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

E-News

E-News – Coronavirus update

March 4th, 2020|

Friends and neighbors,

As the novel coronavirus has become more prevalent in Washington throughout the week, many of us are rightfully uneasy about the spread of this disease given how close it is to our communities. As more tests become available to Washingtonians who have been exposed, we will likely continue to see the number of cases rise in the coming weeks. This is a normal albeit scary thing to see – but please remember that the Centers for Disease Control and the Washington Department of Health are emphasizing precautions to prevent the further spread. This week, health officials have been highlighting measures like:

  • Washing your hands often with warm water and soap for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).
  • Wiping down frequently touched surfaces with disinfectants.
  • Avoiding touching your face and eyes.
  • Staying home from work if you are sick.
  • Calling the DOH coronavirus hotline at 1-800-525-0127, press # if you have questions or are concerned that you have symptoms. If you are in King County, you can also contact the King County novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977.

If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider. Isolate yourself and wear a mask before leaving the house. Do not go to the emergency room, as they need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

You can find more information at the Washington DOH website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, and the Public Health – Seattle & King County website.

The Legislature has been acting to get funding to respond to this outbreak as quickly as possible. The House passed a bill yesterday that would allocate $100 million from Washington’s Budget Stabilization Account via the Disaster Response Account to go to state agencies and local governments for response to the outbreak. We will be working to pass that bill here in the Senate as soon as possible, too.

As this outbreak is ongoing and information is constantly changing, stay up to date and informed with accurate information at the links above. In this time of uncertainty, it is vital that we are working with what we know to be true rather than spreading false information.

Best regards,

E-News – The Operating Budget

February 27th, 2020|

De ar friends and neighbors,

I want to start by thanking everyone who was able to attend the town hall meetings this weekend. Hearing from you about the issues you care about is an important and valuable part of the legislative process.

This week, the Senate is working on the operating budget, which adjusts funding levels during the short legislative session based on new information since the biennial budget passed last year. Because of the significant revenue growth projected this February, there will be no need to raise new taxes while still investing in important programs. Here are some investments included in the proposed budget that I want to highlight:

  • Additional state support for nursing homes. Over the last few years, multiple Washington State nursing homes have closed their doors. I want to help the nursing homes we have in our community stay open. The Senate budget includes millions of dollars for nursing homes that should dramatically improve the financial stability of those homes and guarantee options for seniors in our community.
  • Enhanced services for those facing foreclosure. The statewide nonprofit resource center has been allocated more money to provide services, such as mediators who work with homeowners and landlords, foreclosure prevention hotlines, and low-income legal services. This is an important step to ensure we employ all options to keep people in their homes.
  • Funding for behavioral health treatment and facilities. Behavioral health is a top priority for the legislature, especially considering its link to homelessness, substance use disorder, and violence. By investing in a new training and treatment facility at UW, as well as increasing resources at our existing facilities, we can work to get those in need paired with available resources.

The lack of tax increases in this budget demonstrates the fiscal responsibility I appreciate in our state budgets. While I believe our state should be saving more money and spending less, I support the much-needed investments included in this budget.

Last year, the operating budget included $15,000 for the winners of the state championship of the civics education program “We The People” to travel to the national championships in Washington D.C. I am happy to report that Tahoma High School’s We the People team has received that funding and will be traveling to the championships later this spring to compete. The Senate honored the team on the Senate Floor today with a resolution to celebrate their incredible work ethic and success!

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office with questions,

Best regards,

E-News – Capital Budget and Upcoming Town Halls

February 20th, 2020|

Dear friends and neighbors,

As this busy week in Olympia comes to a close, I’m looking forward to seeing many of you this Saturday, Feb. 22 for the 5th Legislative District Town Halls. Rep. Bill Ramos and Rep. Lisa Callan from the House of Representatives and I will be hosting three different events throughout the District to talk through what we’ve been working on this session and how it will impact our community. I encourage you to join us at any of the three:

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center
23499 SE Tahoma Way, Maple Valley, WA 98038

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
North Bend City Hall
920 SE Cedar Falls Way, North Bend, WA 98045
*Note: Sen. Mullet has a family obligation during this town hall. Reps. Ramos and Callan will still be there.*

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Blakely Hall At Issaquah Highlands
2550 NE Park Dr, Issaquah, WA 98029

You can find an event for each of these and RSVP to whichever one you’re attending on my Facebook page.

