Important House floor debates on the horizon

2020 legislative session • February 14, 2020 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend: 

We reached the midway point of the 60-day session on Tuesday. This day was also fiscal committee cutoff, which ended an intense stretch of days that included many public hearings and voting on several bills and amendments in these committees. 

Wednesday through Friday focused primarily on House floor action, with more than 100 bills passing the chamber in this time. Many of these measures were noncontroversial and bipartisan. But some were not. We fought hard to stop and amend these bad bills. Voting on the House floor will resume at noon on Sunday.

Looking ahead, our next legislative deadline will be house of origin cutoff on Wednesday. That means some important House floor debates are on the horizon. I preview some of these issues in this video. Please stay tuned. 

I-976 ruling

One of the big stories this week happened outside the Legislature. A King County judge dismissed all but two constitutional challenges to I-976. While this is welcomed news for my caucus and other supporters, there are still legal challenges and $30 car tabs remain on hold. 

$30 car tabs 

I'm of the opinion Washingtonians knew exactly what they were voting for when they passed I-976. Regardless of what happens in the courts moving forward, it's within the Legislature's control to implement $30 car tabs and honor the will of the voters. And that's exactly what we should do. House Republicans are united on this. 

We also care about the future of our transportation system and keeping promises made to the public on projects. This, too, is within the Legislature's control to address this year. It begins with how we craft the supplemental transportation budget. And I have a lot of confidence in our transportation lead, Rep. Andrew Barkis, to influence this process in meaningful ways.

Comprehensive sex education 

There has been a strong push from the left and OSPI to establish comprehensive sex education in our public schools -- including elementary schools. A purely partisan and controversial bill has passed the Senate the last two legislative sessions. House Republicans helped kill the bill last year.

Unfortunately, a renewed push from proponents suggests this issue will find its way to the House floor soon. And when it does, House Republicans will be ready to fight it.

We have a lot of allies in this debate. Survey results from the Sexual Health Education Work Group last year show the public is on our side. The group surveyed nearly 11,000 people, mostly women, and asked: Should comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically accurate sexual health education be required for all students grades K-12? The results: 58% said “no.” 

Why Democrats are choosing to move a bill forward when public sentiment is clearly against the idea is very surprising.

The proposed curriculum is too much, too soon for our kids. And these decisions belong at the local school board level, with direct input from parents and teachers -- not dictated from the state level. We are ready for the fight on this issue and we hope you are, too.  


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


Gov. Inslee and Democrats have overseen major failures in state government. A collection of media stories on these failures can be found at this web page

One of our legislative priorities is accountability. By demanding accountability in state government and increasing transparency in the Legislature, we can begin to restore the trust broken under one-party rule in Olympia.

Unfortunately, House Democrats would not allow any of our bills related to accountability to even have a public hearing this year:   

  • Eliminate title-only, “ghost bills” and increase legislative transparency. (House Bill 2190)
  • Dedicate the state sales tax on motor vehicles for transportation to offset lost funding from the implementation of I-976. (House Bill 2323)
  • Impose strict penalties for sewage spills into Puget Sound. (House Bill 2275)
  • Improve state budgeting through zero-based budget reviews. (House Bill 2149)
  • Implement metrics and performance audits for state spending. (House Bill 2150)
  • Require a 2/3 majority of the Legislature to raise taxes. (House Joint Resolution 4206)

House Republican bills

Several House Republican bills are moving through the legislative process. Here are some highlights: 

Rep. Skyler Rude’s legislation seeking to study the barriers associated with Washington state’s Death with Dignity Act passes House

Goehner’s fuel tax transparency bill passes state House of Representatives – again

Rep. Skyler Rude’s bill seeking to increase peer support services for DOC staff passes House unanimously

Dent legislation to provide regulatory relief to early learning providers passes House unanimously

Maycumber bill to expand critical incident stress management programs for law enforcement passes committee

House unanimously approves Rep. Dye’s Wild Horse Inmate Program study bill

House unanimously approves Mosbrucker law enforcement bill

House committee approves kindergarten readiness bill sponsored by Rep. Kelly Chambers

Goehner legislation to further promote clean energy passes Finance Committee

Van Werven’s ‘Hailey’s Law 2.0’ to keep drunk drivers off the road unanimously passes Public Safety Committee

Mosbrucker bill to ensure military personnel receive voters’ pamphlet gains House committee approval

House committee unanimously approves Rep. Dufault’s utility delinquency bill

Rep. Luanne Van Werven

Rally for Religious Freedom

The Rally for Religious Freedom took place at the Capitol on Tuesday. Many of our members met with participants. Pictured above is Rep. Luanne Van Werven giving a speech to the group on the Capitol steps. Watch highlights of our member speeches here

Republican media avail

Republican media avail

Rep. Brandon Vick, pictured above, talks to reporters at our weekly media avail on Tuesday. Some of the topics included: The operating budget, housing, homelessness, a new excise tax on King County businesses, sports betting, public records, and gun rights. Watch here.   

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