marshall, founder of the Washington State Three Percenters, announced in an email to members that they should plan to “station themselves” at the Olympia capitol building as part of a “Legislative Lockout.”
According to their stated plan, the militia plans on entering the chambers of the Washington Senate and House of Representatives, which are both closed to the general public under health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group Liberty, At All Hazards, intends on protesting at the capitol on January 10 which its founder, Tyler Miller, says is being backed by the Washington Three Percenters.
“We are merely there to assert the constitutional requirement that all floor sessions of the legislature remain open to the public,” Miller said. “If the legislature were to revise their plans such that the public was allowed inside the building, even in a limited manner, and to offer some form of in-person committee hearings option, then we would cancel and/or cease our event.”
In a recent blog post Miller outlined his objections to the virtual session and the closure of the capitol building to the public. The whole thing is far too long to quote in its entirety, but there are a couple of bits I want to highlight. First, Miller acknowledges the claims by lawmakers that hosting a virtual session is going to be great for transparency and public participation.