2024 legislative session ends with multiple victories for Washingtonians

March 12, 2024 


Ranking Republican | Environment, Energy & Technology Committee

Committees include: Business & Finance | Labor & Commerce | Transportation

2024 session ends with victories for Washingtonians

Dear friends and neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session has ended in Olympia. We made progress on many fronts, but there were some disappointments.

Highlighting this year’s session were the six initiatives presented to the legislature by the state's citizens, the most in state history. Each of these initiatives garnered over 400,000 signatures and reflected individuals from all political affiliations. While it was exciting to see citizens' efforts to make their voices heard, it was disappointing that the legislature only acted on three of the six. In what I believe was a disservice to the public, the three initiatives were only given 1-hour public hearings, which limited public input. Fortunately, the three that were acted on were passed, and they are I-2081, Parental Rights in Public Education; I-2111, Banning Personal Income Taxes, and I-2113 Concerning Vehicular Pursuits by Peace Officers. The three initiatives not acted on by the legislature will appear on the November Ballot: I-2117 Concerning Carbon Tax Trading, I-2124 Concerning Long-term Care Insurance, and I-2109 Concerning Taxes on Long-term Capital Assets.

One of the most significant achievements was defeating Senate Bill 5770, which would have allowed cities and counties, without a vote of the people, to raise property taxes at a factor of 3% annually rather than the current rate of 1%. In a time when everyone is reeling from inflated costs for food, fuel, and energy, this bill was unwanted. The Senate Republicans held a press conference inviting their constituents to come and voice their opposition to this legislation which ultimately led the majority party to scrap the bill altogether. Although this was a significant win for the people, it was ironic to see legislation presented that would make housing more unaffordable, during an affordability crisis.

The most significant disappointment, and one that will undoubtedly have significant impacts on future utility and housing affordability, was the passage of House Bill 1589. When presented in the Senate, this bill had to be redrafted in its entirety after it was ruled to be unconstitutional during the floor debate by the lieutenant governor. After an all-night redraft, legislatures were given a mere four hours to review this monumental bill before the debate resumed. After narrowly passing in the Senate, it was moved to the House, where it was passed at around 2 a.m. Once again, its constitutionality was brought into question, but the majority party ignored this and moved the bill forward. This means that the bill will likely be heading to the courts after it is signed into law by the governor. Key points to this bill that should concern everyone. It was passed with an emergency clause, meaning the people of this state cannot file a referendum on the action. How democratic is that? It also allows a foreign-owned company, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), to pass all related costs on to its consumers during the transition from Natural Gas to Electricity. Should PSE decide to ban natural gas altogether, it is estimated the costs to retrofit existing homes will range from $40K to $74K, increasing the cost of housing. In addition, one can expect food and energy prices to grow with this bill. Most central food warehouses and grocery stores are heated and cooled with natural gas; retrofits will be in the tens of millions. Lastly, the capacity to produce electricity with alternative sources such as hydro, wind, and solar is currently limited and removing the natural gas option will create demand issues. Ultimately, this policy will force everyone’s utility rates to skyrocket.

This year was like the previous ten, with large budget surpluses and a legislature that wanted to raise taxes again. Although this year was like many others, something proved to be very different: public sentiment and pushback against the ever-growing desire to tax and spend. There were six initiatives by the people, and it marked the first session in my 12 years where the legislative body did not pass a new tax. I would say this is a win for the people and, hopefully, an indication of what will come.

Drew MacEwen

Senator, 35th Legislative District


3 initiatives pass legislature, 3 remain on November ballot

OLYMPIA… The Washington State Legislature passed three of the six initiatives presented to the legislature by the people of Washington. The passage of these three initiatives marks the most ever enacted into law by the legislature. Initiatives passed by the legislature do not require the governor’s signature and will become law 90 days after the session’s close.

“Although the passage of these three initiatives was an enormous victory for Washingtonians, I believe the legislature should have taken the time to consider all initiatives before the legislature," Sen. Drew MacEwen said.

Read the full release here.

35th district lawmakers secure millions in state budget funds

OLYMPIA… Last week, the Washington State Legislature passed this year's supplemental capital, operating, and transportation budgets, which update the 2023-2025 biennial budget passed last session.

Thirty-fifth district lawmakers, State Senator Drew MacEwen and Representatives Dan Griffey and Travis Couture worked collaboratively to secure over $16 million in capital budget appropriations, nearly $2 million in operating budget appropriations, and $60 million in transportation budget appropriations, respectively.

Read the full story here.


Parascand serves as page for Sen. Drew MacEwen


Carmela Parascand and Sen. Drew MacEwen

OLYMPIA… Carmela Parascand, a 10th-grader at Black Hills High School, recently spent a week working as a page for the Washington State Senate at the Capitol in Olympia. Parascand was one of 32 students who served in the Senate during the Ninth week of the 2024 legislative session.

She was sponsored by 35th Legislative District Sen. Drew MacEwen, who represents Mason, parts of Thurston and Kitsap counties.

“Carmela did an amazing job as a page this week and I am so happy she was able to be a part of this experience and learn first-hand about the legislative process,” said MacEwen.

Read the full story.

Lawin Serves as Page for Sen. Drew MacEwen


Lilly Lawin and Drew MacEwen

OLYMPIA… Lilly Lawin, an 8th grader at Oakland Bay Junior High from Shelton, recently spent a week working as a page for the Washington State Senate at the Capitol in Olympia. Lawin was one of 21 students who served in the Senate during the sixth week of the 2024 legislative session.

She was sponsored by 35th Legislative District Sen. Drew MacEwen, who represents Mason, parts of Thurston and Kitsap counties.

“It was such a privilege to be a part of Lilly’s experience here as a page and I am so happy she decided to learn more about the legislative process because she did an amazing job,” said MacEwen. 

Read the full story

Students interested in the Senate Page Program are encouraged to click here.

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As your Senator my most important role is to serve you, the constituents of the 35th District.  It is my responsibility to take an objective view and provide recommendations and solutions that have the best opportunity to benefit the entirety of our district.  It is also my duty to reject and offer alternatives to legislation that can lead to negative impacts for our constituency. 

I encourage you to be involved. If you have a challenge with a state agency, a comment or concern about pending legislation or the direction of state government, I hope you will contact my office. You can reach me and my legislative assistant Rob Barnes at (360) 786-7668. You can send me an email at Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov, or a letter at P.O. Box 40435. And you can stay in touch by visiting my website, at https://drewmacewen.src.wastateleg.org/.