What’s happening in your state legislature?

Greetings from Olympia,

There are just a couple of weeks left in the 2024 legislative session and it’s moving at a break-neck speed. I’d like to think that the state Legislature has convened to address some of the most pressing issues facing our state. Communities are still reeling from bad public-safety policies, while housing, food, fuel and everything else is only getting more expensive. So, what is the plan for legislative Democrats in charge? You guessed it, double-down on costly regulations and new taxes in addition to hundreds of other bills that won’t have a positive impact on the lives of families our in state.

We have the resources to invest in our students, to make Washington affordable and give the public deserved relief from government-imposed price hikes. In fact, citizens have told the Legislature through six initiatives that they want us to act. Unfortunately, those initiatives don’t look like they’ll even get a public hearing. Under our state constitution, initiatives to the Legislature must take precedence over other business, but the majority is focused on letting felons vote from prison, allowing high-risk sex offenders to end state supervision, banning natural gas, and setting up a $6 billion property tax increase. Talk about priorities.

It’s an honor to serve as your state senator.

Fortunato Signature

Phil Fortunato

Initiatives to the Legislature

Leg Building Interior

Over 2.5 million signatures have been gathered for six initiatives to the Legislature that would reexamine various policies that have been forced on working families. Since many of the underlying laws were passed, I’ve heard from constituents about the hardships they’re causing. It’s fitting that the people will get to have a say in the upcoming November election. Here are what the six initiatives would do.

Six Initiatives to the Legislature in 2024

  • Initiative 2113  REASONABLE POLICE PURSUIT. I-2113 is aimed at restoring reasonable police pursuits of criminals and suspects. I-2113 gives the Legislature the chance to restore officers’ ability to protect communities by pursuing suspects.
  • Initiative 2117   ELIMINATE THE 50 CENT GAS TAX.  I-2117 would repeal the nearly 50 cent/gallon gas tax created because of the Washington Climate Commitment Act, also known as cap-and-tax. The program has brought $1.8 billion into government but has done little to nothing to help the environment. It functions as a hidden gas tax, with no support for our roads.
  • Initiative 2081 – PARENTAL BILL OF RIGHTS.  I-2081 would create greater government transparency and require schools and health-care providers to inform parents or legal guardians of services provided to a minor child.
  • Initiative 2109 – REPEAL THE CAPITAL GAINS INCOME TAX. I-2109 would save jobs at family businesses by repealing the capital gains income tax.
  • Initiative 2111   BAN A PERSONAL INCOME TAX.  I-2111 would ban a personal income tax in Washington. The people have said no to an income tax 11 straight times.
  • Initiative 2124 – END MANDATORY PAYROLL TAX. I-2124 would give Washingtonians the choice not to participate in the state’s so-called “long-term care” benefit, which is funded through a mandatory payroll tax. This initiative would give Washington workers the choice to opt out of this program if it does not work for them and their family.

I know this is a lot to digest and just a snippet of what I’m working on as your state senator. Please click here for more information about the initiatives.

Make your voice heard


We recently received good news that 3 of the initiatives will be getting public hearings soon. I encourage you to let the Legislature know your thoughts. You can sign-in to provide comment, testify or just have your position supporting or opposing on the record. Please follow the links to sign-up.

Click here to sign in about Initiative 2111 – BAN A PERSONAL INCOME TAX

Public hearing begins at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Click here to sign in about Initiative 2081 – PARENTAL BILL OF RIGHTS

Public hearing begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Committee.

Click here to sign in about Initiative 2113 – REASONABLE POLICE PURSUIT

Public hearing begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

Legislature fails domestic violence survivors

Press Conf

Earlier in the 2024 legislative session, I held a news conference with domestic violence survivors and advocates outlining stark problems in the state’s family courts and proposals I sponsored to fix them. The package of bills aimed to train judges, provide more protections for abuse victims – mostly women and children – and set improved standards for evidence and procedures in family court.

One of the bills, Senate Bill 5879, known as Kayden’s Law, would make Washington eligible for substantial federal funding to train judges and restrict unproven, unsafe “reunification” treatments that force children to be with a dangerous parent and/or parents with whom they resist contact.

At the time, Democratic leaders were disinterested in advancing Kayden’s Law or other proposals, indicating that legislation in the House was going to be a vehicle to address concerns of domestic violence survivors, but it never happened. Last Tuesday was the final cutoff for bills to receive a floor vote and not only did majority Democrats fail to support any of my solutions, but their own “reform” bill never came to a vote.

It’s really incredible that the party that purports to be about protecting women has failed so miserably on this issue. I was willing to entertain working with the House and Democrats, in particular, to get the policy done because what’s happening now is frankly disgusting. The state’s family courts are making women with children homeless, plain and simple. While they’re focused on raising taxes or letting criminals out, we have innocent people suffering.

Click here to read more.

Nanny state environmentalism

Gas Station

Washington purports to be leading the way when it comes to protecting our environment. The only problem is that Olympia’s answer to most problems is more government and higher costs. Just look at the carbon-pricing scheme that has driven up gas prices by nearly 50 cents per gallon. The reality is that Washington has missed every single climate goal while simultaneously imposing nonsensical regulations and taxes on consumers.

What are we even doing? The state wants to go as far as banning gas-powered lawn equipment and recently passed a Senate proposal to restrict the kinds of tires people can buy due to the types of chemicals used in them. In my real job I work extensively with the Department of Ecology on water quality issues and understand the effects of the specific chemical, 6PPD, has on salmon.

Rather than require a state agency to implement more regulations and increase costs to consumers, we can simply enhance organic material buffers along the roadsides in the most affected areas to trap tire particles and prevent them from entering stormwater. Since 6PPD breaks down in ultraviolet, eastern Washington does not have the same problems that we have on this side of the mountains. The answer is more often than not simple, sustainable actions that don’t require more of your hard-earned tax dollars.