Democrats divided

2019 legislative session • April 5, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

April has arrived and so have the cherry blossoms on the Capitol Campus. If you've not seen the campus this time of year, it's beautiful.

Democrats divided 

With just over three weeks left in the legislative session, we're seeing major divisions in the Democratic caucuses. The House Democrats' operating budget relies on a new capital gains income tax. However, the operating budget passed by Senate Democrats this week would not rely on this controversial new tax and would spend less. In the past, House Democrats have prevailed over Senate Democrats in final budget negotiations. It will be interesting to see how this year plays out.

In addition to tax and spending policies, it also appears Democrats are divided on bills related to comprehensive sex education, data privacy, landlord/tenant issues, and priorities in the capital and transportation budgets.  

According to this article, some House Democrats have said they hope the low carbon fuel standard legislation -- a priority for the governor -- is stopped in the Senate. These state representatives voted for the measure.

Energetic stakeholders

When Republicans are united, and you are involved in the legislative process, we can shape policy outcomes. There is no question in my mind that individuals and groups coming together to amplify their voices have influenced Democrats this year. 

My Republican colleagues and I have witnessed this energy at town halls, telephone town halls, rallies at the Capitol, on our caucus Facebook page, and in emails. All of this is inspiring and motivates us to work that much harder. Thank you.  


Our caucus produces many communications with the goal of keeping constituents informed. Our website is the primary platform for this information. I encourage you to bookmark us.

Here are some other links that will help you stay informed:


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

Capitol Campus

How we improved the House operating budget

We voted against the House Democrats’ operating budget because it would spend too much, save too little, rely on $4.2 billion in new tax increases, and set our state up for a budget disaster. However, we were able to improve the bill through 12 amendments that were adopted. Here are some highlights: 

House Republican bills in the Senate

Child sexual assault survivors testify for bill to prosecute alleged abusers

Bill to enhance DUI laws makes progress in state legislature

Governor signs Schmick bill to help address nursing home staffing levels

Committee backs money for nonlethal wolf control

State Senate approves Mosbrucker’s bill against animal blood fighting

House capital budget

The House capital budget passed 94-0 on Wednesday. Like the House transportation budget, the process and final vote were bipartisan.

The proposal would prioritize K-12 school construction, higher education facilities, and behavioral and mental health services. It would spend $4.6 billion, with $3.1 billion from the sale of general obligation bonds. The measure would also leave $200 million in bond capacity for the 2020 supplemental capital budget. Highlights include:

  • $1.1 billion for K-12 school construction.
  • $927 million for higher education facilities.
  • $357 million for mental and behavioral health.
  • $195 million for projects that directly benefit salmon, including habitat restoration and hatchery production.
  • $150 million for the Housing Trust Fund, including $69 million for veteran housing, home ownership and developmentally disabled housing.
  • $100 million from the Public Works Assistance Account for grants and loans to local governments for infrastructure improvements.
  • $79.5 million for local and community projects statewide.

Our ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee, Rep. Richard DeBolt, had this to say: "After months of tough negotiations, we've produced a balanced, bipartisan funding proposal that makes significant improvements in mental health, schools and critical infrastructure improvements across the state." His full statement can be found here.

Learn more about proposed projects

For a list of proposed projects by legislative district, please visit this website.


There was bipartisan agreement that Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez should be recognized by the Legislature for his greatness. That happened on Monday through Senate Resolution 8629.

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