2024 legislative session •

Dear Friend:

House floor action concluded late Friday after House Democrats decided not to run Senate Bill 5241, controversial legislation that would have hurt rural health care in our state. House Republicans introduced several amendments and were prepared for a long debate, but we found out just after 9:00 p.m. the bill would not run.

When state lawmakers return to the Capitol tomorrow, there will be four days left in the 2024 legislative session. In that short time, several bills, three state budgets, and possibly three initiatives will be voted on in the House and Senate. Below is a quick recap of where things stand.

Update on initiatives

I want to thank everyone who took the time to testify or submit written testimony on the three initiatives that received public hearings this week. While House Republicans were disappointed that more people, including parents and law enforcement officials, were not allowed to testify, public support for these initiatives was clear. And the message was received.

Now, the good news. Executive action was taken on each of these three initiatives in both the House and Senate. That means they passed out of their respective committees, which is the first step to reaching the floor of both chambers. We are hearing these three initiatives could reach the House floor tomorrow. We will be ready for the vote.

Despite our floor motions and letters to the chairs of House committees asking for public hearings on all six initiatives, no action will be taken by the Legislature on three of them: I-2117 (Repealing the carbon tax)I-2124 (Opting out of the state long-term care program and payroll tax), and I-2109 (Repealing the capital gains tax). That means they will advance to the November ballot and Washingtonians will decide their outcomes.

Update on bad House bills, including our floor debate highlights

Two weeks ago, I shared a list of bad bills that passed the House — despite our opposition. Here is an update on these measures, including some mashup videos of our floor debate highlights:

You can find all of these floor debate highlights and other ones from past legislative sessions at this web page.

More on the House supplemental operating budget debate

Last week, I shared our opposition to the House Democrats’ supplemental operating budget and support for the House supplemental transportation budget. Both of these budgets, along with the supplemental capital budget, are now being negotiated.

I wanted to share four of our floor speeches on the House supplemental operating budget because our ranking and assistant ranking members on the House Appropriations Committee did a great job of articulating our concerns and priorities. Their message was clear: This budget does not do enough to address the crises in our state, including affordability, public safety, and drugs.

House Republican retirements

Every two years around this time, we see retirement announcements from the four caucuses. Three House Republican members have said they will not run for re-election — including two who have served for a long time and had leadership roles. Rep. J.T. Wilcox of the 2nd District, who held the Leader position before me, announced his retirement on Wednesday. Rep. Joel Kretz of the 7th District, and our long-time Deputy Leader for years, announced he would not run for re-election on Friday. The third member is Rep. Spencer Hutchins of the 26th District. He announced on February 6 that he’s leaving.

I want to thank these dedicated state representatives for their service to their communities, commitment to their constituents, and contributions to our caucus. They are appreciated and will be missed. We look forward to honoring our departing colleagues in the upcoming days.

Stay connected

A lot is going to happen over the next few days. Here are some resources for you to stay connected:

In closing, I would like to offer my condolences to the family of Washington State Patrol Trooper Christopher Gadd, who was killed by a motorist on I-5 early Saturday morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and the Washington State Patrol.

Warmly,

Rep. Drew Stokesbary
House Republican Leader
drew.stokesbary@leg.wa.gov