We’re happy to report that the 2022 session put people first and made a lot of changes and investments that will make a difference for generations here in the 24th District. Inside this newsletter, you’ll find highlights from the session, including:
- a new state budget that rebuilds our economy, addresses the housing crisis, and improves health care;
- help for farmers, seniors, and working parents;
- a historic construction budget that builds schools, colleges, parks, and environmental projects, along with a long list of new projects here in the 24th that will create jobs;
- a new transportation package that moves Washington forward and makes serious improvements to our ferry system; and
- public safety reforms that make sure our law enforcement officers can do the job of protecting our families.
We also made college more affordable, protected you from surprise medical bills for emergency room visits, and expanded access to health care. To help our small businesses on Main Street deal with the damage from this pandemic, we increased the B&O tax credit and gave direct help to those hurt the most in restaurants, the hospitality industry, and the arts.
Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, and advocated for our communities, schools, and businesses. It’s only by listening to each other with respect, and working together, that we can get things done for all our families.
This newsletter isn’t big enough to address every issue. If you have a specific question, comment, or idea, please get in touch!
Representative Mike Chapman
Representative Steve Tharinger
Senator Kevin Van De Wege
This session we passed a historic transportation budget package that will help move Washington forward. This budget was a collaborative effort, from working with
stakeholders and local elected officials, to hosting over 90 listening sessions with constituents across the state. The package is an investment in Washington’s transportation infrastructure, including some significant investments for our district.
One of the biggest is the expansion of the US 101 between Sequim and Port Angeles, by adding a lane in each direction we’ll be able to make the road safer, reduce traffic delays, and improve capacity. I was glad to see this project get funded this year.
We also invested in our ferry system, with funding for 4 new boats, electrification of current vessels, fleet preservation, and operations funds. We know that vessels can’t run without a crew, so we’ve allocated funding for workforce development, recruitment, and retention to help us meet current and future demand.
Finally, we’re continuing to invest in culvert replacement to restore salmon and steelhead runs. These fish are an iconic part of our state, from fishing and the maritime industry to feeding orca. Opening up culverts to grow their habitat ensures they’ll still be around for our children and grandchildren.
I’m particularly proud that we were able to make all these investments without an increase to the gas tax.
One of my priorities this session was making changes to the police reform legislation we enacted last year. I’d heard from constituents and local law enforcement about pieces that needed clarification or updating to ensure that our law enforcement officers are able to do their jobs. We passed a couple bills this session to address those concerns:
HB 1719 – Clarifying law enforcement use of military equipment: This bill ensures that law enforcement officers can still use less-lethal alternatives like bean bag rounds or less lethal munitions launchers. There was ambiguity in the original legislation that left some agencies with questions about their use, that ambiguity is now fixed.
HB 1735 – Police use of force for community caretaking calls: Some law enforcement agencies felt that last year’s legislation prevented them from assisting designated crisis responders or mental and behavioral health specialists with involuntary treatment or other community caretaking work. This legislation clarifies that they can use force in these circumstances subject to the same reasonable care standard as applies in other circumstances.
HB 2037 – Clarifying police use of force policy: We heard feedback from law enforcement agencies that they wanted a clear definition of physical force, this legislation provides that. It also allows officers to use force, subject to the reasonable care standard, to stop someone from fleeing a temporary investigative detention or Terry stop.
In addition to these changes, we’ve also made investments to ensure that our Washington State Patrol Troopers are paid a salary that’s competitive with other law enforcement agencies. Raising wages will help bolster our recruitment and retention efforts, as well as send a message to our troopers that we value their work.
Tax breaks for small businesses
We know that the last two years have been particularly challenging for our small businesses. I was proud to support legislation this year that will increase the Business and Occupation (B&O) Tax Credit for small businesses. This means that 125,000 small businesses across our state will see lower B&O taxes or may not even have to file at all. This bill provides permanent relief to many of the mom & pop small businesses in our district, and I’m hopeful we can make more progress on this when we come back next session.
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve you all in this position, and as always please reach out to my office with any questions, concerns, feedback, or more.