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Dear Neighbor,

Thank you to everyone who attended the 20th Legislative District virtual town hall meeting on Monday, March 20. Senate Republican Leader John Braun, Rep. Ed Orcutt, and I appreciated the opportunity to provide an update on the 2023 legislative session. We also greatly value hearing from folks throughout the 20th District about issues that matter most to them.

The most common issues we heard from constituents about concerned public safety, homelessness, and the high cost of living – the same kitchen table issues I hear about every week in the community.

Families are struggling to keep up with the high cost of groceries, fuel, education, childcare, and housing. They’re also fed up with the chronic failure to address homelessness, hard drug use, and crime. Every year, it seems, Olympia adds more taxes, rules, and regulations – all of which make it harder to succeed. And every year we continually see the same policy failures on public safety and other quality of life issues.

As frustrating as the status quo may be, we can’t give up on our state’s future. The folks who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the town hall on Monday night are a great encouragement to us in the Legislature. They know, with the right policies in place, we can make Washington safer, healthier, and more prosperous than ever.

I plan to hold more town hall meetings this year, in-person.

Police pursuit and fixing the Blake decision

We’re fast approaching March 29th – the deadline to move Senate bills through House committees.

The good news is we’re seeing action on Senate Bill 5536, which would criminalize possession of certain hard drugs. The bill is scheduled for executive session on Tuesday, March 28. Executive session is a meeting for a committee to discuss and vote on bills.  

Senate Bill 5352, which would restore the ability of police to engage in vehicular pursuit in some circumstances, is also scheduled for executive session on Tuesday.

While neither of these measures go far enough, they are steps in the right direction, and House Republicans will fight to strengthen these them before they go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

You can view the 2023 session cutoff calendar by clicking here.

Making Washington state the hydrogen hub

On March 16, the House unanimously approved my measure to help Washington become an international hydrogen hub.

House Bill 1729 would create and expand tax incentives for developing and selling hydrogen fuel products.

As a co-chair of the Hydrogen Caucus, and assistant ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee, I’ve been working to securing funding for Washington’s first hydrogen refueling station located in Chehalis. I am also advancing numerous other pieces of legislation to support our state’s application to be a hydrogen hub funding recipient.

A diverse energy portfolio is about security and reliability for residential and commercial users. Hydrogen is an emerging source of transportation fuel and manufacturing energy. It will also open the door to numerous educational and workforce possibilities.

There is substantial private and public investment in hydrogen, and the 20th Legislative District and Washington state are well-positioned to be the recipients of those investments.

You can watch my floor speech on the passage of HB 1729 here:

Defending advisory votes

One of the bad bills making its way through the Legislature this year is Senate Bill 5082, which would repeal advisory votes enacted by the people.

Advisory votes were established under Initiative 960 in 2007. It created a process for Washington citizens to participate in an advisory vote on whether a tax increase passed by the Legislature should be repealed or maintained. The vote is nonbinding, and the results do not affect the law. The advisory vote occurs at the next general election. An advisory vote is not held if the tax increase is referred to the people as a referendum or is included in a people’s initiative. ESSB 5082 would unilaterally repeal Initiative 960 without a vote of the people.

On Tuesday, March 21, the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee voted to pass SB 5082 along party lines. We offered numerous amendments, but none were accepted by the majority party.

The voters chose to have advisory votes on the ballot and the Legislature is unilaterally going against the will of the people without their input. Voters want an opportunity to share with Olympia their perspective on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong.

You can watch my speech in opposition to SB 5082 here:

In the news

Your involvement is crucial!

If you have questions about getting involved in the legislative process, follow this step-by-step guide on the House Republican website: 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

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.


Peter Abbarno

State Representative Peter Abbarno, 20th Legislative District
411 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7896 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000