The Washington House Wednesday passed two measures aimed at protecting state and local governments in the event of natural disasters, both sponsored by 19th District Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview.
Senate Bill 5012 extends the Continuity of Government Act, originally intended for catastrophic attacks like the outbreak of nuclear war, to natural catastrophes like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. It requires that all local and state governments prepare for the continuity of government operations in the event of those catastrophic disasters. The bill passed 90-8, and having been amended in the House, now returns to the Senate for reconsideration.
“I grew up between the mouth of the Columbia River and Aberdeen. That’s ground zero for the Cascadia Subduction Zone,” Takko said. “We hate to think of a big earthquake coming, but we’re past due for one. If the worst does come and we have an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or tsunami, this measure will allow us to have a functional government when people will need help the most.”
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, also sponsored by Takko, allows the Legislature to enact the measures set out in SB 5012. The resolution passed 91-7 and will be on the ballot in the next state general election.
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