WA Leg. Passes Continuity of Gov’t Bill and Constitutional Amendment

From US News:

The Washington House has passed two measures aimed at protecting state and local governments in the event of natural disasters.

The Daily News reports the bills, both sponsored by 19th District Democratic Sen. Dean Takko, passed on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 5012 extends the Continuity of Government Act, originally intended for catastrophic attacks to natural catastrophes.

It requires that all local and state governments prepare for the continuity of government operations in the event of those catastrophic disasters.

The state constitution currently only allows for the Legislature to provide for the continuity of government in the case of an enemy attack, so the House also voted to pass Senate Joint Resolution 8200, which proposes an amendment to the State constitution. This amendment allows the Legislature to enact the measures in Senate Bill 5012.
The language of the constitutional amendment in SJR8200 principally changes Article II, section 42 by adding the words “a catastrophic incident” in addition to the current “enemy attack” as reasons for continuity of government operations and also changes the word “disaster” to “the emergency” later in the same paragraph. Those words/phrases are then defined in SB5012:
(1)(a)”Catastrophic incident” means any natural or human-caused incident, including terrorism and enemy attack, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions…
(8)(a) “Emergency or disaster” as used in all sections of this chapter except RCW 38.52.430((shall)) means an event or set of circumstances which: (i) Demands immediate action to preserve public health, protect life, protect public property, or to provide relief to any stricken community overtaken by such occurrences; or (ii) reaches such a dimension or degree of destructiveness as to warrant the governor ((declaring))proclaiming a state of emergency pursuant to RCW 43.06.010. (b) “Emergency” as used in RCW 38.52.430 means an incident that requires a normal police, coroner, fire, rescue, emergency medical services, or utility response as a result of a violation of one of the statutes enumerated in RCW 38.52.430