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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This year’s 60-day legislative session adjourned on Thursday, March 7. While the majority passed a lot of bad policies throughout session, Republicans also helped stop plenty of detrimental bills from getting to the governor’s desk.

Our priority as the minority party (there are 58 Democrats and 40 Republicans in the House) is to do everything we can to fix the many crises facing our state. The Legislature has failed, and continues to fail, on issues such as public safety, affordability, education, drug addiction, homelessness, housing, child care, and more. Republicans want to fix Washington, and I know the vast majority of you reading this update do as well.

In responding to a pre-session survey mailer I sent out with Sen. Gildon and Rep. Jacobsen that asked what your legislative priorities are, you ranked the following as high or very high priorities:

  • Improving public safety: 82%
  • Reducing the tax burden/cost of living: 70%
  • Improving public education: 67%
  • Reducing drug addiction: 63%
  • Public services for the homeless and mentally ill: 54%
  • Increasing affordable housing: 51%
  • Addressing climate change: 32%
  • Increasing funding for public transit: 23%

The good news is the Legislature, because of 400,000+ Washingtonians, addressed the issue of public safety in a big way this session. Initiative 2113, which was approved by the House and Senate, will soon become law. This initiative restores police vehicular pursuits, allowing our men and women in law enforcement to do their jobs and stop criminals.

We have seen skyrocketing crime rates in Washington state, in part due to policies the Legislature has passed that have emboldened criminals and undermined law enforcement.

In my floor speech in support of the initiative, I said the following:

“I am in support of this today because I stand for the rule of law. I stand for this today because I want to let our law enforcement community know that I support them and the work they do to keep our communities safe and to serve and protect the public. I also stand today in support of this to support constituents of mine that have been negatively impacted by this legislature that passed a bill to restrict law enforcement’s ability to conduct vehicle pursuit.

I stand for 12-year-old Immaculee Goldade, who was killed in Midland. Sunday morning, 10 a.m. walking home with her best friend from a sleepover. Mr. Speaker, law enforcement needs to be able to pursue criminals that are out there stealing vehicles that should be stopped, so that criminal activity doesn’t then go on to cause other irreparable harm to our communities. I also stand for my constituent, Nikki, that was here on Friday, who unfortunately has been the victim three times over of vehicle theft in the last year. Nikki has a little boy that is scared of what will happen because their vehicle has been stolen again.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that we need to give law enforcement the tools that they need to protect and serve our communities. to keep people safe. Acknowledging that, yes, vehicle pursuit is inherently dangerous. Law enforcement is inherently dangerous. But I think the greater good is that law enforcement have the tools that they need to protect our community, to protect our constituents, and to protect little girls like Immaculee, so that they can live another year to have a slumber party and spend the night with their best friend.”

The constituent I referenced in my remarks, Nikki, came down to Olympia to testify on Initiative 2113 when the public hearing was held. Unfortunately, those conducting the hearing chose to devote time to remarks from out-of-state “experts” instead of Washingtonians. Even so, KOMO News got wind of Nikki’s story (her vehicle has been stolen three times in the past year) and sent reporter Chris Daniels to the Capitol to interview both of us. You can watch that segment here.

For much of session, the majority gave us the impression they wouldn’t hold public hearings or votes on any of the initiatives you sent us this year. In the end, three received hearings, were approved, and will become law. That’s a big win for all of us in Washington state who want to fix what’s broken.

The other two initiatives that will become law this year are:

As for the other three initiatives, they were not heard and will be on the ballot in November:

After unanimous House approval, my WA Cares Fund transparency bill dies in Senate

Although the House unanimously approved a bill I sponsored this year (HB 2271) that would have increased transparency and access to information for individuals participating in the Washington State Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program, also known as the WA Cares Fund, the Senate ultimately declined to take it up.

At the core of the bill was a commitment to ensuring individuals enrolled in the WA Cares Fund could easily access pertinent information regarding their participation and anticipated benefits. It was important to me to create this transparency for all participants, irrespective of individual opinions on the program or its associated payroll tax. Unfortunately, leaders in the Senate decided addressing this issue wasn’t a priority. By choosing not to pursue this bill, I believe they missed an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to serving the interests of the people and promoting open government communication and transparency.

Supplemental capital budget

The 2024 supplemental capital budget approved this session will invest an additional $1.33 billion in K-12 school construction, mental health facilities, housing, early learning facilities, and more.

Local investments include:

  • $1 million for the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center roof.
  • $772,000 for the City of Puyallup to install a new large-diameter stormwater main, rerouting and connecting the downtown basin to the existing outfall at 4th St. NW.
  • $576,000 for Shore Friendly, which is a program that assists shoreline landowners with natural ways to prevent erosion on shorelines.
  • $550,000 for Step by Step’s early learning center in Puyallup, which will have 200 Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program child care slots.
  • $150,000 for Western Ranchettes to replace parts and upgrade equipment.

If you’d like more information about any of these projects, please send me an email at Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov.

Contacting me

I am here to serve you year-round, so please continue reaching out to me with your comments, questions and concerns.

It is an honor to serve you.

Sincerely,


Kelly Chambers

State Representative Kelly Chambers, 25th Legislative District
RepresentativeKellyChambers.com
426 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
kelly.chambers@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7948 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000