March 11, 2024
This Issues Topics:
2024 • Business Connections • March • Peter Abbarno

By Peter Abbarno
20th District Rep. R-Centralia

As the Washington State Legislature enters the final week of February, I wanted to write about some bills you may not have heard about, but could have a huge, statewide impact. Most of us know about all six initiatives to the Legislature and the three major fiscal budgets. Beyond the more notable bills, legislators draft, read, and consider thousands of bills and amendments from both chambers – many of which you have never heard about. I thought I should mention a few of those good and bad little bills.

Let me start with one of my own good bills. House Bill 1005 would have re-established an expired program that provides employers a Business and Occupation Tax credit and Public Utility Tax Credit for hiring veterans, members of the military and national guard, as well as their family members. This successful program expired in 2023 and the policy to re-establish and expand the program is in the House Rules Committee.

Another good bill would have allowed a 16 or 17-year-old to work the same number and frequency of hours during the school year as would be permitted during school vacations or holidays. Students would need to be enrolled in a career and technical education program and the work would need to be performed for an employer approved by the program. House Bill 2035 received a hearing, but was not voted out of the House Labor and Workforce Standards Committee.

It does not look like either of these two good policies will move in 2024; however, if passed they could have had a very positive impact on employers and employees in our community.

On the flip side, there are a couple of bad bills that thankfully did not advance. Two bills that come to mind that would likely have made crime worse and our judicial system more uncertain were House bills 1396 and 1268.

A bad bill that you may not have heard about is House Bill 1396, which would have reduced the mandatory sentences for individuals between the age of 18 to 20 who commit aggravated murder in the first degree and required retroactive resentencing for certain individuals. This bill does not appear to be moving forward this year.

Similar to House Bill 1396 is another very bad bill that would reduce the sentences for individuals that commit gun, gang, and drug related crimes around protected zones. House Bill 1268 would have allowed criminals to serve concurrent rather than consecutive sentences. The bill would have also eliminated enhancements for teenagers who commit gang-related felony crimes. This bill is likely not moving forward this year but will likely be introduced again.

There are a lot of bills considered in the Legislature that can have a huge impact our way of life. I am very thankful for the active participation of many neighbors in the 20th Legislative District, including those in the Centralia and Chehalis, who share their opinions on policies- big and small. I appreciate the comments and insight during session and all-year-long and encourage you to reach out to my office. To learn more about legislation important to you, visit my website RepresentativePeterAbbarno. com.


Rep. Peter Abbarno represents the 20th Legislative District and is an attorney with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP.

Some of the Good, Bad, and Ugly

By Peter Abbarno20th District Rep. R-Centralia The legislative session adjourned, sine die, on March 7th - the constitutional 60-day deadline. Traditionally a “clean-up” session following the longer odd-year sessions, there were almost 25% more bills introduced this...

read more

The Aerie Ballroom

The Aerie Ballroom Restored Event Venues and Hotel RoomsGreat venues become even greater when they offer the full range of options including unique event spaces, excellent hotel accommodations, fine dining, and proximity to parking and downtown activities. Neil White...

read more

Riverside Golf Club and Bistro 

Riverside Golf Club and Bistro Ace in the Hole for Events & TournamentsRiverside Golf Club offers more than eighteen holes and 6155 yards of golf. They are also a year-round venue for events with six spaces available. Their rentals have been used for retirement...

read more