Weekly Legislative Coverage
Last week, I covered the legislative accomplishments (or lack there of) from Sen. Doug Ericksen and Sen. Kevin Ranker. Now it is time to dive into the accomplishments of the other four representatives from Whatcom County. Scroll on down to find all the details on what was proposed and what was passed by Reps. Vincent Buys and Jason Overstreet from the 42nd and Reps. Kris Lytton and Jeff Morris from the 40th. As always, you can support this sort of citizen journalism with a donation by clicking here.
Rep. Vincent Buys (R-Lynden)
This year, Buys proposed a whole slate of legislation tackling agricultural issues. You can find my earlier write-up here but the bills were almost universally small legislative tweaks (including a reclassification of sheep’s blood!).
Out of the nine bills he proposed, only one made it out of the House. His bill (HB2405) would have allowed hemp seeds to be included in commercial animal feed, but it died in the Senate.
Bills Introduced: 9
Bill Passed Out of House: 1
Bills Delivered to the Governor: 0
Rep. Jason Overstreet (R-Lynden)
Rep. Jason Overstreet
While his legislative efforts may have drawn some sign painting critics, no one can fault Overstreet for a lack of ideas. He proposed a full spread of legislation this year, covering topics as diverse as drones, culminating projects for high school seniors and what light bulbs we are able to purchase.
When the dust settled, not a single bill of his made it out of the House. This is the third year in a row that Overstreet has managed to not pass a single bill out of the House.
Bills Introduced: 21
Bills Passed Out of the House: 0
Bills Delivered to the Governor: 0
Rep. Kris Lytton (D-Anacortes)
Rep. Kris Lytton
The education advocate and rising star among Democratic leaders, Rep. Lytton brought a full plate of legislative offerings this year. You can find my earlier write-up here, but highlights include shaking up the credit requirements for high school graduates to allow more flexibility for high achievers, legislation directing schools to track the progress of military families and a reclassification of hazardous substances.
However, out of the sixteen bills Lytton proposed, she was able to move five on to the Senate, where all but one died. The one that passed was HB2167 which simply changed the date by which the superintendent needs to identify schools that are falling behind.
Bills Introduced: 14
Bills Passed Out of the House: 5
Bills Delivered to the Governor: 1
Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mount Vernon)
In many ways, Rep. Morris and Sen. Ericksen are running parallel legislative lives. Both are finally in positions of seniority, able to do the deep work of legislating. However, while Ericksen struggles to move bills out of the Senate, Morris has been churning out large pieces of legislation that pass both bodies. Out of the twenty-five bills proposed by Morris, covering everything from renewable energy credits to spying by corporations, eight were passed on to the Senate and four signed into law.
Ferry commuters rejoice, HB1129 passed, putting money into a fund for a new ferry. Morris also secured more stable funding for the state tourism marketing board (HB2229), eliminated a few unneeded boards and commissions (HB2029) and gave cities the ability to streamline permitting and disputes over who has access to cell towers (HB2175).
Bills Introduced: 25
Bills Passed Out of the House: 8
Bills Delivered to the Governor: 4
The legislators have returned to their districts, some of them have set up regional offices (Lytton, Morris), while some have not (Buys, Overstreet, Ericksen), others made other arrangements (Ranker). With the end of session, the campaign season begins, but that is another blog post. I still have video of the interviews I conducted with legislators this session and hope to have those finished soon.