Complaint filed against Spokane City Council over masking as Councilman Jonathan Bingle refuses to comply with mandate

Jan. 28—As Councilman Jonathan Bingle refuses to comply with the state mask mandate, the Spokane City Council was notified Friday that a formal complaint about mask-wearing at City Hall has been made with the state.

Council President Breean Beggs was notified in an email on Friday morning that "Washington's Joint Agency Compliance Team has received a report that your business may have violated state requirements regarding mask usage."

Although it does not mention Bingle by name, the notice came a day after The Spokesman-Review reported that Bingle has steadfastly refused to wear a mask indoors, in open violation of the state mask order and City Hall policy.

The state mandate requires most people to wear a face mask indoors while working, unless they are alone. In the City Council office, that means council members can sit mask-free alone in their cubicles, but must otherwise don a face covering.

Bingle has decried the mandate, alleging it is unconstitutional. He has declined to say whether he's vaccinated against COVID-19.

Beggs in a Jan. 24 letter asked the city administrator to consider revoking access to City Hall for anyone who violates the mask policy, "including City Council members."

City spokesman Brian Coddington has said the ability to enforce its rules against an elected official are a legal "gray area," though.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries can levy fines against violators of the masking order.

Violation of the order may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor .