Dear friends and neighbors,
I am reaching out with one last update on our work this session, and to let you know this will be my last newsletter for a while as we enter election year restrictions on our legislative communications. These ethics rules are important to protect the integrity of our system, they start on May 16th and will continue through the general election in November. While I won’t be sending out newsletters, you’re always welcome to call or email our office with comments, questions, or if you need assistance.
We were able to get a remarkable amount of work done this year, but I want to highlight some of the things I know matter to you. If you have any questions about this work, or work we did in other areas, please reach out!
Rep. Mike Chapman
Making health care more accessible and affordable
I know that the cost of health care is a concern for many families across the state and here in the 24th LD we face unique concerns around accessible health care for rural communities.
This year we passed legislation to expand free and reduced-cost health care to an additional 2.2 million Washingtonians (HB 1616), protect consumers from unfair “surprise billing” costs (HB 1688), and prevent unfair telemedicine fees for people without insurance (HB 1708). We also approved a bill that will cap insulin costs at $35 a month for all Washington health plans next year (SB 5546).
These investments will make a real difference for Washingtonians and bring some much-needed relief for people in our community.
Investing in infrastructure to move Washington forward
Investing in our transportation infrastructure is one of the most important things we did this session, and I’m particularly proud that we were able to make these historic investments without raising the gas tax. The transportation package will grow family wage jobs, ensure that our state has reliable infrastructure for the next generation, and sets us on a path to the future.
Locally, we’re expanding US 101 between Sequim and Blyn to improve safety and capacity. We’re also growing our Washington State Ferries fleet, with plans to expand our workforce, build new hybrid-electric vessels, and retrofit older vessels. These investments will help us reduce emissions and make travel to and from our district more reliable for commuters and the tourism that helps drive our economy.
Supporting our small businesses
Small businesses are the backbone of our community. This year we reduced taxes for many of our small businesses by increasing the small business tax credit. This means 125,000 businesses will have reduced taxes or won’t need to file at all. We’ve also allocated funding to help businesses hit by the pandemic, including $100 million specifically for the hospitality industry.
We know that disasters can also make or break our small businesses, so we’ve allocated $75 million for disaster response, innovation, and recovery. We also passed legislation to develop a short-term disaster recovery assistance program for farmers and ranchers so they’re able to get immediate financial assistance instead of waiting on federal relief.