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Washington State Legislative History

This guide identifies online and print sources for researching the legislative history of bills enacted by the Washington State Legislature.


Legislative history refers to the documents and materials created during the Legislature’s consideration of a bill. Researchers are often interested in trying to determine why the Legislature enacted the law, or why it used specific language (that is, legislative intent).

In Washington, several sources for legislative history are available from the mid-1970s forward. The text of bills and journals from both the House and Senate are available for earlier periods of time.

Depending on when a particular law was enacted, your research may involve print and/or online materials. The Washington State Archives could have items not found in print or online sources.


Related Guides

See also:

Other libraries have guides on Washington legislative history:

Legislative History - Washington State Archives

Legislative History Guide - Public Law Library of King County

Washington Legislative History and Legislative Intent - Washington State Law Library

Need to research legislative history for a state other than Washington? See State Legislative History Research Guides Inventory - Indiana University Jerome Hall Law Library for links to comparable guides prepared by other law librarians.