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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2024 legislative session has reached its grand finale, marking the end of another exciting journey in Olympia. The session adjourned on Thursday, March 7th, at approximately 5:30 p.m., concluding a short yet fast-paced 60-day period.

During the last few days of the session, lawmakers focused on finalizing and approving the state’s three main supplemental budgets (operating, transportation, and capital), as well as reconciling differences between bills passed in each chamber. It’s been a whirlwind, with over 1600 bills introduced between the House and Senate.

I’m pleased to report that amidst the hustle and bustle, another one of my bills passed with strong bipartisan support and is on its way to becoming law after the governor’s signature. You can read about that bill in this update, along with details on the state’s spending plans and other initiatives.

Celebrating your impact and engagement

Before delving into the end-of-session details, I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering support. Whether you reached out to me, attended meetings, or testified on important issues, your engagement has been invaluable.

A special shout-out to those who joined our 13th District virtual town hall, subscribed to my e-newsletters, or tuned in to watch the legislative proceedings on TVW. Your dedication truly makes our region special.

Your voices are the driving force behind the impact we’re making in Olympia. Together, we’re shaping policies that reflect the needs of our district and state. Thank you for actively participating and entrusting me with the representation of our district.

More legislative wins


Great news! Another one of my bills made it through the Legislature this session. HB 2454 received strong bipartisan support in both chambers and is now on its way to the governor’s desk for signature. This bill, the result of a Joint Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) study, extends the hazardous substance tax exemption for agricultural crop protection products for an additional two years.

Why does this matter? Well, for starters, it ensures that Washington stays competitive with other states in the Pacific Northwest for pesticide warehousing. This competitiveness not only helps create family-wage jobs but also ensures the safe storage of pesticides. Plus, it makes distributing pesticides to farmers during disease outbreaks much simpler.

But there’s more! Extending this tax preference also plays an important role in maintaining food security and safety across the state. It allows pesticides to be deployed early on during disease threats, reducing crop loss. And by centralizing pesticide warehousing in facilities equipped to handle hazardous substances, rather than at individual farms, we’re minimizing the risk of accidents and spills.

Supplemental 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 budgets.

Capital budget

Let’s kick it off with some good news! The House unanimously passed the supplemental capital budget with a 96-0 vote on March 6. This $1.33 billion plan is a significant investment in crucial areas such as K-12 school construction, housing, mental health facilities, and early learning facilities, addressing pressing needs across our state.


Commonly known as the state’s construction budget, its development process continues to be bipartisan. Within this capital budget, there are significant investments earmarked for our 13th District, one of which I helped get across the finish line: the allocation of $309,000 for The Port of Quincy Business and Events Center.

Collaborating with my district colleagues Sen. Judy Warnick and Rep. Tom Dent to deliver tangible results to our constituents has been a true honor. These district-funded projects below underscore our commitment to community development in our region.

Other 13th District projects include:

  • Central Washington University: $16.9 million
  • Moses Lake Community Health Center: $72,000
  • Columbia Basin Rodeo Association Bleachers: $258,000
  • Ellensburg Community Fieldhouse: $72,000
  • KVH Surgical Services Clinic Remodel: $100,000

For a complete list of 13th District projects included in the capital budget, click here.
To review capital budget documents, click here.

Operating budget

More good news! The supplemental operating budget includes some hard-fought wins for the 13th District. I sponsored and got the green light for the following allocations:

  • $350,000 for expanding industry and education partnerships to create more workforce opportunities in Chelan, Grant, and Adams counties.
  • $140,000 to bolster the University of Washington’s Junior Summer Institution program, aiding undergraduates aspiring to public service careers by providing essential knowledge and skills. This increased funding ensures broader student access to the program.

Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends. I have several reasons why I don’t like this operating budget overall. First, and most importantly, I’m disappointed that House Republicans weren’t included more in the negotiations. We represent significant portions of the state, and our communities deserve representation in these discussions.

Next, while the absence of new taxes in this budget is positive, it’s disappointing that there’s no tax relief for struggling Washingtonians. Lawmakers have had multiple opportunities to enact meaningful tax relief in recent budget cycles but have failed to do so.

Transportation budget

The supplemental transportation budget is putting an extra $1.1 billion on top of last year’s $13.5 billion, aiming to keep our roads in tip-top shape, enhance highway safety, and support the recruitment and retention of Washington State Patrol officers.

Unlike the operating budget, this plan involved a lot of teamwork across party lines. The discussions were intense, with challenges like revenue constraints and project demands putting pressure on us. But through hard work and bipartisan agreements, we managed to make some tough decisions and move forward together.

  • Read more about the transportation budget.

Initiatives

As I mentioned in my last update, back in January, the people brought six initiatives before the Legislature, all aimed at tackling important issues. I’m thrilled to report that the people 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 will go before voters 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.

Learn more about all six initiatives.

Stay in touch!

While I’m glad to be back home in Quincy, I want to emphasize that even though the legislative session has wrapped up, I’m still your state representative all year round. Feel free to reach out via phone or email (email works best for me) anytime you have questions or need assistance. I’m here to support you, and I always love hearing from you.

Thank you for the privilege of serving and representing the incredible 13th District!

Sincerely,


Alex Ybarra

State Representative Alex Ybarra, 13th Legislative District
RepresentativeAlexYbarra.com
470 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
alex.ybarra@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7808 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000