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Articles written by Sen. Mark Schoesler


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  • Two bad bills signed into law

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Apr 5, 2024

    Each year, for a session lasting either 105 days (in odd-numbered years) or 60 days (in even-numbered years), legislators gather in Olympia to introduce, debate and vote on bills. While many people focus their attention on what the Legislature does each year, there is one final and crucial step in the legislative process that happens – the governor decides whether to veto part or all of a bill, or let it become law. Since this year’s legislative session ended March 7, Gov...

  • Legislative priorities this year

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Jan 12, 2024

    Monday featured opening-day ceremonies in the Senate and House chambers, followed by a joint legislative session in the House chamber on Tuesday for Gov. (Jay) Inslee’s final state of the state address. Because this is considered a “short session,” fewer bills will be introduced and considered than in last year’s 105-day session. The main objectives for legislators this year will be to create and pass supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. For me and my...

  • Address COVID learning loss

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Oct 13, 2023

    As parents know all too well, many students suffered learning loss when schools were shut down or relied on virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. This “COVID learning loss” has resulted in lower test scores from Washington students in recent years. Unfortunately, not every possible solution has been deployed to address this problem. One of my Republican colleagues, 8th District Sen. Matt Boehnke, wrote a guest column on COVID learning loss. It mentioned a recent ana...

  • 'Gag order' issued on gas rates

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Sep 13, 2023

    For several months, drivers and businesses have had to endure the sharp increase in fuel prices since the state’s cap-and-trade program – or “cap-and-tax,” as I like to call it – went into effect Jan. 1. But consumers, especially those who rely on natural-gas furnaces for heat, soon will feel pain in their wallets thanks to cap-and-tax. The state Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission recently approved a request by Puget Sound Energy to increase its natural g...

  • Do you feel safer?

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Sep 13, 2023

    Over the past few years, our state has witnessed a steady rise in several types of crime. This has caused serious harm in many communities on both sides of the state, and many Washingtonians continue to live in fear that their families and homes and businesses will be touched by crime at some point. One key reason for the crime hike is the state’s low number of law-enforcement officers per capita. Washington ranks dead last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. B...

  • Pennies at the pump add up

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Aug 15, 2023

    It’s been a tough week around the farm with equipment failures that have delayed harvest a few days. I’ll get back on track. But while repairs are underway, I can’t help but think about others who won’t recover so easily from hits to their budgets – setting them back further and further every time they fill up at the gas station or get a paycheck. Many of our friends on the West Side of the state disregard rural folks in communities like ours. We see this every session t...

  • Opt-out measure looms

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Jul 26, 2023

    For some time now, many Washington workers have been upset about an upcoming payroll tax to fund the new long-term care program called “WA Cares”, created by Democrat majorities in the Legislature in 2019. That payroll tax finally went into effect July 1. Unless you applied for and received an exemption from this tax, you’ll see less money in your paycheck. The payroll tax is currently equal to $58 annually for every $10,000 in pay. The WA Cares program offers a lifet...

  • State capital gains income tax upheld

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Mar 31, 2023

    Ever since legislative Democrats passed a law (Senate Bill 5096) two years ago creating a capital gains state income tax in Washington, observers on both sides of the political aisle have been waiting for the controversial law to make its way to the state Supreme Court, where the court’s nine justices would decide whether the law was constitutional. Following a hearing in late January, the Supreme Court on March 24 issued its ruling, one that has opponents of this tax s...

  • Cap-and-trade driving gas price hike

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Feb 21, 2023

    Why are WA gas prices rising while prices in other states remain same? I’ll tell you why: Gov. Jay Inslee’s environmental laws, approved by legislative Democrats two years ago. You’ll recall that earlier I wrote about how wholesale gasoline and diesel prices had risen sharply in early January due to the “cap-and-tax” law that went into effect Jan. 1. During his weekly meeting with reporters last week, Inslee was asked about reports that his cap-and-tax legislation had alrea...

  • Schoesler: Address school maintenance

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Jan 26, 2023

    For the fifth straight year, I’ve introduced a bill that aims to help school districts in Washington address their building-maintenance needs. Senate Bill 5403 would allow school districts to create a “depreciation subfund” that can receive a transfer of up to 2% of a school district’s general fund each fiscal year. This bill would provide another path for school districts to handle building- or facility-maintenance needs. Sometimes it can be better for a school distric...

  • Inslee attacks natural gas, again

    Sen. Mark Schoesler, 9th Legislative District|Updated May 19, 2022

    In recent years, environmentalists have targeted natural gas, even though it is an affordable energy source for so many. Their efforts have failed in the Legislature. But, apparently, Gov. Inslee and his environmental allies found another way to restrict natural gas use. Last Friday, the State Building Code Council, whose members are appointed by the governor, voted 11-3 to change state energy rules by requiring new businesses and apartments to mostly use heat pumps to warm...

  • House bill only delays payroll tax

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Feb 10, 2022

    Last week, I wrote that two bills addressing the state’s flawed and controversial long-term care program (nicknamed the “short-term care program”) and the costly payroll tax (dubbed the “long-term tax”) funding it had come over to the Senate after being passed by the House. The Senate fast-tracked these two measures this week, as the Ways and Means Committee held public hearings on them Monday and then approved them Tuesday. The full Senate yesterday passed the two bills, se...

  • Gov. Inslee resumes targeting dams

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Nov 2, 2021

    It’s no secret that Gov. Jay Inslee wants the removal of the four federal dams on the lower Snake River between Clarkston and the Tri-Cities. Back in December 2018, his proposed 2019-21 operating budget included $750,000 for a state study on breaching Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams. U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse, officials from electric utilities, ports and groups representing agriculture and economic development all oppo...

  • Concerns about new long-term care tax

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Aug 13, 2021

    Mr. Ed Schweitzer, who founded and leads Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, recently pointed out how the new long-term care tax will have an extra-bitter taste for people who call Idaho home but work in our state, in border cities like Clarkston or Pullman. Those include a significant number of SEL's employee-owners, he wrote in a letter to Gov. Inslee, who will be forced to pay the tax but can never benefit from it if they don't reside in Washington. His...

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