Another exciting part of this week has been the rollout of the Capital Budget in the Senate – a process which I have been fortunate enough to be involved in for a few years now. This year, three important projects in the 5th District would receive funding.

  • The Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services to renovate an emergency night shelter and increase client services like counseling and employment consultation.
  • The Issaquah School District to add new classrooms to the Early Learning Center.
  • SnoValley Kiosk to fund the Gateway to the Cascades program and complement existing tourism in North Bend, Snoqualmie, and other communities.

Funding would be given in various other places too, like the King County Emergency Search and Rescue takeover of the Raging River Quarry. While this budget still has to make its way to the House to be considered and approved, I will be working to ensure that these requests are in the final approved version on March 12.

I’ll see you in the 5th District this weekend!

Best regards,

E-News – Prioritizing Education for our Students

February 12th, 2020|

Dear friends and neighbors,

As session reaches the halfway point, I want to highlight some of the important work being done around education policy in Olympia. Education is our state’s paramount duty, so every year you can expect that legislators will be working to improve outcomes for kids. Here are a couple of the education issues I have been advocating for this year:

  • Defining the role of school counselors: School counselors are a vital resource and we should be investing in more of them. But we also need to be sure that the current counselors aren’t being asked to fill in for other jobs. In our state right now, many school counselors that have master’s degrees are being asked to monitor kids at recess, proctor exams, and even act as crossing guards. That’s not right. The Seattle Times recently wrote about a bill that I’m sponsoring which would define the duties of school counselors. I’m confident this proposal will boost the amount of time counselors can spend helping students with their academic and personal lives.

  • Public charter school funding: As the longest serving member of the Senate Education committee, I have heard from hundreds of public charter school students and their families throughout the eight years I’ve been in the Senate.  They love their public charter schools, but the state is still not guaranteeing the same level of funding for these public school students as their peers receive.  As a result, we have seen public charter school closures or relocations, which puts an undue stress on the students. You can read more about the lack of resources some of our kids are facing and how I’ve worked to fix the disparity in this piece by the Seattle Times editorial board.
  • Dual credit courses: Many of our kids are preparing for their futures by taking dual credit courses which give them the opportunity to earn college credits in high school. Unfortunately, AP and IB classes require fees for testing, and College in the High School and Running Start can cost hundreds more. Rather than creating barriers, we should be letting as many students as possible take these courses, regardless of cost. That’s why I’m sponsoring legislation that would eliminate the costs for students enrolled in these programs.

If you have any questions or comments on these bills or anything else happening in Olympia, I encourage you to reach out to my office.

Best regards,

Save the date and times for the upcoming 5th District Town Halls on Feb. 22!

  • 1st: Maple Valley
    When: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
    Where: Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center
    23499 SE Tahoma Way, Maple Valley, WA 98038
  • 2nd: North Bend
    When: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    Where: North Bend City Hall
    920 SE Cedar Falls Way, North Bend, WA 98045
    *Note: I have a family obligation for this town hall, Rep. Ramos and Rep. Callan will be there*
  • 3rd: Issaquah
    When: 1:30 -2:30 p.m.
    Where: Blakely Hall At Issaquah Highlands
    2550 NE Park Dr, Issaquah, WA 98029

E-News – 5th District Legislators to Host Town Halls on Feb. 22

February 7th, 2020|

Dear friends and neighbors,

In two weeks, your lawmakers representing the 5th Legislative District will come together for a series of town hall meetings on Saturday, Feb. 22nd to speak with you in person about issues that are important to our communities.

Topics of discussion will include transportation, the environment, taxes and other local issues.

I hope that you can join me, Rep. Lisa Callan, and Rep. Bill Ramos at one of the three meetings we’re hosting in the district:

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center
23499 SE Tahoma Way, Maple Valley, WA 98038

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
North Bend City Hall
920 SE Cedar Falls Way, North Bend, WA 98045

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Blakely Hall At Issaquah Highlands
2550 NE Park Dr, Issaquah, WA 98029

As our community experiences unprecedented amounts of rainfall, please remember to be cautious while driving. The flooding and landslides on SR 900, SR 169, and Issaquah-Fall City RD as well as many other routes in the area are dangerous and demonstrate the importance of investing in our transportation infrastructure.

