Legislative priorities this year


Last updated 1/12/2024 at 5:43pm

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 9th District seatmates – Reps. Joe Schmick and Mary Dye – there are several other priorities this session:

Change the costly “cap-and-trade” program (to me, it’s “cap-and-tax”) so that it does not burden Washington drivers with high fuel prices like it has this past year;

Force the state to finally honor the cap-and-trade fuel surcharge exemption for Washington’s agriculture, aviation and maritime industries;

Make it easier and more affordable for the victims of last August’s devastating wildfires to rebuild;

Allow patients to access their prescription drugs from their local pharmacy or by mail if they so choose;

Improve K-12 education policies and help our local public schools with construction funding;

Provide legislation to hold criminals accountable, address the serious fentanyl crisis and increase the number of law-enforcement officers serving our communities;

Defend against policies that would remove the lower Snake River dams while implementing alternative, effective ways to protect, preserve, and enhance our salmon population; and

Build on our efforts to secure state and federal funding to replace groundwater in the Odessa Subaquifer with delivery systems that connect water supplies to east Columbia Basin farms.

As the Senate Republican leader on the capital budget, I’ve already taken part in several meetings, either in person, digital or via phone, with other legislators and staff as we begin working to craft an updated version of the capital budget that will get our state through the rest of the 2023-25 biennium.

As always, if you have questions, concerns or ideas about bills or issues during this session, I encourage you to contact me, either by phone, email or traditional mail. I look forward to hearing from you.

— Sen. Mark Schoesler represents the 9th Legislative District, which includes Eastern Franklin County. Email him at [email protected].


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