Crime and inflation both on the rise

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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  2022 Interim | April 14, 2022


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s been about a month since we wrapped up the 2022 legislative session, and a good point to step back and look at the impact this session had on you and your family.

Soon, you should expect to see our full 4th District Session Review newsletter in your mail. It will detail the ups and downs of the session, which was unfortunately one of the most partisan sessions during my time in Olympia.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the areas of public safety and affordability. Washington is experiencing a wave of murders, car thefts, and shootings – due in part to the anti-law enforcement agenda adopted by the majority in the 2021 session. Despite many calls to correct these errors, the majority party blocked key efforts aimed at fixing the policing and public-safety laws.

In addition, Washingtonians are facing the highest inflation in four decades, yet, once again, the majority has failed to act, refusing nearly every attempt to provide tax and inflation relief to the public – even though there was a $15 billion surplus!

You can read more about these challenges below.

It is great to be back in the district and see many of you. We will soon restart our Legislative Coffee meetings across the district. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

As always, it’s an honor to serve as your state senator.

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Video Update:

Transportation tax package is partisan and divisive

SRC Video

Click the image above to watch a video on the transportation package alternatives.

Transportation has always been one of the areas where lawmakers from different parties could come together to look for bipartisan solutions. Not this session.

The “Move Ahead Washington” plan, which punishes drivers with higher fees and leaves large chunks of the state behind, was developed with no input from the minority. As a result, it was what Mariya Frost of the Washington Policy Center described as “partisan and divisive.”

She writes: “The 16-year, $16.8 billion Democrat transportation revenue package overspends on transit and rail, and underspends on maintenance and preservation. Further, the legislation was developed to the exclusion of Republicans – it is partisan, has no fiscal note, was not referred to Ways and Means, and does not contain a lot of detail in terms of how exactly money will be spent.”

Our proposal took a different approach.

WATCH NOW: Click here or on the image above to watch video now!

Spokane Scholars banquet is back in person; and here are the 158 students nominated for awards


By Jim Allen, Spokesman-Review | April 13, 2022

The Spokane Scholars Foundation banquet is set to return in person this year.

After two years of relying on a virtual ceremony to honor the area’s best and brightest high school students, the event will return to the Spokane Convention Center on Monday night.

Organizers are expecting a full house, with about 900 attendees, who will hear from three former Spokane Scholars drawn from three different decades.

They are Christopher Douthitt, a 2002 graduate of Lewis & Clark High School and a member of the music faculty at Washington University in St. Louis; Spokane City Council member Zack Zappone, a 2009 North Central graduate who teaches there; and Holland Pratt, a 2018 graduate of Central Valley who went to become the First Captain of the Corps of Cadets at West Point and earned a Rhodes Scholarship.

This year, schools have nominated 158 students who will receive the Spokane Scholars Foundation Medal of Academic Achievement.

Each scholar has been selected based on accomplishments in one of six areas: English, social studies, mathematics, science, world languages and fine arts.

The foundation will award $60,000 ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 each to 24 of the scholars, four per content area. Some regional colleges and universities will match the monetary awards for recipients who attend those institutions.

Click here to read more.

Consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, the highest since 1981

  • Headline CPI in March rose by 8.5% from a year ago, the fastest annual gain since December 1981 and one-tenth of a percentage point above the estimate.
  • Surging food, energy and shelter costs helped account for the gain.
  • Real worker earnings fell by another 0.8% during the month as the cost of living outpaced otherwise strong pay gains.

The March national inflation figures were reported this month. They clocked in at 8.5% growth from a year ago, the highest increase since December 1981. Food (up 10% for home purchases) and gas (up 48%) are the primary drivers. The Washington-specific consumer price index gets reported every other month, and this is the off month. Since Washington has consistently come in higher than the national rate, don’t be surprised if next month’s state report approaches double digits.

During the session, Republicans fought hard for lower gas and grocery prices, as well as for property tax relief (SB 5897 & SB 5769). The majority repeatedly voted no.

To make matters worse, policies they pushed at the state level are impacting how much you pay at the pump. Their extreme environmental agenda has done little for the environment but made everything you use and buy more expensive.

Washington state government was blessed with a $15 BILLION budget surplus this year. Some of my colleagues and I fought for inflation relief to help mitigate the effects of higher gas prices and taxes. Instead, the majority voted no, increased the size of government and raised massive fees (SB 5974). The Senate Republican idea to eliminate the sales tax on diapers was included in the budget adopted by the Senate, but even it was pulled out of the final supplemental budget!

Even in other Democrat-controlled states, like New York, lawmakers found a way to provide families with relief. NY lawmakers suspended 16 cents of that state’s gas taxes. We proposed suspending Washington’s 49.4-cent state gas tax for the rest of the year with SB 5897. Again, the majority party said no.

Click here to learn more.

Direct anger about crime toward majority’s public-safety failures, says Republican leader


(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Senate Republican Leader John Braun says Washington residents shocked by the continued wave of murders, shootings, car thefts and other lawless behavior should direct their anger and frustration toward Democrat legislators and their abject failure to reestablish public safety by supporting anti-crime legislation.

