Our work continues

2019 interim • July 8, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

As promised, this is the first interim edition of The Current. Our goal is to keep you updated each month leading up to the 2020 legislative session in January. And there is plenty to share.

As I discussed in my recent video update, our work continues on several important policy issues. I appreciate your continued interest in the Legislature, even when it is not in session, and welcome your feedback.

Analysis of the 2019 legislative session

Over the last two months, we have been able to unpack the legislative session. We were given very little time to review the operating budget, new tax increases and other policies pushed through by Democrats during the last few days. We now have a clearer understanding of what happened and it is disappointing.

The bottom line: Despite historic tax collections and a budget surplus, Democrats chose to pass a $52.4 billion operating budget that relies on billions of dollars in new tax increases on individuals, families and employers. This unsustainable and irresponsible approach puts our state's finances at risk in the next economic downturn.

You can find a comprehensive analysis of the 105-day session here, including facts, figures, charts, videos and links to more information. Please consider sharing it with others.

Editorial boards criticize Democrats’ policies, processes

One thing is for sure: Newspaper editorial boards from across our state have lined up against many of the Democrats' policies and processes over the last six months. You can find a compilation of this criticism at this web page.

The Seattle Times summed it up best on May 3 when it said: “Though state revenue surged last year, the Legislature still couldn’t live within its means and passed a dizzying array of tax increases. As has become lawmakers’ secretive norm, some were passed in the wee hours with last-minute bills, precluding public engagement and analysis of how much they’ll cost residents.”  

I have met with many of these editorial boards over the years and appreciate their coverage of the Legislature. I think I learn more from them than they learn from me during these visits. I look forward to meeting with the Yakima Herald-Republic tomorrow.

House Republican bills signed into law

Not all outcomes of the legislative session were disappointing. In fact, there were several bipartisan successes – including 56 bills prime sponsored by House Republicans that were passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor’s desk. You can learn more about some of these bills here.

I am proud of my team for leading these bills across the finish line and look forward to more successes next year.

Prayers for our House Democratic colleagues

While the Legislature can be a place of partisan battles, it is also a relatively small community of many friendships. It is also a place that comes together when tragedy occurs.

Our friends in the House Democratic Caucus recently lost their Communications Director, Jim Richards, to a heart attack. We know they are hurting right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and Jim's family during this difficult time. 

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

Rep. Andrew Barkis

One of the legislative priorities for House Republicans is affordable living. The lack of affordable housing is an issue that affects urban, suburban and rural Washington, and people of all ages. Policies to address this problem cannot come from just urban state lawmakers with only urban areas in mind. We need solutions that work for the entire state.

Reps. Andrew Barkis and Bill Jenkin, ranking Republican on the House Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee, continue to take the lead on this critical issue to ensure balance is brought to the debate. In this recent video, Andrew discusses how our state arrived at the problem and what can be done by the Legislature to address it. He continues to work with a group of stakeholders to look at every aspect of this issue.

Be on the lookout for future videos that discuss affordable housing solutions in more detail.  

Ghost bill

Ending title-only bills

House Republicans are united in opposition to the use of title-only, or "ghost," bills. As Rep. Jim Walsh explained recently: "Title-only bills are essentially blank pieces of paper amended with text later. They cut the public out of the legislative process: no hearings, no debate and no chance for the people's voice to be heard.”

Jim has drafted legislation that would establish time requirements for public review of bills. This would ensure more transparency and that the public, stakeholders and state lawmakers all have an opportunity to weigh in on proposed bills.

You can learn more about the title-only bill issue by watching this video and reading this news release.  

Washington State House Republicans







Senate Republicans

All state agencies