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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Allow me to introduce myself. I am state Rep. Suzanne Schmidt, one of the new legislators representing you in the 4th Legislative District. I was officially sworn into office on Jan. 9, the opening day of the 2023 legislative session.
I will periodically be sending these email updates to keep you informed on what is happening in the legislative session and our state government. Please feel free to share this update with others who may be interested. Each email update also offers you a user-friendly option to unsubscribe. You can find that option below.
Thank you for trusting me to be your voice in Olympia and representing you. It is an honor and privilege to serve in the Legislature.
Town hall meeting
Rep. Leonard Christian and I will be hosting a town hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. I hope you will be able to join us. We will give you an update on the legislative session and answer your questions on what is happening in the legislative session or with our state government. I look forward to seeing you there.
I am serving on four committees this session and have also been appointed assistant whip for the House Republican Caucus. The assistant whip helps maintain decorum during floor action and caucus meetings. Here is a breakdown of my committee assignments:
- Labor and Workplace Standards Committee – I am the assistant ranking Republican on this committee.
- Postsecondary Education and Workforce Committee
- Transportation Committee
- Rules Committee
My committee assignments tie into my background and the needs of our region. They are a good fit as I work to address business and workforce issues. Transportation is also a key priority for our region, especially with the governor's recent announcement in delaying the North-South freeway.
My first bill was heard in the Labor and Workplace Standards Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 31. House Bill 1393 would delay the required date from July 1, 2023 to July 1, 2025 for Washingtonians to complete an apprenticeship program in order to become commercial licensed electricians. Employers and employees in the commercial construction industry say this delay is needed as they are not ready to obtain certification before the July 1, 2023 date. HB 1393 had 383 people throughout the state signed in as supporting the bill, which is far above average. The bill has strong bipartisan support.
Important issues to address
Washington state is facing some difficult challenges. My Republican colleagues and I will be focusing on four areas this session.
- Affordability: It is time to reduce the cost of living. Tax relief is long overdue, such as sales tax or property tax relief. There is also legislation to repeal the regressive long-term care insurance program and payroll tax.
- Keep our communities and neighborhoods safe: Crime continues to escalate. We must restore vehicle pursuit for law enforcement (House Bill 1053 or House Bill 1363), increase the number of officers on the street and address drug addiction.
- Provide more affordable housing: We need to expedite housing permits, streamline development regulations and expand housing opportunity zones.
- Empower all families: The learning loss from the pandemic needs to be addressed, while providing more school choice. Our state is also lacking access to affordable and quality child care. We have also introduced legislation to expand the working families tax credit.
Governor proposes delay of Spokane's North-South freeway
Earlier this month, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed delaying construction of Spokane's North-South freeway project in his transportation budget plan.
Rep. Leonard Christian and I issued a joint statement expressing our opposition to the governor's plan.
As a member of the Transportation Committee, I am working diligently with my colleagues to restore funding to this critical project. This is unacceptable to our region's citizens. It is time to get this project across the finish line. Further delays force us to deal with continued long commutes and heavy traffic. It slows economic growth possibilities and the governor should understand more traffic fuels higher vehicle emissions.
Follow the Legislature
I encourage you to stay engaged and follow the Legislature. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or comments you have. I appreciate the feedback as it helps me better represent you in the Legislature.
Here are some websites and links that may help you stay engaged, testify or comment on legislation this session.
- Representative Suzanne Schmidt (my legislative website)
- The Ledger – a legislative news aggregator
- Capitol Buzz – Daily news clips
- How you can be involved in the legislative process
- How to comment on a bill
- Committee Sign-In – Remote Testimony
It is an honor to serve the 4th District in the state House of Representatives.
468 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7820 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000