Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Fall has arrived with the change in colors, the crisp air, and the fun activities around our local communities. I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and spirits.
I have been busy this interim meeting and visiting with folks throughout the district, spending time with my legislative committees touring the state, getting a firsthand look at priority issues, and beginning to work on policy for the upcoming 2024 legislative session.
Skyrocketing prices at the gas pump and in your natural gas bills
As the calendar pages turn to the fall and winter months, our summer months are still crippling many of your wallets due to the skyrocketing gas prices we experienced.
For weeks during the summer of 2023, Washington had the distinction of having the highest gas prices in the nation – competing for the unfortunate honor with California. Prices hovered around $5 a gallon. These prices affected everyone, especially those who could least afford it – the working middle class, people on a fixed income, those who traveled long distances for work, and farmers struggling to produce affordable food.
While some elected leaders still speculate on the reason behind these high prices, the most significant factor can be attributed to the cap-and-trade program that started in January 2023.
In 2020 and 2021, the majority party sponsored and approved ambitious carbon reduction efforts through the Climate Commitment Act (House Bill 1091 and Senate Bill 5126). The cost impacts of these policies are hitting your wallets with higher prices at the gas pump and through your natural gas bills. I voted ‘NO’ on both measures.
What’s next on the road ahead?
In the upcoming session, we must find solutions to address the problem of skyrocketing gas prices while maintaining our mission to be stewards of the environment. Here are some thoughts being considered:
- Amend. We need to establish better agency guidelines for the cap-and-trade program that aim to reduce carbon credit prices while lowering fuel and natural gas prices. Click here to read a detailed letter suggesting some improvements.
- Rebate. With the state collecting more revenue, individuals and families still struggle to pay for gas. Providing a rebate could help offset these financial burdens. Rep. April Connors of Kennewick and Rep. Mary Dye of Pomeroy are working on a proposal to offer monetary rebates for vehicle owners of $100 per individual or $200 per family. Click here for more on their proposal.
- Repeal. The Climate Commitment Act’s (CCA) shortcomings are enough that repealing the program should also be considered. The Act burdens businesses significantly and could cause reduced competitiveness, job losses, and even higher consumer costs.
House Republicans will also continue to invite the majority to join us in our efforts to provide financial relief for families in other ways.
Information sheet and resources on the controversial less restriction alternative (LRA) housing for sexually violent predators near Enumclaw
Thank you to everyone who continues to contact my office with your concerns and questions about releasing sexually violent predators into less restrictive alternative housing near Enumclaw.
Rep. Drew Stokesbary and I continue to work hard to keep these individuals out of our communities or, at the very least, ensure the notification and placement process is as transparent and thorough as possible. This issue will remain a priority for the upcoming legislative session.
In the meantime, I have created this information sheet and resource page. Here, you will find:
- Local and statewide media coverage on the issue.
- Our letters to the Department of Social and Health Services Behavioral Health division.
- Proposed legislation from the 2023 legislative session.
- How you can participate in the legislative process.
- The definition of a sexually violent predator.
- The definition of less restrictive alternative housing.
- Information on DSHS and its Behavioral Health Administration.
- Information on DOC and a Community Webinar on less restrictive alternatives.
I will keep this page updated as new information becomes available.
During the upcoming 2024 legislative session, I will continue to proudly serve as one of the assistant ranking members on the House Transportation Committee.
During this interim, I joined my fellow transportation committee colleagues from the House and Senate on an infrastructure tour to see priority issues firsthand. We face many challenging transportation projects and infrastructure decisions as we head into the 2024 legislative session.
- Washington DOT claims $11 billion backlog of infrastructure projects (The Center Square)
- Fixing Washington’s ‘broken’ transportation funding system (The Center Square)
- WSDOT official: New projects funded ‘in lieu’ of infrastructure maintenance (The Center Square)
At the end of the 2023 legislative session, I was appointed the ranking Republican on the House Consumer Protection and Business Committee. From insurance to banking to business education, this committee handles issues that impact not only the 31st District but all of Washington state. This role will allow me to advocate for sound policies that protect businesses and consumers across our state.
I will also remain the assistant ranking member on the House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee. I recently participated in an industry tour, hearing from owners and operators – big and small – on how the state can help grow jobs, increase commerce, and expand Agritourism in Washington.
As we get closer to the 2024 legislative session, I will send a postcard to your mailboxes. This postcard will provide resources with QR codes, information on priorities and legislation, and a survey to gauge your input on the issues before the Legislature. Stay tuned and keep an eye on your mailbox.
Keep in touch
As always, don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas regarding your state government or any of the topics and issues mentioned in this update. My contact information can be found at the bottom of this email.
It’s an honor to serve you.
In your service,