Gov. Dixy Lee Ray issued several executive orders in 1980 that related to the Mount St. Helens eruption. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)
They might lack the authority and consensus of legislatively approved state laws, but executive orders are a powerful way that Washington’s governors have made things happen in state government over the years.
Executive orders are formal orders issued by the governor, generally to cabinet agencies statewide, requiring that certain actions be taken. They may have the force and effect of a law. One historic use of these orders came in connected with the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. More recently, Gov. Jay Inslee used executive orders to deal with climate change.
The Washington State Library is a portal you can use to look up past executive orders going back to 1918, linking to Gov. Inslee’s website.
You can view the Executive Orders Archive here. This archive also covers Govs. Chris Gregoire, Gary Locke, Mike Lowry, Booth Gardner, John Spellman, Dixy Lee Ray, Dan Evans, Albert Rosellini, Arthur Langlie, Louis Hart and Ernest Lister.
Evans (1965-77) began what could be called the golden age of executive orders. He had the most executive orders (117) of any governor included in the archive, which is not surprising considering he served three terms. Spellman was also a prolific user of executive orders, issuing 90 in his one term (1981-85) in office. Gardner ranked third with 75 over his two terms (1985-1993) in the Governor’s Mansion. Ray issued 54 in her one term (1977-81).
Washington’s governors haven’t taken the executive order route as often lately. Lowry issued them only (more…)
Dec. 7 marks the 72nd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Navy fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Gov. Inslee has ordered that flags at the Capitol and all state facilities be lowered to half-staff for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
In memory of the event that catapulted America into World War II, the State Archives has brought out some historic documents related to the attack.
Above is a telegram sent on Dec. 7, 1941, from the U.S. War Department to Washington Gov. Arthur Langlie. The telegram suggested that the governor “consider preparing the State Guard or other forces at your disposal for cooperation with federal troops operating under the command of the corps area in which your state is located with a view to protecting all structures plants and facilities essential to national defense.”
(Photos courtesy of Washington State Digital Archives.)
Since it’s Gov. Jay Inslee’s first “bill-signing season,” we’re getting in the spirit of things by digging deep into the State Archives for photos of previous Washington governors putting pen to paper and turning bills into law. Earlier, we blogged about photos of bill-signing souvenir pens used by earlier guvs.
For many, the past week already has been busy and memorable, thanks to holiday-related shopping and family get-togethers, and, of course, the Seahawks pummeling the 49ers on national TV to clinch a playoff spot. And, depending on whether you cheer for the UW or WSU, you either were bummed or delighted that the Huskies lost a nail-biter to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
If all of the recent pigskin and yuletide action hasn’t worn you out, here is something else to keep you busy, at least for a moment. It’s our monthly Archives treasures online poll in which we feature three rare, interesting or cool items found in the State Archives.
Dec. 7 marked the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor and other American military installations nearby. A day after the attack in Hawaii, the United States declared war on Japan.
Starting just hours following the Pearl Harbor attack, Washington Gov. Arthur Langlie received a series of telegrams from the U.S. War Department. These telegrams are the second Archives treasure for December. Archives treasures is a monthly blog feature in which we highlight some of the rare, interesting or cool items or collections found in the State Archives. Readers are polled for their favorite “treasure.”
The first telegram was marked received at 5:11 p.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. It suggested that Langlie “consider preparing the State Guard or other forces at your disposal for cooperation with federal troops operating under the command of the corps area in which your state is located with a view to protecting all structures plants and facilities essential to national defense.”
The second telegram, marked received at 8:38 a.m. on Dec. 8, lists the types of installations vital to the national defense and asks that they be protected: port facilities, power plants, water plants including dams, munitions plants and important highway bridges.
The third telegram, marked received at 9:11 a.m. on Dec. 8, requested that “immediate steps be taken to assign properly authorized police officers to all known landing fields for aircraft for protection of field facilities and to hold such aircraft on the fields unless they are aircraft engaged in scheduled air transportation…”
October Archives treasure #1: Gov. Evans’ Rainier climb ?>
Dan Evans is a double-rarity in Evergreen State politics. He’s one of only two Washington governors to serve three terms (the other, Seattle Republican Arthur Langlie, occupied the Governor’s Office in 1941-45 and 1949-57). Evans also is one of only two people who was both Washington Governor and a U.S. Senator from our state (Mon Wallgren, an Everett Democrat, was the other, having served in the U.S. Senate from 1940 until 1945, when he resigned after defeating Langlie in the 1944 gubernatorial election.)
But Evans has yet another distinction. He’s one of the few governors to stand atop Washington’s highest and most iconic peak, Mount Rainier. These photos were taken on July 21, 1965, when Evans and three members of his staff others (appearing in top photo, from left: Bill Bell, Evans, George Senner and Frank Pritchard) climbed the 14,410-foot mountain. When they reached the summit, they unfurled the Washington state flag. (Evans is second from left in the photo above and is shown ascending Rainier in the photo below.)
These photos, which comprise the first of three Archives treasures for October, come from the State Archives’ State Governors’ Negative Collection, 1949-1975. The collection consists of 808 publicity shots taken by the State Patrol photographer for the Office of the Governor during the terms of Govs. Langlie, Albert Rosellini, and Evans.
May Archives treasure #2: Japanese internment records ?>
One of the most controversial occurrences stateside during World War II was the internment of Japanese Americans following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The State Archives has a collection of documents related to internment of Washingtonians of Japanese descent. This collection is the second item featured for May’s Archives treasures online poll.
These records come from the Washington State Planning Council’s War and Post-War Planning Files, 1942-1945. The record series includes surveys and plans pertaining to war emergency planning and immediate post-war planning. Subjects include construction, agricultural growth, hospitalization, compulsory military service, Japanese internment, and the hiring of veterans. The collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, organizational charts, memos, bulletins, correspondence of the Committee for Post-Victory Employment, and other items.
Found in this collection is a report submitted in February 1942 to the Tolan Congressional Committee on National Defense Migration. The report was prepared by Emergency Defense Council of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. From the report’s foreword: (more…)
The final results are in. The winner of April’s “Archives treasures” contest is the cross-sound bridge plans, with 44 percent of the vote. Washington’s first territorial law took second with 32 percent, and Gov. Arthur Langlie’s prepared proclamation in 1956 calling for a state of emergency in case of a nuclear attack finished third with 24 percent.
Look for the next round of the “State Library jewels” online contest here in the coming days.
Vote for your favorite April Archives treasure! ?>
Since our office strongly supports voting, we’d love for you to take part in our online poll by choosing which of these Archives treasures you like best. The poll closes this Friday at noon, so make sure to vote in time!
#1 Cross-sound bridge plans #2 First territorial law
#3 Proposed emergency proclamation by Gov. Langlie
What is your favorite April Archives treasure?
Cross-sound bridge plans (45%)
First territorial law (31%)
Gov. Langlie's prepared emergency proclamation in case of nuclear attack (24%)
Face it. For many of us, Thanksgiving is one of two scenarios:
1) You frantically prepare a huge dinner (“Hey, is that turkey ready yet?!”) and clean up the house before the relatives and/or friends invade, then chitchat with them or sneak away to watch some football on TV in another room until the turkey is done, and then everyone stuffs their faces full while someone reminds your brother of something mean and cruel that he did to you 40 years…or
2) You spend turkey day traveling near or far to that relative or friend’s house (see above) before engaging in hand-to-mouth combat with what’s on your plate.
But among the freeway, food and football, we do ponder the real meaning of Thanksgiving, which is to give thanks for what we have. (And hopefully, we have much to be thankful for.)
In that light, behold this Thanksgiving proclamation in 1951 from then Governor Arthur Langlie. Reading the third paragraph will remind you that we were well into the Cold War with the Soviet Union back then. Credit goes to Benjamin Helle in our State Archives for finding this 60-year-old document.