2023 Washington State Legislature Resources

Our Voices Matter.

Each year, the Washington State Legislature gathers to consider, change, and create the laws that govern our lives. We elect our State lawmakers to REPRESENT US in the process, so our opinions and voices matter

Learn more about the WA State Legislature and how it works:

What is the Washington State Legislature?

The legislature is a group of representatives and senators elected by us, to represent us in state government. 

The legislature is made up of two “chambers”—the House, and the Senate. 

Washington’s legislature includes two representatives and one senator from each of our 49 districts. Right now, the Democrats are the majority party. In the House, the Democrats currently control 58 seats and Republicans 40. In the Senate, Democrats control 49 and Republicans 20. This is important because the majority party controls the agenda and the committee process including the chairs, the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader in the Senate. 

This year’s legislative assembly kicks off on January 9th. 

Our legislative process is a two year cycle: and 2023 is a big year.

Every other year (on “odd” years), the legislature sets the state budget—in addition to voting on new laws. Since the budget process is so important, sessions in odd years last longer than even years.

Here’s how the process works (How a bill becomes a law!)

First, the set up:

Lawmakers need to know that the community cares about an issue so that they can prioritize it during the upcoming session!

  1. Lawmakers start work determining their priorities long before session starts. A lot of this work takes place the summer before.
  2. Once session starts, a State Senator or Representative “sponsors” a bill—introducing it in either the Senate or House (the two “chambers”). The bill sponsor will be the main advocate who will work to push it through.

Then, the committees and floor vote:

All bills need to pass through a series of committees in the chamber where they were introduced, before ultimately having a floor vote. At each step, the members of that committee will review the bill, debate about it, and sometimes put it up for a public hearing. Ultimately each committee will vote to pass the bill, amend it, reject it, or just drop it altogether.

  1. The bill starts by going to the most relevant committee—such as Education, Housing, Transportation, and more. 
  2. The next committee decides where funding for the bill will come from: such as imposing a new tax, or appropriating funding from another reserve. (In the House, this committee is called Appropriations; the Senate one is called Ways and Means.)
  3. Next, the bill goes to the Rules Committee. The members of the Rules Committee can only prioritize a few bills to vote through—so it’s important to make sure our bills are top-of-mind!
  4. If the bill makes it this far, it will be scheduled for a floor vote—that’s when all the legislators get a chance to debate the bill, and then vote on whether to pass it.
  5. If a bill passes the chamber where it was introduced (e.g. the House), it has to go through the whole process again in the other one (e.g. the Senate)!

Finally, the governor signs it into law:

  1. When the bill is accepted in both the House and Senate, it is sent to the governor. The governor signs the bill into law or may veto all or part of it. 
  2. If the governor vetoes a bill, it can still be approved by a ⅔ majority vote of the House and Senate

How to make our voices heard

We know that advocacy is done best in community! For those of us who aren’t Olympia insiders, it’s really hard to identify key bills to focus on, track a bill’s progress, know who to talk to when, and figure out the most effective thing to say. 

We’ve laid out the key bills we’re advocating for in our Legislative Agenda here [link to agenda]. (If you want learn what else is on the table this year, you can search for bills here [link: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/%5D.)

As these bills move through the legislature, there are THREE big ways to make your voice heard: 

  1. Email or call your lawmaker and tell them what matters to you. 
  2. Sign in Pro or Con on bills that are being heard. 
  3. Sign up to Testify for bills being heard. 

How to: Email / Call your Lawmaker

To find out who your lawmakers are, simply enter your home address here.

You’ll see what State Legislative District you live in, who your State Senator is, and who your two State Representatives are. 

Email or call to let your lawmakers know about bills YOU care about. 

How to: Sign in Pro / Con and Testify for a Bill


Visit the Washington State Legislature’s Participating in Committee Hearings page to find out when a bill you care about is being heard:



Click on the Green Button labeled “Register to Testify Remotely During a Hearing.”


Click on either the House button for the “House of Representatives”, the “Senate” or “Joint” 

Select “House” “Senate” or “Joint” depending on which committee the bill’s hearing is scheduled for. 


Select which committee the bill’s hearing is scheduled for, and then click on the menu that says “Meetings” and choose what time the bill is scheduled for. 


Select the bill you want to support or oppose from the drop down menu.



  • I would like to submit written testimony—and fill in that form for your written testimony to be received.
  • I would like to testify live during the hearing—to sign up.
  • I would like my position noted for the legislative record—to note your pro or oppose position.

Additional Resources

House Gallery Rules
Senate Gallery Rules
Code of Conduct
Find Your Legislator
Glossary of Legislative Terms
Citizen’s Guide to Effective Legislative Participation
Civic Education​
House and Senate Member Rosters
How a Bill Becomes a Law
How to Read a Bill
How to Testify in Committee
Legislators Back to School Program
Overview of the Legislative Process
Reports to the Legislature
Washington State Elected Officials
Washington State Government Agencies Index
Information about lobbyists (Pictorial Directory, Index of Registered Lobbyists, etc.)