Dear friends and neighbors,

It may only be the second week of the legislative session, but with a mere 60 days to complete our work, we’re already well into the process. Later in the session we’ll grapple with some of the bigger issues – gas prices and the Climate Commitment Act, our state budget, and more, but early in session we work on a lot of what we legislators call “good little bills” – pieces of legislation that might not change the world all on their own but can make a really positive impact on those affected. This week, I wanted to tell you about three “good little bills” I’m sponsoring this year that I’m particularly happy with.

Supporting our clean technology manufacturing programs is really important to me – as we move towards a green energy future, these clean manufacturers create good jobs and are better for the environment. We’ve talked about using revenue from the Climate Commitment Act to give grants to these manufacturers, but that seems inefficient to me – grant programs are slow, bureaucratic, and expensive to manage. What if we just reduced the B&O tax burden for clean tech manufacturers instead? For the same cost, we’d see more money actually going to the manufacturers who we want to help. My bill for this is SB 6243.

Another of my bills, SB 5809, has to do with charter schools. I know some people love charter schools and some people might not (personally, I’m a fan), but regardless, they’re here to stay and an important part of our education system. Right now, the state sends money to low-property-value school districts to supplement their local levies, to help make sure kids in those districts get a great education just like the students in wealthy areas, but it’s not in state law that we have to give that money to charter schools too. We’ve been doing it anyways in the budget for the last few years – we should just go ahead and change the law and do it permanently. There are kids in these charter schools who need resources – let’s make sure they’ve got what they need to learn.

I was joined by families supporting the charter school funding bill earlier this week – glad to stand with these folks!

The third piece of legislation I’ll tell you about today, SB 6272, is a bill to provide more resources for our cities and counties to hire and train law enforcement. We all know we need more police on our streets to help keep our communities safe (Washington has the fewest police officers per capita of any state in the nation!) and this bill would take the state share of revenue from the taxes on the sale of cannabis that goes into our general fund, and instead send it out to our cities and counties, with the money earmarked for law enforcement and criminal justice. This is a good, simple way to help our local governments hire and retain a good, well-trained police force.

Hopefully this gives a quick window into a couple of the issues I’m working on, along with the big-picture issues around the Climate Commitment Act, our budget, public safety, and more. If you’ve got an idea for a “good little bill,” send me an email! Lots of these ideas started as a constituent email and I always appreciate hearing from you. Thanks so much and I look forward to staying in touch!

Sen. Mark Mullet