Senate Republicans push back results in redrafting of emergency proclamation

May 19, 2020

OLYMPIA…As a result of the Senate Republicans’ refusal to extend an emergency proclamation that violated the individual’s right to due process, the proclamation has been scaled back and will be reissued by the governor.

The new version of the proclamation no longer suspends statutes that require court hearings to be held within a certain amount of time, which was the Senate Republicans’ concern. It is now singularly focused on the protections for domestic violence victims, allowing court orders to be served through electronic/telephonic means with acknowledgement of receipt. Service of those documents is encouraged to be done in person whenever possible. By successfully pushing for a rewrite, the Senate Republicans made sure courts will be required to promptly set hearings, a move that promotes access to justice for everyone involved.

“This experience demonstrates what can be achieved when we are all at the table working together,” said Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy, who is Senate Republican floor leader. “Blindly extending every proclamation without full consideration of its consequences for those it affects is not good governance. We took a difficult position, but it was the right position. And we’re satisfied with the revision. We will always advocate for victims of domestic violence. And we will always advocate for due process.”

The revised proclamation also includes language added at the request of the Fraternal Order of Police, highlighted below:

“ADDITIONALLY, while the purposes of this order are to ensure access to justice for victims; to promote public safety and public health; and to relieve the severe strain on our judicial system and law enforcement officers during the COVID-19 crisis, nothing in this order or the amendment, reinstatement, and extension of this order prohibits the use of personal service, including in instances in which it is no longer required under statute. In matters where personal service is not employed, service must still be made, and should be made using electronic/telephonic means of service with acknowledgement of receipt, such as by email, text message, facsimile or through social media applications. Furthermore, personal service is encouraged whenever possible, but in particular in all cases in which public safety demands personal service.”