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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session is officially underway! For the next 60 days, we’ll be debating tax policy, criminal justice laws, housing regulations, and many more state issues that affect you and your family.

These next eight-and-a-half weeks will go by quickly, and so I encourage you to tune-in to TVW and participate directly in the legislative process. 

You can watch today’s opening ceremony and floor debate by clicking here.

Get involved in the legislative process

House Republicans have a fantastic website where you can find a step-by-step guide on how to be involved in the legislative process: houserepublicans.wa.gov/get-involved

To help folks in the Tri-Cities be heard in Olympia, Senator Matt Boehnke, Representative Stephanie Barnard, and I hosted a legislative workshop at the Richland Public Library in December. You can watch the replay here:

You can also sign up for “The Week Ahead” – a list of important bill hearings delivered straight to your email inbox and text alerts.

Don’t forget to follow my official legislative Facebook page for breaking news and updates throughout session: facebook.com/representativeaprilconnors  

State of the State

Tomorrow at 11:45 a.m., Governor Inslee is scheduled to deliver his annual State of the State address. You can watch it live on TVW here. Pasco’s newest Senator Nikki Torres will be delivering the Republican response. Go Nikki!

Carbon Auction Rebate (CAR) update

My Carbon Auction Rebate (CAR) proposal officially has a bill number: House Bill 2040. According to the latest estimates, registered vehicle owners in Washington would receive a one-time payment of $214 – or up to $428 per family – beginning next July if the bill were to pass.

Click here to sign up for updates on the CAR 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.

This summer, Washington had the highest average regular gasoline price in the nation, surpassing California. Today, the average cost of regular gasoline in Washington is the third highest in the nation at $4.08 per gallon, according to AAA.

Some have asked me why not simply repeal the CCA instead of proposing a rebate. The reality is, regardless of what happens to the CCA, the state now has over $1.3 billion in excess revenue. Lawmakers must decide what to do with that money, and I believe the best solution is to give it back to the people of Washington and let them decide how to spend the money themselves.

Out of respect for the initiative process, the bill expires on Oct. 31, prior to the next general election.

Building more housing and making it more affordable

Going into this session, I am excited to continue my work on increasing access to housing and cutting unnecessary red tape that’s preventing us from building more housing.

House Bill 2158 would amend the Growth Management Act (GMA) to allow cities and counties to expand urban growth area boundaries so that any parcel near a residential parcel with access to urban services can be developed for residential purposes. This simple fix would significantly increase our ability to build more homes to keep up with our state’s population growth.

House Bill 1633, also known as the “Home for Heroes” program, is still in play. This is my bill to provide home down payment and closing cost assistance for critical workers like nurses, firefighters, law enforcement, military members, veterans, childcare providers, mental health professionals, and other first responders.

Lastly, another new housing bill I’ve introduced this year is House Bill 2003. This would exempt leasehold interests on public lands from the leasehold excise tax if they commit to providing affordable housing.  

Public testimony opportunities

House Bill 2051: ban on gas-powered landscaping and outdoor equipment

On Thursday, Jan. 11, at 8: a.m. in the , the House Environment and Energy Committee will have a public hearing on House Bill 2051. This bill would eventually allow the state to prohibit gas-powered landscaping and outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers.

You can:

House Bill 2144: rent control

On Thursday, Jan. 11, at 8: a.m. in the House Housing Committee, there will be a public hearing on House Bill 2144 – a rent control measure.

You can:

I am concerned that this bill could limit our housing supply when Washington is already last in the nation for the number of housing units per housing.

Contacting me

Please contact me with your questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions. Working together, we can make a meaningful difference here in the Mighty 8th and for our entire state.

It is an honor to serve you!

Sincerely,


April Connors

State Representative April Connors, 8th Legislative District
representativeaprilconnors.com
434 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
april.connors@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7882 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000