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Essential has been a troublesome term. What is essential? Is the Governor correctly balancing constitutionally protected Rights? The Governor’s orders need to be flexible and consistent and with an eye on recovery and rebuilding.

For instance, private residential construction is considered non-essential by the Governor. Public projects are essential. Why? Residential Construction has been ‘essential’ for years, is ‘essential’ today, and will be even more ‘essential’ (if that is possible) following the #StayHome order. Plus, safety precautions procedures and social distancing can be adopted.

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Peter Abbarno in front of his law office Althasuer Rayan Abbarno, LLP in downtown Centralia.

What about nannies? The Governor’s #StayHome order defined an ‘essential’ worker as a nanny to a family of an ‘essential’ worker. However the order also says Childcare is ‘essential.’ You can’t have the narrow and the broad term of ‘essential’; can you?

Why is recreational fishing banned? Why are gun stores banned? Why has residential construction stopped?

The Governor has held not less than 4 press conferences to issue new proclamation clarifying his original #StayHome order. From Auto Dealers, to real estate, to the Practice of Law, to nannies. And everything in between.

After clarification on April 1 the governor’s new proclamation states “nannies and other persons who are providing childcare in the child’s own home are essential workers if they are caring for the children of essential workers.” Of course that answers the first part of the riddle on nannies, but not the ‘essential’ part.

Even the Seattle Times published an opinion piece entitled Governor’s Stay-Home order could use a dose of flexibility and consistency.

We often don’t want to criticize our leaders during times of crisis. And I agree it is wrong to criticize for the sole purpose of scoring political points. However, constructive criticism when you see important rights being abridged is an important discussion.

Constitutional rights must be defended and properly balanced during crisis. If you Monday-Morning-Quarterback your Right to Free Speech, Right to Exercise Religion, Due Process, and Second Amendment; you may find your Right to question government about your rights was already taken away. It is OK to ask the important questions for the right reasons.

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