Radio report: Northeast lawmakers condemn state agency fine threats against Kettle Falls schools for relaxing mask mandates


Northeast Washington lawmakers are fuming after the state Department of Labor and Industries threatened one of their school districts with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for not wearing masks. John Sattgast explains.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: During a tense school board meeting, the Kettle Falls School District voted Thursday to require students and staff to wear masks once again. Earlier this month, it voted to make masks optional, ahead of Governor Jay Inslee's end date of March 21st. This prompted Labor and Industries to threaten fines of as much as 70-thousand dollars per person.

Seventh District State Representative Jacquelin Maycumber said it should be a local decision. Instead, she says the governor is “holding children hostage to play politics.”

MAYCUMBER: “Even the CDC says it's time to take off masks. These children have carried the burden of COVID for two years and followed every order that the governor has given. And these children now need time to recover and take the masks off. And the governor should not be overstepping his boundary from local elected school board members.”

SATTGAST: Maycumber issued a joint letter to the governor with her seatmates, Representative Joel Kretz and Senator Shelly Short, saying the threats were “shocking.” They called on Inslee to end the L&I complaint. So far, no response from the governor's office.

John Sattgast, the state Capitol.

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