The 2021 session of the Washington state Legislature was already going to be highly unusual, even before right-wing extremists trespassed on the grounds of the governor’s mansion while a horde of their most militant compatriots invaded the U.S. Capitol to battle with police and attempt to overturn the count of electoral votes.

Thanks to a pandemic that gets more deadly by the day, legislators are doing much of their work remotely to avoid infecting each other. Now, with Trumpist marauders on the loose, they may be quite happy to be at home instead of in harm’s way inside the Capitol building in Olympia. The FBI has sent out a warning to be on the alert for violent right-wing groups that may be conspiring to attack the seats of government in all 50 states.

Already, as legislators kicked off their session on Monday, Jan. 11, chain link fences and national guardsmen were ringing the Capitol grounds, while the Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement entities began investigating specific threats. State lawmakers have a lot of serious work to do, and their tasks will only be made more difficult by the twin threats of COVID-19 and right-wing extremists bent on disrupting democracy.

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