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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Only three weeks remain in this 2024 legislative session, and we just finished voting on dozens of bills on the House floor last week. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, we also reached a significant deadline. That was the last day for bills to gain approval in the chamber where they originated — known as the house of origin cutoff.

Status Update on My 2024 Legislation

Fortunately, four of my bills received approval by the House and now are in the Senate waiting for further consideration. Here’s a quick recap.

House Bill 1899 was amended and the new version of the bill calls for making assistance available to local governments, businesses, and individuals to repair or replace damaged or destroyed buildings in more energy efficient and environmentally friendly ways. The new version of the bill is better than nothing, but it really doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. People are suffering, and they need help now. It could take more than a year, or even longer to receive assistance. That’s going to leave a lot of people hanging. Click here to learn more and here to watch my floor speech.

Additionally, I want to recognize Rep. Suzanne Schmidt and my seatmate Rep. Jenny Graham for their help on this bill. We really wanted to see the impact it would have on our communities. We will keep trying to improve it as it moves through the Senate. Click on the image below to watch my comments after the House approved this policy.

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. Click here to learn more and here to watch my floor speech.

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.” Click here to learn more and here to watch my floor speech.

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. Click here to learn more and here to watch my floor speech.

Unfortunately, House Bill 1952, which would’ve required the Military Department to administer a program for long-term community recovery from an emergency or disaster did not come to the floor for a vote, despite bipartisan support in committee. This would have provided a significant boost to people trying to recover form disasters. Click here to read more and here to listen to more detail.

To watch all my recent floor speeches regarding some of the other bills the House recently approved, please visit my website News and Media page.

Other Issues to Watch

Statewide Initiatives: There has been some movement on the six statewide initiatives certified by the Secretary of State and introduced into the Legislature last month. Democratic leaders announced that they will hold public hearings on three of the six initiatives. Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins announced Friday that public hearings will be held on I-2113 (police pursuits), I-2111 (state income tax) and I-2081 (parental rights). The hearings will take place on Feb. 27 and 28 and will be conducted jointly by House and Senate committees. This is a first step toward lawmakers potentially adopting each measure into law.

The lawmakers also confirmed I-2117, a repeal of the Climate Commitment Act, I-2109, a repeal of the capital gains tax and I-2124, an opt-out of Washington’s long-term care retirement program that would effectively end the program, will not receive hearings or floor action, and will go directly to the November ballot. Keep checking back for more updates, and please click here for some in-depth background and explanation of these initiatives.

Unemployment for Striking Workers: Despite every Republican voting against it, and five Democrats, the rest of the majority party passed House Bill 1893 last week. This legislation would allow individuals unemployed due to a labor strike to receive up to four weeks of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits following a specified disqualification period and the waiting week. It would also remove the provision disqualifying an individual for UI benefits based on an employer-initiated lockout resulting from a strike against another employer in a multi-employer bargaining unit. This is a bad bill that will hurt businesses and the entire state of Washington. We will try to stop it in the Senate.

Survey Results Are In

My seatmate in the 6th District, Rep. Jenny Graham, and I, recently asked you to share your opinions in an online survey. Here are those results.

Question #1: Please rank the most important issue for you right now, with 1 being the most important and 10 being the least important:

Price inflation/affordability/cost of living

Crime and feeling safe in my community

My child’s education

Finding a job where I want to live

Homelessness and housing

Finishing the North/South freeway

Restricting access to firearms

Property tax relief

Mental health services

Health care access and affordability

Question #2: Since Washington’s Climate Commitment Act (a carbon-pricing “cap-and-trade” law) took full effect in 2023, the average gas price here has consistently been one of the highest in the nation with California and Hawaii. How much has $5 per gallon gas affected your life?

Question #3: If legislators were to approve tax relief, what would you like to see most?

Reducing the sales tax: 10.5%

Reducing or eliminating the gas tax: 30.8%

Reducing property taxes: 29.7%

Expanding the working families tax credit: 12.2%

Reducing business and occupation taxes: 4.1%

None of the above/other: 4.1%

I don’t support tax relief: 8.7%

Question #4: Would you support legislation that restores the ability of law enforcement to pursue people based on “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed – including property crimes like auto theft?

Question #5: If you have a child in K-12, is she/he at grade level in math and English?

Yes, my child has recovered from the pandemic classroom closures: 42.6%

No, I would support school-provided intensive tutoring or another invention to help my child get caught up: 19.8%

I don’t know: 37.6%

Question #6: Should public fentanyl use be a crime?

Question #7: Should electrically powered heat pumps be mandated for all new home construction?

Thank You for Your Support!

Thank you for taking the time to fill out our survey. We value your input as we strive to represent you in Olympia. If you have any additional input, please reach out by using the contact info below.

It’s an honor to serve.

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