State Law: New & Old Laws


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Each year the Legislature proposes new laws, called bills. If a bill is approved by the Legislature, it becomes a law and is included in the RCW.


The latest bills are available on the Internet from the Washington State Legislature. Use the Legislative Digest and History of Bills to find bills by subject in the State Documents Reference Area at the Downtown Library. Call Number: WA 328.3 L52le-d.


The House Journal and Senate Journal are transcripts of the action in the Legislature. Request them at the Second Floor Reference and Information desk. There are indexes by bill number and subject for each year.


House Journal. 1889 - present. In Compact Storage at the Downtown Library. Call Number: R 328.79 W276h.
Senate Journal. 1889 - present. In Compact Storage at the Downtown Library. Call Number: R 328.79 W276s.


After each legislative session (there are two sessions a year, in the spring and fall), the newly passed laws are quickly printed in paperback volumes nicknamed the Pamphlet Edition. The session laws are later compiled into the RCW.


Pamphlet Edition of the Session Laws of the State of Washington in the Reference Area at the Downtown Library. Call Number: R 348.797 WASHING.(To find changes to specific laws, use the RCW section index in the last volume of the Pamphlet Edition.)


At the end of the biennium (two years), these laws are published in hardback volumes called Session Laws of the State of Washington. The RCW is updated more quickly than these are published. Look in the Session Laws for a law that is no longer in effect, or to find the session laws cited at the end of many sections of the RCW, which look like this: "1991 c347 sect. 22". This means the original law is in the1991 Session Laws of the State of Washington, Chapter 347, Section 22. Also, in the first volume of the RCW there is an index from the statute number to the RCW citation.


Session Laws of the State of Washington. 1889 - present. Spine title: Laws of Washington. In compact storage at the Downtown Library.  Request them at the Second Floor Reference and Information Desk. Call Number: R 345.12 W276. There are indexes by bill number, RCW section affected, and subject.


Some laws from pre-1889 are available in the Northwest Room at the Downtown Library.