If you find yourself in an emergency or are concerned for your safety, please call 911. Otherwise, call the 24/7 King County roadside helpline at (206)-477-8100 or toll-free at 1-800-527-6237 for road maintenance and traffic issues. Stay safe, and please exercise caution as this storm passes.

I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks at the town halls.

Best regards,

E News – 2020 Session Ongoing Projects

January 30th, 2020|

Dear friends and neighbors,

I started this week with a heavy heart as another member of our community lost their life on the stretch of highway 18 near Tiger Mountain. I extend my sympathies to the family and friends of those close to her. We all know how dangerous this highway is. Improving safety and traffic flow on SR 18 to prevent such tragic loss has been and will continue to be my top transportation priority for our community.

As the highway 18 project remains on the top of the mind in our community, I wanted to make everyone aware of another project I am working on in North Bend.

In the Interbay area of Seattle, there are 25 acres of land currently home to the Washington National Guard Armory. This is where the National Guard deploys from during emergency situations, but the current location has a few problems. The Armory could be cut off during natural disasters, and can be difficult to access because of traffic from Downtown Seattle. This means that quick response times could be slowed down when they are needed most.

For these reasons, there have been ongoing discussions about moving the National Guard to North Bend for better access to areas around the state. I see this as a win-win for both our community and Seattle for many reasons:

  • This project will create construction jobs, and bring a great deal of economic development to our community.
  • Seattle needs more housing, and the vacated site in Interbay can be used as a site for new facilities with access to transit.
  • North Bend and many other communities will have quick access to the National Guard in case of flooding or other events, such as the extraordinary snow experienced last year.
  • The required training for the National Guard only takes place a few times a year, so there will be minimal impact on nearby residents.

While this project is still in the early stages, I think it speaks to what our community has to offer for the rest of the state, and I am excited about the possibilities it brings us.

As always, I welcome you to reach out to me with feedback on these, or any other issues.

Best regards,

E News – 2020 Legislative Session Update

January 24th, 2020|

Dear friends and neighbors,

With this year’s short legislative session already in full swing, I’ve been hard at work turning your feedback into policy that helps improve our communities. Here are a couple examples of bills before the Senate this year that resulted from conversations with constituents like you:

  • Exempting electric boat motors from sales tax: gas-powered boat motors don’t just pollute the air – they also pollute our water, so I’ve sponsored a bill to create an incentive for boat owners to switch to electric motors. Encouraging that switch benefits small businesses that produce and sell electric motors, saves taxpayer money in pollution cleanup costs, and helps the environment. This bill idea came from two constituents in North Bend who own a small electric motor business.

  • Getting vehicles carrying organs for transplant through traffic: unlike ambulances, vehicles that transport organs to be used in transplants aren’t allowed to use emergency lights or sirens to get through traffic. Transplants are extremely time-sensitive, so organs are often transported by helicopter – an expensive alternative. My bill lets organ transport vehicles use emergency lights and sirens, helping to save lives and lower health care costs. This bill came from someone who used to serve our community at the Issaquah Police Department.

My primary focus when weighing legislation is how it will impact people who live and work in our communities. I welcome feedback and ideas for legislation, so please don’t hesitate to write, call, or visit my office to share your thoughts.

Best regards,

E News – 2020 Legislative Session

January 16th, 2020|

Dear friends and neighbors,

As we begin the 2020 legislative session, I want to remind people that my loyalty is with the 5th District and the people I represent in Olympia — not political parties or special-interest groups. It is my top priority that the people in our communities are represented and heard. Given the diversity of opinions in our district, I will always aim to support bipartisan legislation. Some of the top priorities I have this session include:

