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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session officially ended on Thursday, March 7. The 60-day session was extremely busy as both chambers introduced and considered more than 1,600 bills, voted on about half of those, and sent nearly 400 to the governor. Here’s a recap of some of the major stories from the Capitol this year.

Update on the Initiatives to the Legislature

Heading into session, one of the biggest issues was the six statewide initiatives certified by the Secretary of State in January. The Legislature held public hearings and ultimately passed three of the six initiatives, which was a huge win for Washingtonians. I supported each of these measures and I’m pleased the Legislature listened to the people of Washington. Below are the measures that passed and will become law later this year.

Initiative 2113 will allow law enforcement to use the “reasonable suspicion” standard to pursue criminals rather than “probable cause,” which became the standard after the 2021 session. Click here to view the public hearing and click on the image below to watch my floor speech on final passage.

Initiative 2081 will create a Parents’ Bill of Rights that will increase transparency and ensure that public schools share with parents any records relating to their children, including instructional materials and health-related issues. Click here to view the public hearing and click on the image below to watch my floor speech on final passage.

Initiative 2111 will prohibit state and local personal income taxes at any level. With so many people struggling with the current affordability crisis, this will protect everyone from future attempts from the majority party to impose taxes on our personal income. Click here to view the public hearing and click on the image below to hear why I support this initiative.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders chose not to hold public hearings on I-2117, a repeal of the Climate Commitment Act, I-2109, a repeal of the capital gains tax, and I-2124, an opt-out of Washington’s long-term care retirement program. It’s a shame the people of Washington couldn’t share their input in a public hearing regarding these initiatives. However, voters will have the final say with all three measures included on the November ballot.

To learn more about each initiative and the initiative process in general, please click here.

Update on Good and Bad Bills From the 2024 Session

As with any session, the Legislature passed a number of good bills, as well as several bad ones. Here are a few of the highs and lows:

  • House Bill 1862 creates a sales tax and B&O tax exemption for non-profit organizations that operate on military reservations and serve disabled veterans and members of the armed forces.
  • House Bill 1943 allows the National Guard Postsecondary Education Grant to be extended to a soldier’s spouse and dependent. Extends the length of time the grant can be received.
  • House Bill 1987 allows rural public facilities sales and use tax to be used for affordable workforce housing.
  • House Bill 2003 creates a leasehold excise tax exemption when public lands are used for affordable housing.
  • House Bill 2153 establishes new felony and gross misdemeanor crimes for trafficking in, possessing, selling, or offering to sell catalytic converters.
  • House Bill 2357 establishes a longevity bonus for Washington State Patrol troopers with 26 years or more of service. This will help provide an incentive to keep our most experienced officers on the highways.
  • House Bill 2375 extends the senior property tax exemption and deferral programs to detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

There were also some disappointments or bad bills the majority party passed, including:

  • House Bill 1589 begins the process for a natural gas ban by directing Puget Sound Energy to stop connecting new customers to gas and directs them to blend the gas and electric lines into one rate base. This will drive up energy costs for many people.
  • Senate Bill 6058 amends the Climate Commitment Act to facilitate a linkage of carbon markets with California and Quebec. We do not want to be tied to another state and/or country for our carbon market. We will lose autonomy and our prices are likely to further increase.
  • House Bill 2331 restricts local control of school board authority regarding instructional materials and school library materials.
  • Senate Bill 5462 requires the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into all new or revised state learning standards in every subject for every grade level. It also requires school districts to adopt inclusive curricula that study various groups. Right now, 60% of students are failing math and 50% are failing reading. Scores are even worse for minority and low-income children who fell further behind their peers during school closures. We should be concentrating on bringing our students up to grade level and not adding new requirements for the districts.
  • House Bill 1282 requires contractors on covered projects to provide certain environmental, health, labor, and human resource data about construction materials used. We cannot continue to add costly regulations that increase the cost of housing and expect to solve our housing shortage.

State Supplemental Budgets

We also passed the three state government spending plans: the supplemental operating, transportation, and capital budgets. Here’s a brief recap of each.

Supplemental Operating Budget: This budget does some good things, but unfortunately, it is not fiscally responsible. Government needs to control its spending, but the budget has more than doubled in the last decade. This kind of spending is simply unsustainable. The budget also fails to offer any relief to Washingtonians who desperately need the help during our ongoing affordability crisis.

Gas, groceries, and energy bills continue to skyrocket and yet this budget offered no tax breaks. Instead, state government keeps collecting and spending record amounts of money. We need to control our spending, keep more in reserve, and help struggling families. Because this budget does not reflect those priorities, I voted “no.”

Supplemental Transportation Budget: The final version of this budget allocates an additional $1.1 billion on top of last year’s $13.5 billion. It prioritizes maintenance and preservation investments, focuses on enhancing highway safety, and addresses the recruitment and retention of Washington State Patrol officers.

In addition to keeping the $925 million in funding for transportation projects in the 25th District from last year, including more than $870 million to continue the Puget Sound Gateway project, this year’s supplemental budget includes $500,000 in requested funds for the 23rd Avenue Southwest sidewalk project.

This is an important project in our district, so I’m happy to see this included in the transportation package. It will help enhance safety and mobility for school children, people who drive, walk, and use public transportation, so this is a big win for our district.

Supplemental Capital Budget: The final 2024-25 supplemental capital budget will spend a total of $1.33 billion, with more than $3 million of that going to projects in the 25th District, including:

  • $1 million for the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center roof.
  • $515,000 for the Step by Step’s early learning center.
  • $772,000 for the City of Puyallup stormwater system.
  • $150,000 in addition money for the Western Ranchettes water distribution system.
  • $576,000 for the Shore Friendly accelerated landowner incentives package. Shore Friendly works together with the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program to assist shoreline landowners with natural ways to prevent erosion on shorelines, like driftwood rather than concrete with the goal of restoring shoreline habitat across the Puget Sound for fish, wildlife, and communities.

I am grateful the 25th district will receive practical and substantial grants to improve water safety for residents, begin the process for an early learning child care center, and improve our WSU Puyallup Center.

I’m also pleased the state put significant funding ($148.8 million) in behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment for new community capacity, institutional or state-run capacity, and upgrades and maintenance to existing facilities. We need to put greater effort and urgency into helping people who suffer from these disorders and this money will be extremely helpful in that push.

Thank You for Your Support! Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia. I appreciate your trust and support. Remember, I represent you throughout the entire year, not just during the legislative session. If you have any input, please reach out to me by using the contact info below.

In your service.

Sincerely,


Cyndy Jacobsen

State Representative Cyndy Jacobsen, 25th Legislative District
RepresentativeCyndyJacobsen.com
122E Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
cyndy.jacobsen@leg.wa.gov
(253) 330-8466 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000