Newsletter: Fighting for public safety. And, how much will a ban on natural gas cost you?

Also: Myth v. fact about the "dead" property tax bill

Fighting for public safety while others fight for the rights of offenders


Watch my legislative video update


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have reached the point during the legislative session when the Senate is back to meeting as committees, having hearings on bills that passed the House of Representatives, and vice versa.

I’m happy to say that several of my key bills to make Washington safer and more affordable, and to build a better future for our children, have passed and are now being considered in the House.

These include bills that address the opioid crisis, the cost of housing, and resources for schools.

  • SB 5299: Provides protections for law-enforcement officers.
  • SB 5635: Requires the court to consider the safety of victims when determining bail for an offender, as well as gives victims the right to be notified of victim-notification services.
  • SB 5850: Provides support to help reduce chronic absenteeism in K-12 schools.
  • SB 5852: Allows additional K-12 public schools to access financial support for special education.
  • SB 6028: Relieves some people from having to pay the interest accrued on accidental unemployment-insurance overpayments.
  • SB 6030: Provides property-tax credits to incentivize property owners to rent accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to low-income families.
  • SB 6031: Allows schools to use transportation funding to transport students by vehicles other than school buses.
  • SB 6099: Provides more funding for tribal opioid-treatment programs, many of which also often treat non-tribal members.

Several of my Republican colleagues have had important bills pass the Senate as well, and while we’re heartened by that, I am concerned that other critical legislation may die in this process. This includes a bill, sponsored by a fellow Senate Republican, to add fentanyl to the list of drugs included in the child-endangerment law.

Senate Bill 5010 would hold parents responsible for exposing their children to fentanyl smoke, pills, and residue. It is a response to the increasing number of young children overdosing as a byproduct of their parents’ fentanyl use. The Senate passed it nearly unanimously — one Senate Democrat voted no.

Despite that overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate, the chair of the House Committee on Community Justice, Safety and Reentry won’t give it a hearing, telling The Seattle Times that there isn’t a single vote in his committee to support the bill. He must mean he doesn’t have any Democrat votes to support the bill. I have no doubt the Republicans on that committee would support.

However, if you take a look at what the Democrats on that committee did vote for, you see some dangerous legislation that undermines law, order and public safety. This new legislation completely ignores victims of these crimes.

  • HB 2178: Lets sex offenders off of community supervision.
  • HB 2065: Retroactively resentences criminals, potentially shortening their sentences, because  they committed crimes as juveniles.
  • HB 1994: Allows a court to dismiss misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges if certain conditions are met; creates barriers to full accountability and gives defendants new ways to escape accountability if they have a clever attorney.
  • HB 1396: Reduces sentences for certain criminals serving life without parole sentences, including aggravated murderers.
  • HB 1268: Reduces time served for sentencing enhancements for violent offenders, firearms offenses, and gang members.
  • HB 2001: Reduces prison sentences for violent offenders.

The support for these bills, and opposition to a bill that would bring justice to children endangered by fentanyl, reveals a clear priority for the rights of offenders over the rights of victims.

That is unacceptable. It’s this kind of lawmaking that has led to higher crime rates around the state. Republicans on the committee opposed every one of these bills.

If you would like to tell the House Democrat chair of that committee to give SB 5010 a hearing, you can email him directly by clicking HERE.


Sen. John Braun



Who can afford Democrats’ effort to ban natural gas?

A bill passed by the House that would effectively ban natural gas in homes could cost the average homeowner over $52,000. House Bill 1589 is a part of the Democrat effort to force everyone to use electric power — a burden our current infrastructure can’t handle.

During a recent cold snap, people who lost power relied on natural gas to cook and to stay warm. One Senate Democrat hypocritically posted a photo on “X” (formerly Twitter) of her warm stocking feet in front of a fire and said how glad she was to have a gas fireplace.

Under this bill, she may have to give that up for an electric-powered fireplace, which would have also lost power.

Bans on natural gas are wrong-headed. We need to look for more sensible ways to protect our environment so we don’t unduly burden the regular, working people who can’t afford these “luxury policies” that are being pushed on us.

Myth v. Fact about majority’s property tax bill

Last week, I shared with you how Senate Republicans killed the bill that would allow local governments to raise your property taxes by 3% per year without voter approval, tripling the current 1% cap.

While the feedback we’ve gotten for that effort has been overwhelmingly positive, some people are upset because they’ve been told their local governments will have to cut services. We’ve been asked, “How do you propose to replace that money?”

To be clear: No one is taking revenue from local governments. We simply prevented raising your property taxes more than 1% WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL. 

It’s important to remember a few facts about SB 5770 and the current property-tax cap.

  • The current 1% cap was the will of the voters put into place by an Initiative.
  • The cap does NOT limit how much local governments can raise your property taxes — just how much they can increase them without voter approval.
  • If a local government wants to raise your property taxes more than 1% in a given year, it simply needs to convince the voters.
  • Some local governments are in their current situation due to poor budgeting practices — and there’s no reason to believe more revenue will lead to better choices.
  • For example, King County spent one-time federal COVID-19 funds to pay for ongoing services, leaving a hole when the COVID money ran out. Pierce County, however, did not fund ongoing programs with those federal dollars and will not need to cut any services.

The hardworking taxpayers of Washington should not have to bear the burden of backfilling bad budget decisions by their local-government entities — unless they vote to approve.

It’s because so many of you are with us on this that we were successful in killing SB 5770. It is likely to return next year, as Democrats say they want to give governments more “flexibility” to take your money without your consent. 

I will continue to oppose any effort to do so.


Majority backs terrible bill that could close rural hospitals, reduce access to care

One of the worst bills we’ve seen this session would make a partisan official, the attorney general, the one to oversee all hospital mergers in Washington.

Senate Bill 5241 would increase regulation when hospitals and health systems combine. The several negative consequences include:

  • Burdening small hospitals with more bureaucracy;
  • Giving the attorney general the power to block mergers;
  • Weakening religious freedom by discriminating against hospitals with a religious mission; and
  • Causing some small hospitals and clinics to disappear.

I voted against this bill, as did my Senate Republican colleagues. The fate of Washington’s hospital system shouldn’t rest in the hands of one partisan individual.


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