Dear friends and neighbors,
With just a few weeks left in the legislative session, I wanted to tell you about two bills we just passed and the story of how these ideas came to us here in the Legislature. Folks might not realize that a lot of the policies that the Legislature passes into law start as ideas, questions, or concerns from our constituents, and that’s what happened with both of these.
This idea came to me from Stan Conrad, who used to be a commander in the Issaquah Police Department. He retired from the force in 2016 and kept busy by driving vehicles transporting organs for transplant, taking them from patients to donors. A lot of times these are urgent deliveries, and Stan told me about how helpful it would be if vehicles transporting organs had lights and sirens, or the special magic buttons to turn a red light green, like he used to have as a cop and as other emergency vehicles have.
It took us two years to pass this (sometimes good ideas take a while to get traction in the Legislature, and that happened with this one) but we passed it unanimously this year, with the final bill sponsored by Rep. Sam Low, a Republican from Snohomish County in the House. I was happy to work across the aisle with Rep. Low on this one, and for him to get the bill through under his name.
Adult family homes and property taxes
I heard about this problem from Life Enrichment Options, a nonprofit here in the Issaquah and Snoqualmie area that builds adult family homes for folks with development disabilities to live in and get care. They’ve built five of these homes in our district, and it’s a really great model – they’re able to go out and fundraise to build these places where adults with severe disabilities can live in at low or no cost, because they can promise their donors that every single dollar goes to building.
The problem is the property taxes on those buildings, which can be a big ongoing cost and which donors generally don’t get as excited about giving money to help pay. We have some property tax exemptions for nonprofits like these, but some facilities can fall through the cracks and not get the help we want them to. The folks at Life Enrichment Options contacted me, showed me around their facilities, and talked about the challenge they were facing – I knew we needed to do something.
I teamed up with my seatmate Rep. Bill Ramos, and we got legislation passed and funded in the budget to solidify that these folks get the protection from property taxes they deserve. I hope this helps Life Enrichment Options – and other adult family homes across the state – continue to provide the care that their patients need. It’s a great cause and I was happy to support it.
These are just a few examples from my office, and I know that every other member of the Senate could also tell you examples like these from their own constituent correspondence that we turned into law. Don’t underestimate your power and your voice – when you contact our office, whether it’s to share your opinion on a particular bill that’s already introduced or to share a story about a problem that the state could address, that’s always helpful input for me. You can reach me any time at Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov, and I hope to continue to hear from all of you as we approach the end of session on Sunday, April 23.
Sen. Mark Mullet