State representative Shewmake to host informal listening session

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Sharon Shewmake, a state representative for the 42nd legislative district, will be hosting an informal listening session on Tuesday, September 3.

The event will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Peace Arch City Café and Bar, located at 658 Peace Portal Drive in Blaine.

“It’s an opportunity to grab coffee in a face-to-face setting with the representative and share ideas, concerns and questions about the work the legislature did during the 2018 legislative session, which wrapped up at the end of April, and about the work the legislature has planned for the 2019 legislative session, which will begin in January 2020,” said Michael Penuelas, Shewmake’s legislative assistant.

“This event is one stop on a 14-stop tour that representative Shewmake is doing around the county this summer to get a better sense of what issues are particularly urgent for our community.”

Shewmake was elected in the fall of 2018 and took her oath of office in January. In addition to serving in the state house of representatives, she is a professor of environmental economics, urban economics and energy policy at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

For her first bill, Shewmake sponsored house bill 1428 to improve fuel mix disclosures that are provided by utility companies. Fuel mix disclosures are like a list of ingredients, specifying how much energy came from wind, coal, hydro and other sources. Shewmake’s bill aimed to add clarity and transparency to the disclosures for the benefit of consumers. The bill earned unanimous approval in both the house and senate and was signed into law by governor Jay Inslee.

Shewmake also sponsored a milk safety bill that extends a dairy milk assessment fee until 2025. The fee, paid by milk processors, funds the inspection services that are required for Washington milk to comply with the national standard for milk sanitization. Without this certification, milk produced in Washington state could not be sold across state lines. The bill earned unanimous approval in the state house and senate and was signed into law by governor Inslee.

Another bill sponsored by Shewmake aims to raise college completion rates in high-demand fields, by removing certain restrictions on subsidized child care for students at higher education institutions. The bill passed in the house and the senate and was signed by governor Inslee.

Two other bills sponsored by Shewmake did not progress past the committee stage. The first was a bill providing a retail sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of electric bicycles and related cycling equipment, and the other aimed to establish a Washington Cannabis Commission.

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