  • Secure Choice Retirement: Last session I sponsored a bill that would give more people access to simple and affordable options for retirement savings. Our state must do a better job of helping people save for retirement so we can ensure Washington seniors are financially secure without relying as heavily on state support. Although it didn’t pass in the House last year, this session I am working to move the bill forward quickly.
  • Highway 18 Construction Projects: The SR18/I-90 interchange project remains on schedule and an additional temporary westbound ramp is now open in Snoqualmie. Fortunately, this project was not impacted by funding losses from Initiative 976. However, several projects in the district are now in limbo pending the outcome of a court case challenging the legality of the initiative. Regardless of the outcome of that case, I plan to advocate for those projects and continue to keep pressure on my fellow lawmakers to fund the widening and completion of Highway 18 over Tiger Mountain. Fixing this deadly stretch of highway is my top transportation priority.
  • Free Dual Credit for High School Students: I am sponsoring legislation that will remove fees paid by high school students and their families for Running Start programs, College in the Classroom programs, and AP, IB and Cambridge tests. These amazing programs should be free for students to access. Removing financial barriers to academic excellence
    is a no-brainer. Many students in our district utilize these great programs and I hope I can save their families a few hundred dollars.

The most important work we do here in Olympia is writing legislation that works for everyone. In the coming weeks, I’ll be discussing construction projects in the 5th District, project budgets for the year, and many other important topics.

Best regards,

E News – 2019 Session Wrap-Up

May 9th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

In my last newsletter, I shared information about the operating, construction and transportation budgets that were passed this legislative session. This week, I wanted to give you a final update on the bills that I sponsored that the governor has signed into law.

SB 5278 makes it easier for consumers to report fraudulent use or theft of credit cards, allowing them to take quicker action to protect themselves.

SB 5410 ensures that passing scores on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge International exams receive college credit.

The governor also signed into law a number of other ideas that I championed that were included in bills sponsored by others:

HB 1196 sends a message telling Congress to let Washington and its neighbors stop the annual switch and stay on Daylight Saving Time year-round.

HB 1224 increases transparency to let people know what the prescription drugs that they need and pay for actually cost to make and distribute.

SB 5088, which I co-sponsored, requires all high schools to offer an elective computer science course by 2022.

SB 5334, which I also co-sponsored, encourages the development of condominiums by addressing current barriers to their expanded use as a supply of accessible homeownership opportunities.

I’m proud to have played a lead role in addressing some of the most complex, difficult and important public issues facing our state. I look forward to continuing to fight for our communities throughout this year and in the next legislative session. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts on how we can best do that.

All my best,

E News – 2019 Budget Update

May 1st, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

We accomplished a lot during this year’s 105-day legislative session. In addition to passing a wide range of bills improving the quality of life in our communities, we finished on time and passed construction, transportation and operating budgets for the next two years.

I’m pleased that both the construction and transportation budgets had bipartisan support and that each one makes a number of significant investments in our communities.

Construction Budget – our infrastructure budget includes:

• $3 million to improve affordable, in-district health care options at the Issaquah Opportunity Center.

• $2 million for Encompass Northwest to build a facility in Snoqualmie to provide pediatric therapy and early learning services.

• $400,000 for a pilot project to clean up firefighting chemicals (PFAS) that have leached into drinking water.

• $412,000 to support the outdoor Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activities Center, which is open to the public.

• $113,000 to update interactive educational exhibits at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

• $102,000 to help construct a new memorial in Maple Valley honoring veterans.

• $200,000 to help make parking improvements at Lake Wilderness Park.

• $154,000 to lay the groundwork to build infrastructure and attract business investment at the legacy site in the heart of Maple Valley.

• $250,000 to strengthen the South Fork Snoqualmie Levee System, to reduce the duration of flooding in North Bend.

• $229,000 for the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie to restore the last surviving Puget Sound Electric Railway interurban.

Transportation Budget: the budget includes funding to keep the project to build a new interchange at State Route 18 and Interstate 90 on schedule to finish by 2023. It also includes $27 million in new funds to begin the design process to make SR 18 four lanes all the way to Issaquah-Hobart Road – the first phase of that project – in 2023.

Operating Budget: Unfortunately, the operating budget did not enjoy bipartisan support and relied too much on raising taxes. I agreed to raise taxes to support the wide-ranging transportation budget package in 2015, to support light rail in 2016 and to solve the McCleary lawsuit over K-12 education funding in 2017. But this year, it seemed we were raising taxes because we could, not because we needed to. I couldn’t support that, so I had to vote “no.”

Moving forward, a number of my bills and others that advance policies I advocated for are now on Gov. Inslee’s desk awaiting his signature. I’ll have another report on them for you in the coming weeks.

Best regards,