Rep. Peter Abbarno’s first legislative vote seeks to preserve ‘transparent government and access for my constituents’

Newly-sworn Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, was the first lawmaker to make a recorded vote on the first bill of the 2021 legislative session as it got underway Monday in Olympia.

House Resolution 4600 sets temporary rules for the operation of the state House of Representatives during the session. The measure is unique this year in that it sets up rules for the 2021 session to be conducted remotely via computer, rather than lawmakers voting in person in the committee rooms and from the House floor during the remainder of the session.

Abbarno joined with other House Republicans, who expressed concern that the public and minority lawmakers could be shut out of the process if the legislative session is conducted entirely through online virtual programs, such as Zoom.

“While virtual sessions and committee meetings may increase viewership, concerns remain over the decrease in ‘active’ participation during floor debate and committee testimony. The best form of government is one where ideas can be debated and discussed openly by the public and among elected officials,” said Abbarno. “The new virtual format provides far too many situations where technology, and majority rules, can stifle constructive discussion. I will continue to advocate for open and transparent government and access for my constituents.”

The measure was the first to be considered on the first day of the 2021 legislative session. Members were chosen in alphabetical order to vote. Abbarno was first to call out his vote, “nay.” The measure, however, passed along a party-line vote, 55-39, with four members excused or absent.

“Even in this remote legislative world, I’m going to do all that I can to keep our government open and accessible to the citizens I serve,” added Abbarno.

The 20th District representative encouraged citizens to log on and become involved in the 2021 virtual legislative session. Details of how to access the Legislature remotely, including how to testify online in a committee hearing can be found at:

Abbarno may also be reached through his legislative office at (360) 786-7896, via email at, or through his legislative website:

The legislative session is scheduled to continue remotely through April 25.

PHOTO: Rep. Peter Abbarno participates in the first day of the 2021 session from the gallery of the state House of Representatives, one of several places throughout the House Chambers where members were socially distanced and positioned for voice voting.


Washington State House Republican Communications