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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I trust this update finds you and your loved ones well. The 2024 legislative session concluded on Thursday, March 7th. It was a brief yet dynamic 60-day session, wrapping up shortly after the approval of the supplemental operating and transportation budgets earlier in the day.

Throughout the session, both the House and Senate collectively introduced over 1,600 bills, reflecting a broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities. In addition, the Legislature endorsed three citizen-driven initiatives, alongside several other bipartisan accomplishments—among them, four bills that I sponsored. These successes underscore a dedication to efficient governance and cooperation across party lines.

As the session drew to a close, lawmakers concentrated on finalizing budgets and reconciling differences between bills from each chamber.

In this end-of-session report, I will provide information on the bills I sponsored that have recently been signed into law, highlight key aspects of the state’s three supplemental budgets—operating, transportation, and capital—and discuss the defeat of several bills, explaining why that outcome is ultimately a good thing.

Four of my bills signed into law


I’m excited to announce that four bills I sponsored this session have been signed into law. Each measure received overwhelming bipartisan support covering important topics such as reducing barriers to state government employment, improving transparency in political advertising, and enhancing our state’s court system.

House Bill 2216 represents an important step in diminishing barriers to state employment. This legislation ensures that hiring for state government-related positions prioritizes skills and experience over more traditional academic qualifications.

Another measure, House Bill 2032, enhances election transparency by narrowing the scope of yard signs exempt from certain political advertising disclosure requirements. I firmly believe that this change will build trust by providing voters with important information about who is paying for political signs.

Additionally, two other bills I sponsored address issues related to court reorganizations and the maintenance of statutory integrity:

  • House Bill 2034 mandates counties and cities to notify the Administrative Office of the Courts regarding court reorganizations, ensuring enhanced coordination and accountability within the legal system.
  • House Bill 2213 upholds Washington state’s constitutional obligation to address defects and omissions in state statutes, ensuring alignment with current legal standards.  

Together, these bills represent a significant effort toward more accountable, efficient governance, and I am grateful to have played a role in their realization.

Let’s talk about the state’s three main budgets

As you may already know, the state operates with three primary budgets: operating, transportation, and capital. In even-numbered years, lawmakers implement changes to the existing spending plans, known as “supplemental budgets.” These adjustments allocate funding for the latter part of the state’s two-year budget cycle, essentially serving as course corrections or modifications to the originally enacted state spending plans.

Supplemental Capital Budget

Let’s start with some good news! The House unanimously passed the supplemental capital budget with a 96-0 vote on March 6th. The biennial construction, repair, and infrastructure funding plan, Senate Bill 5949, appropriates $1.33 billion in funding. Commonly known as the state’s construction budget, its development process is highly bipartisan. Within this capital budget, there are significant investments for our 18th District.

Collaborating with my incredible district colleagues Sen. Ann Rivers and Rep. Stephanie McClintock, we were able to deliver big results for our district, underscoring our commitment to community development in our region. Several important local projects in the 18th District will be moving forward, including:

  • $16.2 million for the Madrona Recovery 54-bed facility.
  • $400,000 for the Battle Ground Health Care Clinic.
  • $309,000 for the Battle Ground Senior Center.
  • $258,000 for installation of the Battle Ground School District distributed antenna system.
  • $173,000 for the Florence Robison North Park equipment replacement.
  • $50,000 for Glenwood Little League facility improvements.
  • $515,000 for the Wallace Heights septic elimination project.

For a complete list of 18th District projects included in the capital budget, click here.
To review budget documents, click here.

Supplemental Operating Budget

The supplemental operating budget passed along party lines, and unfortunately, House Republicans weren’t part of the negotiations. That’s disappointing. The minority party should have a seat at the table during all budget discussions. It’s essential that all voices, regardless of party affiliation, are heard to ensure fair representation for our communities.

You might be wondering why I voted against it. My primary concern is taxpayer spending. As you can see in the chart below, over the past decade, we’ve witnessed a more than twofold increase in overall state spending, which is deeply concerning.


Additionally, while it’s commendable that there are no new taxes in this plan, the absence of tax relief for struggling Washingtonians is a missed opportunity. Despite several chances over the past few budget cycles, state lawmakers have once again failed to pass meaningful tax relief.

Supplemental Transportation Budget

Moving on to the transportation budget, I voted “yes.” The supplemental transportation budget allocates an additional $1.1 billion on top of last year’s $13.5 billion. It prioritizes maintenance and preservation investments, focuses on enhancing highway safety, and addresses the recruitment and retention of Washington State Patrol officers.

Unlike the operating budget, this plan included considerable bipartisan collaboration. The budget discussions were subject to significant pressures, including revenue constraints, project demands, and other challenges. As a result, it required several hard choices and bipartisan agreements.

  • Read more about the transportation budget here.

Initiatives

During the 2024 session, Washingtonians brought six initiatives before the Legislature, all aimed at tackling important issues. I’m happy to report that the people of Washington scored a big win with the approval of three of those initiatives, which are:

  • I-2113: Restoring vehicular police pursuits.
  • I-2111: Prohibiting state and local personal income taxes.
  • I-2081: Establishing a Parents’ Bill of Rights.

Under Washington state statute, when a voter initiative is approved by the Legislature, it is enacted without requiring approval from the governor. The remaining three initiatives will be on the ballot in November:

  • I-2117: Repealing the carbon tax.
  • I-2124: Opting out of the state LTC program/payroll tax. 
  • I-2109: Repealing the capital gains tax.

Stopping bad bills

In the recent session, halting a handful of particularly harmful legislative proposals proved to be significant victories that will greatly benefit people and communities across the state.

At the forefront of these defeated bills is Senate Bill 5770, a troubling property tax proposal. It aimed to empower Washington cities and counties to triple property tax increases from 1% to 3%, constituting the largest tax hike in state history without voter consent. Blocking this bill stands out as one of the session’s most significant victories, with far-reaching positive impacts statewide.

Senate Bill 5241, dubbed the “Keep Our Care Act,” ironically did the opposite of its name. It sought to enforce stringent regulations on hospital mergers and acquisitions, jeopardizing competition and consumer options, particularly in small, rural communities. This proposal would have limited essential healthcare access. Its defeat marks another big win this session.

Other bad bills stopped this session include:

  • House Bill 2030  — Sought to grant convicted criminals, including serial murderers and rapists, the right to serve as jurors, vote, and run for elected office, even while incarcerated.
  • House Bill 2001 — This dangerous legislation aimed to undermine justice and public safety by giving judges free rein to reduce sentences of convicted criminals, disregarding the severity of their crimes and endangering communities.
  • House Bill 2114 — This rent control bill would suffocate housing markets, strangle property rights, and stifle economic growth.
  • House Bill 1932 — This misguided proposal sought to strip away the fundamental democratic right to participate in odd-year elections, undermining the voice of communities and eroding local governance.
  • House Bill 1579 — Instead of upholding local authority, this measure sought to centralize power within the Attorney General’s office, creating a bureaucratic nightmare and jeopardizing local authority in cases of police misconduct.

Thank you!

Your support, whether by reaching out, stopping by, or sharing your thoughts on legislation, means the world to me. Although I’m happy to be back home, I want to remind you that the legislative session may have ended, but I remain your state representative year-round.

Feel free to reach out via phone or email (though email is easiest for me) anytime you have questions or need assistance. I’m here to help and always happy to hear from you.

It’s an honor to serve you and the communities of the 18th District!



Greg Cheney

State Representative Greg Cheney, 18th Legislative District
representativegregcheney.com
406 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
greg.cheney@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7812 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000