2023 legislative session •
After several long days and late nights, we finally hit house of origin cutoff on Wednesday. Immediately following floor action that night, our assistant floor leaders provided an update in this video. I encourage you to watch it and explore our YouTube platform.
For those interested in numbers: To date, 329 bills have passed off the House floor — with 77 prime sponsored by House Republicans. You can learn more about our legislation by visiting our newsroom. We have also updated our good/bad bill list.
I’m really proud of our team’s work over the first half of the legislative session. I’ve never seen our caucus more impactful on major policies, including workforce issues, housing, energy, salmon recovery, and wildfire response — to name a few. Some of these issues were highlighted at our Republican media availability yesterday.
In addition to getting many House Republican bills passed, we improved some bad ones. And we stopped some bad bills from moving forward. House Republicans also lost some battles, but that’s what happens in the minority party.
Vehicular pursuits update
The story dominating recent headlines has been vehicular pursuits. I touched on this issue on January 27, when I highlighted our priorities for public safety and explained how misguided policies passed by Democrats in 2021 made our communities less safe. While we fixed some of these problems last year, the limit on vehicular pursuits for police officers still has not been addressed.
On Tuesday, House Republicans tried to bring bipartisan House Bill 1363 — which would restore a reasonable suspicion standard — to the floor for a vote. House Democrats voted it down. You can watch Rep. Eric Robertson’s floor speech here. I was also interviewed for this KING TV segment:
In a surprise development Wednesday, the Senate voted out an amended version of the companion measure — Senate Bill 5352 — on a 26-23 vote. Sen. John Braun, in a statement, called the bill “a half-step in the right direction.”
House Republicans look forward to the debates ahead and will not let up. We stand with law enforcement, local elected officials, businesses, editorial boards, and concerned citizens — including those who rallied on the Capitol steps this week — on this important issue.
- With Washington House bill broken down, Senate passes police pursuit reform | The Center Square
- Editorial: House Democrats disappoint on police pursuit bill | The Columbian
Good House Republican bills that passed
House Republicans entered the legislative session with the priorities of affordability, public safety, housing and empowering families. Below are some of our bills that passed, including some measures from our agenda.
- Funding for prevention, investigation and prosecution of auto thefts | House Bill 1682
- Creating regional apprenticeship programs | House Bill 1013
- Lot splitting | House Bill 1245
- Recording school district meetings | House Bill 1210
Bad bills that passed
The majority party successfully passed bad bills — in most cases, with some House Democrats joining us in voting “no.” Below are a few of these measures, but this is not an exhaustive list. I discuss some of these bills in my video update.
- Reducing sentences by eliminating or modifying some sentencing enhancements | House Bill 1268
- Eliminating criminals having to pay a penalty to fund services for victims of crimes and shifting these costs to taxpayers | House Bill 1169
- Creating new requirements for the purchase or transfer of firearms | House Bill 1143
- A so-called assault weapon ban | House Bill 1240
Bad bills that died
- Creating a controversial Domestic Violent Extremism Commission | House Bill 1333
- Rent control | House Bill 1388
- Allowing police officers to be sued personally | House Bill 1025
- Allowing cities and counties to triple their annual increases in property taxes | House Bill 1670
Stories on other high-profile bills
Below are stories on high-profile bills that passed in the House and Senate. Each one featured had mixed votes for Republicans. And that’s because we vote based on our district’s and constituents’ input. There are philosophical majorities in the Legislature.
- Making room for ADUs: Washington bill has lawmakers mulling over ‘middle housing’ | KING TV
- Washington Houses passes bill to sell carbon credits to reforest state land | Capital Press
- Republican Leader John Braun voices support for drug sentencing bill after Senate passage | The Chronicle
- State Senate passes safe staffing standard, in compromise between hospitals, unions | The Spokesman-Review
House Republican town halls
Just a reminder that some House Republicans will host town hall meetings over the next two weekends. Information on these events can be found here. For details on Zoom and telephone town halls, please visit individual member websites.
Over the next few weeks, House and Senate committees will consider bills from the opposite chamber. You can find The Week Ahead in the House here. The revenue forecast will be released on March 20, informing budget writers as they craft the two-year operating budget. We expect the first operating budget proposal to be released at the end of this month.
Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader