Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. We are just over a month away from the start of the 2024 legislative session. I wanted to check in and update you on a few things I am working on and share an important reminder.
Heading into this next session, affordability will be top of mind for me. I have heard from many of my friends and neighbors in the 26th District about the real-world impact of the high cost of everything on them and their families. Believe me, my family is feeling the sting as well. With this in mind, I will support a proposal from my colleague Rep. April Connors, R-Kennewick, that aims to get money back in your pocket.
Under Rep. Connors’ Carbon Auction Relief (CAR) Payment program, registered vehicle owners would receive $100 – or up to $200 per family – next July from the excess revenue collected under the state’s new cap-and-trade program.
The Climate Commitment Act (CCA), passed by legislative Democrats in 2021, enacted a cap-and-trade program that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Cap-and-trade programs aim to reduce carbon emissions by putting a price on them. The state’s program has raised about three times more revenue than anticipated – increasing the cost of gasoline by about 50 additional cents per gallon. After receiving the initial July payment, registered vehicle owners would receive an annual check when they renew their vehicle tabs. The check amount would vary depending on how much the state had collected above what was forecasted to be collected in 2021 when the CCA was enacted.
I also will follow up on the work we started in the last session regarding public safety. Specifically, I want to see the majority follow through on its promise to fix our police pursuit law. As I noted during the last session, Senate Bill 5352, the ‘fix’ passed by the legislature in 2023, is woefully inadequate for me and many of our local law enforcement. We were told by the majority that we could strengthen this law in 2024, and I will do everything I can to ensure that happens. I also hope to learn more about the impact the “Blake” fix is having and find out what more we need to do surrounding our drug laws and treatment capacity.
Finally, I want to remind you how important it is to hear from you before, during, and after the legislative session. There will be opportunities for a town hall sometime in the months ahead. Until then, I encourage all of you to share your thoughts, concerns, and ideas with me by reaching out to my office directly here.
For now, I wish all of you and yours a very happy holiday season.