Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we approach the halfway point of the 2024 legislative session, I want to bring you up to date on the many things happening in Olympia.
Status Update on My 2024 Legislation
I’ll start with the bills I’m sponsoring. Here’s a quick recap.
House Bill 1952 would require the Military Department to administer a program for long-term community recovery from an emergency or disaster. The program would assist with recovery planning, developing a recovery manual, issuing grants to create recovery groups, providing recovery training, and creating a resource directory. This bill has passed two committees and next up would be a vote by the entire House. Click here to read more, and click here to listen to more detail.
House Bill 1899 would require local governments, through June 30, 2025, to allow property owners to choose which building and energy codes are used in the reconstruction of their properties: the current codes, or the ones in effect prior to Jan. 1, 2023. Unfortunately, this bill was modified in committee in a way that will not bring any real relief quick enough to those trying to recover. I will continue working on this legislation and hopefully correct it with further amendments. Click here to learn more.
House Bill 2283 would allow state employees living in an emergency or disaster area to receive shared leave, which would greatly help people going through a crisis. It would not cost the state additional funding or affect anyone’s current vacation or leave. However, it could make a huge difference for someone in the middle of a disaster. It has passed two committees and now waits for a vote by the House. Click here to learn more.
House Bill 2014 would standardize the requirements relating to qualifying discharges for the purpose of establishing eligibility for various benefit programs for veterans and provide a definition of “qualifying discharge.” This would not change anyone’s level of service. It would simply define where the line is on what and when you qualify for benefits and under what circumstances. This bill passed two committees and is waiting to be voted on by the House.
House Bill 2481 would waive the payment of health benefit premiums during the month of death for retired participants in the Public Employees’ Benefits Board health coverage programs. The bill passed committee and is waiting to be voted on by the House.
House Bill 2439 would prohibit the state, cities, counties, and other political subdivisions in the state from imposing taxes on any type of personal income. Click here to learn more. This bill will never receive a hearing, but I want my constituents to know I hear them. They have made it abundantly clear, many, many times, they don’t want more taxes. However, state lawmakers from the majority party continue to push legislation and policies to not only increase our taxes, but also to create new ones. If anyone who doesn’t think they are being taxed enough, you can donate directly to state government by clicking here.
Other Issues to Watch
Legislation to Ban Natural Gas: The House recently passed another bill that will negatively affect our entire state if it becomes law, including many people who live in the 6th District. House Bill 1589 would prohibit any large gas company that serves more than 500,000 retail natural gas customers in Washington from providing natural gas service to any new commercial or residential location starting this year. Click on the image below to watch my speech on the House floor opposing this legislation.
Capital Budget Funds for Fire Recovery Aide: I also want to let you know my seatmate in the 6th District, Rep. Jenny Graham, and I, have requested capital budget funds to directly aide the fire recovery efforts in Medical Lake. I will keep you posted on further details as they become available.
Update on Statewide Initiatives
Lastly, many of you have reached out to find out more about the six initiatives certified by the Secretary of State and recently introduced in the Legislature. They have all qualified for the November ballot.
During the last few weeks, House Republicans made separate motions on the floor for each initiative to receive a prompt public hearing in committee. House Democrats unanimously voted “no” each time. Here’s a brief description of each initiative.
- I-2113 would restore vehicular pursuit tools to law enforcement.
- I-2117 would repeal the state’s cap-and-trade program.
- I-2081would establish a parents’ bill of rights.
- I-2109 would repeal the capital gains excise tax imposed on sales and exchanges of long-term capital assets by individuals with capital gains over $250,000.
- I-2111 would codify Washington state’s longstanding tradition of prohibiting state and local personal income taxes.
- I-2124 enables working individuals to choose not to participate in the Washington Cares Fund, a long-term care payroll tax program.
I support these initiatives, which are part of House Republican priorities, as we work to fix Washington with real solutions. Click on the image below to learn more about the many crises we are facing.
Here’s what could happen moving forward:
- The Legislature may adopt the initiatives as proposed and they would become law without a vote of the people.
- The Legislature may reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiatives, and they must be placed on the ballot at the next general election.
- The Legislature may propose a different measure dealing with the same subject for any of the initiatives and both measures must be placed on the next general election ballot.
Thank You for Your Support!
Thank you for your trust and for allowing me to serve you in Olympia. If you have any input, please reach out to me by using the contact info below.
It’s an honor to serve.