EVERETT — State Senate Democratic colleagues selected Sen. June Robinson, D-Everett, to serve as the chair of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee for the 2024 legislative session.
Robinson will be in the decision-making seat in the committee that shapes the state’s budget. The committee also authorizes state debt and deals with tax policy.
After serving as the committee’s vice chair, she brings years of experience in state government and budgets to the table.
“I’ve been in the budget writing space now for seven years,” she told The Daily Herald on Thursday. “So I have a lot of experience working alongside chairs as budgets are constructed and negotiated.”
Her appointment comes after the previous chair, Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, resigned from the Legislature to serve on the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.
In this year’s session, Ways and Means finalized the state’s $69.2 billion biennial budget outlining funding for the next two years.
Come January, the committee will work on revising the state’s spending plan and make necessary adjustments.
In the next session, Robinson anticipates challenges funding solutions to the biggest issues facing residents in the state and Snohomish County.
“We must address gaps in behavioral health care, respond to unprecedented levels of people unable to afford housing, protect our environment, and continue to adequately fund our K-12 education system,” she said in a news release.
In July, a federal judge found the state was failing to provide the required competency services to people with severe mental health conditions while detained in jail with a pending criminal case. The result was a fine of $100 million to be borne by the state.
Addressing these changes within the budget will get a lot of attention from legislators next year, Robinson said.