Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you are all having a wonderful June! Rep. Timmons and I had our big legislative town hall two weeks ago, and it was so much fun getting to hear folks’ questions and concerns. Since not everyone could make it, I want to remind you all about the smaller, more informal “coffee & conversation” meetings I’m having around the district this coming weekend. These are a chance for us to get together and have a more informal chat about what’s on your mind from this past legislative session, and what we need to be focused on in 2024. No need to RSVP or anything — just drop by if you can!
June 17, 9 – 10 AM
Locus Coffee, 120 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA 98225
June 17, 11 AM – 12 PM
Woods Coffee, 1867 Main St., Ferndale, WA 98248
June 17, 3:30 – 4:30 PM
Point Roberts Community Center, 1437 Gulf Rd., Point Roberts, WA 98281
June 17, 6 – 7 PM
Shores Restaurant, 7848 Birch Bay Dr., Blaine, WA 98230
June 19, 1-2 PM
Master’s Blend, 107 E Main St., Everson, WA 98247
July 7, 2:30-3:30 PM
Lummi Island Library, 2144 S Nugent Rd., Lummi Island, WA 98262
Note that the Lummi Island one was rescheduled from its original date of June 20. I’m excited to see you there at this new date!
If you can’t attend one of these events, feel free to reach out any time over email. As always, I’m at Sharon.Shewmake@leg.wa.gov, and your input and questions are great for me to hear.
Summer burn bans
We’ve already started to get a little smoke blowing in from a fire up in Abbotsford, so I thought it was worth helping to spread the word the Whatcom County Fire Marshal issued restrictions on fires already — you can see the details and exemptions here. While we’re out camping and having a good time, we need to be responsible with fire — nobody wants to see our forests burning and our sky clouded with smoke.
Some news I’ve been reading
I wanted to share some interesting stories on some of the issues we’ve been busy with lately — some of these might get your interest as well!
- Regionalization is another headache in school funding — If you’ve heard about school funding challenges for some of our Whatcom County school districts, this CDN story talks about how that all came to pass and some of the decisions past legislatures made that brought us to this point. They talk to Rep. Timmons in it — I agree with him, we’ve got to make sure these complex formulas and systems provide our local schools the funding students and teachers need.
- In northwest WA, trouble brews over river bacteria locals say is flowing in from Canada — The Washington State Standard is a new publication for state-level news here, and they’ve got a good story about the pollution coming down the Nooksack River basin from Canada and hurting our local tribes and farmers. This is a cross-border problem, and there’s only so much the state Legislature can do. But it’s a big problem, and I want to help however we can to resolve this and make sure our local farms and shellfish beds are protected.
- WA lawmakers’ ‘year of housing’ could ease the affordability crisis — Expanding the supply of affordable housing was one of the Legislature’s top priorities from this past session, and I’m proud to say we delivered big time on some reforms that will make a big difference for folks — legalizing ADUs, cutting red tape with permits, direct investments into affordable housing construction, and a whole lot more. This Crosscut story is a good rundown of some of those bills and the impact they’re expected to have.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope to see you around soon!
Sen. Sharon Shewmake