Planning for the 2020 legislative session

2019 interim • October 11, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

Our Floor Leader Team and ranking members have been working closely with staff this interim in preparation for the 2020 legislative session. As we work through ideas, we are guided by three beliefs: one, you should never fear for your safety in your home and community; two, the actions of the Legislature should not increase your cost of living; and, three, your public officials should be held accountable for their actions.

Our caucus will be meeting later this month to refine priorities, vet solutions and discuss communications. I look forward to sharing more information with you next month.  

One-party control

One-party control of Olympia is hurting our state. And the problems seem to be getting worse. This assessment is not meant to bash Democrats or criticize front-line state employees. The same might be said for any party that was in control for too long. 

As the minority party, it's our job to hold state agency leaders and the governor accountable. Rep. Joe Schmick is doing exactly that by questioning why the state Department of Labor and Industries would fine the city of Pullman for its emergency rescue efforts during a flood in April. You can learn more about this recent issue here.  

In the Legislature, our caucus will seek to limit the practice of using title-only, or "ghost," bills. In this video, I explain how the Democrats used this tactic to pass new tax increases in the last few days of the 2019 legislative session. It's simply not good for transparency in our legislative process.

On the topic of these new tax increases, it turns out their implementation could come with great additional costs to taxpayers. As reported in The Everett Herald, the state Department of Revenue is asking for 44 employees to administer the new responsibilities created by revenue bills signed into law earlier this year. This issue will be part of the 2020 supplemental budget debate.  

Discussing problems, finding solutions 

In this recent op-ed in The Reflector, Rep. Vicki Kraft discusses the challenges facing employers in our state -- including the ever-changing and growing amount of regulations they face every year. I have heard many of these same sentiments from business leaders in my travels this interim -- including in Seattle this week.

Vicki has worked closely with local business leaders to understand their challenges. It's a great example of our members working with stakeholders to discuss problems and find solutions. This is happening throughout our state on several different issues.   

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

Rep. Drew Stokesbary

Preventing new taxes on your income

Rep. Drew Stokesbary, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, wants to curb wasteful spending and unnecessary taxation by reenacting the 35-year-old ban on cities instituting an income tax. Learn more about the legislation he plans to introduce during the 2020 legislative session by watching this video.

Related information:

Port of Tacoma

Events, meetings and tours

Our members have been busy traveling in and around their districts -- attending events, meeting with groups, learning about their communities, and touring local businesses and facilities. In this video, 25th District Reps. Kelly Chambers and Chris Gildon provide you a behind-the-scenes look at their tour of the Port of Tacoma earlier this year.

Rep. Jim Walsh

Government accountability

During a Joint Transportation Committee meeting in July, Rep. Jim Walsh questioned staff from the governor's Office of Financial Management on the constitutionality of diverting more than $175 million of the state transportation budget for fish culverts. You can watch the exchange in this video

To the media's credit, it has reported on state government failures and overreach over the years. This web page chronicles many of these problems. As you will see, some of these failures have had serious consequences for our state's finances, environment, wildlife, and most vulnerable citizens.

Related stories:

Washington State House Republicans







Senate Republicans

All state agencies