Posted by: sweeneyblog | February 5, 2014

Rep. Kris Lytton 2014 Legislative Agenda

Capital Beat

Weekly Legislative Coverage

For those of you who remember your SATs, one of the strangest parts had to do with analogies, so follow along. As Jeff Morris is to Energy, Rep. Kris Lytton is to . . . If you said Education, you get a gold star. As fitting the former school board president, Lytton has proposed a slew of educational fixes and reforms, along with some agricultural bills and a few surprises.

As with my previous legislative profiles (Reps. Overstreet, Buys and Morris), click the bill number to get to the actual text of the legislation.

Education Reform

In 2009, a blue ribbon commission was created to study how to change and improve our high schools. One of the key recommendations from that study was to create more flexibility for students who want to take an additional four credits of classes before graduating. Right now, there are 20 required credits, but the four years provides for 24 credits.

Rep. Kris Lytton

Rep. Kris Lytton

Lytton’s latest efforts would provide the funding and legal flexibility for students to take a few extra classes and make the most of their high school education (HB2181). She also is pushing a bill that would tweak the metrics by which we measure schools to match this change (HB2242)

Her bills would also reauthorize the commission to conduct further study and bring back more recommendations.

Last year, Lytton proposed a bill that would allow the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop local criteria for what is a “low-achieving” school. Currently, we use a federal assessment but that does not always work for unique situations within the state.

Since the superintendent is required to identify and improve these schools, this bill, back from the dead and reintroduced, would allow him to create a Washington set of assessment criteria (SHB1177) 

Educational Fixes

"Did you call my bills boring?"

“Riley! Did you call my bills boring?”

In a previous article, I referred to some of Lytton’s bills as not “particularly exciting”. She, naturally, gave me a little ribbing for it. Today, I won’t call these bills boring, but they are definitely just legislative tweaks that make our system function a little better. 

For instance, right now the law says the superintendent has to give a report detailing the health of our schools by Dec. 1st, yet the graduation rates are not available until the first couple of weeks of December. Lytton’s bill (HB2167) changes the due date of that report to February.

Similarly, she has proposed a bill directing the superintendent to start tracking the health and success of students from military families (HB2166). No big reforms proposed, just beginning to track their progress to see if they need additional help or support.

Another bill (HB1369), which passed the House last year but died in the Senate, would allow time for parent/teacher conferences in the beginning of the year for kindergarteners so educators can develop learning plans and suss out any special needs for students early in the process.

On the professional training side of the educational field, Lytton is proposing a bill that would clarify what is and is not professional training for teachers (HB2358), and a bill that would allow Central and Western Washington Universities to offer an educational specialist degree (HB1544).


As befitting a representative from Skagit and Whatcom, Lytton has proposed a handful of agricultural bills. One of them would direct the state to take an inventory of all unused state land to see if it can be converted into active agriculture (HB1188). Basically asking the question, do we own some open fields that could be used to grow food? This would be done in consultation with Washington State University’s award-winning agricultural research center.

To streamline the paperwork for farmers, she is loosening the requirements to qualify parcels of land as agricultural (HB2306), allowing for slightly more incidental use  on the land. Finally, for this subject, she has proposed an exemption to the hazardous materials tax if the material is being used as an agricultural product (HB2469).


As always, there are a few bills that do not fit into neat little categories. Once again, Lytton is pushing for a bill (HB1159) that would provide for a fourth Superior Court judge in Whatcom County (her attempt last year died in the Senate). She has proposed two bills I already covered that have been requested by the Commissioner of Public Lands to clarify liability over forest fires (HB2103) and provide for a Community Forest Trust Fund (HB2126) account.

"I am not a vegetable!"

“I am not a vegetable!”

Finally, my favorite legislative subject since Monday’s post on sheep blood, Lytton is trying to extend funding for the state sea cucumber divery license buyback program (HB1323). Apparently, the state issued too many licenses to fish (dive? harvest?) sea cucumbers and now they want to buy them back to get the number of licenses down to twenty.

Obviously, with her increased leadership role, Lytton is involved in budget negotiations and other large-scale legislative motions, but for her personal efforts, you can see where her heart lies.

Tomorrow, I will dig into Sen. Kevin Ranker’s efforts to save the world.



  1. Minor detail, but I had thought the 4th Superior Court judge for the county was approved last year, and the courthouse is being fixed up to put in another courtroom. Is this true? Hopefully the powers that be in the county realize they need to add some staff to the clerk’s office, but thus far such foresight seems to be lacking.

    • They have known this is coming for a while. I believe some of the funding came through but there must be some more legal boxes to check. I’ll look into it more.

  2. These are great! Thanks for your continued coverage of Olympia! I’ll have a bunch for you when you want to talk about the senate side. Sorry to not call you back the other day, but if you call me today, I’ll make time or call you back.

    Hope you are well.

    Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker | President, Pacific Northwest Economic Region | / office: 360.376.4051 | mobile: 360.472.1850 | skype: kevinranker

    From: The Political Junkie Reply-To: The Political Junkie Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 6:24 AM To: Kevin Ranker Subject: [New post] Rep. Kris Lytton 2014 Legislative Agenda sweeneyblog posted: “For those of you who remember your SATs, one of the strangest parts had to do with analogies, so follow along. As Jeff Morris is to Energy, Rep. Kris Lytton is to . . . If you said Education, you get a gold star. As fitting the former school board preside”

  3. I’d like to see more information on the agricultural items above, from an ENVIRONMENTAL perspective. “Unused” state lands? Hazardous chemicals?

    • The unused land bill is just taking an inventory to see if we have anything that might be easily converted.

      As for the hazardous chemicals tax – looking deeper into the committee report (well, actually the committee report for the companion bill in the Senate) – it seems that this is aimed at fixing an inconsistancy between whether the ag product is stored or handled in the state line. From that report:
      ” An exemption from the hazardous substance tax imposed under MCTA is created. It applies to the possession of an agricultural crop protection product when that possession is solely for use by a farmer and the product is warehoused in Washington or
      transported to or from Washington. To qualify for this exemption, the person possessing the product may not use, repackage, manufacture, or sell the product in Washington.”

      The WA Environmental Council testified against this bill in the Senate while the Association for WA Businesses testified for it.

  4. Some money has been appropriated for Courthouse renovations. At the June 18, 2013 County Council meeting they appropriated $200,000 to renovate a courtroom for a fourth Superior Court judge. The money was to fund the architectural and engineering phase of the work. The Commissioners Chambers on the 2nd floor will be moved to the 5th, the 2nd floor room will be converted into a courtroom for the new judge.

  5. […] with all my legislative agenda pieces (See Reps. Overstreet, Buys, Morris and Lytton here), remember to click the bill number to read the actual text of the […]

  6. 42 LD town hall meeting feb22 Blaine high


  7. […] schools and a moose. As with my other legislative breakdowns (Sen. Ranker, Reps. Overstreet, Buys, Lytton and Morris), you can click on the bill number to see the actual text of the […]

  8. […] needs to file his “challenged schools” report (HB2167) and a bill I missed in my earlier report that punishes fishing guides who turn a blind eye to illegal fishing […]

  9. […] and Jeff Morris These guys are great. They propose a wide swath of legislation (take a look at Lytton’s record here and Morris’ here) with a deep interest in crafting effective and meaningful laws in their […]

  10. […] Last year, I made the mistake of referring to some of Lytton’s bills as “boring”. They are not, many of them tackle thorny issues and key fixes to our legislative code. That said, […]

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