Rep. Peter Abbarno sponsors four bills aimed at making Washington safer, more prosperous

State Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, this week pre-filed four bills for the upcoming 2023 legislative session aimed at making Washington a safer and more prosperous place to live.   

“Affordability and economic security are overwhelming priorities in Southwest Washington,” said Abbarno, who was recently elected assistant floor leader by the Republican caucus. “Too many of our families are struggling financially. Too many children are caught in the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Too many seniors are forced to cut essential items from their budgets. Too few economic opportunities are being created. The four pre-filed bills, and the legislation I support in the coming session, would provide some economic relief and support to our communities.”           

WA Cares Fund and Payroll Tax Repeal

House Bill 1011 would repeal the state’s new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax that is set to take effect July 1, 2023.

“The long-term care insurance program and payroll tax remains unpopular, insolvent, and regressive,” said Abbarno. “House Bill 1011 would repeal the program in its entirety and give the Legislature the opportunity to work on meaningful solutions that provide individuals the freedom for impactful long-term care.”

Preventing cold-water drownings through Zack’s Law

House Bill 1004, also known as “Zack’s Law,” seeks to prevent cold-water shock drownings through signage at bridges and along waterways throughout Washington state. House Bill 1004 is named in honor of 18-year-old Zachary Lee Rager, an experienced swimmer who fell victim to cold-water shock and drowned in the Chehalis River on March 23, 2021.

“Zack’s Law would require state government agencies and local governments to erect signs addressing drowning hazards when replacing signs or erecting signs near dangerous water hazards,” said Abbarno. “It would also create a mechanism for the public to donate funds to the state for the specific purpose of erecting signs in locations known to attract people to what could be hazardous waterways.”

Expanding the tax credit to employers who hire veterans and military spouses

House Bill 1005 would double the existing business and occupation tax credit for employers who hire a veteran, spouse of a veteran, or spouse of an active-duty military member and employ them in a full-time position for at least two consecutive full-calendar quarters.

“House Bill 1005 is about creating work opportunities and providing financial stability for our military members, veterans and their families, who’ve already given so much to our community and sacrificed for our freedoms,” said Abbarno. “This legislation would also help businesses keep up with demand for supplies and services. It’s really the perfect match — providing jobs for veterans and military spouses and reducing the workforce shortage is a win-win for our communities.”

House Bill 1005 doubles the $1,500 business and occupation tax credit to $3,000 for veterans hired full-time on or after July 1, 2023. It would also expand the tax credit to veteran spouses and spouses of active-duty military members. Plus, veterans would no longer have to meet the requirement of being unemployed for at least 30 days to be eligible. In addition, it would apply to seasonal employers.

Financial assistance for rural fire stations

House Bill 1014 would provide a new grant funding source for rural fire departments whose buildings and equipment are inadequate to meet the fire safety needs of their communities.

“Many fire departments around our state, particularly in rural communities, are struggling to meet the demand of a growing population, as they work out of very old, outdated stations,” said Abbarno. “This legislation would help rural communities raise the necessary funds to improve fire infrastructure, relieving the economic burden on working families and small businesses.”

If enacted, the Department of Commerce would establish a competitive grant program to award funding up to $2 million to local governments in rural counties for capital projects that would improve fire protection services.

All four measures were sponsored by Abbarno in the previous biennium.

The legislative session is scheduled to convene on Jan. 9, 2023.

EDITOR NOTE: This release was originally distributed to the news media on December 7, 2022. However, due to election-year restrictions, it was not published online until Dec. 8, 2022


Washington State House Republican Communications