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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are nearly halfway through the eight-week short session, and the first sort on bills is complete following the first cut-off. Important bills for our region moved forward, including a fire safety bill for industrial wind farms, and a bill that would reduce raw sewage from being spewed into the Puget Sound, threatening salmon survival. Some bad bills will not move forward, including the bill to ban gas powered tools, including lawn mowers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers.

All six of the ballot initiatives have been certified by the Secretary of State, meaning more than 400,000 Washingtonians signed petitions to repeal laws that impact their daily lives and their budgets.  We experienced dramatic action on the House floor when our team made motions to move the initiatives to first-in-line consideration in the appropriate policy committees. The motions were swatted down with tempestuous speeches delivered by the Democratic Floor Leader.

The House Environment and Energy Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on Initiative 2117 that would repeal the state’s cap-and-tax program that is responsible for a 50-cent increase on your gas. The program has captured $1.8 billion in energy taxes so far. These dollars came directly out of your pocket at the gas pump and your power bill.

My market transparency bill (House Bill 2249) examines the impact speculators have on the carbon market and prices at the pump. We learned in testimony that while only 10% of the allowances are permitted to be sold to speculators, more than 40% of the sales in the third quarter auction were bought by speculators. We need to know what impact that had on prices at the pump. We held a raucous hearing, in which a testifier discussed the ouster of the fuel price forecaster/whistleblower who accurately predicted the 50-cent increase in fuel prices directly due to cap-and-tax. The bill did not move out of committee.

Expect more to come as the governor’s bill (House Bill 2201), which links our cap-and-tax market with California, the state with the highest gas prices in the nation, is supposed to reduce our gas prices. It passed the Environment and Energy Committee on a party line vote and moves to the House Appropriations Committee, and then the House floor for debate and a vote.

House Bill 1589 slipped out of the Rules Committee and passed 52-45, with six Democrats crossing the aisle to oppose the policy. It is now in the hands of the Senate. The policy is designed to decommission natural gas service to large swaths of our biggest cities, replacing natural gas power generation with industrial wind and solar projects to be built on 600,000 acres of farmland east of the Cascades.  All this means is energy inflation, which will continue to erode your family budget with little to show for our environmental and energy needs today. I stood on the House floor and spoke against the measure. You can watch that entire floor speech here.

Stay tuned as the second half of the short session unfolds.

Register now for our virtual 9th District town hall meeting with me and Rep. Joe Schmick

As we take more votes on the House floor, it is critical that we hear from you and your neighbors throughout the 9th District. That is why my seatmate, Rep. Joe Schmick and I are holding a virtual 9th District town hall meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15, and 6:30 p.m. In addition to taking your questions, we will provide an update of the 2024 session. You must register to be able to log on to the meeting. You can do so at: http://tinyurl.com/09-LD-Schmick-Dye. We look forward to taking your questions.

In the News. . .

In my position as ranking Republican on the House Environmental and Energy Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to be featured on radio programs, podcasts, television, and in newspapers, discussing major legislative and environmental topics, such as the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), and my opposition to removing the lower Snake River dams.

Rep. J.T. Wilcox talks with Rep. Mary Dye during a break in action on the House floor.

Dye legislation advances

I’m pleased to report I have movement on the following bills:

  • House Bill 1365 – Would require operators of municipal wastewater systems to annually report discharge of sewage into the Puget Sound. It would also direct the Department of Ecology to provide technical and financial assistance to reduce nutrient discharges into Puget Sound. This bill passed out of the House Environment and Energy Committee on Monday. Read more here about why this bill is vital for salmon restoration.
  • House Bill 1752 – Would authorize the U.S. Reclamation Bureau to apply for and obtain approval for a change in the number of acres that may be irrigated with water rights held by the Bureau for water use within the Columbia Basin Project boundaries. The bill passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. It is now in the House Rules Committee, awaiting to be pulled to the floor for a vote.
  • House Bill 2074 – Would prohibit the Department of Ecology from levying a civil penalty against a landowner for a violation of the water code if the actions of the landowner’s lessee are the basis for the violation. Civil penalties are expensive and range from $100 to $5,000 per day. The bill passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. It is now in the House Rules Committee, awaiting to be pulled to the floor for a vote.
  • House Bill 2210 – Would direct the Department of Corrections to conduct a feasibility study and develop a plan for implementing a wild horse training, holding, and farrier program at a state corrections center. This measure passed out of the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee on Jan. 18. Listen to my Capitol Report radio program for details about this bill.

Majority party refuses to give hearing to Boys and Men Commission bill

  • House Bill 1270 would establish the Washington State Commission on Boys and Men. Read more about this bill here. A companion measure, Senate Bill 5830, was introduced by Sen. John Lovick. Disappointingly, despite our best efforts with these bipartisan bills, the majority party has not scheduled public hearings on either of these bills. The independent online news agency, The Center Square, did a report on this issue last week. You can read that article here.

Gonzaga Prep student from Cheney serves as House page

I want to thank Henry Burgis for his service last week as a page in the Washington State House of Representatives.

Henry is a student at Gonzaga Preparatory School and the 15-year-old son of Robin and Nick Burgis of Cheney. Pages participate for one 40-hour work week, assisting the House of Representatives with duties including serving on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, supporting member offices, and attending Page School. Young people between the ages of 14 and 17 may participate as long as they are sponsored. Pages earn up to $65 a day for their service. If you would like to learn more about the program, go here.

Keep in touch and stay involved

Your involvement is key to the success of our legislative session. Please call, write or email my office with any questions. You’ll find my contact information below.

Thank you for allowing me to serve and represent you!

Sincerely,


Mary Dye

State Representative Mary Dye, 9th Legislative District
RepresentativeMaryDye.com
432 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
mary.dye@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7942 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000