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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It has been a historic week in Olympia. On Monday, lawmakers passed three initiatives.

I supported all three as they addressed important issues, as evidenced by the large number of signatures gathered for the initiatives and the overwhelming number of people who signed in favor of the measures during the public hearings.

The three initiatives passed by the Legislature:

  • I-2113 would restore police authority to pursue fleeing suspects. Since 2021, when the majority party passed HB 1054, crime has skyrocketed. Washington is among the nation’s leaders in retail theft (#1), property crimes (#2), and auto theft (#3). This will allow our police officers to once again enforce the laws necessary to address our rising crime rates and protect our communities.  
  • I-2081 would establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights for K-12 education. This will increase transparency and ensure public schools share with parents any records relating to their children and instructional materials used in the classroom. Click on the photo below to watch my floor speech on I-2081.
  • I-2111 would prohibit further efforts to impose an income tax. The citizens have spoken many times on this issue. Our state has plenty of revenue, and with our affordability crisis, this would protect people from any future plans for a personal income tax to be imposed at any level.

How historic was it to pass three initiatives? Since Washington adopted the initiative and referendum process in 1912, citizens have attempted 1,728 initiatives to the Legislature, with only 38 getting certified and sent to the Legislature. And only six times has the Legislature adopted an initiative. We adopted three this week.

The majority declined to take action on the other three initiatives, which will be on the November ballot.

  • I-2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) and its cap-and-trade program. This has increased costs for struggling families and individuals.
  • I-2109 would repeal the income tax on capital gains. This is a step toward a state income tax. Our state has plenty of revenue (our state budget has doubled in the last decade). This tax is unnecessary, unpopular, and unstable.
  • I-2124 would allow Washington workers to opt out of a mandatory and deeply flawed long-term care insurance program and the payroll tax. I have talked about this program many times. It is unpopular, and unfair, and there is some uncertainty surrounding the program’s solvency.

I was disappointed no action was taken on I-2117. The legislation being passed in Olympia related to climate change or the cap-and-trade program continues to drive costs up on fuel, energy and other goods and services for working families. False information is being used in association with I-2117 as some are saying if the CCA fails, transportation dollars will disappear and projects will be halted. That is inaccurate. For more information, read the op-ed Rep. Mike Steele and I penned: Climate Commitment Act needs accountability, not scare tactics.

One of the bills related to energy passed this session that will continue to drive up energy costs is  Senate Bill 6058.  It would make the CCA and cap-and-trade program more compatible with California and Quebec’s linked cap-and-invest carbon market. The legislation intends to facilitate negotiating a “linkage agreement” between the three markets. I see this driving up costs, not reducing them. Click the photo below to watch my floor speech on the Carbon Linkage Market bill.

Thursday – adjournment

The Legislature is adjourning today (Thursday). Rep. Steele and I were able to secure some great projects in the capital budget. Click here to read our news release. Below are some of the projects in the capital spending plan:

  • Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center: $14.463 million
  • Morning Star: $3.5 million
  • Chelan Municipal Airport Extension: $1 million
  • Sky Valley Youth Center: $1.53 million
  • Leavenworth Affordable Workforce rental housing (Leavenworth): $1.3 million
  • Middle Fork Snoqualmie: $835,000
  • Wenatchee Valley College: softball facilities: $462,000
  • Eagle Creek Barrier design and replacement: $354,000
  • Peoples Creek fish passage: $380,000
  • Regional Sports Complex-Site evaluation and pre-design: $300,000
  • Town of Index safety and ADA access improvements: $25,000
  • Manson Grange Hall improvement project: $193,000
  • Crail Cottages: $248,000
  • Old Swim Hole revitalization project: $206,000
  • Alatheia Capacity building capital project: $150,000
  • Chelan County hazard mitigation: $98,000

Transportation budget

As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I was able to help steer some funding to a couple of projects. Keep in mind this is a supplemental budget. We will have some difficult conversations ahead of us regarding transportation funding and our priorities. Projects in the budget:

  • $5,199,000 for SR 285/North Wenatchee intersection improvements.
  • $40,000 for the Tolt Middle School access project.

Stay in touch

I will provide another update in the next couple days with a final wrap-up on the session.

In the meantime, please keep in mind I am your state representative year-round. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need assistance with a state government issue. I look forward to seeing you this interim.

Sincerely,


Keith Goehner

State Representative Keith Goehner, 12th Legislative District
RepresentativeKeithGoehner.com
122B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
keith.goehner@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7954 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000