Since Feb. 27, we’ve had marathon House floor sessions nearly every day, debating bills on criminal justice, transportation, housing, gun rights, and more. Wednesday, March 8, at 5 p.m., was house of origin cutoff – the deadline for House bills to pass out of the chamber. Bills that did not pass by this deadline are considered “dead” for the year. There is one exception to this rule: bills considered by the House speaker to be necessary to pass the budget can be resurrected.
Plenty of both good and bad bills passed through the House and were sent off to the Senate.
You can view an up-to-date list of the important good and bad bills introduced during the 2023 legislative session here.
Prioritizing criminals over victims
Throughout the 2023 session, the majority party has consistently prioritized criminals over victims, and passed bills that make it more difficult for citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.
During the past few weeks, over our objections, they passed:
- House Bill 1268, which would reduce penalties for gang, drug, and firearm crimes committed in protected zones, like schools and bus stops;
- House Bill 1324, which would reduce sentences for juvenile criminal re-offenders; and
- House Bill 1169, which would shift the cost of crime from criminals to law-abiding citizens.
I believe we need to focus on the real problem: criminals. Individuals who are terrorizing our neighborhoods and harming others must be held accountable for their actions.
On Tuesday, we debated House Bill 1143, which would place onerous requirements on law-abiding gun owners and firearm dealers.
Then, on Wednesday we debated House Bill 1240, a proposal by the state attorney general that would outlaw the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any so-called “assault weapon.”
After the majority party voted to reduce penalties for crimes in school zones and bus stops, reduce sentences for juvenile offenders, and shift the cost of crime from criminals to the public, they voted to pass a pair of bills that would erode our Second Amendment rights. Again, the majority party prioritized criminals over victims and law-abiding Washingtonians.
- Watch my speech on House Bill 1240 by clicking here.
- Watch my speeches on House Bill 1143 by clicking here.
Our state must prioritize victims over criminals and allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families from the rise in violent crime. Washington state has the fewest law enforcement officers per capita and we desperately need to recruit and train more law enforcement officers to protect our communities.
Upcoming virtual town hall meeting
You can register here: http://bit.ly/3kmcfKH
As always, we welcome your questions and comments about the 2023 legislative session.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Zack’s Law update
On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed Zack’s Law (House Bill 1004) my effort to prevent cold water shock drownings.
The bill is now in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Background: Zack’s Law honors 18-year-old Zachary Lee Rager, who fell victim to cold-water shock and drowned in the Chehalis River on March 23, 2021. I am sponsoring this bill to help inform the public about the very real dangers posed by diving or jumping into cold water. If this measure saves even a single life, then I believe it’s worth passing.
Read my full statement on the passage of Zack’s Law by clicking here.
Stopping the domestic violent extremism commission
As the ranking member on the State Government and Tribal Relations Committee, I lead the effort to stop House Bill 1333, the measure that would establish a “Big Brother” type government commission to investigate citizens’ political speech. I am happy to report that this bill is dead.
This was one of the worst bills to be introduced this year. It would have weaponized state government against ordinary citizens, turning neighbor on neighbor, and escalated political polarization. In short, it would have exacerbated the very problem it was intended to address.
Big missed opportunities
Two big missed opportunities for the Legislature this year were the failure to reform the governor’s emergency powers and to repeal or reform the state’s new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax that is set to take effect July 1, 2023.
Unlike last year, the majority party in the House did not even hear our bill to rein in the governor’s executive power during emergencies.
The state’s new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax remains unpopular, insolvent, and regressive. House Bill 1011 would have repealed 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.
The bill was referred to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, but never received a hearing. 3
Our 2023 legislative survey
Please click here to take my 2023 legislative survey. I plan to hold it open for the entirety of the session. I will release updated results before we adjourn.
Share your Stories
As always, I invite you to contact me at Peter.Abbarno@Leg.Wa.Gov and share your stories with me about how inflation is impacting your family budget, how crime is impacting your neighborhoods, and how recent state policies are making it more difficult to live, work, and enjoy everything Washington has to offer. Just share your first name and city, and I will be sure to share your stories with others.
- Video: Reps. Chris Corry and Peter Abbarno provide an update on the 2023 legislative session – HRC, March 8
- Video: Rep. Peter Abbarno calls on House to focus on criminals, not law-abiding gun owners – HRC, March 8
- ‘Definitely not cheap’: WA House passes ‘first in the nation’ natural gas bill – The Center Square, March 8
- ‘Zack’s Law’ Unanimously Passes in State House of Representatives – The Chronicle, March 6
- Video: Rep. Peter Abbarno argues for amendments to bill requiring permit to purchase a firearm; opposes final passage – HRC, March 7
- Radio Report: House unanimously approves Rep. Abbarno’s ‘Zack’s Law’ cold-water shock warning bill – HRC, March 7
- Video: Rep. Peter Abbarno urges House to pass Zack’s Law, his effort to prevent cold-water shock drownings – HRC, March 7
- House unanimously passes ‘Zack’s Law,’ Rep. Peter Abbarno’s effort to prevent cold-water shock drownings – HRC, March 7
- Rep. Abbarno Commentary: House Page Program Opens Opportunities for Local Students – The Chronicle, March 6
- Video: Rep. Peter Abbarno speaks against reducing sentences for gang-related crimes – HRC, March 6
- Rep. Peter Abbarno calls for House Democrats to address homeless encampments; highlights opportunities to protect drinking water, address housing, and more – HRC, March 4
- Video: Rep. Peter Abbarno proposes amendment to clean up homeless encampments near waterways; opposes final passage of HB 1181 – HRC, March 4
- Capitol Report with Rep. Abbarno: Update on legislation passing the House floor – HRC, March 3
- Eleven students from the 20th District page in Washington State House of Representatives – HRC, March 3
- Video: Rep. Peter Abbarno stands up for victims’ rights on House floor – HRC, March 1
- Emergency powers reform bills seemingly dead in WA Legislature – The Center Square, March 1
Your involvement is crucial!
The House Republican Caucus put together this step-by-step guide on how to participate in the legislative process here: Participating in the Legislative Process.
You can also use the Legislature’s official guide on how to comment on a bill, give your position, submit written testimony, or sign up for public testimony, remote or in-person here: Participating in the Process
To learn more about citizen participation, we have set up a page with all the necessary information: How you can be involved in the legislative process.
Finally, you can find news releases, email updates, videos and radio reports highlighting the good and bad bills throughout the 2023 session on my website at RepresentativePeterAbbarno.com.
Please contact my office if you have questions or comments on legislation that you would like directed to me. My contact information is at the bottom of this email update.
Stay involved and in touch!
As your elected officials, we are here to represent you. That means your involvement and input are critical to the process. Please call, write, or email me if you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation, committee hearings, the legislative process or state government. I am here to serve and represent you!
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to be your voice during the 2023 legislative session.