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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The House has been working overtime on the three budgets: operating, capital and transportation. I am a member of both the House Appropriations Committee and the House Capital Budget Committee, and my seatmate Rep. Dan Griffey serves on the House Transportation Committee. We’ve been busy meeting late nights and through the weekends to deliver results for the 35th District.

Capital budget

The House’s version of the capital budget, House Bill 1147, would spend $8.34 billion on construction projects across the state, including:

  • $893 million for behavioral health;
  • $847 million for K-12 public school construction;
  • $704 million for affordable housing, home upgrades, and utility connection grants; and
  • $150 million for broadband access.

The 35th District would see more than $32 million on dozens of projects, including:

  • A portion of the $73 million appropriated for the Office of Chehalis Basin to administer floodplain risk reduction and habitat restoration projects in the Chehalis River Basin, which also spans districts 19, 20, 24, and 22;
  • $17.587 million for recreation and conservation, including $5.31 million for the final phase of the Oakland Bay restoration project in Shelton;
  • $3.006 million for repair of Department of Corrections water tank;
  • $2.232 million for small district and state tribal compact schools;
  • $1.85 million for Angleside reservoir capacity upgrades in Shelton;
  • $1.65 million for Department of Corrections facilities;
  • $1.2 million for young adult transitional housing in Shelton;
  • $1.03 million for new Mason County jail construction in Shelton;
  • $618,000 for Camp Thunderbird wastewater treatment facility in Olympia;
  • $618,000 for Mason public utility districts (PUD) 1 Vuecrest water system storage project in Union;
  • $515,000 for Port of Allyn public pier repair in Allyn;
  • $500,000 for Kennedy Creek trail and interpretive development;
  • $400,000 for Department of Fish and Wildlife facilities;
  • $340,000 for emergent environmental mitigation projects;
  • $175,000 for forestry riparian easement;
  • $103,000 for emergency shelter capital improvements in Shelton;
  • $70,000 for library improvements in Shelton;
  • $40,000 for Mima Mounds public access improvements and fencing;
  • $25,000 for Little Skookum Inlet fence and gate for site protection; and
  • $20,000 for Oak Patch reconstruction of perimeter fence for site protection.

The House’s version must still be reconciled with the Senate’s capital budget, Senate Bill 5200. The Senate’s proposal is slightly smaller; it would appropriate $7.9 billion statewide and $26 million for the district, with mostly identical projects.

Transportation budget

House Bill 1125, the House 2023-25 transportation budget proposal, would spend $13.2 billion on roads, bridges, encampment cleanup, fish passage barrier removal, and ferries. It passed the House by a vote of 96-1 yesterday afternoon.

Unfortunately, we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars caused by executive branch mistakes and delays. The House budget as adopted yesterday prioritizes projects that can be finished now

The good news, Belfair bypass on State Route 3: Included in the proposal is an additional $42.608 million over four years to begin the process of building the State Route 3 Freight corridor. Site acquisition will happen this year with construction to begin in 2024. The governor’s proposed budget would have kicked this project out to the 2030s. This is a huge win for Mason and Kitsap Counties! That’s in addition to $26.485 million that’s already been approved for the project.

Operating budget

The 2023-25 House operating budget proposal would spend $70 billion, which is a $6 billion increase over current spending levels. It would leave $2.1 billion in the rainy-day fund by the end of the four-year outlook period, which is less than the State Treasurer’s minimum target of 10% of annual revenues.

Unfortunately, it also provides no tax relief for working families. Once again, the majority party has failed to properly prioritize state spending. Amendments to fund police, clean up homeless encampments, and properly fund special education and address learning loss were denied.

You can watch videos of my speeches on each of these amendments here:

The operating budget, Senate Bill 5187, passed the House by a vote of 57-40 yesterday evening along caucus lines.

I was able to get two budget provisos approved by the committee:

  • $360,000 for the Shelton School District to contract with an organization that provides free early learning and childhood music education.
    • The organization must also provide students with Spanish, Mam, and Q’anjob’al versions of the early learning music education.
    • This is a one-time investment that will pay dividends down the road. The program will continue with title funding.     
  • $100,000 to leverage federal funds to contract with an organization in Thurston County to provide equine therapy for military veterans and active members of the military.
    • Equine therapy is a proven alternative therapy method that can help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related problems.

Legislative resources

  • My legislative website | Find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
  • Get involved | The House Republican guide to communicating with legislators and participating in the legislative process.
  • The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories.   
  • The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
  • TVW | TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
  • The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
  • Legislature’s website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
  • State agencies | Lists of all state agencies, boards, and commissions.
  • Participating in the process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process

Thank you!

Please contact my office with your questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions. I am here to listen and serve you. 

It’s an honor to serve you!


Travis Couture

State Representative Travis Couture, 35th Legislative District
404 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7902 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000