Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you have been able to spend some time with friends and family during the holiday season. With Christmas around the corner, the 2024 legislative session is also rapidly approaching.
There are some issues I want to bring to your attention before the Legislature commences on Jan. 8.
Improving public safety
In my previous email update, I shared with you two reports that showed data about how bad our crime numbers have become in Washington state.
The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ Annual Crime in Washington Report indicated homicides and violent crime are up in our state, with auto thefts soaring.
In October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), released data on more than 11 million criminal offenses that were reported in the U.S. in 2022. It showed violent crime across the nation decreased by about 1.7% in 2022, while violent crime numbers in Washington increased 1.06%.
The latest, a recent Forbes study, shows Washington state is impacted by retail theft more than any other state in the nation.
The Forbes Retail Theft Index found that Washington gets 48% more reported retail thefts than the state should, based on its population. Only the District of Columbia and North Dakota, which both have much smaller populations than Washington, had a larger Retail Theft Index figure.
Washington also was the third-worst state when it comes to the total value of stolen goods per resident, with $347 being lost for each resident of the state. Pennsylvania and California were the only two states with a higher total, and the study’s average was $173.
Only the District of Columbia has a larger proportion of larceny thefts per 100,000 residents than Washington. The 24% rise in larceny thefts from 2019 to 2022 is also the second-largest in the nation behind Vermont.
This study continues to shed light on the increased crime problem in our state. We need to strengthen our public safety policies and have more law enforcement officers serving the people of our state. Washington has the lowest number of police officers per capita in the country and needs more than 7,000 officers commissioned than we do right now.
House Republicans will continue to push solutions to improve public safety and make our communities safer. Go to our priorities page and click on the “making communities safer” section.
Washington economist claims retaliation
I have discussed the increase in gas prices in my previous email updates. In my last update, I shared a chart that showed the increase in the high fuel prices are in direct correlation to the implementation of the cap-and-trade policy, or Climate Commitment Act (CCA), that took effect in January. I have shared that chart below again.
Fuel prices are down, which isn’t out of the norm during the fall season after the summer travel vacation plans have passed. It should be noted, prices are down across the country and Washington still ranks third in the nation and is $1.08 above the national average. Click here for the latest fuel price map from the American Automobile Association (Triple A).
The governor has claimed in the past the CCA would cost “pennies,” pointed to a pipeline out of commission as part of the reason for the increases, and has also blamed the oil companies. However, a recent news report has come out that a former Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) economist was asked to lie about the price increases.
Our state government needs to be open with Washingtonians. To say it is concerning that we have state agencies requesting staff to lie to hide information from the public is an understatement — especially on an issue such as fuel prices as families struggle with inflation and affordability. The governor’s office claims it was unaware of the situation. We will be watching this issue closely. For more information check out the news story below.
- Former WSDOT economist accuses state leaders of retaliation for refusing to lie about gas prices (KING TV)
For a further breakdown on the governor’s comments on his CCA and climate policies read the column below.
- OPINION: Dishonesty or incompetence, either way we can’t trust what we are told on state climate policy (Todd Myers, Washington Policy Center/The Spokesman-Review)
Stay engaged and connected
As the 2024 legislative session approaches, it is important you stay engaged. Your involvement can help influence policies being considered by the Legislature that impact our region and state. Below are some helpful links for you during the legislative session.
Committee and floor calendars
- Committee schedules
- House floor activity calendar
- Senate floor activity calendar
- To testify remotely in the House, click here.
- To testify remotely in the Senate, click here.
Sign-up for The Week Ahead | A weekly compilation from House Republicans featuring crucial committee hearings, with links and other details for your reference.
Sign-up for The Capitol Buzz | A weekday summary of online news stories from across the state.
Bookmark the Washington State Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance navigating state government or agencies.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. It is an honor to serve the great people of the 15th District.