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

Sen. Mullet Newsroom

E-news – Coronavirus resources

Friends and neighbors,

We are living in uncertain times right now, and things are changing seemingly by the hour. Many of us are wary about where this pandemic is headed. It is important to remember, though, that government officials at all levels are working for you, and trying to alleviate some of the burden created. In the face of this crisis, we are making sure that people are put first. The human-level consequences of coronavirus are palpable and unprecedented in our modern world, and we are treating them as such.

Before the 2020 Session adjourned, the Legislature secured $200 million in funding to confront overall impacts of the coronavirus. This funding will aid with testing, monitoring, and support for local health departments. It will also go towards small businesses and employees by allocating millions towards an unemployment account. The Legislature also acted to:

  • ensure that the class of 2020 will still be able to graduate by adjusting credit requirements.
  • Reimburse nursing homes that aid in coronavirus response
  • Allow people receiving unemployment insurance to continue doing so, even if they can’t meet work search requirements
  • Support small business that rehire employees who had to go on unemployment insurance.

The federal government has also responded with a funding package of $8.3 billion, and $11.2 million of that will come directly to Washington. This weekend, the federal government declared a major disaster in Washington, meaning that some crisis counseling and emergency protective measures will become available. As this situation develops, Washington will continue to work with the federal government for more support.

All of these measures are evidence of your elected officials working to handle this crisis and its broad impacts. This is also apparent through Governor Inslee’s continuous updates. Of the recent addresses, Inslee has issued the following:

  • Restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreation facilities have temporarily closed with the exception of takeout and delivery services.
  • All Washington schools are now closed.
  • Public gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited throughout all of Washington state.
  • Gatherings of under 50 are also prohibited unless the criteria for public health and social distancing are met.
  • All elective surgeries have been halted in order to preserve supplies for healthcare workers at the front of the coronavirus response.
  • A moratorium on all evictions statewide for 30 days.

Each of these will work to protect public health and safety. Statewide agencies have also reacted to ease the impact of coronavirus. The Governor’s office has recently updated its website to include more up to date information. You can visit the site here, and find resources ranging from business and worker support to government emergency actions.

For more specifics about worker protections, see the image below.

Arguably the most important thing you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe during this crisis is to stay home and avoid leaving if at all possible. Practicing social distancing will work to slow the spread of coronavirus, and keep our vulnerable populations protected.

As the financial situation of the United States is also wavering, local lenders and landlords are doing their best to accommodate people in a variety of circumstances. If you anticipate that you will miss payments due to a lack of business or changes in your job security, I would encourage you to reach out to your building managers now.

For more information on financial assistance, visit this resource page provided by King County  Council.

I recently sent a letter to Governor Inslee’s office requesting a 30 day deferment of property taxes. Given the circumstances I am hopeful that his office will soon follow through on this request. After those 30 days are up, we will have to reevaluate either an extension or alternate methods.

If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor to call, you can call the King County coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 or the Washington State Department of Health call center at 1-800-525-0127.

For comprehensive information for different groups, and for recent statistics, visit the most up-to-date website by Washington State at coronavirus.wa.gov.

Many of us are scared and nervous about how far this pandemic will go. Now more than ever is a time that we need to be listening to our friends and neighbors, and helping in whatever ways we can. This will impact each of us in different ways, but we must stay strong as a community.

Best regards,

March 23rd, 2020|Uncategorized|

E-News – Coronavirus update

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,

March 4th, 2020|E-News|

E-News – The Operating Budget

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,

February 27th, 2020|E-News|

Senate honors Tahoma High’s ‘We the People’ team

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate today honored Tahoma High School’s “We the People” team with a resolution celebrating the school’s 24th state championship in the last 26 years.

Sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) and Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), the resolution celebrated the school’s impressive legacy while team members looked on from the Senate gallery.

