SSB 5012

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Passed House - Amended:

April 17, 2019

Title: An act relating to governmental continuity during emergency periods.

Brief Description: Concerning governmental continuity during emergency periods.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Takko, Zeiger, Rolfes, Hobbs, O'Ban, Keiser, Warnick, Hunt, Pedersen, Bailey, Conway, McCoy, Wellman, Palumbo, Kuderer and Carlyle).

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Housing, Community Development & Veterans: 3/19/19, 3/22/19 [DPA];

Appropriations: 4/5/19, 4/8/19 [DPA(APP w/o HOUS)].

Floor Activity:

Passed House - Amended: 4/17/19, 90-8.

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

(As Amended by House)

  • Expands the Continuity of Government Act to provide continuity of government procedures for catastrophic incidents, rather than only enemy attacks.

  • Requires the Washington Military Department, subject to appropriation, to develop and manage an education program for state and local government officials regarding catastrophic incidents and continuity of government planning.


Majority Report: Do pass as amended. Signed by 9 members: Representatives Ryu, Chair; Morgan, Vice Chair; Jenkin, Ranking Minority Member; Gildon, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Barkis, Entenman, Frame, Leavitt and Reeves.

Staff: Cassie Jones (786-7303).


Majority Report: Do pass as amended by Committee on Appropriations and without amendment by Committee on Housing, Community Development & Veterans. Signed by 32 members: Representatives Ormsby, Chair; Bergquist, 2nd Vice Chair; Robinson, 1st Vice Chair; Stokesbary, Ranking Minority Member; MacEwen, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Rude, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Caldier, Chandler, Cody, Dolan, Dye, Fitzgibbon, Hansen, Hoff, Hudgins, Jinkins, Kraft, Macri, Mosbrucker, Pettigrew, Pollet, Ryu, Schmick, Senn, Springer, Stanford, Steele, Sullivan, Sutherland, Tarleton, Tharinger and Ybarra.

Staff: Meghan Morris (786-7119).


Emergency Management.

The Washington Military Department, under the direction of the Adjutant General, administers the state's comprehensive program of emergency management. The Adjutant General is responsible for developing a comprehensive, all-hazard emergency plan for the state that includes an analysis of natural, technological, or human-caused hazards, and procedures to coordinate local and state resources in responding to such hazards. The Adjutant General is also responsible for managing a program for interagency coordination and prioritization of government operations planning by state agencies. Each state agency is responsible for developing an organizational continuity of operations plan that is updated and exercised annually in compliance with the program for interagency coordination of continuity of operations planning.

Continuity of Government Act.

The Continuity of Government Act provides direction for the continuity of government operations in the event of an attack taken against the United States in the State of Washington. An "attack" is defined as any act of warfare taken by an enemy of the United States causing substantial damage or injury to persons or property in the United States and in the State of Washington.

Under the Continuity of Government Act, following an enemy attack:

Summary of Amended Bill:

Subject to appropriation, the Adjutant General of the Military Department is responsible for the development and management of an educational program for state and local government officials regarding catastrophic incidents and continuity of government planning. The purpose of the program is to assist with statewide development of continuity of government plans by all levels and branches of state and local government that address how essential government functions and services will continue to be provided following a catastrophic incident. For purposes of this program, the following definitions apply:

A "catastrophic incident" does not include an event resulting from individuals exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.

The procedures outlined in the Continuity of Government Act apply to all catastrophic incidents, rather than only enemy attacks. The following definitions are added to the Continuity of Government Act:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date of Amended Bill: This bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed, except for sections 4 through 10, relating to continuity of government operations in the event of a catastrophic incident, which take effect only if the proposed amendment to Article II, section 42 of the state Constitution is approved and ratified by the voters at the next general election. If the proposed amendment is not ratified, sections 4 through 10 are null and void. However, the bill is null and void unless funded in the budget.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Housing, Community Development & Veterans):

(In support) This bill is important to prepare for catastrophic events like a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. The reality is that an event will occur at some point that will cause significant damage. Damage may be severe enough to interfere with government operations. We need to have the means to maintain the continuity of government during and after those events at both the local and state level. The current law only allows these procedures for an enemy attack. The proposed amendment regarding the First Amendment is not necessary for maintaining the continuity of government after a catastrophic incident that results in extraordinary damage or mass casualties, but the amendment does not hurt the intent of the bill.

(Opposed) None.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Appropriations):

(In support) None.

(Opposed) None.

Persons Testifying (Housing, Community Development & Veterans): Senator Takko, prime sponsor; and Robert Ezelle, Washington Military Department.

Persons Testifying (Appropriations): None.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Housing, Community Development & Veterans): None.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Appropriations): None.