E-News: Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hello Friends and Neighbors,

You’re probably busy with holiday-related things so I’ll make this brief.

The next legislative session begins two weeks from Christmas Day – that’s Monday, January 8. To repeat the invitation made in my previous e-newsletter, I’d like to hear any ideas you have for legislation. After all, a bill inspired by my constituents is a perfect example of what President Lincoln meant when he spoke in the Gettysburg Address of government “of” and “by” the people.

So far I have “prefiled” a trio of bills, starting with one I put in yesterday that has yet to be assigned a number. It would require the state Department of Health to develop, implement, and maintain an ongoing statewide drug-overdose prevention and education campaign. I want it to focus on the dangers of methamphetamines and opioids, including fentanyl, and the harms caused by drug use. Considering how deadly we know fentanyl to be, I call it the “One Pill Kills” campaign.

SB 5835, which I’d prefiled earlier this month, is about bringing transparency to the rules adopted by state agencies to implement laws; it would require both proposed rules and those adopted in the past 12 months to be summarized in no more than 100 words of plain language. Considering the governor recently issued an executive order on plain language (not an original idea, as it replaces former Governor Gregoire’s “plain talk” order from 2005) and keeps talking about forcing oil companies to be transparent, I’ll expect strong bipartisan support for the idea of making state agencies be more transparent about the rules that carry the force of law on those who must comply.

The third bill, also prefiled Dec. 12, would add another position to the Clark County Superior Court. This would give the county 12 judges and is a reflection of the strong population growth in Clark County. In 2003, when the Legislature added two seats on the bench to make a total of 10, the county had approximately 379,000 residents. The population swelled by nearly 33% to cross the 503,000 mark in 2020, when legislation I sponsored added an 11th spot, and now it’s over 527,000. I fully expect SB 5836 to fly through the lawmaking process by the time the session adjourns March 7.

Governor agrees: No need for new taxes

Following the past two state revenue forecasts (September and November) I noted there is no excuse for raising more revenue through higher taxes in 2024. Maybe the governor was listening, because even though he typically wraps one or more tax hikes into the operating-budget proposal he submits to the Legislature each December, none are in his latest submittal.

Still, the governor is calling for more than a billion dollars’ worth of new spending, in the second year of a two-year budget. He’s on the right track (if belatedly) with more funding related to law enforcement, but offsets that by wanting to take the state’s cap-and-trade/Climate Commitment Act windfall and parcel it out through more government-run programs. When meeting with The Columbian newspaper recently he called it “recycling” the money – which must be the trendy way of referring to the “redistribution of wealth,” if you remember that expression from the President Obama days.

My full comment on the governor’s budget proposal is here.

I recently was a guest on TVW’s long-running “Inside Olympia” program, to discuss my priorities as Senate Republican budget leader and other goals for the 2024 session. Click here to view the show; my segment begins just after the 27-minute mark, following an interview with the state’s now-retired chief economist.

Another call for Senate pages!

I’m allowed to sponsor up to six teens as Senate pages during the upcoming session, and three slots are still available – so if you know some good candidates, encourage them to apply!

To be a page, students or homeschooled students need to be at least 14 years old and have not reached their 17th birthday. Students and parents interested in the Senate Page Program may phone my office at 360-786-7632 or visit the program’s webpage.


I hope you will reach out whenever you have a comment or question about your state government. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Yours in service,





Follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

To read this e-newsletter in other languages, click here to visit my Senate news page, look for the American flag midway down the right side, then click on the symbol right of the “EN” for a drop-down menu!