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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this letter finds you well. Fall is here and that means the Legislature will be reconvening soon. The 2024 legislative session in Olympia is schedule to begin on Jan. 8 and run for 60 consecutive days. As with any year, lawmakers have many things to work on in 2024. We still face many of the same pressing issues we have been focused on during the past several sessions.

Top Issues for 2024

As we look to make Washington a better, safer place to live for everyone, we must come together to find the best solutions for the issues we face, including public safety, rising crime, homelessness, and mental health. Our drug crisis, specifically fentanyl, also continues to take a toll on Washington. We are losing too many lives and families are being torn apart because of substance abuse. We must find a better way to help those struggling with this issue.

Time will tell if the change in Washington’s drug-possession law in July will lead those who struggle with addiction to enter and complete treatment while also reducing drug-related crime. However, there is more work to do in 2024 to specifically fight the scourge of fentanyl and expand access to behavioral-health treatment.

I introduced legislation during the 2023 session, House Bill 1654, that would establish a model for enhanced behavior-support homes in the state. There is a growing crisis for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities reaching adulthood who cannot access safe and appropriate community-living options.

The current supported-living housing model often fails those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have significant behavioral challenges by refusing to take them as clients, leading to housing instability and often mental illnesses. Helping individuals with mental-health issues is one of my top priorities in this upcoming session, and I plan to explore all possible solutions to address this growing problem.

Other important issues we will be addressing this year, include overcoming learning loss from the pandemic, responsible spending by state government, and the ongoing effort for constructing a new Interstate 5 bridge.

Interim Activities

Even though the legislative session ended in April, I have been busy working for you throughout the interim. I have been able to visit with many of you in the 17th District over the last several months, regarding a variety of issues. I have visited schools, businesses, organizations, and many other institutions in an effort to represent you the best I can in Olympia.

One such visit occurred recently. I joined three other Southwest Washington lawmakers to tour Fresenius Medical Care’s Fort Vancouver clinic. This facility focuses on dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and their needs. It was a great opportunity to learn more about these individuals and the medical providers who care for them.

Please Reach Out and Stay in Touch

As we move closer to the next legislative session, please continue reaching out to me. Your input helps me focus on the things that matter most to you, so please stay in touch by using the contact information below. You can also schedule an appointment by clicking here. I look forward to hearing from you as I continue to do everything I can to represent you in Olympia.

It’s an honor to serve you.


Paul Harris

State Representative Paul Harris, 17th Legislative District
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7976 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000