Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we roll into the fifth week, the 2024 session continues to move at a fast pace. Today, Monday, Feb. 5, is a big milestone — it’s House of Origin Fiscal Committee Cutoff. It’s the last point bills affecting the budget can be decided in committee. Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, it’s the last chance for bills to get the thumbs up in the chamber where they started — House of Origin Cutoff.
What do these deadlines mean for us? They’re like big signposts on the lawmaking journey. In the next few days, legislators will be knee-deep in talks and choices about bills that will shape the future of Washington state. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for my next update, where I’ll talk about bills that made it past these deadlines and share what happens next in the legislative process.
The main buzz in Olympia revolves around the six citizen-driven initiatives, all of which have been officially certified by the Secretary of State and introduced to the Legislature. Washington’s initiative process gives voters a direct say in making or changing laws.
It’s worth noting that it’s been fifty years since the Legislature received more than two initiatives in one year. With a reported 2.6 million signatures, it’s clear people from every corner of Washington state are fed up with excessive taxes, a diminished say in their children’s lives, and decreased public safety. They’re also tired of paying more for necessities like gas, groceries, and housing, all to support an agenda that doesn’t prioritize them or their families.
As the author and sponsor of each of these proposals, it’s truly exciting to witness the tremendous support each one has received:
- Initiative 2113 would restore important vehicular pursuit options for law enforcement.
- Initiative 2117 would repeal the state’s Climate Commitment Act and its cap-and-trade program. Or, as many of us call it, the carbon tax.
- Initiative 2111 would prohibit state and local personal income taxes.
- Initiative 2081 would establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights for their children’s public school education.
- Initiative 2109 would repeal the state’s capital gains tax.
- Initiative 2124 would allow workers in our state to opt out of the WA Cares program and payroll tax.
So, what’s next? Well, even though we’ve asked our Democratic colleagues to prioritize public hearings for these proposals as our state constitution requires (Article II, Section I), they have, thus far, refused to do so. Regardless of individual viewpoints on these initiatives, they merit fair treatment. With the firm support of the people, these proposals deserve a thorough and timely review.
At this point, state lawmakers have three options for each initiative: 1. They can pass it into law; 2. They can take no action, which means the initiative will automatically go on the ballot in the next general election; 3. They can propose an alternative measure on the same topic, resulting in both measures appearing on the ballot in the next general election.
To learn more about the initiatives and the approval process, watch my recent legislative update video.
I will continue to urge my fellow legislators to stand alongside me in endorsing these initiatives. The swift enactment of these measures would bolster the well-being of parents and children, alleviate financial strain on working Washingtonians, lessen their tax burdens, and restore public safety. These changes benefit everyone! It’s abundantly clear that the people are demanding action, and it’s imperative that the Legislature responds with its support.
Want to learn more about each of the initiatives? Read my news releases:
- Initiative 2113 on police pursuits officially certified: Rep. Jim Walsh calls for swift action
- Initiative 2117 certified: Rep. Jim Walsh calls for end to cap-and-trade in Washington
- Rep. Jim Walsh discusses Initiative 2109, aiming to repeal capital gains income tax
- Rep. Jim Walsh calls for immediate action on Initiative 2111 following introduction to the Legislature
- Rep. Jim Walsh urges support for Initiative 2081: A key step forward for parental rights in Washington state
- Rep. Jim Walsh advocates for change: Initiative 2124 challenges insolvency of ‘WA Cares’ long-term care payroll tax
I want to express my gratitude to everyone who joined our recent 19th District Virtual Town Hall. It was fantastic to see such a strong turnout. I appreciated all the questions and feedback on various topics, such as local transportation projects, housing, gun rights bills, the six initiatives, and property taxes.
If you missed the event, don’t worry! Keep an eye out for future announcements about in-person town halls once the 2024 session wraps up.
Remember, whether you’re in Olympia or at home, there are several ways to engage in the legislative process. Feel free to call, email, or send a letter anytime you have questions or concerns. There are also remote legislative participation options available for your convenience.
Let’s continue working together to fix Washington and create a brighter future for all!
In your service,