Posted by: sweeneyblog | February 20, 2014

Legislators Struggle to Pass Bills as Deadlines Loom

Capital Beat

Weekly Legislative Coverage

Last Tuesday, all bills that had not passed their own legislative body (House or Senate) and moved on to the next stage were dead based on the Legislature’s self-imposed operating rules. This compacted legislative schedule hit our representatives hard as only a few of their bills moved forward. Here is where everyone stands.

In the House

Rep. Vincent Buys (R-42nd): 1 bill moved to the Senate, 1 resolution adopted. The bill that passed to the Senate (HB2405) allows the use of hemp seeds in livestock feed. The resolution, co-written by Rep. Jason Overstreet, honors commercial fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. You can read the text here.

Rep. Jason Overstreet (R-42nd): 0 bills moved to the Senate, 1 resolution adopted. All of Rep. Overstreet’s bills died in committee, but as mentioned above, he did get a resolution adopted. This would be his third straight year without getting any of his bills passed.

Rep. Kris Lytton (D-40th): 5 bills moved to the Senate. Lytton’s active bills include: one directing the state to track the educational progress of soldiers’ children (HB2166); legislation to allow community forest trust accounts (HB2126); a bill calling for an inventory of unused state land that could be converted to farm land (HB2306); an adjustment to the date the state superintendent 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 (HB1896).

Rep. Morris at the 2012 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner

Rep. Morris at the 2012 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner

Rep. Jeff Morris (D-40th): 8 bills moved to the Senate. As befitting his seniority and position in the majority, Morris has shepherded several pieces of legislation into the Senate. His bill regulating drone use (HB2178) is alive, as is his bill clarifying disputes over telephone poll access (HB2175), and one promoting rural access to natural gas (HB2177). He has revived a bill from last year (HB1017) that creates minimum energy efficiency standards for a number of appliances (commercial refrigerators, hot water dispensers, etc) and it is now in the Senate, as is his bill to add $5 to your car tabs to pay for a new ferry (HB1129).

His bill to eliminate the Economic Development Commission (HB2029) has been expanded to remove several other small boards and programs (Innovate Washington, Innovation Research Teams, Microenterprise Development Program, etc) and the companion bill to create a new energy jobs commission (HB2183) is still rolling forward. His work to create steady funding for our state tourism board is also moving forward (HB2229)

In the Senate

Sen. Doug Ericksen

Sen. Doug Ericksen

Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42nd): 5 bills moved to the House. One of Ericksen’s top priorities is to support nuclear power in Washington. His bill requiring a study of the impacts of nuclear power (SB5991) as well as a legal boost to farmers who implement a micro-irrigation system (SB5199) are now in House committees for consideration. His bill requiring municipalities to establish a used oil recycling program (SB6501) and a joint legislative effort with Sen. Ranker to change license plate requirements (SB5785) are also now being considered by the House. Finally, a bill regulating bonds on public projects has moved forward (SB6110).

Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40th): 1 bill moved to the House. With his expanded leadership role, Ranker’s legislative efforts have been reduced this year but he did manage to pass one bill over to the House, legislation establishing a farmer internship program (SB5123).

Given the legislative success to date of Lytton, Morris and Ericksen, the benefits of being in the majority are clear.  However, given the party split between the House and Senate, the crucial test will be how many of these bills survive to see the governor’s desk. Stay tuned for more legislative coverage as the capitol slowly disintegrates into mass pandemonium in the final weeks of session.



  1. I fully believe after sitting in on some of the hearings and seeing the lack of interest from our politicians (both D and R) on any given subject that they should be fired for not doing the job we hired them to do .The people of Washington state deserve the very best representation from the people we elect (hire).In my opinion they do not. Several just don’t show up.We still pay them no matter what.They have the greatest job in the world……GO HAWKS

  2. I agree with e I sat in on some hearings also trying to get a bill passed. The 7 reps that were suppose to be there 4 showed up and 2 of the 4 got up while people were testifying to get coffee. It was very rude. People drove from all over the state to come and testify. It really makes you believe in what they are really doing in Olympia.

  3. For a part-time, seasonally in-session job that pays little, I am surprised and pleased that we get as good as we get

    • Bob have you ever tried to testify for a bill that you feel is very important for the well being of our children and have them ignore you? If they dont want to do this job then they should not run for office. Its like volunteering for different charities they dont get paid but a lot of people put their whole heart into it.. I feel that same way about politics
      either you want to be there or you dont. Do what is right for your community…… at least listen..

      • Jenny:

        My experiences differ from yours. Whenever I have testified in Olympia before Committees, I felt I was listened to. On Lobby Days, I feel my legislators are particularly attentive; but, I am lucky to live in the 40th LD. I have found that Vince Buys will listen as well.

    • So you don’t believe in Public Service (as per the Founders)? That’s right you are a progressive Taker, right? Good Show!

      • No idea what you are talking about, Wayne.

        I am a Progressive giver.

  4. Yes, it is disheartening to go to testify to “no shows’ and tired folks sitting through day after day of hearings, but the business of the legislators is really taking place on the local level when they and their aides are hearing our concerns and showing up locally to take credit for things they sometimes didn’t even support or vote for. That is when your issues can be heard among your peers at Rome Grange or the Fair or during their campaigns and local hearings. If you do go to Olympia, call ahead for an appointment to talk about your issues and ask to take them to lunch or dinner in place of a regular lobbyist. It is often helpful to invite them to your own luncheon with local folks who care as you do. They do get paid a little, but TLC from us counts a lot and they are less tired of sitting through hearing after hearing. As Bob says, “public service” is a really tough job with little in the way of thanks.

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