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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today is Policy Committee Cutoff for the Opposite House.  This means that all of the bills that made it out of the House had to be voted on in their respective Senate committees and vice versa.  We are on day 45 of the short 60-day session, and things are moving at a rapid pace in Olympia. 

Rally for Initiative hearings on Jan. 31, 2024, with reporter Brandi Kruse.

Initiative Hearings

On January 31st, independent reporter Brandi Kruse coordinated a rally on the steps of Olympia to request hearings on the six initiatives that over 800,000 voters signed.  Our Washington State Constitution states these initiatives must be prioritized over all other bills not related to the budget.  Democratic leadership in the House and Senate responded to the public pushback with this statement.  Senator Andy Billig and Speaker Laurie Jenkins announced they will be hearing three of the six initiatives on February 27th and 28th, although the exact date and time are still to be determined.  The three initiatives that will be receiving hearings are:

The three initiatives that will not receive hearings and go directly to the ballot in November are:

  • I-2117 Repeal the Climate Commitment Act, which will reverse the gas tax and increase in energy costs
  • I-2109 Repeal the Capital Gains Tax
  • I-2124 Opt-out of the Washington Cares Act, which is a payroll tax for a state run long-term care program

According to the statement, they are not hearing the bills because “These initiatives would dramatically decrease quality of life and devastate progress on K-12 education, childcare, clean air, clean water, climate action, and aging with dignity – matters that are important to people across the state.” The problem with this statement is that all of those items were funded before these recent taxes were implemented.  Every year, we have had a revenue surplus and not needed to raise taxes.  These additional taxes did enhance funding in certain areas, but losing this funding would not “have a dire effect on the day to day lives of every single Washingtonian” as their press release indicated.  I believe it is our job as legislators to listen to the public and weigh the negative impacts of taxes with the benefit on what those funds will be used for.  I would like to hear from you on whether you support these initiatives and how you would like me to vote for them if they make it to the House floor. 

Bills of Interest:

Here is a summary of bills I have received emails and comments on from my constituents and an update on their status.

HB 2030:  Allows all incarcerated individuals to vote, serve on juries, and run for public office while in prison.  This bill did not pass the House cutoff and died this legislative session.

HB 2114:  Caps rent increases at 7%, applies Attorney General protections to tenants, caps fees, and allows tenants to break leases with no penalties.  This bill passed the House and is currently alive in the Senate.

HB 1589:  Bans natural gas for new construction and phases out natural gas in homes and businesses.  This bill passed the House and is currently alive in the Senate. 

SB 5770:  Lifted the 1% cap on property taxes.  This bill did not pass Senate cutoff and died this legislative session, but supporters have stated they will reintroduce it next session.

HB 2118:  Requires firearm dealers to adopt expensive security features and record keeping practices.  It also increased their liability insurance requirements and likely will result in the closure of many firearm establishments.  This bill passed the House and is currently alive in the Senate.

HB 2001:  Allows convicted felons to petition the sentencing court to reduce their original sentence. This bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.  The court costs alone on this bill was $15 Million. I gave a floor speech that our state should prioritize funding education for our foster youth over releasing more prisoners.

Rep. Caldier speaking on HB 2001, sentence modification bill. Click on the photo to listen to Rep. Calder’s floor speech.

Stay informed, stay in touch!

I have received thousands of emails, messages and phone calls from you on a variety of issues. I urge you to stay engaged. We will be debating and voting on important issues affecting our communities and state. Please continue to contact me with any questions, concerns or comments you have. I appreciate your input and feedback. It is an honor to proudly serve you and the 26th Legislative District.

Sincerely,


Michelle Caldier

State Representative Michelle Caldier, 26th Legislative District
RepresentativeMichelleCaldier.com
122H Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
michelle.caldier@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7802 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000