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Dear Friends,

I want to thank everyone who participated in the virtual town hall event Sen. Jeff Wilson, Rep. Jim Walsh and I held Jan. 31. I appreciate you taking time out of your evening. We had a good turnout from across the 19th District and folks were very engaged. We were able to touch on a variety of issues. Your questions, input and feedback are important. Please stay engaged. Several issues need to be decided by the end of session.

Bills that made it to the Senate

I had three bills make it out of the House of Representatives and to the Senate. All passed unanimously and are moving in the Senate.

House Bill 1044  is legislation I prime-sponsored last session that would provide funding for small school districts through a grant process based on need. Last year, it passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 46-3. Unfortunately, the bill died due to an amendment the House did not agree with. This is important for our small school districts that need capital funding. The bill had a public hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee today (Thursday, Feb. 15).

Rep. McEntire speaks to his House Bill 1044 on the floor of the state House of Representatives.

House Bill 2004 would require higher education institutions to provide early course registration for eligible military members and dependents. It had a public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee on Feb. 14.

House Bill 2381 would authorize the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to increase the number of schools with fewer than 1,000 students that could be eligible for a flexible school calendar. This has worked well with other schools, so the legislation would expand the amount of waivers available. It also had a public hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee today (Thursday, Feb. 15).

The latest on the six initiatives

Thursday is day 39 of the 60-day legislative session. There is still no official word  that the majority party will schedule public hearings on the initiatives. However, two news articles indicate they may potentially schedule public hearings on four of the six initiatives before the Legislature. See links below.

As you can see by one of the headlines, House Democrats do not plan to hold public hearings for Initiatives 2117 or 2109.

Below is a rundown of the initiatives. Click on the links to check out our new initiative pages.

  • Initiative 2113 would restore the authority of police to pursue fleeing suspects.
  • Initiative 2081 would establish parental rights in K-12 education.
  • Initiative 2111 would prohibit further efforts to impose an income tax.
  • Initiative 2124 would allow Washington workers to opt-out of a mandatory and deeply flawed long-term care insurance program and the payroll tax that goes with it.
  • Initiative 2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act and its cap-and-trade program.
  • Initiative 2109 would repeal the income tax on capital gains.

The six initiatives have a reported 2.6 million signatures. No matter your position on the initiatives, House Republicans believe the Legislature has an obligation to hold public hearings while we are in session. I am looking forward to the hearings and allowing Washingtonians a chance to share their voice on these important issues.

Rep. McEntire takes a question from a student from the 19th District who was visiting the Capitol.

Bad bills passed by the House

Affordability has been one of the areas of focus for House Republicans. We have called for tax relief and support other legislation to help reduce people’s cost of living and provide financial security for struggling individuals, families, and small businesses. Click here for some of our solutions.

Unfortunately, the majority party has passed legislation that does the opposite. In fact, many of the bills listed below have bipartisan opposition. Some of those measures include:

  •  HB 1589 would ban natural gas in new residential and commercial buildings, increasing the costs of housing, energy and goods in our state. Passed the House on a 52-45 vote.
  • HB 2301 would increase garbage bill costs by adding new collection service requirements for residents and businesses related to food and yard waste. Passed the House 58-39.
  • HB 2401 would increase the costs of refrigerants that are important to food producers and grocers by requiring producers of bulk refrigerants to fund a producer responsibility organization to collect and recycle refrigerant gases. Passed the House 57-40.
  • HB 1185 would increase the costs for lightbulbs by expanding lightbulb stewardship responsibility for lighting manufacturers to include all lights, not just mercury-containing lights. Passed the House 52-45.
  • HB 1433 would increase the cost of housing by authorizing counties and cities to require, before listing a house for sale, that a home energy score report be obtained. Passed the House 55-42.
  • HB 2114 relates to rent control. It would increase the cost of housing by placing arbitrary limits on rent increases that would reduce supply and ultimately encourage landlords to raise the maximum rent every year.  Passed the House 54-43.

There were also some concerning bills passed related to public safety, including:

  • House Bill 2001 would allow certain persons convicted of a felony to petition a court to reduce their original sentence.
  • House Bill 1104 would allow a person in a deferred prosecution for a first-time driving under the influence, may petition the court for a second deferred prosecution for a subsequent charge.

Check out the links below for more information on our House Republican solutions.

You can also go to our solutions page by clicking the banner below.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns, questions or comments you have regarding the session or our state government. Also, you can follow our caucus social media on Twitter (now X), FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

It is an honor to serve the great people of the 19th District.

Your Humble Servant,

Joel McEntire

State Representative Joel McEntire, 19th Legislative District
409 John L. O’Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7870 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000