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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.