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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It took until the final two weeks of the 60-day legislative session, but three of the six initiatives to the Legislature will have public hearings this week. The details are below, including how to sign up and testify and/or comment.

I would urge you to testify if possible. The voices of our state’s citizens matter, and now there is an opportunity to share your voice and testimony on these important issues.

For information on how to testify in person or online, click here. The hearings will only be an hour so testimony will be limited. That provides more reason to sign up and/or share your comments so legislators know you are engaged and interested in these ballot measures. Even if you do not get the opportunity to testify you can sign in to support the initiative. Legislators can see this information.

While public hearings are being held on these three initiatives, we do not know if the Legislature will pass them before we adjourn. There are reports that could happen, but we may not know until the last few days.

Keep in mind there are three options when initiatives are submitted to the Legislature:

  • it could pass the initiatives, and they would become law;
  • it could reject the initiatives and allow them to proceed to the November ballot; or
  • it could vote to place an alternative measure on the ballot, and both measures would be on the November ballot.

We will have to wait and see what happens with the three initiatives being heard this week. The three initiatives that will not have a public hearing and will be on the November general election ballot are:

  • I-2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act and its cap-and-trade program.
  • I-2109 would repeal the income tax on capital gains.
  • I-2124 would allow Washington workers to opt-out of a mandatory and deeply flawed long-term care insurance program and the payroll tax that goes with it.

I support all six initiatives and feel the Legislature should pass them before the legislative session adjourns. For more information, check out this website: Initiatives | 2024.

House operating budget

The House of Representatives passed its proposed operating budget on Saturday. The spending plan passed a party-line vote of 58-39. I voted “no” as I am concerned about its unprecedented growth. It has more than doubled over the last 10 years. It also provides no tax relief for the middle class despite being one of the least affordable states in the country (#3 for gas prices, #4 for grocery prices, #4 for housing crisis.)

House transportation budget

The House also passed a bipartisan 2024 House-proposed supplemental transportation budget on Saturday by a vote of 93-2.

I supported the budget as I serve on the House Transportation Committee. However, I can tell you we have some difficult decisions ahead of us in the near future.

One of the high points of this budget is our work to improve public safety. It would provide funding for recruiting and retaining our Washington State Patrol troopers. Our State Patrol has record-low employment numbers while traffic fatalities are at a record high.

Stay engaged

There are a lot of issues and bills that have yet to be decided. I urge you to stay engaged over the final 10 days. You can also follow our caucus social media on Twitter (now X), FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. Two good websites to follow:

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments you have about what is happening in the Legislature or our state government. 

Sincerely,


Tom Dent

State Representative Tom Dent, 13th Legislative District
RepresentativeTomDent.com
437 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
tom.dent@leg.wa.gov
(509) 941-2346 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000