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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Our short, 60-day session came to a close on March 7. I wanted to share with you what we accomplished.

Before I do, I would like to thank all of you who joined me, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, and Sen. Curtis King for our virtual town hall meeting on Feb. 22. It was a great turnout, and it’s so important we have these opportunities to hear what you have to say.

Two of the big issues raised during our town hall were the fentanyl crisis in Washington state and the looming threat at the time — a rent control bill.

I am pleased to share that one of our big victories was the defeat of that rent control bill — House Bill 2114 — in the Senate. Passage of this bill would have only exacerbated the affordability crisis in our state.

WATCH Rep. Chris Corry fight against the Democrats’ rent control bill.

We also passed House Bill 2396 and other bipartisan legislation to help continue the fight against fentanyl — a drug that is ravaging our state. I believe we need to take a much tougher stance on this drug and will continue to push the issue in Olympia.

Another victory for taxpayers was the defeat of Senate Bill 5770, which would have dramatically increased property taxes without voter approval. This bill would have had devastating impacts on many Washingtonians for years to come.

READ Rep Chris Corry’s proposal to fund cities and counties without raising property taxes as a bill from majority Democrats would have.

Initiatives

The people of Washington sent the Legislature six initiatives to consider during the session. The right thing to do would have been to follow our state constitution and prioritize all six of these initiatives by holding hearings as soon as the signatures were certified. That didn’t happen.

Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians signed these initiatives to send a message to Olympia. That message, and consistent calls from Republicans to hold hearings on the measures, moved the needle. Three initiatives not only received hearings but were passed by the Legislature in the last weeks of the session. The measures will prohibit state and local personal income taxes, establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights, and restore law enforcement’s ability to pursue criminals.

I voted for all three initiatives and truly believe they will improve the lives of all of us in Washington state. They become law on June 6.

WATCH Rep. Chris Corry fight push to restore the ability of police to pursue criminals.

The fate of the remaining three initiatives is up to voters on the November ballot. These initiatives would:

  • Allow people to opt out of Washington’s long-term care program (WA Cares) and payroll tax;
  • Repeal the state’s cap-and-trade program; and
  • Repeal the state’s capital gains tax.

Medicaid/Insurance Tax

I was disappointed the majority party refused to schedule a hearing on a bill I co-sponsored with Rep. Spencer Hutchins of Gig Harbor that would have funded a much-needed, and frankly long-overdue, increase to Medicaid reimbursement rates. House Bill 2449 would have funded the increase with existing cannabis revenue rather than yet another tax increase, which is the proposal Democrats pushed with their “covered lives” tax bill. Fortunately, we stopped that new tax from passing.

READ Reps. Corry and Hutchins concerned as Democrats schedule surprise hearing on Medicaid reimbursement bill that creates new tax.

Bad Bills

Republicans in the House and Senate were able to help defeat many bad policies from majority Democrats in the session, including:

  • House Bill 2001 would allow judges to reduce sentences of convicted criminals, other than a person sentenced as a persistent offender or for Aggravated Murder in the first degree, after they serve 7-10 years;
  • House Bill 2030 would allow all incarcerated individuals to vote, serve on juries, and run for public office;
  • House Bill 2051 would ban many small gas-powered motors for things like leaf blowers, snow blowers, and lawn mowers;
  • House Bill 2177 would change the name of the Sex Offender Policy Board to the Sex Offense Policy Board and allow a convicted sex offender to serve on the board.

Unfortunately, some others made their way to the governor’s desk. Among the worst is House Bill 1589, which paves the way for an end to natural gas service by giving Puget Sound Energy unique regulatory treatment and incentivizing the utility to switch its customers from natural gas service to electric only. That transition could cost some homeowners tens of thousands of dollars. This policy is a huge shift that could have major implications for the people of our state and one that majority Democrats chose to pass in the middle of the night as most Washingtonians were asleep. The bill was signed by the governor last week.

Other concerning bills include:

  • House Bill 1903 requires gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement within 24 hours;
  • House Bill 2118 mandates multiple new security and record-keeping requirements for firearms dealers; and
  • House Bill 2331 restricts local control of school board authority on instructional and library materials.

Good Bills

House Republicans did see several of their good bills pass this year, including legislation related to fighting fentanyl, helping people recover from wildfires, combating graffiti, rural broadband, and affordable housing — to name a few. You can find all the House Republican bills that passed the Legislature the last two years here.

Supplemental Operating Budget

The 2024 session was my first serving as the Republican budget lead in the House. My vow at the start of the session was to push back against any effort by the majority Democrats to increase taxes or create new ones. I am proud to say the final supplemental operating budget includes no new taxes. Unfortunately, it also does not include any real relief for middle-class families in Washington. The plan also continues irresponsible spending and leaves limited reserves.

For perspective: The 2014 supplemental operating budget increased spending by $200 million, and the 2024 supplemental operating budget will increase spending by $2.2 billion. Under Democratic leadership, state spending has more than doubled over the past decade while doing little to fix some of our state’s biggest issues — including improving K-12 outcomes, public safety, homelessness, housing affordability and supply, mental health, and the drug crisis.

WATCH Rep. Chris Corry lead opposition to House Democrats’ supplemental operating budget.

Supplemental Capital Budget

The bipartisan, $1.3 billion supplemental capital budget includes $24 million for projects in the 14th District, including:

  • $8.7 million for the YWCA Yakima’s Bringing It Home II 24-hour domestic violence shelter;
  • $2.5 million for the Triumph Mental Health and Addiction Center in Yakima; and
  • $200,000 for the Yakima Valley Regional Crime Lab.

Supplemental Transportation Budget

The bipartisan supplemental transportation budget provides an additional $1.1 billion for statewide transportation projects. This includes just over $86 million for a variety of projects in the 14th District, including:

  • $20.6 million for the SR 14/Bingen Underpass;
  • $893,000 for 72nd/Washington Improvements in Yakima; and
  • $333,000 for the Naches River Bridge repair.

My Bills

A few of my bills passed this session and have already been signed into law. The two I want to highlight for you will help our local farmers and students.

  • House Bill 1757 will create a sales and use tax exemption in the form of a remittance of up to $10,000 for goods and services purchased by eligible farmers (same definition as in B&O tax exemption for custom farming); and
  • House Bill 2441 will create a pilot program for Heritage University to offer a college in the high school program for free to public high school students.

Overall, I would say we stopped a lot of bad things from passing in 2024 and scored victories for our communities, but we still have a long way to go to Fix Washington. I look forward to working with you as we do that and I invite you to reach out anytime to share your ideas or concerns.

CONTACT: Find contact information for Rep. Chris Corry here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office. I am here to listen and help if I can. Look for another update soon.

Sincerely,


Chris Corry

State Representative Chris Corry, 14th Legislative District
RepresentativeChrisCorry.com
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
chris.corry@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7810 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000