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Dear Friends,

I hope the arrival of spring finds you and your loved ones well.

With the short 2024 legislative session now over, I wanted to take some time to update you on where we saw progress and where I feel we came up short.

First, I want to thank all of you who joined us for our telephone town hall in February. We had a tremendous turnout, and it is so helpful to hear from you directly on the issues that matter most to you.

Power of the People

One of our biggest priorities coming into this short session continued to be public safety. I am happy to report we were able to move the needle on this by passing the initiative to the Legislature to restore the ability of law enforcement to pursue criminals. As we heard from our 35th District sheriffs outside of the public hearing on the police pursuit initiative, this will make a huge difference in their ability to hold criminals accountable for much of the rising crime we have seen in Washington state.

WATCH Video message from Rep. Griffey, Rep. Couture and 35th District sheriffs on police pursuit initiative.

In addition to the police pursuit initiative, the Legislature also passed initiatives protecting Washingtonians from state and local personal income taxes and strengthening parental rights in education.

Three additional initiatives to the Legislature did not receive hearings and will go to the ballot in November. They include:

I-2117 – Repeals the Climate Commitment Act;

I-2109 – Repeals the capital gains tax;

I-2124 – Allows people to opt out of the long-term care program known as the WA Cares Act.

Public Safety

Restoring the ability for police to pursue criminals is great but, overall, I am disappointed with missed opportunities. The Legislature did not pass bills that would have improved public safety, strengthened protections for domestic violence survivors, and protected children and the most vulnerable in our society. The majority party continues to prioritize criminals over victims.

WATCH Rep. Griffey’s video on why Washington must be tougher on crime.

The majority refused to hear my bill to overhaul Washington’s system on the release of sexually violent predators (SVPs) – many of whom are the most dangerous and violent sex offenders – who have been civilly committed to McNeil Island. Many of the changes included in House Bill 2093 are by the request of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) – the agency that runs McNeil Island. They are changes that ensure local law enforcement, elected officials, prosecutors, and community members are notified and included in the discussion before the state releases these sex offenders into group homes in neighborhoods. It also requires all of these placements to be into state-operated or contracted facilities so there is accountability, and much more. These changes are necessary and well researched with all stakeholders, so I was shocked when the chair of the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee refused to schedule a hearing. I will continue to fight for these changes in a bill next year because the risk to communities under our current system is unacceptable.

READ: 35th District lawmakers frustrated after majority refuses to hear vital bill on sexually violent predators.

Much of my time in office has been dedicated to standing up to survivors of sexual assault or domestic abuse. This session, I proposed an important bill that strengthens protections for survivors who are victimized by abusers through non-fatal strangulation. House Bill 2395 would have barred these abusers from claiming the victim consented to such an act should it be reported as a crime. This bill was the result of a woman in our district sharing her story with me about being victimized by her husband for years with non-fatal strangulation to coercively control her. This is a common tactic for abusers and often a precursor to a tragedy. Once again, the majority party refused to give my bill a hearing. I will continue to fight for this policy for as long as it takes.

READ Rep. Dan Griffey files bill to protect sexual assault, domestic violence survivors from non-fatal strangulation.

Fentanyl

One of the big issues to come up in our town hall was the fentanyl crisis impacting our state. While there was some legislation passed this session to help address this emergency, including a bipartisan fentanyl education bill I was proud to cosponsor, it was not even close to what we need to do to address this crisis that is killing Washington children and so many others and crushing families across the state. Washington has seen record overdoses and fentanyl related deaths involving young children whose parents are addicted to this vile drug in recent years. I cosponsored a bill that would have helped save babies and toddlers from being exposed to this drug by removing them from the imminent harm posed when a parent is using fentanyl in the home. This bill also was not given a hearing with the majority arguing it was too traumatic to remove kids from their parents and that the use of fentanyl by a parent alone is not enough of a danger to warrant removing a child. As a retired firefighter who was on the job over 30 years, I have seen the impact of fentanyl up close and strongly disagree with that assessment.

WATCH Rep. Dan Griffey calls on governor to declare fentanyl emergency.

Beyond the tragic deaths of children with parents addicted to this drug, as a whole our state is not doing enough to address the crisis of fentanyl on every front – including treatment, trafficking, and accountability. Our federal partners are not helping and Washington state must act. That is why I called on the Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a fentanyl emergency. That would allow all state agencies to collaborate and think about how they could help address this crisis. I will continue to call for this and work toward solutions to protect our state and eliminate the scourge of fentanyl in the weeks and months ahead until we get something right and real done to protect our families and communities from this garbage.

Listen to Rep. Dan Griffey, Rep. Travis Couture join the Fix Washington Podcast to talk fentanyl.

That’s all for now. Please remember I always want to hear from you on the issues impacting your lives so please do not hesitate to reach out and share your thoughts or concerns and we will Fix Washington together!

Contact Rep. Dan Griffey here.

Sincerely,


Dan Griffey

State Representative Dan Griffey, 35th Legislative District
RepresentativeDanGriffey.com
403 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
dan.griffey@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7966 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000