(360) 786-7608|mark.mullet@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: January 2016

E News- Teacher retention and recruitment

January 27th, 2016|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Statewide, we have a serious teacher shortage. School districts are struggling to attract teachers to the profession and retain them once they are hired. Some districts have started the year with as many as 30 classroom vacancies. They’ve resorted to filling these holes with principals and scarce, long-term substitute teachers, but even after these stop gaps are in place, many classrooms remain without permanent teachers.

That’s why I’ve sponsored legislation that would explore implementing a 12-month paid maternity/paternity leave for teachers. The study would be conducted by an in-house research group at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

I’ve heard from school boards in our district that we need to do a better job attracting young professionals from around the nation to teach in Washington. Study after study shows that young workers are looking for a better work-life balance. To be a state that is recognized nationally by new teachers, we’ll have to think outside the box and beyond simply increasing compensation. This study will examine a proposal that many large private sector employers are starting to make and I strongly believe Washington should be on the leading edge of attracting young talented workers.

Promoting civic engagement and helping local small businesses

Oftentimes, the best ideas for legislation come from constituents. This year, Joe Grez, the president of PropEle Electric Boat Motors and resident of the 5th district, inspired legislation (SB 6120) to allow people to use low-power electric boat motors without having to go through the hassle of registering their vessels.

I hear from many people that government is unresponsive, but I want people in our community to know that if they have a good idea, I’ll listen and we’ll work together on a solution. When I saw the opportunity to help a local small business and increase recreational opportunities, I jumped. Joe sent me an email in April, we drafted and submitted legislation, and just this week the bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Last legislative session, I was able to secure funding for another idea that came from members of our community — a program to collect and recycle fishing line at local fishing spots.

If you or someone you know has an idea for a law, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you.

Sincerely,

Mullet_sig

Bipartisan plan to keep charter schools open passes Senate

January 20th, 2016|

OLYMPIA… Public charter schools would remain available to Washington students under bipartisan legislation passed today by the Washington State Senate. The plan, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow and Sen. Mark Mullet, directs charter school funding to come from the state’s Opportunity Pathways Account, which contains state lottery revenues not restricted to common schools.

“One of the greatest challenges facing our state is education inequality,” said Litzow, who serves as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. “We must continue to find innovative ways to ensure all children have access to a great education, one that prepares them to enter and succeed in college and compete for a good job.”

Bipartisan sponsors in the Senate and House of Representatives released the proposal ahead of the 2016 session to maintain voter-approved charters as one tool to address Washington’s opportunity gap following a state Supreme Court ruling declaring the schools unconstitutional.

“I believe we have an obligation to the more than 1,200 children attending charter schools to allow them to stay at the schools they have come to depend on to meet their educational needs,” said Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah. “I fear that if we don’t do something to protect these charter schools they will become a private option only available to families who have money. By keeping these schools public, we can make sure that all children regardless of economic standing have a wide range of educational options.”

This session the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and Ways and Means Committee held public hearings where students and parents shared their experiences.

In September, 2015, the state Supreme Court declared charter schools unconstitutional and denied a reconsideration request from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers, including Litzow and Mullet, also filed a brief with the court raising concerns about the ruling. Washington currently has eight open charter schools following the 2012 passage of Initiative 1240, which allows up to 40 schools to be opened by state-approved non-profit organizations.

The bill passed the Senate by a 27-20 margin and now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration. The Legislature is in the 10th day of 2016’s 60-day session.

E News- Charter school families deserve certainty

January 19th, 2016|

Dear friends and neighbors,

It is an honor to be back in Olympia representing your values in the 2016 legislative session. As always, my overriding responsibility is to you, the residents of the 5th Legislative District. When it comes to my job, your needs will always come before anything else, especially partisan politics.

Charter school families deserve certainty

Late last year, the state Supreme Court struck down Initiative 1240, the Charter School Act that was passed by voters in 2012. Regardless of how you voted on charter schools, we can all agree that you shouldn’t shut down a school that is loved by students and parents. That’s why I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation (SB 6194) to keep charter schools open.

I believe we have an obligation to the more than 1,200 children attending charter schools to allow them to stay at the schools they have come to depend on to meet their educational needs.

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During a recent committee hearing on charter schools, I was struck by a mother who said she sends one of her children to a charter school and her other children to a public school. For me, this drove home the idea that charter schools offer parents flexibility to choose what works best for each of their children.

I am one of only two Democrats who have signed onto this bill. The reason is simple: The 5th Legislative District approved the charter school initiative and it’s my job to do whatever I can to keep them open and honor your vote.

Stay tuned

Thanks for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Next week’s enews will cover teacher retention and what we can do to attract more job seekers to the teaching profession.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. The better I know your needs and concerns, the better I can represent your interests.

Best regards,

Mullet_sig

  • Permalink Gallery

    In the news: Mullet co-sponsors bill to keep charter schools running

In the news: Mullet co-sponsors bill to keep charter schools running

January 13th, 2016|

Charter school proponents were in Olympia yesterday testifying in favor of legislation that would keep charter schools open. KOMO News of Seattle reported on the hearing and featured in their report was Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, who co-sponsored the bill.

“It’s about these kids and their families. They love their schools. I think our job is to make sure when somebody loves their schools we keep them open. We don’t shut them down,” said Mullet.

You can watch or read the entire report by clicking here.

  • Permalink Gallery

    In the news: Mullet’s retirement legislation garners national attention

In the news: Mullet’s retirement legislation garners national attention

January 13th, 2016|

In the 2015 legislative session, Sen. Mark Mullet, D- Issaquah, sponsored legislation that makes simple, affordable retirement savings plans run entirely by the private sector available through small businesses at no cost to the employer and minimal cost to the employee. The bill was passed and signed into law.

Yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie, R-New Jersey, vetoed a retirement bill that made it to his desk and said that he favors legislation modeled after Mullet’s bill instead.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.