The end of the 2020 legislative session

2020 legislative session • March 13, 2020 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

The gavel dropped last night, signaling the end of the 60-day legislative session. With the backdrop of coronavirus -- which threatens our health, lives, economy and state finances -- state lawmakers left Olympia with an unsettling feeling of what the future may hold. In my time here, I have never experienced anything like the last few days -- including extensive briefings on the issue.

While there were some partisan battles this year, Republicans and Democrats are united in combating this crisis. State lawmakers passed a bill that provides significant funding for coronavirus response. Federal resources are also expected. If more must be done later in the year, the Legislature will be ready to act.

The governor's announcement today 

Today, Gov. Inslee announced he would:   

  • Expand his school closure order to all K-12 schools statewide (March 17 through at least April 24).
  • Expand the prohibition of all social, spiritual and recreational events over 250 people to the entire state.
  • Expand his previous restrictions on visitors and protocols to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to include adult family homes.
  • Restrict activity at all public and private universities, colleges, community colleges, technical schools and private career schools and apprenticeships.

I discuss the governor's action, including a conversation I had with him prior to the announcement, in this video. My message is clear: We all have a role to play. It is not just state and local governments that must respond and deliver -- we need families, communities, businesses and churches to come together in our state. And I am confident they will.

More information on coronavirus
If you are looking for more information, I encourage you to visit the websites below. The state Department of Health (DOH) also has a call center number: 1-800-525-0127. 


Like any legislative session, there were successes and disappointments from a Republican perspective. The supplemental transportation and capital budgets, which both had bipartisan input, were success stories. And to learn yesterday that $30 car tabs will likely survive a legal challenge and take effect was a nice way to end the legislative session. 

Most bills pass the Legislature with strong, bipartisan support. While most of these measures don't make the headlines, they all mean something to someone.

State lawmakers came together to pass legislation to help child-care providers, assist behavioral health providers, strengthen DUI driving laws, and lower the cost of insulin. These are just a few of the bipartisan successes of the last 60 days.  

Disappointment: Supplemental operating budget
The supplemental operating budget was, unfortunately, a different story. The process and final proposal were very partisan.

While Democrats did end up reducing their overall spending level relative to the House version that passed on February 28, their final plan still spends too much and does not pull state spending back enough. As a result, state spending is set to increase by 73% since 2013. This is not sustainable -- especially when the economy turns. I expect this issue to be front and center in January 2021. 

More next week 

In next week's edition, we will provide more details on the 2020 legislative session -- including information on the supplemental operating budget. We will also share Republican bills that passed, good Republican bills that were rejected, bad Democratic bills that passed, and bad Democratic bills that were stopped.

Until then, please be safe and take the necessary precautions for you and your family.  


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

Sine Die TVW interviews

House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox

House Republican Floor Leader Jacquelin Maycumber 

Rep. Andrew Barkis, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee 

Rep. Norma Smith and Rep. Richard DeBolt

A goodbye to two members

Rep. Richard DeBolt and Rep. Norma Smith announced they would not seek re-election in November, but both will serve out their two-year terms. They will be greatly missed. Learn more about both members below: 

House Resolution 4684 | Honoring Norma Smith

House Resolution 4686 | Recognizing Richard DeBolt

Supplemental transportation budget

The supplemental transportation budget makes reductions in expectation of $30 car tabs, while preserving funding for special needs transportation, maintenance and the existing project list (with minor modifications).

Rep. Andrew Barkis, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, said the following in this article: “When you put priorities over politics and you deal with policy, good things happen. It’s a budget that addresses our priorities for those who are most vulnerable and it keeps the projects moving.” 

For more details: 


  • The transportation budget funds: Capital projects, operating programs and debt service. It is funded by: Fuel taxes, license fees, tolls, bonds and federal funding.

Supplemental capital budget

The supplemental capital budget adjusts the two-year capital budget. It responded to feedback from administering agencies, addressed emergent issues and sought new opportunities.

Rep. Richard DeBolt, ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee, said this in a statement yesterday: “It's been an honor to help create another strong bipartisan plan that sets the right priorities for the people of Washington." He added, "It truly is a team effort, and one of the best examples of what we can achieve when differences are put aside and we work together.”

Highlights from the supplemental capital budget include: 

  • $39 million for remedial action grants and stormwater assistance to clean up contaminated sites.
  • $28.2 million for children's mental health services.
  • $19.5 million for upgrades to schools at very high risk during seismic events, and other investments in small, rural schools.
  • $7 million for early learning facilities and community projects that add childcare capacity.


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