Kennewick City Council approves legislative prayer by 5-2 vote

Post-meeting Update: The Kennewick City Council approved the vote, 5-2

UPDATE: AUGUST 16, 2022, 10:43 P.M.

At the Kennewick City Council meeting August 16, 2022, the council voted 5-2 to approve legislative prayer to begin council meetings.

Council members John Trumbo, Loren Anderson, and Brad Beauchamp, Mayor Pro Tem Gretl Crawford and Mayor Bill McKay voted for legislative prayer.

Council members Chuck Torelli and Jim Millbauer voted in opposition to legislative prayer at council meetings.

In the council agenda, the motion for consideration was listed as the following: “I move to direct staff to prepare a resolution approving Legislative Prayer at the beginning of regular council meetings and adopting a process to facilitate scheduling volunteer prayer providers.”

During the meeting, Councilman Chuck Torelli recommended an amendment to change the above proposal to, “I move to direct staff to prepare a resolution approving silent Legislative Prayer at the beginning of regular council meetings.”

Several brought in the idea of silent legislative prayer. This would be a substitute for having a speaker come in to perform a verbal prayer.

Councilman John Trumbo called this a “poor substitute for prayer.”

This motion was denied by the same council members who voted in support of legislative prayer.

KAPP-KVEW Staff is reaching out to the City of Kennewick to find out what’s next for this legislation.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — After one council member endorsed legislative prayer at last month’s council workshop, a vote may happen on August 16. However, whether it’s approved or not, the discussion might not come to an end.

The Kennewick City Council motioned to postpone the vote on adding legislative prayer at their last council meeting in July. Now, weeks later, it’s back on the agenda. The unfinished business is set to either be approved, denied or pushed forward once again, during the Tuesday meeting.

Here’s what we know so far:

Council member John Trumbo endorsed the idea of adding legislative prayer to council meetings earlier this summer. According to the city attorney, Lisa Beaton, the Supreme Court has allowed legislative prayer in numerous cases when they’ve gone to the courts.

READ: Kennewick City Council debates adding prayer to meetings

However, if legislative prayer is approved through the city council, parameters will need to be set. This means, if the council opens their meetings up to any established religious presence in the city, this means any and all.

The two sides of this discussion have debated the merits and the faults of this idea, both passionate about their angle. 

READ: Kennewick community members weigh in on council’s Legislative Prayer discussion

The council planned to vote on July 19, but there was one council member who missed the previous week’s workshop where they discussed the topic. They voted to postpone the vote until that council member was more informed on the topic. 

READ: Kennewick city council postpones the vote on legislative prayer

This led to August 16, where it was put back on the agenda.

Some have suggested silent prayer, in order to be inclusive of those of all faiths, or no faith at all. But the council members pushing for prayer have opposed that option.

This debate might continue past August 16. If it’s passed, there is a lot more voting and decisions to be made about those restrictions and parameters. This includes where these religious establishments performing prayers will be found.