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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We’ve reached the halfway mark of the 2023 session. With more than 1,500 bills to consider, the pace has picked up dramatically.

Legislative deadlines keep the process on track. Two important deadlines, policy and fiscal cutoffs, are now in the rearview mirror. Our next big deadline is on March 8: house of origin cutoff.

  • Want to learn more? Click here for more information on the legislative process.

Looking ahead: For the next several days, and likely late into the evening, lawmakers will be in the House and Senate chambers debating and voting on bills. As you can imagine, many of the bills introduced this session won’t make it. This update looks at some of my bills still in process and other good measures worthy of notice.

Boosting the state’s energy goals: One of the bills likely to come to the House floor for a vote this week is my advanced nuclear reactor technology proposal. When developing our state’s ambitious energy goals, my bill gives advanced nuclear reactor technology a well-deserved seat at the table.

What the bill does: House Bill 1584 would require advanced nuclear reactor technology to be considered, along with other carbon-neutral energy alternatives, when setting the state’s energy goals.

Why it matters: The state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045 is unachievable without the deployable, carbon-free, baseload generation produced by advanced nuclear reactor technology.

  • The bipartisan measure requires the Department of Commerce to maximize federal and other non-state funding to support energy efficiency, renewable energy, emerging energy technologies, and other activities of benefit to the state’s overall energy future.

Current status: The measure has been approved by the Environment and Energy Committee and now awaits a vote by the House chamber.

Want to learn more?

Recent news on my bill:

Increasing county meeting opportunities: House Bill 1645 is a simple “housekeeping” request bill from our district that seeks to create greater community engagement.

Background: According to current law, commissioners must host their meetings within the county seat. In areas where the county seat is smaller in population than the surrounding areas, similar to Prosser and the more populous areas of Kennewick and Richland, this can be difficult to accommodate.

Why it matters: My bill would allow a county legislative authority to hold regular meetings once per month in a city within the county that has a greater population than the county seat.

Want to learn more?

Other good bills to watch:

  • Sales tax reliefHouse Bill 1000 expands the Working Families Tax Credit.
  • Regional apprenticeship programs: House Bill 1013 would create a pilot program with two regional apprenticeships, one on the west side of the state and one on the east side.
  • Building starter homes: House Bill 1245 would allow the splitting of lots to create more small parcels of land to build starter homes and other forms of affordable housing.
  • Streamlining housing regulations: House Bill 1401 would allow cities and counties to create a simple, standardized housing permit process for affordable housing units in areas designated for housing.

Click here for a more comprehensive list of good and bad House bills.

Calling all pages!

The page program is an excellent opportunity for students to take part in the legislative process. Students assist the House of Representatives with duties including serving on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, supporting member offices, and attending page school.

  • Youth from 14 to 16 years old can take part in the program.
  • Pages earn a stipend of $50 a day and can also earn up to 20 hours of community service. 
  • Page School supplements the hands-on learning experience with a classroom component geared toward understanding the legislative process.

How to apply: The legislative session runs for 105 days, ending on April 23, 2023. When applying, potential pages can select which weeks they are available to work.

  • Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. By reducing the financial burden and raising awareness of the program, the Legislature hopes to make participation in this great educational opportunity economically feasible for more students across the state.

Watch my latest legislative update video on housing bills and the page program.

Thank you!

Feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns, or comments regarding legislation or interactions with state agencies. Even better, if you are planning on visiting Olympia — be sure to give me a call. I always enjoy visitors to my office here at the state Capitol.

It’s an honor to serve you!


Stephanie Barnard

State Representative Stephanie Barnard, 8th Legislative District
469 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7986 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000