State lawmakers meet amid pandemic, protest


Support comes from soaring heart natural beds where concern for the health and safety of sleep now extends to everything from curbside pickup and delivery to secure in-store appointments showrooms in seattle bellevue and now in edmonds or online at storing heart dot com. Hey it's patricia mercy. it's tuesday. this is seattle now. State lawmakers were met with security checkpoints on their way into work yesterday as the legislative session got underway in olympia and the f. b. i. Is warning of more armed demonstrations at state capitals around the country in the days ahead. We'll talk with. Kyw's casey martin and austin jenkins from olympia in a minute first. Let's get you caught up paton. Seattle's police chief said monday. That the investigation into two officers who may have participated in the dc riot was done out of an abundance of caution interim chief adrian diaz said the findings would be shared with the fbi. I made it very clear when soon this position that any violation of community trust or any action that threatens our ability to serve. This city will be met with full accountability. The officers are on paid. Leave diaz reiterated that anyone found to be part of the riott will be fired. Amazon is being sued by the conservative social media network. It booted off its web hosting service for not doing enough to tamp down calls for political violence parlor which says it saw a surge of interest after twitter deleted. President trump's account is asking a federal court to step in to block the move in their complaint filed. Yesterday the company says shutting them down with kill parlors business justice it set to take off an amazon spokesperson tells. Geekwire parlor is in violation of its terms of service and the lawsuit is without merit and a man who got national attention as a leader of this summer's black lives matter protests on capitol hill is facing domestic violence and abuse allegations. Kyw spoke with two women who went on the record to say that razz simone physically abused them and coerce them into giving him money. Simone denied the allegations in a three hour interview with our reporter ashley. Who ruko if you follow the story of chop you'll want to read the whole thing that our website. Kyw dot org state. lawmakers opened a legislative session. Like no other in olympia on monday. In the midst of a pandemic threats from people who say they're intent on disruption. Legislators some on the job for the first time navigated barricades in the national guard to get to the chamber outside the state capital. Protesters gathered some with guns. Two people were arrested. Kyw reporters austin jenkins and casey martin were there. And are here now casey. I'm going to start with you yesterday. We learned about an fbi bulletin warning of armed protests at state capitals around the country leading up to the inauguration. What are you hearing about that and the plan to handle it right now. Washington state patrol. They said today that they had received that letter and they were taking it seriously. They also said frankly. Were kinda ahead of the game here. you know. We have so many troops here. We have a lot of police presence of we have this massive fence so they said a lot of the safety protocols. A lot of the warnings that they're getting from the fbi said we've already taken these precautions and we're already starting to plan and prepare for inauguration and other events so they started very calm and very sure of their safety so far and you were outside. The capitol on monday with hundreds of national guard troops and a handful of demonstrators. What was the story outside the capitol you know. It was really remarkable to see that so many people had said that they were going to show up. I talked with many right wing groups that were planning to to camp out on the steps and really have this kind of organized occupation. I spoke to people that. Said i'm going to be at the washington. State capital twenty four seven and then wednesday happened the attack congress. There was a security breach here in olympia and then a lot of those people just disappeared. I talked to folks that cancelled that did not want to be part of this. We're really worried about the violence. What ended up happening was hundreds of national guards troops surrounding the capitol building and very few protesters that were planning to be here. Probably about thirty. Thirty five people at max today. They were armed. They were very vocal. But it was a very small group standing in the rain facing off. A wall of silence Law enforcement and casey understand lawmakers had to go through some serious security to get inside of the capital. That was really wild to watch. Because there's this huge fence completely surrounding the capitol building and as lawmakers were showing up to work. They're pulling up and they're facing this checkpoint it's like they're crossing the border into canada. There's all these armed troops come up to the car checking. I d get waved through and while they're getting wave through. Protesters are sending their hurling insults at them yelling stuff at them and then they safely get to pass through both offense and the police so it was a wild. I for sure. Austin you spent the day inside the state senate the only day. They'll show up in person they'll be working remotely from here on out because of the pandemic how did that go. Any disruptions