Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you’ve been having a great June! We’ve had a chance to catch our breath after the 2023 legislative session, review what happened, and start working toward 2024. I’m excited about what we accomplished and look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions on it.
Come and chat with us and each other June 29!
Reps. Liz Berry and Julia Reed and I will be hosting an informal drop-in event at the end of this month, where we can answer your questions about the 2023 session and get your input on what we should focus on for our 2024 legislative agenda. There’s a lot to talk about from 2023 — our action on housing affordability, big bills on gun safety, protecting access to abortion and the civil and human rights of our transgender community, and more — but as always, there’s a lot more to do, and we’re already at work preparing for the 2024 session. Your thoughts and input are valuable to us as we lay that groundwork, and I know all three of us are excited to hear from you.
The event will be:
Thursday, June 29
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Old Stove Brewing
600 W Nickerson St
Seattle, WA 98119
If you can’t make it, you can always reach me at Noel.Frame@leg.wa.gov as well. We hope to see you there!
Some news I’ve been reading
I wanted to share some important, recent news stories about some of the big issues we’ve worked on in the Legislature. I’d encourage you to take a look!
- WA’s new capital gains tax brings in far more than expected – This Seattle Times story looks at early returns from the capital gains tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets that we passed in 2021, now that the tax has been upheld by the Supreme Court. We know Washington has some incredibly wealthy people who hadn’t been paying what they truly owe in taxes, and it’s striking that this tax is already bringing in more money than expected for early learning and K-12 education. To me, this shows taxing the rich works. My Washington State Wealth Tax proposal would be a narrow 1% property tax on financial assets more than $250 million, and just as the capital gains tax effectively worked to help make the rich pay more toward the shared investments that make our state great, a wealth tax could do even more to fix our upside-down tax code and pay for schools, affordable housing, essential services, and more.
- WA lawmakers’ ‘year of housing’ could ease the affordability crisis — Expanding the supply of affordable housing was one of the Legislature’s top priorities from this past session, and I’m proud to say we delivered big time on some reforms that will make a big difference for folks — legalizing ADUs, cutting red tape with permits, direct investments into affordable housing construction, and a whole lot more. This Crosscut story is a good rundown of some of those bills and the impact they’re expected to have. HB 1110 alone is expected to add an additional 75,000-150,000 homes to our region over the next two decades, concentrated near transit and infrastructure to be more affordable and environmentally friendly. This is good news for housing affordability in Washington’s future — next, we need to do more for immediate stability for renters and to control costs in the short term for folks.
- Student activists helped pass Washington’s new assault weapons ban — This is another great story from Crosscut about the work that student activists did to help pass our new ban on the sale and manufacture of assault weapons this year. As of 2020, firearm-related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for kids aged 1 through 19 across the country, and the horror of school shootings affects us all. When I was young, we had to do drills at school for earthquakes — now kids have drills for school shootings instead. It’s really cool that students are stepping up and getting politically active on this issue — they’re so heavily impacted, they’re engaging in politics and helping to create real political change. It’s easy to be cynical about politics at times, but stories like this inspire me, and I’m excited to keep working alongside these young people to help prevent gun violence in our schools and our communities.
- How new Washington laws aim to lower out-of-pocket health care costs — Health care affordability is a nation problem, but Washington is doing some great stuff to help make sure everyone can get the care they need. While we’re still working on programs like expanding our Cascade Care public option health care, we’re also passing important bills to make an immediate difference, and this Washington State Standard story discusses some of the bills from this year. Capping the cost of insulin, eliminating cost-sharing for abortion, requiring coverage for hearing aids, and other good reforms all happened for Washingtonians in 2023, and that’s good news.
What’s on your mind, and what have you been reading? Come to our town hall on June 29 or email me at Noel.Frame@leg.wa.gov, and let me know what I should be thinking about as we put together our agenda for the 2024 session.
Thanks so much for reading, and I look forward to seeing you around the district!
Sen. Noel Frame