Serving Franklin County, WA

Back in Olympia

By Sen. Mark Schoesler, Rep. Joe Schmick and Rep. Mary Dye

We are back at the state Capitol for the 2023 legislative session, which began Jan. 9 and is set to last 105 days, ending April 23.

After being forced to endure a virtual legislative session in 2021 and last year due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, we’re encouraged that the Legislature has returned to near-normal in terms of how committee meetings and floor sessions are conducted. In the two previous legislative sessions, citizens weren’t allowed to attend committee meetings or floor sessions in person. Instead, they had to rely on Zoom to testify on bills. Citizens were even banned from meeting with legislators in their offices.

The restrictive steps taken by Democratic leaders during “the COVID era” unfairly kept the people from having full access to their elected legislators in Olympia. We are glad that people once again can see us and other lawmakers in person if they wish.

If you plan to visit Olympia during our session and wish to meet with any of us at the Capitol, please reach out to set up an appointment. We would love to see you!

On Jan. 10, the day after new legislators were sworn into office in the House and Senate, Gov. Inslee delivered his annual State of the State address before a joint House-Senate session in the House chamber.

In his speech to legislators, Inslee pointed out some of the problems that Washington faces, including homelessness and public safety. While we agree with the governor that these are serious issues that need to be resolved, we disagree with him on how to fix them.

For instance, his idea for addressing public safety is focused on imposing more gun control. We think better solutions are to restore penalties for drug possession and to remove (or at least loosen) the recent restrictions that the Legislature placed on law-enforcement officers when it comes to vehicle pursuits.

While we’re glad to see the governor finally take a stand on homelessness this year, we’re opposed to his wanting to put our state $4 billion deeper in debt to finance more government housing for the homeless across Washington. There are more cost-effective ways to address homelessness.

During the early part of the session, the Legislature is focused on committee meetings in which bills receive public hearings. We’ll spend the next several weeks attending meetings for our assigned committees, though there will be occasional House and Senate floor sessions to attend as well.

If you need to reach us during session to ask a question, seek help for a problem with state government, or offer an idea for legislation, please get in touch. Here is how: Sen. Mark Schoesler (360) 786-7620, [email protected]; Rep. Joe Schmick (360) 786-7844, [email protected]; and Rep. Mary Dye (360) 786-7942, [email protected].

We look forward to hearing from you!


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