By Peter Abbarno
20th District Rep. R-Centralia
The Washington State Legislature just completed the first month of its 60-day legislative session that began on January 8th. Soon after the House of Representatives ‘gaveled in’ the session started with a flurry of activity, including Governor Jay Inslee’s last state of the state address.
In his final address after more than a decade in office, Governor Inslee shared that he believes the state of our state is strong. Like many, I disagreed. During the past 12 years, Washington state has experienced increases in crime, the cost of fuel, homelessness, and drug addiction. At the same time, Washington is struggling with the fewest number of law enforcement officers per capita in the nation, low student scores in reading and mathematics, childcare deserts, and lack of housing inventory.
All these issues have ignited historic public participation with the most initiatives to the Legislature in history. Over 420,000 registered voters signed each of the six initiatives to the Legislature expressing their displeasure with the polices passed by the majority party in Olympia. A majority that has been in control of the executive branch for 40 years, the House of Representatives for over 20 years and the Senate for the past 6 years.
The Initiatives to the Legislature include:
Initiative 2081 concerning allowing parents and legal guardians to review their student’s public-school record and instructional materials;
Initiative-2109 concerning prohibiting the implementation of an income tax at the state and local level;
Initiative-2111 concerning repealing the capital gains tax;
Initiative-2113 concerning allowing vehicular pursuits by police officers;
Initiative-2117 concerning repealing the Climate Commitment Act carbon trading program that increased the cost of fuel; and
Initiative-2124 concerning allowing working Washingtonians to opt-out of the Long-Term Care Payroll Tax program.
The Legislature has decisions to make once each initiative is certified by the Secretary of State. Pass the initiatives, ignore the initiatives, or pass an alternative.
The initiatives become law if the Legislature passes the certified initiatives. The initiatives will appear at the top of your 2024 general election ballot if the Legislature does not act on the initiatives. The initiatives, and any alternatives, will appear on your 2024 general election ballot if the Legislature passes an alternative to the initiative.
Thus far, the certified initiatives to the Legislature have each been referred to a committee; however, the majority has voted against having any hearings on the initiatives to allow the public to testify and share their reasoning for why the Legislature should just pass them.
The pace of the 2024 legislative session is very fast and there are a lot of policies coming through our committees. I encourage constituents to stay informed and engaged at RepresentativePeterAbbarno. com and contact me about the issues important to you and your family.
Rep. Peter Abbarno represents the 20th Legislative District and is an attorney with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP.