Welcome to the 2023 Legislative Session!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you enjoyed a joyous Lunar New Year this month! The 2023 legislative session has begun, and we are back in Olympia after operating mostly remotely for two years.

Ahead of us is four months of work that is critical to addressing affordable housing, expanding behavioral health access, providing relief for working families, and preventing gun violence. This newsletter introduces the work ahead and what it means for our district and state.

Please consider clicking here to view the legislatures celebration of the Lunar New Year. I hope you will enjoy it!

How to Get Involved in the Lawmaking Process

As we tackle numerous other issues, I encourage you to stay engaged and participate! I’m excited to let you know that while the legislature will be meeting in person, we will retain the option for remote testimony at committee hearings. This is an important way that we can make the process of creating and amending laws more accessible to everyone. Below are some fantastic ways of following the legislative session:

  • Learn—The whole legislative process, from start to finish, is explained at leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Overview.aspx
  • Watch—Go to TVW.org for broadcasts of debates, votes, committee meetings, and other events in the House and Senate. There’s also an extensive archive of past events if you couldn’t watch it live.
  • Research—To look up legislation by lawmaker or topic, visit app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/
  • Testify—The 2021 Legislative Session proved that remote testimony is a great way for everyone to have a chance to share their voice. The remote committee testimony system will continue to be in use for all testimony for all bills.

Deputy Majority Leader

For this upcoming legislative session, I am honored to share that my colleagues have elected me as Deputy Majority Leader. Since I joined the legislature, I have been committed to addressing the needs of our community whether it is local capital projects, expanding healthcare access, or strengthening transparency with public safety for law enforcement and firearms owners. Looking ahead, I am excited to lead a bipartisan effort to address the most pressing issues in our state!

2023 Legislative Priorities

I encourage you to look at the legislation I will be supporting here. As session progresses, providing working families with economic stability will be one of the most important issues before us. People are being driven out of communities where their families grew up and into homelessness. Families need relief. That is why I am excited to announce the introduction of three of my bills.

First, I’ve introduced House Bill 1473 to invest in Washington families and create a more fair tax system by enacting a narrowly tailored property tax on extreme wealth. Now more than ever, it is important start rewarding work rather than wealth, and build an economy that works for everyone. This bill makes transformative investments in our communities and addresses our upside-down tax code. The revenue generated will be dedicated to funding early learning, K-12, higher education, and the construction of affordable housing. It will also create two new funds to pay for services for Washingtonians with disabilities and a taxpayer justice fund offering credits against taxes paid disproportionately by low-income and middle-income families.

The second group of legislation, HB 1477 and HB 1075, will modify and expand the Working Families Tax Credit, so that more individuals in need can qualify for assistance. The Working Families Tax Credit is a new program that will provide payments of up to $1,200 to low-to-moderate income individuals and families. The amounts are based on income level and the number of qualifying children (if any). This program will help us stimulate local economies, promote racial equity, and provide the financial stability Washington families need right now. To find more information in several available languages, visit WorkingFamililesCredit.wa.gov.

Lastly, my colleagues and I will be working to address the behavioral health impacts of the last two years. This will include a comprehensive approach to expanding behavioral health staffing and investing in accessible facilities. It is more important than ever that we pursue an integrated system for how behavioral health and substance abuse are treated. I am hopeful this will create an efficient and successful system.

Legislative Page Program

With the Legislature returning to in-person meetings in Olympia, the legislative page program is back and accepting applications! The page program gives young Washington residents the chance to learn and participate in the legislative process by attending page school, assisting legislative offices, delivering messages, and working on the House and Senate floors.

This unique opportunity is open to Washington residents who are at least 14 years old but have not reached their 17th birthday. This year only, the House is allowing 17- and 18-year-olds to participate during two specific weeks since the program was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that we have a scholarship program available to students interested in the page program. The goal of the scholarship is to encourage all students – regardless of income level – to participate in the page program by helping to offset the expense of travel to and staying in Olympia during their week of service. By reducing the financial burden for families, the legislature hopes to make participation of this great educational opportunity economically feasible for students across Washington. For more information, please visit the page program’s website by clicking here.

Let Me Know What Is Important To You

If you come down to Olympia, please schedule a time for us to meet so you can share your concerns with me. I am also happy to meet remotely if you are not quite comfortable in a public setting or simply don’t have time to make it to Olympia. My priority is hearing from you however you are most comfortable, whether remotely or in person.

If you have comments, questions, or ideas, please contact my office. I hope to hear from you soon!

In service,

State Representative My-Linh Thai

41st Legislative District