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

Monthly Archives: March 2019

E News – Moving Beyond Landfills

March 28th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Preserving Washington’s natural beauty is a top concern and our legislative agenda this year reflects that priority. From putting us on track to achieve 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, to electrifying transportation, to increasing energy efficiency in buildings and appliances, to reducing super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons, we’ve taken bold steps forward.

But one issue that we’ve only scratched the surface on is garbage. While we need to do more to reduce waste overall, we also need to realistically address what to do with the trash we continue to generate.

In King County, we’ve traditionally adopted one of two strategies: send our garbage by rail to a distant landfill, as Seattle does, or put it into a local landfill. But landfills leak toxins into the ground and our water, and the methane they emit is a far-more-damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

A sensible alternative is waste-to-energy plants, which burn solid waste to create electricity. An EPA study last decade found that such plants are more environmentally friendly over their life cycle than landfills. Moreover, advances in technology have significantly reduced these facilities’ carbon emissions.

Even better, waste-to-energy plants can reduce the volume of garbage by about 90 percent and can even be used to get rid of the trash that’s already in landfills, helping undo damage already done.

The cost of building waste-to-energy plants may be more than local municipalities can handle, so I think the state needs to take a role in rethinking how we handle trash at a regional level. It wouldn’t be the first time: in the 1980s, we recognized waste-to-energy plants as a preferred alternative to aging landfills due to their waste reduction capacity and the State Legislature invested $60 million to help Spokane build one.

As you may have heard, the King County Council is considering a plan to extend the life of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill between Renton and Maple Valley until 2040, despite past promises to stop accepting garbage in 2028. I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Instead of doubling down on rapidly dwindling landfill space and kicking the can down the road in the hopes that a solution presents itself, it’s time that the Legislature starts looking at alternatives and making smart investments in a sustainable future.

Best regards,

E News – Town Halls Recap

March 19th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Last Saturday, I joined Rep. Bill Ramos and Rep. Lisa Callan for a series of town hall meetings in Maple Valley, Issaquah and North Bend.

It was great to be able to see so many people from our communities and to be able to hear from them directly. We discussed a number of issues that are important to our communities, so I wanted to recap some of the main topics briefly for anyone who wasn’t able to be there.

Environment: early this month, the Senate passed a bill to commit the state’s electrical utilities to 100 percent clean energy from renewable and zero-emission sources by 2045. The goal is to make sure that when Puget Sound Energy stops accepting electricity from the coal-fired Colstrip power plant in Montana, we don’t just shift to another type of dirty energy.

Importantly, the bill makes sure that customers’ rates don’t increase more than two percent in any year. We want to replace coal, which is going away as an energy source, but we want to do so without exploding your utility bill, so we’re spreading it out over 25 years.

Property tax relief: the Senate unanimously passed a bill to help keep low-income seniors, individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans from being priced out of their homes by property tax increases that result from rising home prices.

Vaccines: the current Measles outbreak is a stark reminder of the importance of vaccination. I support eliminating the philosophical or personal objection that exempts children from receiving the vaccines required to attend school, but I would retain existing religious and medical exemptions.

Firearms safety: I support measures that focus on keeping guns out of the hands of people suffering from mental illness or who are involved in incidents of domestic violence.

School bonds: unfortunately, school districts looking for money to build new schools will still need a 60 percent supermajority to pass bond issues after a bill to lower that requirement to a simple majority failed.

I look forward to continuing to fight for our communities during the rest of this legislative session and I always welcome your thoughts on how we can best do that.

Best regards,

E News – Education Funding and Local Levies

March 13th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

I’m looking forward to joining Rep. Bill Ramos and Rep. Lisa Callan for our town hall meetings this Saturday, March 16 in Maple Valley, Issaquah and North Bend. I hope to see you there.

Mullet E News 031219

One topic I expect to address is education funding and the need to keep local property tax levy caps in place. Washington needs to invest more in special education. I’m advocating that the state amp up its support so we don’t have to rely on local levies to pay for it.

We already had a huge property tax increase last year to fund K-12 education, which left a lot of people with sticker shock. Fortunately, an increase in state revenues allowed the Legislature to pass my bill giving Washingtonians a $400 million property tax cut in 2019, but that was a one-time-only measure.

Experience has shown that when levy caps are lifted, local property taxes go up. But funding special education is the state’s obligation. Local communities shouldn’t have to pony up funds to cover that obligation, especially when they could be using those funds for other important projects.

Moving forward, we have to be diligent and responsible in making budget decisions. But I’m against more taxes, period. And I’m highly confident that Washington has enough revenue growth that we can fund our budget without imposing new taxes.

If you agree – or if you disagree – please make sure to join us on Saturday to let us know what you think about this and other key issues facing our communities.

Best regards,

  • Permalink Gallery

    Bill to increase volunteer firefighters’ pensions passes Senate

Bill to increase volunteer firefighters’ pensions passes Senate

March 11th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Volunteer firefighters, emergency medical workers and law enforcement reserve officers in Washington would see an increase in their pensions under a bill the state Senate unanimously approved today.

Senate Bill 5829, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), increases the maximum monthly pension amount from $300 to $350.

“Volunteer firefighters and others play a vital role in maintaining public safety, especially in rural areas,” Mullet said. “But some communities are having trouble with recruitment. This increase is a long-overdue step to recognize and compensate individuals who perform an invaluable public service.”

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate passes Mullet bill expanding employee access to retirement plans

Senate passes Mullet bill expanding employee access to retirement plans

March 8th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate today voted 31-17 to approve legislation to provide employees in Washington who are not offered retirement benefits through their work easier access to retirement plans.

Senate Bill 5740, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), requires certain employers to automatically enroll, at no cost, their employees in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) in the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program run by the Department of Commerce.

Employers would withhold a portion of each employee’s earnings from each paycheck to be invested in an IRA available to employees when they retire. Employees who do not want to participate could simply opt out. Businesses that have fewer than five employees or which are less than five years old would be exempt.

The bill also would allow the state to partner with Oregon, which already has a similar auto-enroll plan, to avoid spending some $10 million to set up its own program.

“Helping Washingtonians save for retirement has been a top priority since I was elected, but far too many of our workers approaching retirement haven’t been able to save enough, and too many Washingtonians still don’t have access to a retirement plan at work,” said Mullet, who chairs the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee. “I’m always on the lookout for more cost-effective ways for government to function, and this bill lets us do that in a way that will benefit all Washingtonians.”

  • Permalink Gallery

    E News – 5th District Lawmakers to Host Town Halls on March 16

E News – 5th District Lawmakers to Host Town Halls on March 16

March 5th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Next week, your lawmakers representing the 5th Legislative District will come together for a series of town hall meetings on Saturday, March 16 to speak with you in person about issues that are important to our communities.

Topics of discussion will include education, taxes and transportation, as well as other local issues.

I hope that you can join me Rep. Bill Ramos and Rep. Lisa Callan at one of three meetings:

10 – 11 a.m.
Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center
23499 SE Tahoma Way, Maple Valley

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Blakely Hall at Issaquah Highlands
2550 NE Park Dr., Issaquah

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
North Bend Library
115 E 4th St., North Bend

I look forward to seeing you next week at the town halls.

Best regards,