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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session began on Monday, Jan. 8 and is scheduled to run for 60 consecutive days before the final gavel drops on March 7. As with any session, we have many issues to work on over the next two months, and I look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks as we work to make Washington a better place to live for everyone. Your involvement in our state government is crucial to ensuring our voices in Eastern Washington are heard. So, please continue reaching out to me.

Police Pursuit: I-2113 Awaits a Hearing

One of the most pressing issues over the last three years has been law enforcement’s ability to pursue criminals or suspected criminals. The majority party passed House Bill 1054 in 2021, which requires police to have probable cause instead of reasonable suspicion to pursue.

Since then, criminals have felt emboldened and law enforcement has felt abandoned. Last year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5352, which does increase law enforcement’s ability to pursue suspects by restoring the standard of reasonable suspicion – but only in a handful of limited circumstances for the most serious crimes.

This year, the people have spoken, and more than 430,000 Washingtonians signed Initiative 2113, which would restore vehicular pursuit tools to law enforcement. It has been certified by the Secretary of State.

On Monday, House Republicans made a motion on the floor for I-2113 to receive a prompt public hearing in committee. House Democrats unanimously voted it down.

That doesn’t mean the initiative is dead. Here are the possible outcomes moving forward:

  1. The Legislature may adopt the initiative as proposed and it becomes law without a vote of the people.
  2. The Legislature may reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative and the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next general election.
  3. The Legislature may propose a different measure dealing with the same subject and both measures must be placed on the next general election ballot.

Keep checking my website and reading my email updates for the latest on this issue.

Other Republican Priorities

In addition to police pursuit and public safety in general, House Republicans continue to focus on numerous important issues that have been plaguing Washington for many years, including:

  • Fixing the affordability crisis – House Republicans continue to push for tax relief and we support legislation to help reduce people’s cost of living and provide financial security for struggling individuals, families, and small businesses.
  • Fixing the housing and homelessness crisis – House Republicans have introduced bills to make it easier to build, create a new tax credit to incentivize landlords to lower or freeze rents, and help local governments address homeless encampments.
  • Fixing the drug crisis – House Republicans helped reform our state’s drug possession laws in 2023, with a focus on accountability and compassion. There’s still much more work that needs to be done.
  • Fixing the education crisis – House Republicans believe tutoring in math and reading is the most effective way to help students who are suffering from learning loss, including more tutors and paraeducators in classrooms.

My 2024 Legislation

I have introduced several bills this session, covering various issues. 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. This program would support counties and tribes by assisting with recovery planning, developing a recovery manual, issuing grants to create recovery groups, providing recovery training, and creating a resource directory. A public hearing was held for this bill last week, and the House Innovation, Community and Economic Development, and Veterans Committee passed it today.


House Bill 1899 would facilitate the reconstruction of communities damaged or destroyed by wildfires. It’s waiting for a public hearing in the Local Government Committee.

House Bill 2013 would provide that pension benefit payments made from the state retirement systems during the month of death be paid through the end of the month in which the death occurs. A public hearing was held on Jan. 15 in the Appropriations Committee.

House Bill 2014 would standardize 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 bill is scheduled to be voted on in the Innovation, Community and Economic Development, and Veterans Committee on Friday.

House Bill 2283 would allow state employees living in an emergency or disaster area to receive shared leave. It is waiting for a public hearing in the State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.

Property Tax Bill in the Senate

I also want to make you aware of a bill in the Senate that would allow for even higher property taxes in Washington. Senate Bill 5770, scheduled to receive a public hearing on Jan. 18 from the Senate Ways and Means Committee, proposes to dramatically raise property taxes, increasing annual tax bills by over $2 per $1,000 assessed value over the next decade (or over $500 on a $250,000 home).

Washingtonians pay $6,220 per person a year in state and local taxes. That is 13th highest in the country, according to our state Department of Revenue, exceeding the median state (New Hampshire) by over $1,000 per person.

When surveyed by the Tax Structure Work Group this past June, the idea of lifting the 1% cap on the allowable growth rate of property taxes was very unpopular among Washingtonians. Two-thirds of those responding were opposed, and the opposition was even stronger from people of color. Senate Bill 5770 would make the cost of homeownership more unaffordable and disproportionately burden renters.

You can make your voice heard by signing up to testify. Just click on the links below.

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.

Sincerely,


Mike Volz

State Representative Mike Volz, 6th Legislative District
RepresentativeMikeVolz.com
427 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
mike.volz@leg.wa.gov
(509) 456-2750 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000