“The majority Democrats did very little this year to fix the anti-police laws they passed in 2021. Those laws are making life easier for criminals in our state – and the criminals know it. They aren’t worried about the three firearms bills signed [into law]. Those will do nothing about the record rates of homicide and other violent crimes in our largest counties. The car thieves are having a big year and are probably grateful that the majority blocked our efforts to allow more police pursuits. …Republicans proposed a solution to help communities hire more officers, but Democrats refused to help. And why stop robbing pot shops when the majority blocks a Republican bill to increase the penalty?

“The members of our caucus were outraged this year when the majority nearly passed legislation to reduce penalties for crimes involving a firearm, and then allow the most violent felons in custody to seek early release.”

Click here to read more.

State officials fined businesses over $11 million in mask mandate fines, with rural communities disproportionately targeted

By MARK HARMSWORTH, Washington Policy Center  |  Apr 3, 2022

A document recently published by Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I), the government agency that enforces workplace rules, reveals the businesses that the state has fined for not following the mask mandates imposed by the Inslee administration.

When the data is broken down several troubling trends become apparent. The most obvious being the biased slant in the geographical and business targeting criteria that L&I has been using. Rather than taking a consistent and balanced approach, certain industry segments and locations are targeted for more detailed inspections and harsher fines than others.

…Seattle, despite being the largest city in the state, had only $136,700 in general COVID fines were issued. As a comparison, this is only slightly more than Port Orchard, with $135,300.

Click here to read more.

In The News:

Seattle's crime surge spreads statewide thanks to Democrats' progressive policies

By Jason Rantz, Fox News | April 5, 2022

Crime Stats

Thanks to a Democratic legislature that codified the radical anti-public safety proposals into laws, plus some questionable judicial sentencing, the crime surge hitting Seattle is spreading across the state. There is no sign that the crime explosion will slow.

Seattle has averaged more than one homicide a week so far this year. Gun violence has nearly doubled, with 95% more shots fired and a 171% increase in gunshot victims compared to last year. Drug dealing is rampant, homeless shoplifters are destroying local businesses, and random, brutal assaults are all too common.

… Meanwhile, car theft in the mid-size border city of Bellingham is up over 300%, already surpassing the total number of thefts from 2019. On the east side of the state, Spokane is experiencing similar problems with a 90% spike in car thefts.

Click here to read the full article.

In Memoria:

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Bob Williams

Bob Williams

I am saddened to report the passing of former Representative Bob Williams on March 15 after a valiant battle against Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson's disease. He was 80. As his obituary states, if one could sum up his life in three words, they would be: faith, family, freedom.

He represented part of southwest Washington: the 18th District from 1979 to 1983 and the 19th District from 1983 to 1989, during which time I had the pleasure of serving alongside him in the House.

Prior to that, Bob served in the U.S. Army, was an auditor for the Pentagon and U.S. Postal Service with the U.S Government Accountability Office, and was a CPA for the Weyerhaeuser Co., a major timber company.

After a grassroots-inspired and directed run for governor, Bob started the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in 1991. As a leader of one of the early free-market state think tanks in the country, Bob worked to improve lives and strengthen communities through policy reform.

He was dedicated to promoting responsible government and identifying practical ways state governments can better serve the communities they represent. Known as one of the leading budget and tax experts in the state, he was frequently consulted by lawmakers for advice on fiscal and tax policies. He also spoke at national meetings of state legislators on budget, tax, education-reform and election-reform issues.

Bob was a member of the board of advisors and a past board member of the State Policy Network. He was also an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) scholar and served on the several ALEC task forces, helping to formulate model legislation.

More importantly, he was a good man, who mentored the next generation to stand up for principles and continue his legacy of fighting for liberty. He will be missed. His wife Jane and their three sons are in my thoughts.

Click here to learn more about the life and legacy of Bob Williams.

Get your copy of the 2022 Government Guide

Limited number of hardcopies are now available at our district office at 
5105 E 3rd Ave, Ste 102 Spokane Valley, WA 99212

2022GG Cover

The 2022 Government Guide in now available for downloading. To see the contents, click here.

This 4th Legislative District guide to government provides information on how to contact federal, state and local government offices and services. It also has some great information about our legislative district and some of the institutions and people that make it such a great place to live, visit or start a business.

A limited number of printed copies are also available. If you would like to have a hard copy of the guide mailed to you, please contact our district office at 509-921-2460 or contact my legislative assistant Jacob Clark by email at

You can also pick up a hard copy of the guide at our district office and at most public libraries in the district, while supplies last. 

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!

Phone: (360) 786-7606

Street address: 106 Irv Newhouse Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA 98504

Postal address: PO Box 40404, Olympia, WA 98504

District Office: 5105 E 3rd Ave, Ste 102 Spokane Valley, WA 99212

Email address:

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden's Olympia office, which will be open starting Jan. 6, at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton who is the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.