“Tahoma High’s team and coach continue to impress me with their commitment to leaving a legacy for our state, and this year has proven no differently,” said Mullet. “The ‘We the People’ program provides students with important lessons about civic engagement and participation. It’s great to see these students excel in a program that promotes important critical-thinking skills throughout life, all while strengthening our democracy.”

At the state “We the People” championship in January, Tahoma High edged out all competitors for the 12th consecutive year. The team will represent the state of Washington in the 33rd annual “We the People” national finals in Washington D.C. later this spring. Tahoma’s team has advanced to the final’s top 10 in six of the last eight years.

“I am awe-struck by the continued success of the Tahoma High School We the People team,” Wellman said. “This group of students is a great example for our entire state — adults and students alike — as we continue to discuss the importance of civics education in our classrooms.”

“We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” is a national civics education program. More than 30 million students and 75,000 educators have participated in the program since its creation in 1987.

Along with coach Gretchen Wulfing, students honored this year include Riley Barlett, Dane Bowman-Weston, Katerina Bruhl, Matthew Bruneel, Neena Chana, Claire Cunningham, Grace Denison, Shelby Ellis, Djanaya Esiong, Issabella Huser, Sarah Kropelnicki, Preston Lievano, Jaden Mason, Aidan Mercado, Emma Nickel, Gage Nickel, Calvin O’Connell, Luke Oriolt, Daniela Perezechica-Trancoso, Claire Riordan, Elizabeth St. John, Jasmine Tran and Janey Yee.

February 26th, 2020|Uncategorized|

E-News – Capital Budget and Upcoming Town Halls

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,

February 20th, 2020|E-News|

Senate passes Mullet bill to expedite organ transportation

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate voted today to increase the expediency of vehicles carrying organ transplants by according them the privileges and paraphernalia of emergency vehicles.

Donated organs have limited time outside of the body before they become unusable. However, because of the large service area of donation organizations in Washington state and in the Pacific Northwest overall, it can be challenging to get the organs to their needed destinations in time.

Senate Bill 6580, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), would grant vehicles that are transporting organs the same considerations as ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. This would include the use of lights, sirens, signal preemption devices and high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and would speed travel for vehicles containing organ transplants.

“Transporting organs is a time sensitive process, and we should be treating it as such,” said Mullet. “There’s no additional cost to treating this process as urgently as it deserves, but there is a huge benefit for those waiting on life-saving transplants.”

After passing the Senate on a unanimous vote, the bill will now head to the House for consideration.

###

For information: Courtney James, Senate Democratic Caucus Communications, 360-786-7853

February 17th, 2020|News Release|

Senate passes Mullet bill expanding access to school counselors

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate voted 43-3 today to approve legislation defining the duties of high school counselors.

School counselors are highly educated and provide vital resources for the academic, career, personal, and social needs of all students. However, many counselors in Washington are asked to cover for other positions and perform tasks such as proctoring exams, acting as crossing guards, and watching over recess.

“Right now, we’re seeing these specially trained professionals be pulled away from their jobs to perform duties that are not their responsibility,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), sponsor of the bill. “Counselors are meant to provide students with the resources they need to succeed in high school and plan for their post-graduation lives, so that’s what they should be doing.”

Senate Bill 6480 requires school districts to develop and implement written plans for a comprehensive school counseling programs. The bill also requires school counselors to spend at least 80 percent of their work time providing direct and indirect services to students.

“School counselors are extremely important to our kids’ education,” said Mullet. “I’m confident this proposal will boost the amount of time counselors can spend helping students with their academic and personal lives.”

After passing the Senate, the bill will now move to the House for consideration.

###

For information: Courtney James, Senate Democratic Caucus Communications, (360)-786-7853

February 12th, 2020|News Release|

E-News – Prioritizing Education for our Students

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
February 12th, 2020|E-News, News Release|

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

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,

February 7th, 2020|E-News|

E News – 2020 Session Ongoing Projects

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,

January 30th, 2020|E-News|