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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session adjourned in March. I hope you recently received my end-of-session newsletter in the mail. It covers several issues, including an overview of the six initiatives, an update on the operating budget, rising energy costs and more.

If you have not received the mailer or have not read it yet, click here to review it. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Rep. Dent and colleagues await floor debate in the House of Representatives during the 2024 session.

Election-year restrictions

On Monday, May 6, election-year restrictions go into effect for those of us up for election this November. My legislative communications, such as this email update, will be restricted until after the November election is certified. The exception to this rule is if the Legislature goes into a special session.

I can still respond to constituents who contact me throughout the year. I encourage you to email, call, or write to me at any time. My contact information is below at the bottom of the page.

New boundaries for many legislative districts

On March 15, a decision was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Laznik that would make major changes to our legislative district boundaries.

Background: The Washington State Redistricting Commission drew up new legislative district boundaries in November 2021, as it does every ten years. However, a lawsuit was filed contending the final map violated the federal Voting Rights Act. It was targeting the 15th Legislative District in the Yakima Valley, but the court decision and new map makes significant changes.

According to one report, the new map moves more than 500,000 people in 13 districts, while the intervenors of the case offered a map with around 80,000 people moved in only three districts. 

Court challenges continue, but for now the new boundaries will be in place for this year’s legislative elections. Below is the new 13th District.

Washington PUDs Association’s Legislative Champion

I was recently named the Washington Public Utility Districts (PUDs) Association’s 2023 Legislative Champion. The award honors a member of the Legislature or Congress for their commitment to PUDs.

I am very honored and humbled. The recognition stems from legislation I passed last year, House Bill 1032, to mitigate the risk of wildfires through electric utility planning and identification of best management practices of each electric utility’s circumstances.

The association put together a short tribute video, which you can watch here.

Child care crisis

During the legislative session, I talked about my legislation to help address our state’s child care crisis. My House Bill 2300,  brought to me by the child care industry, did not receive a public hearing.

I will continue to work on this issue in the interim and gain support for change. For more information, read my op-ed in the Yakima Herald: Legislature is failing to address the child care crisis.

I would add that there were recently two additional articles in the media on this topic that you may find interesting.

Working together

I take great pride in working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We accomplish more when we have face-to-face conversations, and both sides contribute their input and feedback.

We have several issues in our state that need more work. I can assure you I will work with folks regardless of their background or political affiliation. It is about finding common-sense solutions and making Washington a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any ideas for legislation or concerns about our state government. Often, the best ideas for bills come from you, the constituents.

Stay in touch

Please remember I am your state representative year-round. As mentioned above, even with the election-year restrictions limiting my communications, I can respond to your questions and inquiries. Do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance navigating state government, want to schedule a meeting or would like me to tour a facility or speak to your association or organization.

In my last email update, I also shared that I have a new legislative assistant (LA) this interim. We could not do our job without our LA’s. They answer the phones, help with constituent cases, handle our schedule and much more. Jennifer Hanna joined the 13th District team at the end of session. Feel free to send her an email or contact the office at 360-786-7932 if you need assistance.

Legislative Assistant Jennifer Hanna.

Keep up on state news and issues

While the Legislature is adjourned for the remainder of the year, it is important to stay up to date on state issues and news. Two websites that may be helpful include:

I look forward to seeing you in the 13th District this interim. It is an honor and privilege to represent the great people of our region!

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