WA Secretary of State Blogs

Washington State Bill Books, a piece of our state’s history.

Bill books collageFrom the Public Services Desk

Those of us who reside in the Olympia area are very aware that the Washington State Legislature is currently in the 2016 Regular Session. However, the very first session of our Legislature began shortly before Washington became a state on November 6, 1889. The bills introduced to the legislature are an important piece of our state’s history. It is fascinating to read what issues were important to Washington citizens in a given year.

Each session only three sets of these volumes are produced, and the Washington State Library is one of a few agencies which holds these resources. A part of the State Library’s mission is to “Collect, preserve, and make accessible to Washingtonians materials on the government, history, culture, and natural resources of the state” and we take this very seriously. At the State Library we hold all the bills introduced during every legislative session since 1889. There is a set of volumes for each session for the bills of both the House and Senate.

Our staff works with the Legislative Information Center and the Legislative Print Shop to be sure that the bound volumes are complete and correctly assembled. A State Library staff member painstakingly reviews all the bound volumes when received and reports any errors or omissions so missing bills can be retrieved and added to the set. This valuable State Library service preserves this historic record of Legislative action.

Interesting facts about the Washington State bill books:

  • The bills introduced during the first session fill one volume each for both the House and the Senate.
  • The most recent set of bill books available for 2013-2014 legislative session consists of 27 volumes for the House and 25 volumes for the Senate.

All of the Bill books can be found in our catalog: State of Washington printed bills of the Legislature. House.  and  State of Washington printed bills of the Legislature. Senate.

senate bill book

While the earlier volumes must be accessed at the State Library, current, recent, and historical bill information from 1991 to the present can be accessed online.

Please contact Ask a Librarian, Washington State Library’s research service for assistance in finding more information on bills and all aspects of Washington State government. To use the bill books for research, please visit the Washington State Library.


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