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Externships & Summer Jobs: Guide to Legal Research

This guide is intended to direct externs to relevant sources for completing research assignments.

Washington Legislative History Research

The process of researching legislative history in Washington is a lot like federal legislative history research, but on a much smaller scale. Use the following research guides to research Washington Legislative History.

University of Washington

King County Law Library

Washington Legislature's Website

Washington State Archives

Washington Legislative History Research: Basic Steps

The basic steps for conducting legislative history research in Washington are as follows:

1. Begin with the relevant section of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). At the end fot he code section, there is a "credits" section or historical source note listing each of the session laws incorporated in the current text of the code section. The session laws are abbreviated by year and chapter number.

2. Look up each of the Session Laws (Laws of Washington) listed in the RCW. Each session law includes the bill number associated with the session law.

3. Using the bill number and the year of the session law, find legislative history materials related to the bill. Many legislative history materials associated with bills from the 1990s forward are available on the State Legislature's website: If researching in print, or being completely thorough, use the House Journal and Senate Journal. The Journals contain tables listing each page number on which a bill is mentioned. The most informative material in the Journals will appear as "points of inquiry." These journals are available in print at the law library.