Dozens of State Patrol troopers, firefighters and different state workers 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 regulation.
The lawsuit, filed Friday by Seattle legal professional Nathan Arnold in Walla Walla County Superior Courtroom, lays out seven causes of motion in opposition to Inslee and pays explicit consideration to the character of the state’s spiritual exemptions, which plaintiffs allege represent a deprivation of non secular freedom underneath the state Structure.
In August, Inslee ordered all state workers to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 18 or face being fired. Washington state’s vaccine mandate is likely one of the strictest within the nation.
Among the many greater than 90 particular person plaintiffs, greater than 53 are State Patrol workers, some are Division of Corrections workers, and several other others work for the hearth division or state ferry system.
“Some Plaintiffs have, with no consideration by statute and a proper secured by the Washington Structure, sought a spiritual exemption from the Governor’s Mandate,” the lawsuit says partially. “As a situation of contemplating the Plaintiffs’ spiritual exemptions, the state or its companies have required the submission of a ‘spiritual questionnaire’ which improperly inquired into protected non-public affairs concerning well being care selections and spiritual sentiment, perception, and worship.”
The lawsuit included screenshots of emails through which Inslee’s Basic Counsel Kathryn Leathers mentioned exemption language with the state legal professional basic’s workplace. The criticism singled out what Leathers wrote in an Aug. 3, 2021 e mail: “Exemptions: medical for certain; and spiritual (if we now have to; if sure, as slender as doable).”
The lawsuit went on to allege that a few of the plaintiffs who submitted the spiritual exemption questionnaire requested “have had their spiritual sincerity questioned and have been compelled to supply extra data.”
“The Plaintiffs every face deprivation of their life, liberty, or property as a direct consequence of each the State’s inquiries on the spiritual questionnaire which isn’t per due course of, and the Governor’s Mandate which was not correctly or legally enacted, and which isn’t per due course of,” the lawsuit states.
“These necessities are in full compliance with the regulation. We stay up for responding in courtroom,” a spokesperson for Inslee wrote in an e mail, in accordance with The Seattle Times.