Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The legislative session is in its third week. The start of the 2024 Legislature featured the governor’s State of the State address. That speech was followed by the Republican perspective, provided by my seatmate in the Senate, Sen. Nikki Torres of Pasco. I hope you will watch it. She did a great job and painted a different picture of what is happening than the governor portrayed.
Initiatives before the Legislature
Since the legislative session started, the Secretary of State’s office has certified four citizens’ initiatives to the Legislature. Initiative 2113 would allow law enforcement to engage in vehicular pursuit when there is a “reasonable suspicion” that someone has committed a crime. Last week, House Republican leadership made a motion on the House floor requesting the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee immediately hold a public hearing on the initiative. The more than 400,000 people who signed the initiative deserve to have their voices heard. However, House Democrats voted it down. The Legislature should pass this legislation as soon as possible. Our state has a serious crime problem.
- #1 state most impacted by retail theft (Forbes)
- #2 for all property crime (Statista)
- #3 for automobile thefts (KIRO)
- #51 in police officers per capita behind all states and D.C. (WASPC Report)
The Secretary of State has also certified Initiative 2117, which would repeal the state carbon tax. House Republican leadership made the same motion on the House floor, requesting the House Environment and Energy Committee hold a hearing. Once again, House Democrats voted it down. This cap-and-trade program is driving up fuel prices. It has brought in more than $1.8 billion. The dollars do not go directly to improving our roads or transportation infrastructure.
Initiative 2081 which would codify a “parents’ bill of rights” has also been certified. Republicans once again made a similar motion on the House floor on Monday requesting a public hearing, but just as the two other motions, House Democrats voted it down.
Finally, Initiative 2109 was certified today (Tuesday). I expect House Republican leadership to make a similar motion on the House floor as was done on the other three.
Our motion on each of these initiatives is because House Republicans believe our state’s clear constitutional mandate that initiatives to the Legislature ‘shall take precedence over all other measures.’ These are priority issues that deserve a public hearing.
Priority issues in 2024
Key priorities for House Republicans this session include enhancing public safety, providing a high-quality learning environment for all students, affordability – combating inflation and boosting our economy, providing affordable housing, and strengthening our transportation infrastructure. To check out our priorities for the 2024 session, click the “Fix Washington” banner below.
I want to thank everyone who participated in the survey that was in the mailer sent to you by Sen. Nikki Torres, Rep. Bryan Sandlin, and me. We asked you to rank several issues in order of importance that the Legislature should address. I have listed the highest ranked to the lowest selected by those responding:
- Preventing new and higher taxes.
- Fighting hard drug use and drug-related crime.
- Increasing the number of police.
- Lowering gas prices.
- Supporting parents’ rights in health and education decisions of minor children.
- Protecting farmers, ranchers and fruit growers from dam breaching and anti-agriculture regulations.
- Further reducing learning loss in K-12 education.
- Repealing and/or replacing the payroll tax to fund the problematic long-term care program.
- Reducing homelessness.
As you can see by the chart below, the responses were very balanced. That tells me the Legislature has a lot of work to do. More than 47% of those who responded put “preventing new and higher taxes” in their top three rankings. Public safety continues to be a big concern as more than 41% of respondents had “increasing the number of police” and “fighting hard drug use and drug-related crime” in their top three.
House Republicans have bills to address many of the issues listed in the survey. Check out our solutions to:
- Fix the public safety crisis.
- Fix the affordability crisis.
- Fix the drug crisis.
- Fix the child care crisis.
- Fix the education crisis.
- Fix the housing and homelessness crisis.
With all the important issues this session, I urge you to follow the Legislature. Below are some helpful links for you during the legislative session.
- Sign-up for The Week Ahead | A weekly compilation from House Republicans featuring important 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.
- How to be involved
- To testify remotely in the House, click here.
- To testify remotely in the Senate, click here.
- Learn more about the Legislature
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the legislative session or bills before us.
It is an honor to serve the great people of the 15th District.