Serving Franklin County, WA

Mixed results as session ends

The 2024 legislative session is now in the history books. After 60 days, in which 201 House bills and 180 Senate bills passed the Legislature, we can report a mix of great successes and disappointments.

We fought hard for public hearings on all six citizens' initiatives to the Legislature. Closer to the end of the session, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate reluctantly agreed to hear three of the measures but sent the other three initiatives to the November ballot.

Public hearings were held on Initiative 2113, restoring vehicular pursuits; Initiative 2111, prohibiting state and local personal income taxes; and Initiative 2081, establishing a Parents' Bill of Rights. Many Democrats joined with us, both in committee and on the House and Senate floors, to pass these initiatives. They now become law on June 6. This is a major win for Washington citizens.

Three other initiatives did not receive public hearings and were not passed by the Legislature this session. They are:

• Initiative 2117, repealing the carbon tax, also known as "cap-and-tax";

• Initiative 2124, opting out of the state long-term care program and payroll tax; and

• Initiative 2109, repealing the capital gains tax.

We had other successes:

• House Bill 1899 would assist people who lost their homes in last summer's wildfires.

• House Bill 2357 establishes a longevity bonus for Washington State Patrol troopers with 26 years or more of service. This will help to provide an incentive to keep our most experienced officers on the highways.

• We secured nearly $2.6 million in the transportation budget for the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport terminal and runway realignment projects.

• We also secured nearly $30 million in the supplemental capital budget for local projects at the Davenport Senior Center, Latah Water System, RTOP Theatre in Pullman, Knott Dairy Center digester at WSU, improvements to eight schools in our district, funding for the Odessa pipeline, improvements to Tekoa Parks and Recreation and the Tristate Health Hospital in Clarkston.

• We stopped bad bills, including rent control, tripling state and local property tax rates, unemployment benefits for striking workers, a hospital/health care consolidation harmful to rural health care, and convicted felons on juries.

• No tax increases.

There were also disappointments:

• The majority party took further steps to infringe on law-abiding citizens' gun rights by approving Senate Bill 5444 banning guns at public libraries, zoos, aquariums, and transit stations, House Bill 2118 setting more restrictions for firearms dealers, and House Bill 1903 making it a civil infraction to fail to report a stolen or lost firearm within 24 hours.

• We fought unsuccessfully against House Bill 1589 which paves the way for the elimination of natural gas services for Puget Sound Energy customers and will make utility bills more expensive.

• Despite the state expected to bring in an additional $3 billion over the next four years, no meaningful tax relief was provided.

This session was very intense, but we are honored to be representing you and serving the 9th Legislative District. Please keep in touch with us as we work for you throughout the year. You'll find our contact information on our websites:

Sen. Mark Schoesler: markschoesler.src.wastateleg.org/

Rep. Joe Schmick: RepresentativeJoeSchmick.com

Rep. Mary Dye: RepresentativeMaryDye.com

- Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, and Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, represent the 9th Legislative District.

 

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