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E News- See you on the trail!

November 17th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Often in my newsletters, I inform you of community improvement projects soon to come or still pending funding. Today I am happy to report that one of these projects has completed the trip from idea to reality.

Earlier this month, contractors finished paving the access road to the High Point trailhead at Tiger Mountain. They also added new striping to the road and improved the previously poorly marked car stalls. This is a major upgrade to the previous access point which was riddled with potholes and limited accessibility.

During the 2015 legislative session, I secured funding in the capital budget for this project and I am proud to see it finally completed.

Our district is blessed with one of the most beautiful natural environments in the state. During the 2018 legislative session, I will continue to fight to secure funding for these types of quality-of-life improvements to maintain and expand our ability to enjoy our region’s natural beauty. See you on the trail!

New majority, new responsibilities

Democrats gained a one-seat majority in the Senate after winning a special election in the 45th Legislative District. As a result, I will shift leadership roles and become the chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee. Previously, I served as the lead Democrat. Now, as the chair, I will direct the agenda and guide the policy for this committee.

Additionally, I will continue to serve on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education and Health Care committees, and I’ve gained a new position on the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Thank you for your engagement,

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    Mullet to become chair of Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, gain seat on Ways & Means

Mullet to become chair of Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, gain seat on Ways & Means

November 15th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – As Democrats take majority control of the Washington State Senate, Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, will shift leadership roles as chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

Since 2014, Mullet has served as the lead Democrat on Financial Institutions & Insurance. As chair, he will direct the agenda and guide policy on the committee.  

“As chair of the committee, my priority remains to shape policies that create jobs, help small businesses thrive, and give families and individuals the opportunity to succeed,” Mullet said. “As a small business owner, I understand the balance necessary to create an equal playing field for small businesses and their employees.”

Mullet will also continue to serve on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education and Health Care committees, and will gain a position on the powerful, budget-writing Ways & Means Committee.

“I look forward to applying my experience in finance to the important decisions we make on Ways & Means,” Mullet said. “In the past I’ve sometimes seen policies whose financial wisdom I’ve questioned; now it’s my job to help make sure what passes out is fiscally responsible and prudent, and I look forward to that.”

Democrats gained a one-seat majority in the Senate after winning a special election earlier this month in the 45th Legislative District. With Democrats back in the majority, they now have the power to set the agendas of Senate committees and floor action, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for votes.

 

E News- Budget passed, shutdown avoided

July 5th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

After months of hard work and intense negotiations, we have finally passed an operating budget and solution to our K-12 funding crisis. In the end, our final product is the result of compromise. There are items in the budget that I agree with and items that are hard to swallow. This is the nature of compromise and the reality of governing in our split Legislature.

Faced with a state Supreme Court ruling that Washington was not adequately funding K-12 schools, the Legislature was tasked with coming up with a funding plan by the end of this session. In response, we passed a bill late Friday that will fully fund our schools primarily using a new statewide property tax.

Earlier this session, I argued for a K-12 funding solution that relied primarily on local control and keeping local tax dollars local. Even though the bill we passed tonight does not reflect my preference, it nevertheless sends a significant amount of additional funding to the school districts in our community and allows local districts to continue to pass levies for additional funds to support extracurricular programs. In fact, our school districts are in the top tier of funds allocated by the state.

I am also pleased with the policy and reforms embedded into the K-12 bill. It funds programs aimed at closing the opportunity gap and improves teacher compensation. It also creates a new school employee health care plan that is fully funded. As a result, teachers with children will be able to get coverage for their entire family without breaking the bank.

Even though I voted in support of the K-12 bill, I did not vote in favor of operating budget – the budget that pays for the day-to-day operations of the state. I strongly believe that it is not sustainable in the in the long run because it relies too deeply on accounting gimmicks. It also unwisely sweeps funding out of one of our state’s greatest job-creating and economic development program – the Public Works Trust Fund, which greatly benefits local communities throughout Washington state.

That said, our work in Olympia is not entirely done. We have yet to come to an agreement on the Capital Budget or a resolution to the Hirst water ruling. Stay tuned for more updates on our progress.

