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Dear Neighbor,

At the beginning of week four of the 2024 legislative session, five initiatives have been certified by the Secretary of State and introduced in the Legislature:

  • Initiative 2113 would restore the ability of law enforcement officers to engage in vehicular pursuit.
  • Initiative 2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act, the state’s new carbon tax program.
  • Initiative 2081 would establish a parental bill of rights, so that parents would have authority over their child’s school and medical records.
  • Initiative 2109 would repeal the state’s new capital gains income tax. 
  • Initiative 2111 would prohibit personal income taxes in Washington state.

The Legislature has three choices:

  • Approve the initiatives and they will become law;
  • Offer alternative measures that would appear on the ballot in November alongside the initiatives; or
  • Do nothing, in which case the initiatives will appear on the November ballot without any alternatives.

As of today, the House Democratic majority has not held a single public hearing on any one of the initiatives, despite the clear language in Article II, Section I of the Washington State Constitution:

“Initiative measures, whether certified or provisionally certified, shall take precedence over all other measures in the legislature except appropriation bills…”

Here is my floor speech in favor of a hearing on Initiative-2111, which would ban a personal income tax in Washington state:

Rep. Jim Walsh and I also provide more details about I-2111  in this video:

A thank you to our Washington National Guard

On Wednesday, we passed House Resolution 4661 honoring members of the Washington National Guard for their service and sacrifice to Washington state and the nation.

Our 8,400 citizen-soldiers have been activated numerous times throughout history for foreign and domestic emergencies, including the 1948 flood relief in Ellensburg, the Mount St. Helens eruption, the Oso landslide in 2014, and numerous wildfires.

They put their lives on the line to help their communities – they deserve our thanks and gratitude.

Unfortunately, when it comes to helping our veterans, we had a major missed opportunity last session that I hope we can address. By failing to pass House Bill 1005, the majority party allowed Washington’s veteran-hire tax credits to expire last July 1.

My legislation would have extended and doubled the existing public utility tax (PUT) and business and occupation (B&O) tax credits for employers who hire a veteran, spouse of a veteran, or spouse of an active-duty military member for a full-time position for at least two consecutive full-calendar quarters.

Helping veterans and local businesses should have been a top priority because veterans and their families have already given so much to our community.

Our Community in the Capitol

Last week, we released the first edition of Our Community at the Capitol in 2024. Every other week, we feature photos of constituents from the 20th District who visit the Capitol campus.

If you plan to visit the Capitol and would like to be featured in future updates, please contact me.

A really bad bill

You may have read in the news that House Democrats have proposed a bill that would allow convicted felons to serve as jurors, vote, and run for elected office while in prison. Yes, you read that right. Incarcerated felons – including serial killers such as Gary Ridgway – would be have their political rights restored under House Bill 2030.

Just when you think the pendulum couldn’t possibly swing any further in favor criminals over victims, a radical proposal gets a hearing.    

You can watch a committee hearing on the bill at TVW here.

A “no heat for you” vote by the House

On Jan. 22, the majority party in the House passed a bill that would restrict the use of natural gas.

House Bill 1589 would prohibit any large gas company that serves more than 500,000 retail natural gas customers in Washington as of June 30, 2023, from providing natural gas service to any commercial or residential location that did not receive gas service or have filed applications for gas service as of June 30, 2023.

Our state’s track record of trying to combat climate change has been to disproportionately burden our most disadvantaged communities: our rural and low-income residents.

Restricting natural gas will hurt folks already struggling at the kitchen table to pay for groceries, utilities, childcare, and other basic necessities. Just a few weeks ago, it was 10 degrees or colder in many communities around Washington state – and so many of our communities rely on natural gas to stay warm.

Sadly, this terrible policy narrowly passed the House 52 – 45.

You can watch my floor speech against the natural gas ban here:

In the news

I work for you year-round

Please call, write, or email me if you have questions, comments or suggestions about government. I work for you all year.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to be your voice in Olympia.

Sincerely,


Peter Abbarno

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