Legislature passes three initiatives – voters will decide three more in fall

Lawmakers of both parties restore police pursuits, ban an income tax, enact ‘parents’ bill of rights.’ But three measures blocking taxes will go to the ballot

Note: This e-newsletter originally was distributed to Sen. Gildon’s subscribers March 5, 2024. To subscribe to Sen. Gildon’s e-newsletters, click here. 


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Washington Legislature often saves the toughest decisions for last. On Monday, just a few days before we are scheduled to adjourn, lawmakers of both parties came together and voted to pass three initiatives submitted to us by the people. These measures are:

These initiatives demonstrate the public’s frustration with the agenda my Democratic colleagues have pursued over the last several years. It may have been painful for many legislators to vote for these initiatives, but I think all of us recognize they have widespread support among all political demographics and would pass by large margins if they had gone to the ballot. We should count this as a victory for the people and an indication that our system works. I was proud to vote for them on the Senate floor.

Voters will have final say on taxes

The job isn’t finished. There are three more initiatives from the people that our majority colleagues refused to consider. Since the Legislature will take no action before we adjourn, the people will vote on them in the November general election. Had these come to a vote in the Senate, I would have enthusiastically supported each. These initiatives are:

  • Initiative 2109, repealing the state’s new income tax on capital gains,
  • Initiative 2117, repealing the cap-and-trade program that has driven up the price of gas 50 cents a gallon,
  • Initiative 2124, allowing workers to opt out of a mandatory payroll tax for a poorly designed long-term care program.

These measures remove unneeded taxes that have dug deep into our pockets, made Washington less affordable and done damage to our economy. In the next few months, we will likely hear wild claims that these initiatives will somehow harm state government. Don’t believe them. As one of the members who helped write the state budget this year, I can assure you we’ll be fine. I wish the Legislature had been allowed to vote on these initiatives. We could have spared the voters the trouble. But I think the people are able to decide these issues for themselves, and we should respect the decision they will make.


A troubling bill to phase out natural gas passes the state Senate

Measure would force Puget Sound Energy customers to pay for costly retrofits – typical homeowner could pay $20,000 or more

In this excerpt from the Senate debate on House Bill 1589, I propose an amendment to reduce the burden this bill will place on individuals. You can see it by clicking here or on the video above. The amendment failed and the bill passed, 27-22. I was among those who voted against it.

If you’re one of the many homeowners with a gas furnace, water heater or stove, I’ve got bad news. A bill that passed the state Senate could force enormous costs on you for power, new appliances, and possibly new wiring and other upgrades. This comes courtesy of Puget Sound Energy, which proposes to comply with arbitrary and unrealistic state emissions regulations by eventually ending natural gas service to its more-than-900,000 gas customers.

House Bill 1589 allows Washington’s largest private utility to propose a plan to state regulators to phase out gas service, one community at a time. Customers would be forced to convert to electricity at their own expense. The cost to residential customers would be immense, $7 billion to $10 billion by PSE’s estimate. This bill also would cause great uncertainty in construction, industry, and the restaurant trade, among other businesses. It also raises concerns about the ability of our electric grid to meet the demand.

This bill faces one final vote in the House. If this bill passes, we can expect similar efforts in the future that will affect other utilities.


Thanks for reading — it is an honor serving you!






Sen. Chris Gildon, 25th Legislative District

Deputy Leader, Senate Republican Caucus







Contact me!

PHONE: (360) 786-7648

E-MAIL: Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov

MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 40425/ Olympia, WA  98504


NOTE: Written communications are subject to disclosure under the Washington Public Records Act.