Thank you for your engagement,

E News- Town hall meetings and college savings options

April 28th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Don’t forget, this weekend I am hosting two town hall meetings. I hope you will join me for a productive and informative discussion about this year’s legislative session.

 

Tahoma School District Central Services

Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

25720 Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road SE

Maple Valley

 

Eagle Room at Issaquah Town Hall

Saturday, April 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

130 E Sunset Way

Issaquah

 

Getting the most bang for your buck when saving for college

As a result of the Legislature lowering college tuition rates last year and the financial markets reaching record highs, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program – one of Washington’s college savings options – is now operating with a roughly $600 million surplus.

Currently, GET credits are valued at $117 per credit in tuition value. However, because of the surge in the markets, those credits are worth about $140 dollars in cash value. I believe that GET holders should be able to take advantage of the increased value of their investments.

I sponsored Senate Bill 5923 to allow GET credit holders to decide if they want to roll the full cash value of their GET credits into the new 529-college savings plan scheduled to open sometime this summer.

Ultimately, this is all about enhancing opportunities for families to save for their children’s futures. By creating an incentive for people to sign up for the 529 plan, we make that program viable. In the meantime, GET will continue to function as yet another reliable option for saving for college.

The bill has garnered bipartisan support and I am hopeful it gains traction during the special session.

Click here to read an article in the Seattle Times about my bill.

Thank you for your engagement,

E News- Session ends with work left to be done

April 21st, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Sunday marks the final day of the regularly scheduled 2017 legislative session. While I am disappointed that we are once again headed for a special session, my focus so far has been to introduce and pass legislation to help our district and our state. Those efforts succeeded in:

  • Accelerating the timing and funding for the development of a new interchange at State Route 18 and Interstate 90. The project was initially set to begin in 2023 but with these proposed changes, it will begin this year. Moving the timing up on this project was my top priority this session.
  • Making it easier for high school students who take AP classes to get college credit for their work. By establishing a standard AP score requirement for all state institutions of higher learning, we will make the application process easier to navigate so students can choose the college that best meets their academic needs without the fear of their hard-earned AP credits going to waste.
  • Strengthening the small business retirement marketplace I helped establish that will offer no-cost savings plans to make it easier for employees to save for retirement.

During the special session, I will continue to fight hard for the downtown revitalization project for Carnation, extra state support for the replacement of the old and undersized Black Diamond Elementary School with a new, state-of-the-art building, and negotiating a moderate solution to our K-12 funding crisis.

The Legislature has gone into a special session four out of the five years I have represented you in the Senate. As I have done every other time we have gone into a special session, I will refuse my per diem. I strongly believe that we should not be paid by your hard-earned tax dollars for not being able to do our job on time.

We are in this situation because budget negotiations have stalled. As one of the most moderate members in the Legislature, I see this problem as an opportunity to find middle ground. After all, compromise often results in policy that best balances the needs of all Washingtonians.

Thank you for your engagement,

 

Mullet to host two town hall meetings on April 29

April 21st, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, will host two town hall meetings in the 5th Legislative District on Saturday, April 29. The locations and times for the events are:

 

Maple Valley: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tahoma School District Central Services

25720 Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road SE

 

Issaquah: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Eagle Room at Issaquah Town Hall

130 E Sunset Way

Legislative town hall meetings are typically held during or soon after a legislative session to provide lawmakers and constituents the opportunity to discuss issues important to their districts. Mullet will provide updates on important bills that have been introduced during the 2017 legislative session as well as what’s happening with K-12 funding and transportation improvements.

 

 

E News- Town Hall Meetings on April 29

April 12th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Are you interested in how we are planning to fully-fund K-12 education or any other issue before the Legislature this year? If so, I hope you can join me Saturday, April 29 at one of my town hall meetings.

Town halls provide an open forum where I can hear directly from you about the issues that matter to you most and answer your questions.

