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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.


Outside of the normal legislative process, Washington State laws can be amended through the an initiative or referendum. There are two types of initiatives (Initiatives to the People and Initiatives to the Legislature) and two types of referenda (Referendum Measures and Referendum Bills). A brief explanation of each of these is available at the Washington Secretary of State's website here.  A more in-depth overview of each process is available in Jeffrey T. Evan's article Direct Democracy in Washington: A Discourse on the Peoples' Power ot Initiative and Referendum, 32 Gonz. L. Rev. 247 (1996) (Icon).

As initiatives and referenda are outside of the "normal" legislative process, the information gathered to uncover the history and intent will be different. In addition to the sources outlined below, it can be fruitful to review relevant publications from the sponsoring organization and news stories to determine intent.

Free Online Sources