Inslee pitches housing plan, assault weapons ban, abortion protections in State of the State address

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Governor Jay Inslee used his first in-person State of the State address since 2020 to pitch a $4 billion investment in new housing to help get people out of homelessness.

“If there was ever a time to go big, it’s now,” Inslee said.

Inslee wants the legislature to send voters a referendum asking to approve housing bonds above the state’s debt limit.

The governor said his plan would bring in the money over six years without new taxes or fees.

“A bonding referendum allows us to act now, not bit by bit over the next 30 years,” Inslee said.

Republican leaders said housing solutions must involve the private sector.

“It’s not the worst suggestion that’s come. Will we support it? I want to listen to testimony and go through the process on this,” said Rep. J.T. Wilcox (R-Minority Leader).

The governor also called for requiring safety training for gun buyers and allowing lawsuits against gun makers.

“The time has come for this legislature to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons,” Inslee said.

Republicans say gun safety bills need to consider factors like mental health and substance abuse.

“If we’re going to have a serious grown-up conversation about that, I’m all in. But what I hear from the governor is just political speak for let’s make everything about gun violence,” said Sen. John Braun (R-Minority Leader).

On abortion, Washington voters twice protected reproductive rights in state law.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Inslee wants to take the next step.

“We must pass a constitutional amendment that expressly establishes a fundamental right to reproductive freedom in the great state of Washington,” Inslee said.