In late August, Governor Jay Inslee issued a coronavirus proclamation specific to the agritourism industry across Washington. And within hours the farm community cried foul. Many took issue with the fact that not only would this proclamation shutdown many farms just as the agritourism season starts to ramp up, but also pointed out that similar activities in other economies were not prohibited by the Governor.


Moses Lake Senator Judy Warnick said Inslee overstepped and never talked with the Ag community.

“He said he talked with people, but nobody really know who he talked to.  And he was probably well intentioned, I’ll give him credit for that, but we could have spent a little more time talking with the folks who actually have people come on to their farms, on to their businesses, and it would have been a lot better outcomes.”

A few days later the Governor’s office released modified rules, allowing agritourism to proceed in a variety of ways. Warnick added problems like this could be avoided with a special session.

“We could have made some changes to the budget [approved in March] before July 1st when that took effect.  We didn’t.  We were not called back.  And we could help make some decisions, budgetary wise, school wise, and even these type of decisions, we could have helped with that.  If we’d been in town, if we’d been approached.”

Warnick pointed out that Oregon has already held two special sessions, while one does not appear to be on the horizon in Washington.

So, why won’t the Governor call a special session?

Warnick said they’ve written 21 letters to Governor Inslee since the pandemic started. He’s only responded to three.

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