inside no it was like a different world in there was a lot warmer and a lot drier and arguably a lot safer as well but it was in many ways odd. Today's it was there were some familiar rhythms to it as well but it did look really different. I was in the state senate and instead of having forty nine state senators on the floor. There were fewer than a dozen because of public health requirements. There were some senators occupying the public gallery space up above and when it came time to vote it was like the march of the penguins. They would bring them out single file under the floor to the back of the chamber and they would vote into a single microphone and then walk off so it was a little bit like watching your kids. Do their little part at the school play up. This was actually the state legislature. Yeah and that's a lot different. It's usually a day filled with a lot of buzz and excitement. And the halls are packed with lobbyists and lawmakers what are lawmakers saying about security. Right now will. This was certainly a topic of concern for their families. I talked to state senator joe win. Who said his wife was concerned about him. Coming down here for this start of the session and what he was saying is state. lawmakers shouldn't be having to think about that and their families shouldn't have to be thinking about that when really the focus should be on. What are they going to get done in. The first hundred days off michigan just banned the open carrying of weapons their state capital any support for that here. Are you hearing anything about that. That's definitely one to watch because there's already a bill that's been introduced. It's a top priority for the washington gun responsibility group. That's the pro gun control group in the state and i did ask the senate majority leader. Andy billig the question about whether this has a better chance this year because of all is going on. He didn't commit but he's certainly made it sound like it's gonna be discussed. This is question for both of you. The media has also been a target. I've watched video journalists in olympia being harassed and threatened. And i want to ask you. How are both of you feeling about your safety on the job right now. I'm thinking about it a lot more than i ever have. And you know frankly. My kids are pretty freaked out about me going to work these days which has never in my entire career in their lifetimes. Bene- topic of conversation. That said i also feel like we have a really important duty to be here to cover. What's happening. I do think we look out for each other and that at least at this point there is a lot of security on this. Campus feels very secure but just as the lawmakers are having to think about security. When they go about doing their work we are now in an era when we as reporters are having to think about our security while we go about reporting the news. Casey i saw some of the gear that you took out you at a bulletproof vest. A gas mask and a helmet. How are you thinking about your safety and security right now. Have you been harassed. I arrest and i feel like it's getting a little hairier. Each time journalists. Go out and try to do these stories. I you know we've reported on dangerous tight situations before but typically we are not the target you know. We are just a fly on the wall of of what's going on. It's very different when you show up. Where the crowd is targeting journalists. Some of the crowd was yelling. Some stuff out at us today. You know these are armed. People that have ar fifteen rifles with them. And we're just trying to deliver the news. So i feel incredibly supportive. As austin said i do feel like i have a comrades here in the news media and and been great to provide so much great personal safety equipment but it is alarming. That are we coming up and reporting on violence but some of that balance is actually being directed towards journalists. Austin one more thing. I'm curious about since we'll be doing the governing over zoom this time that's a first verse state. Lawmakers how are they feeling about a remote session. Yeah definitely republicans were quite opposed to this idea of going fully remote. They wanted the rules to say that you could choose to work at the capitol or work back in your district. They wanted to open the capital to the public. Majority democrats rejected those proposed amendments to these new rules that will allow for a remote or hybrid session. A few ski people will be at the capitol each day gil crew but mostly lawmakers will go back to their districts and they've told us there will be hiccups. There will be glitches. They are going to try to do this by zoom and you can imagine all manner of things happening when it's lawmakers but then what about when you do public hearings with members of the public. So how many kids. How many pets are gonna interrupt. How many people are going to walk through the back around in their underwear. There may be a lot of bloopers when this session said and done. But it's going to be. It's going to be interesting and it is certainly unprecedented. Well we can hope everybody stays safe. Casey martin and austin jenkins talking with us from olympia. Thank you very much appreciate your time today. Thank you seattle now is produced by jason again. Caroline chamberlain gomez thank claire mcgrane. Matt jorgensen does our music. I'm patricia murphy. See you tomorrow.

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