Dozens of State Patrol troopers, firefighters and different state employees have filed a lawsuit in opposition to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, for his COVID-19 vaccine mandate, alleging he’s overstepping his authority and violating state legislation.
The lawsuit, filed Friday by Seattle lawyer Nathan Arnold in Walla Walla County Superior Court, lays out seven causes of motion in opposition to Inslee and pays specific consideration to the character of the state’s religious exemptions, which plaintiffs allege represent a deprivation of religious freedom underneath the state Constitution.
In August, Inslee ordered all state employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 18 or face being fired. Washington state’s vaccine mandate is one of the strictest within the nation.
CONGRESS EXEMPT FROM BIDEN’S COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATE
Among the greater than 90 particular person plaintiffs, greater than 53 are State Patrol employees, some are Department of Corrections employees, and a number of other others work for the fireplace division or state ferry system.
“Some Plaintiffs have, for granted by statute and a proper secured by the Washington Constitution, sought a religious exemption from the Governor’s Mandate,” the lawsuit says partially. “As a situation of contemplating the Plaintiffs’ religious exemptions, the state or its businesses have required the submission of a ‘religious questionnaire’ which improperly inquired into protected personal affairs relating to well being care choices and religious sentiment, perception, and worship.”
The lawsuit included screenshots of emails during which Inslee’s General Counsel Kathryn Leathers mentioned exemption language with the state lawyer normal’s workplace. The grievance singled out what Leathers wrote in an Aug. 3, 2021 e-mail: “Exemptions: medical for positive; and religious (if we’ve to; if sure, as slim as doable).”
The lawsuit went on to allege that some of the plaintiffs who submitted the religious exemption questionnaire requested “have had their religious sincerity questioned and have been pressured to supply extra info.”
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“The Plaintiffs every face deprivation of their life, liberty, or property as a direct consequence of each the State’s inquiries on the religious questionnaire which isn’t in step with due course of, and the Governor’s Mandate which was not correctly or legally enacted, and which isn’t in step with due course of,” the lawsuit states.
“These necessities are in full compliance with the legislation. We stay up for responding in court docket,” a spokesperson for Inslee wrote in an e-mail, in accordance with The Seattle Times.