Town hall locations and times:

Tahoma School District Central Services

Saturday, April 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

25720 Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road SE

Maple Valley

 

Eagle Room at Issaquah Town Hall

Saturday, April 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

130 E Sunset Way

Issaquah

 

I hope to you see you then and thank you for your engagement,

Mullet: GET holders should see true value of investments

April 12th, 2017|

As a result of the Legislature lowering college tuition rates and the financial markets reaching record highs, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program is currently operating on a roughly $600 million surplus.

Under Senate Bill 5923, introduced today by Sen. Mark Mullet, D- Issaquah, GET credit holders would be able to take advantage of the increased value of their investments when rolling those funds into the state’s new 529-college savings program.

“This is all about enhancing opportunities for families to save for their children’s futures,” said Mullet. “But all of the options we create have to be reliable and fair. By creating an incentive for people to sign up for the 529 plan, we make that program viable. In the meantime, GET will continue to function as yet another reliable option for saving for college.”

GET credits are valued at $117 per credit in tuition value. However, because of the surge in the markets, those credits are now worth about $140 dollars in cash value. Under Mullet’s bill, GET credit holders would have six months to decide if they want to roll the full cash value of their GET credits into the 529-college savings plan once it opens sometime this summer.

When GET was originally created, it was assumed that college tuition rates would continue to rise year after year. However, the Legislature reduced the cost of tuition statewide in the 2015 operating budget. Since then, the GET marketplace has been temporarily frozen. During this two-year freeze, GET assets have increased because the state effectively invested the money.

Mullet added that this bill is an attempt to reimburse GET customers in a fair manner while ensuring the successful launch of the state’s new 529-college savings plan.

SB 5923 has gained bipartisan support and has been referred to the Senate Higher Education Committee for further consideration.

E News- Civic engagement works!

April 6th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

I’ve come to discover that the best ideas for legislation often come from constituents. Throughout my legislative career, I have enjoyed collaborating with advocates, small business owners and parents from the 5th Legislative District on legislation important to them and our community.

In 2013, a local mom and constituent, Sally Porter, brought to my attention the need for schools to have EpiPens available in case a student suffers a severe allergic reaction. We got right to work on a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe epinephrine to schools in case of emergencies. The bill passed and it was awesome to stand alongside Sally and her son Charlie as the governor signed it into law.

Bonnie Anderson and Diane Weinstein of Issaquah came up with legislation that would direct the state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to establish a pilot program to recycle fishing line at local parks. In the last year alone, over 100 PVC tubes have been installed at fishing areas to collect old lines, saving miles and miles of line from entangling wildlife.

Last session, Joe and Linda Grez from North Bend, the owners of PropEle Electric Boat Motors, inspired legislation to allow people to use low-power electric boat motors without having to go through the hassle of registering their vessels.

Do you have an idea for a bill? If so, contact me soon. I am beginning to put together my legislative priorities for next session. The sooner you share your idea, the sooner we can get started turning that idea into legislation.

Thank you for your engagement,

E News- Update on crucial projects for our community

March 30th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

At the end of every legislative session, I begin the process of gathering community input for projects that I will submit for funding consideration the next year. I’m ecstatic to announce that every one of the projects I sought funding for this year will be fully funded in the proposed budget. The budget passed the Senate this morning on a 49-0 vote. It now advances to the House for further consideration.

I was able to secure funding for a downtown revitalization project for Carnation with the goal of transforming downtown Carnation and supporting local businesses.

The budget proposal also includes additional funding to replace the old and undersized Black Diamond Elementary School with a new, state-of-the-art building. This project will get students and teachers out of portables and into a warm and secure building.

North Bend will benefit from funding provided to finish rehabilitation of the historic Tollgate Farmhouse operated by Si View Metropolitan Parks District.

In addition to these projects, the proposed budget includes funding for several park and trail projects throughout the district.

I will be working hard to ensure that these projects are fully funded when our work here in Olympia is done. After all, these are proposed budgets and not final agreements.

UPDATE: At the beginning of this session, I said that my top priority was to keep traffic moving. That is why I am thrilled that this year’s House Transportation Budget accelerates the timing and funding for a new interchange at Highway 18 and I-90. The project was initially set to begin in 2023 but with these proposed changes, it will begin this year.

Thank you for your engagement,