2023 legislative session •

For years, we’ve heard Democrats say that housing in our state is not affordable. And for years, we’ve seen them pass legislation that makes housing more expensive. You can find some of these bills on this webpage.

Unfortunately, we’ve also seen inaction on this issue. At the end of the 2022 legislative session, Lt. Gov. Denny Heck released a statement that said, in part, “My candor compels me to admit I am disappointed the Legislature did not make more significant progress on one of the most urgent and widespread issues facing Washingtonians: the rapidly rising cost of housing and the lack of housing supply.” Denny was right.

However, in my pre-session forums and recent media observations, I have noticed a change in the rhetoric of Democrats. It appears they are ready to work with us on policies to address our state’s housing crisis. I discussed this in my video update today.

Rep. Andrew Barkis and Democratic Rep. Jessica Bateman provided this op-ed in The News Tribune on the issue of increasing middle housing and their support for House Bill 1110. They also discussed their proposal on TVW’s The Impact.

House Bill 1110 received a public hearing in the House Housing Committee on Tuesday. House Republicans have a new ranking member, Rep. Mark Klicker, for this newly renamed committee.

House Republican solutions

Fixing our state’s housing crisis is a legislative priority for House Republicans. We know regulatory costs, permit delays, restrictive zoning laws, and the Growth Management Act all contribute to the problem. We also understand the public sector alone cannot address this crisis. We need the private sector to do what it does best: build.

Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen has introduced two measures, House Bill 1401 and House Bill 1402, with the goal of reducing barriers to affordable housing. You can learn more in this news release. Will these bills solve everything? Of course not. This crisis developed over several years and will require a concerted effort from the Legislature over the upcoming years.

House Republicans will promote other housing solutions. We have also introduced legislation to provide property-tax relief and expand the Working Families Tax Credit to help with affordability.

Republican media availability

We held our second media availability of the year on Tuesday. The issues of housing, public safety, the wealth tax, health care, and legislative privilege were discussed.

We have resumed our Zoom/remote format which allows more reporters from outside of Olympia to ask questions. You can find the most recent and past events at this webpage.

Honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Each year, the Washington State House of Representatives honors the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This took place on Monday with the adoption of House Resolution 4603. You can watch the ceremony here.

Two House Republicans, Rep. April Connors and Rep. Peter Abbarno, provided House floor speeches on this day. You can watch their speeches here.

Sincerely,

Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912
JT.Wilcox@leg.wa.gov