Stay connected this interim 

2021 interim • May 28, 2021

Washington State House Republicans

Dear Friend:

A lot has happened in the last month. One storyline was Gov. Inslee's controversial partial vetoes of House Bill 1091 (low-carbon fuel standard) and Senate Bill 5126 (cap-and-tax) on May 17. He vetoed parts of the bills that would require a transportation revenue package (state gas tax increase) for the bills to take effect.

I sent out a statement saying the governor had again overstepped his veto authority and ignored the state constitution. Other caucus leaders, including the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, released statements echoing my sentiments and promising to challenge the governor in state court. Editorial boards also criticized the governor.  

The Legislature challenged the governor when he vetoed sentences of the transportation budget in 2019. The legislative branch prevailed in Thurston County Superior Court in June 2020. The state Supreme Court is expected to hear this case next month. 

TVW's The Impact 

I went on TVW's The Impact on Wednesday to discuss the governor’s bad week, how legislative Democrats’ failure to address emergency powers reform has led to more executive branch overreach, and why these new carbon policies are regressive. You can watch the interview here.

Good news/bad news

On May 13, the governor announced a short-term statewide move to Phase 3 and reopening date of June 30. This is good news, although Republicans have repeatedly called for the state to reopen sooner and will continue to. The governor also said our state would adopt new masking guidance issued by the CDC

Unfortunately, the governor's Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) released new guidance that said before ending masking and social distance requirements, employers must confirm that their employees are fully vaccinated. This means employees will either need to sign a document attesting to their status or provide proof of their vaccinations. Employers are expected to provide this information to L&I, if requested.

On Tuesday, I called on L&I to rescind this policy. This is not something the state should ask of employers and it violates the privacy of employees. It also has people concerned and asking, what's next? The governor has felt empowered to enact these overreaching mandates because legislative Democrats have been afraid to check his executive authority. Republicans have advocated for emergency powers reform for months. 

Democrats pass new tax increases for the third year in a row 

Despite record state tax collections and an infusion of federal funding, Democrats in the Legislature chose to raise taxes again this year. For the last three legislative sessions, they have raised taxes -- including a new income tax on capital gains and a new payroll tax that you will be hearing more about in the months ahead. You can find the list here

The 2021-23 operating budget grows state spending by $7 billion, an increase of 13.6% over the current two-year budget cycle. State spending has now increased by 74% since Gov. Inslee took office in 2013. House Republicans believe this growth in state spending is irresponsible, unsustainable, and will lead to problems down the road. Time will tell.  

House Republican bills signed into law

A total of 35 bills prime sponsored by House Republicans were passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor's desk. You can learn more about these measures -- including bill reports, news releases, and House floor debates -- here

Learn more about the 2021 legislative session 

If you would like to learn more about what happened in the 2021 legislative session, the nonpartisan Office of Program Research put together a summary of legislation passed by the Legislature. My House Republican colleagues and I also created a web page that includes short videos on various issues, including a session recap.    

Stay connected this interim 

While we are not in a legislative session, there is still a lot happening and we have created convenient ways for you to receive information. Please visit our Stay Connected web page to learn more. 

Memorial Day 

As we pause to observe Memorial Day on Monday, we should honor and express our gratitude each and every day for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country and defend our freedoms. Thank you.     


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