Storylines for the 2019 legislative session

2019 legislative session • January 18, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend: 

I hope this e-mail finds you well in the new year.

The last edition of this publication came from former House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen. He stepped down from this position in March and chose not to run for re-election in November. 

My colleagues elected me to replace Dan as Leader. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such great people -- including 11 new state representatives. Their energy, expertise and connections to their communities are inspiring. You can learn more about our members here.

2019 legislative session begins

The 2019 legislative session kicked off on Monday with members of the Legislature being sworn in. While there will be several storylines this year, below you will find four that you might want to watch closely. It promises to be an interesting 105 days. 

I participated in several pre-session events and interviews. What I learned is that there is broad agreement by Republicans and Democrats on many of the challenges facing our state, but there are different views on how we arrived at these problems and what the Legislature can do to address them. And there are some issues where the needs of our constituents will mean we must fight aggressively for them. Please stay tuned.

Staying in touch

The goal of this publication is to be informative. Please feel free to share it with others, or let them know that they can sign up for it here. If at any time you want to unsubscribe, you can do so at the bottom of this email.

If you don't already, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms will share a lot of information throughout the year -- including many of our solutions.

I welcome your involvement in the legislative process and encourage you to contact me with your ideas.


Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912

Republican perspective on governor's State of the State

House Republican Floor Leader Jacquelin Maycumber provided the Republican perspective on the governor’s State of the State address on Wednesday. In her speech, Jacquelin provided contrast and talked about the House Republican priorities of accountable government, strong communities and affordable living.

Republican leaders also hosted a news conference following Jacquelin's speech where we took questions from reporters and shared our views on several issues.

swearing-in 2019


Speaker Chopp to step down after session

Long-standing Speaker of the House Frank Chopp surprised nearly everyone in late November by announcing he would step down as speaker after the legislative session. It is not clear who his successor will be or how that process will play out. How will Speaker Chopp govern in the upcoming months, and what will it mean for his “One Washington” promise?

New majorities in the Legislature

Close margins in the Legislature the last six years produced important bipartisan results – including state budgets, the McCleary fix and a Hirst solution. Democrats have increased their majorities in the House (57-41) and Senate (27-22). Will Democrats continue a spirit of bipartisanship, or will they shut Republicans out of major policy decisions?

State spending and the push to raise taxes 

Gov. Inslee has proposed $54.4 billion in state spending – an increase of about 22 percent above the current budget cycle. To pay for this massive expansion of state government, he wants to increase taxes by $3.7 billion in the 2019-21 budget cycle. While the governor's proposals were met with mixed reviews from some Democrats, will moderating forces be able to control state spending and prevent major tax increases?

Will Democrats hold Gov. Inslee and state agencies accountable?

Government accountability is always important, but especially so when one party controls the Legislature and governor's office. Failures in Olympia, many on the watch of Gov. Inslee, cannot be ignored and must be addressed. For example, the decertification and ongoing problems at Western State Hospital. Will Democrats hold Gov. Inslee accountable for the decisions and outcomes of his state agencies?

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