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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We’ve passed the halfway point of the 60-day 2024 legislative session, with several deadlines already behind us, determining the destiny of many bills. Among them, Senate Bill 5770, a proposal sponsored by Democrats, which faced strong opposition from Republicans and ultimately failed to proceed to a floor vote.

Property tax hike proposal hits roadblock

SB 5770 sought to grant local governments the ability to raise property taxes, increasing the annual cap from one to three percent. Its defeat marks a significant moment for Washington residents, including homeowners, business owners, and renters alike.

The potential implications of the bill were significant—it could have led to the largest property tax hike in the state’s history, all without the direct consent of the people. This generated widespread disapproval, particularly because a three percent annual increase would burden many individuals and families financially, potentially even forcing some renters onto the streets. It’s encouraging to see Democrats acknowledging and, hopefully, responding to these genuine concerns from the public.

  • Watch my recent video on the death of SB 5770 by clicking here.

Other bad bills that appear to be dead include:

  • House Bill 2030: Allowing incarcerated felons to vote, run for office, and serve on juries.
  • House Bill 2051: Prohibit and penalize the use of small gas-powered engines.
  • House Bill 2177: Change the name and membership of the Sex Offender Policy Board.
  • House Bill 1994: Judicial dismissal of misdemeanors following completion of court-ordered conditions.
  • House Bill 1902: Firearms permits for purchase and transfer.
  • House Bill 1333: Creating a Domestic Violent Extremism Commission.

House debates and bill votes

Amidst looming deadlines, lawmakers have spent several days and late nights deliberating and conducting votes on a multitude of bills. Presently, our focus has shifted toward legislation passed in the opposing chamber. In the rapid tempo characteristic of 60-day legislative sessions, today, Wednesday, Feb. 21, signifies the cutoff for bills originating from the Senate’s policy committee, and vice versa.

Enclosed below are several videos spotlighting the bills I recently opposed on the House floor. These videos also offer insight into the rationale behind my stance on each measure. Each video showcases the grounds for my opposition.

Videos detailing my support and opposition

In the initial stages of the recent House floor debates, I expressed my opposition to House Bill 1579 and advocated for enhanced protections within our communities. This proposed legislation seeks to empower the Washington State Attorney General (AG) with the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute cases involving police use of deadly force. The bill would establish an Independent Prosecutions Unit within the AG’s office.

For years, Democrats have been intent on creating a statewide prosecutor to handle cases involving law enforcement officers’ use of deadly force. However, there’s ongoing debate over whether this role should fall under the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) or the Governor’s Office. As per current legislation, this authority rests with locally elected prosecutors, which is appropriate. The emphasis should be on holding criminal actors accountable rather than prosecuting law enforcement officers.

  • Watch my floor speech on HB 1579 by clicking below:

In yet another power-grab by the AG’s office, House Bill 2072 seeks to revise the upper limits of civil penalties for breaches of specific antitrust regulations under the Consumer Protection Act. I opposed this legislation because it would obscure and complicate the transparent principles of fair competition. In my floor speech, I stressed the significance of upholding equitable conditions for all participants. Furthermore, I expressed my apprehension about assigning the main enforcement responsibility to the AG, citing doubts regarding their effectiveness in addressing price-fixing problems.

  • Watch my floor speech on HB 2072 by clicking below:

During deliberations concerning House Bill 2224, I emphasized the urgent matter of child safety within unstable households throughout Washington state, which has reached a crisis level. I contended that although the bill addresses specific facets of the problem, it fails to undertake a thorough revamp of the risk assessment tools essential for detecting hazardous conditions for children.

  • Watch my floor speech on HB 2224 by clicking below:

In between these debates, I took the time to explain the important issue of contractual risk on state transportation projects. As project costs skyrocket and timelines are thrown off, understanding who bears the burden of overruns is essential. In the video below, I break down this complex topic and explore its impact on major initiatives like culvert removal and ferry system upgrades.

  • Click below to learn more:

In the discussion regarding House Bill 2118, another ill-conceived anti-gun rights measure, I stood in opposition to the substantial regulatory constraints imposed on licensed firearms dealers. If ratified by the Legislature, these alterations could cause the closure of numerous gun shops across our state. I proposed three amendments aimed at enhancing the bill, but unfortunately, all were dismissed by the majority party.

  • Watch my floor speeches on the amendments to HB 2118, and then final passage of the bill by clicking below:

House Bill 1903, yet another bill infringing on gun rights, mandates individuals to report firearm loss or theft to local law enforcement within 24 hours, under threat of a $1,000 fine. I vehemently oppose this measure, denouncing it as excessive government intrusion and unfairly punishing law-abiding citizens.

  • Watch my floor speech on HB 1903 by clicking below:

Other floor speeches and recent videos include:

  • A proposed amendment to House Bill 2199 that seeks to address individuals seeking unfair financial advantages through the bill’s proposed tax exemptions under the Climate Commitment Act. Click here to watch.
  • Between floor debates, I explained how police have been hampered by recent legislation limiting vehicular pursuits and why I-2113 is needed to restore a standard of “reasonable suspicion” that would allow law enforcement officers to once again pursue criminal suspects. Click here to watch.
  • I opposed House Bill 2001, a proposal that seeks to grant felons, including violent offenders, the chance to petition for a review of their sentences for serious offenses like rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, and felony assault. Individuals convicted of first-degree aggravated murder would not qualify under this bill. Click here to watch my floor speech.
  • And finally, you can watch my recent legislative update video on the Democrats’ refusal to hold public hearings on two key initiatives by clicking here.

Thank you

Stay tuned for additional updates where I’ll explore the progress of the six citizen-driven initiatives, the state’s revenue forecast, and the proposed supplemental operating, transportation, and capital budgets.

As the 60-day session unfolds, I urge you to sign up for text alerts and follow me on my legislative Facebook page for timely updates. Additionally, you can bookmark my legislative website, where you’ll find my latest press releases, video updates, radio interviews, and more.

Please continue to reach out to me with your comments, questions, and concerns. You can email me at Jim.Walsh@leg.wa.gov or call my office at (360) 786-7806.

It’s an honor to serve you!


Jim Walsh

State Representative Jim Walsh, 19th Legislative District
428 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7806 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000