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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session adjourned sine die on March 7. This means the legislative body has concluded its meeting without setting a day or time to reconvene.

This short session was incredibly fast-paced. There was something different about it, and it seemed lawmakers tried to pack the same amount of work—or more—into the 60-day timeframe as we usually see during a 105-day session.

That said, we accomplished some good things during this session; however, with the good comes the bad, and there were some disappointments. In this update, I will review some of the things that happened this session, provide an overview of some projects funded through the capital budget, and break down some of the good and bad legislation, including one of my bills that passed the Legislature this session.

Let’s start with some good news.

Capital budget funding coming to the mighty 6th District

The Legislature unanimously approved the state’s 2024-25 supplemental capital budget, which appropriates $1.33 billion for biennial construction, repair, and infrastructure funding.

Your 6th District lawmakers helped secure funding for many projects around the district. These projects include:

  • $300,000 for the engineering and surveying of essential fire recovery.
  • $515,000 for the Transloading Containment Sewer Area.
  • $2.1 million for the Washington State Veterans Cemetery burial and columbarium expansion grant.
  • $35,000 for the modernization of small district and tribal compact schools for a Great Northern School District planning grant.
  • Additionally, we secured $1.7 million from the wildfire recovery assistance money included in House Bill 1899, which Governor Inslee signed into law on March 18.

Governor signs bipartisan House Bill 2416 into law

I sponsored bipartisan House Bill 2416 this session that will bring a much-needed technical adjustment to the nursing chapter in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) by renaming advanced registered nurse practitioners to advanced practice registered nurses.

Washington state currently stands among only nine states that have yet to adopt the advanced practice registered nurse title. By aligning with the national language standard and the best practices of the Nurse Licensure Compact, my legislation sets a new standard for clarity and consistency in health care terminology.

I want to thank the Washington State Board of Nursing for requesting this legislation and for the bipartisan partnership of Rep. Marcus Riccelli for co-sponsoring this bill. I’m grateful we could move it through the legislative process unanimously during this session.

Three initiatives passed

I’m thrilled to share that three of the six wildly popular citizen initiatives presented to the Legislature passed and will become law.

  • I-2113 will restore police authority to reasonably pursue fleeing suspects. This initiative passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 77-20 and the Senate 36-13.

You can watch my floor speech supporting this initiative by clicking here or on the photo below.

You can also watch the highlights of our floor debate supporting this initiative by clicking here or on the photo below.

  • I-2081 establishes a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” in K-12 education. This will increase transparency and ensure public schools share with parents records relating to their children and instructional materials used in the classroom. This initiative is similar to a bill I introduced during the 2023 legislative sessionHouse Bill 1601, after constituents reached out to me asking for this type of legislation. My bill was also citizen-driven. This initiative passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 82-15 and the Senate 38-11.

You can watch my floor speech supporting this initiative by clicking here or on the photo below.

You can also watch the highlights of our floor debate supporting this initiative by clicking here or on the photo below.

  • I-2111 prohibits further efforts to impose a state or local personal income tax. Voters have made it clear that they do not want a personal income tax in Washington state. I have always supported this so money can remain in your pocket to spend locally rather than going to the state. This initiative passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 76-21 and the Senate 49-0.

The three initiatives that did not pass the Legislature will advance to the November ballot, and Washington voters will decide whether to pass them.   

  • I-2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act.
  • I-2124 would allow employees to opt out of the long-term care insurance program and payroll tax.
  • I-2109 would repeal the excise tax on capital gains income greater than $250,000.

A few other legislative successes to mention include:

  • House Bill 1635 requires the development of model standards for training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl.
  • House Bill 1899 (which I cosponsored) facilitates the reconstruction of communities damaged or destroyed by wildfires. There was an emergency clause in this bill, and it went into effect immediately after the governor signed it (March 18, 2024).
  • House Bill 1862 (which I cosponsored) creates a sales tax and B&O tax exemption for non-profit organizations operating on military reservations that serve disabled veterans and members of the armed forces.
  • House Bill 1961 (which I cosponsored) classifies animal cruelty in the first degree as a serious level III offense.
  • House Bill 1989 (which I cosponsored) requires WSDOT to create a graffiti abatement pilot program.
  • House Bill 2375 extends the senior property tax exemption and deferral programs to detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs). This will help with our state’s housing shortage.
  • House Bill 2153 establishes new felony and gross misdemeanor crimes for trafficking in, possessing, selling, or offering to sell catalytic converters.
  • House Bill 2311 establishes a first responder wellness task force, a training program for first responder peer supporters, and a grant program for implementing or expanding first responder peer support services. This enhances a bipartisan bill I sponsored and was signed into law in 2019House Bill 1909 – that protects personal information for first responders filing mental health and PTSD claims.
  • House Bill 2357 provides an annual retention bonus for Washington State Patrol troopers working more than 25 years to keep more troopers on the highways for public safety.

Amidst the legislative victories, several controversial bills passed

  • House Bill 1589 requires PSE to stop connecting new customers to natural gas. It directs them to blend natural gas and electric lines into one rate base (meaning electric-only customers will start subsidizing the decommissioning of natural gas infrastructure even if they were never served by it).

You can watch the highlights of why House Republicans opposed House Bill 1589 by clicking here or on the photo below.

  • House Bill 2118 requires firearm dealers to adopt specified security features, alarm systems, firearm storage practices, surveillance systems, and record-keeping practices. This bill will be discussed again in future sessions as we seek to find a balance on this topic.
  • House Bill 2331 restricts local control of school board authority regarding instructional materials and school library materials.
  • Senate Bill 5462 requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) 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, including ethnic, racial, LGBTQ, religious, and immigrants.
  • Senate Bill 6058 amends the Climate Commitment Act to facilitate a linkage of carbon markets with California and Quebec.

You can watch why I opposed Senate Bill 6058 in my floor speech by clicking here or on the photo below.

You can watch the highlights of why House Republicans opposed Senate Bill 6058 by clicking here or on the photo below.

Stay tuned for upcoming email updates, where I’ll delve deeper into the specifics of some of these policies. If you’re curious about a particular bill or policy or want more information, don’t hesitate to contact my office. I want to address your inquiries in future updates.

Stay in touch

Even though the Legislature has adjourned, remember that I’m here as your state representative all year long. Please feel free to reach out anytime if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts or need help with anything related to state government. Your inquiries are always welcome.

It’s an honor to serve you!

Sincerely,


Jenny Graham

State Representative Jenny Graham, 6th Legislative District
RepresentativeJennyGraham.com
435 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
jenny.graham@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7962 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000