We have chosen representatives to carry out the difficult task of determining which laws and policies will best serve our interests. However, to effectively perform their job, legislators rely heavily on input from many different sources; including us.
Contact your legislators early and often; if they don't hear from you they don't know what's important to you.
State Legislator OverviewWashington State is made up of 49 districts with 147 legislators to represent all 7,901,429 of us. This consists of 49 Senators and 98 Representative. District boundaries change based on census results. The Legislature meets annually on the second Monday in January, in the Capitol building, in Olympia. In odd-numbered years -- the budget year -- the Legislature meets for 105 days, and in even-numbered years for 60 days. If necessary, the Governor can call legislators in for a special session for a 30-day period. Legislators can call themselves into special session with a two-thirds vote of the two bodies. Use the Capitol schedule as a tool to help you know what's going on.
WA State members of the Senate are elected to four-year terms, and House members are elected to two-year terms.
Why should you learn how to contact your legislator?
96% of congressional aides have reported that personalized letters & calls would influence their position if a legislator was undecided on an issue. With thousands of bills going through their offices, making contact is an effective tool for getting a bill noticed by the leader and staff.
Contacting your legislator:
Frequently Asked Legislative Questions:
Key phrases to understand:
• Bill Number – The bill number represents the order in which it was introduced in that two-year session of Congress. For example, the first bill introduced in the Senate would be S.1, the second S.2, etc. Staffers often ask you for the bill number when you lobby, so it's good to be prepared with this information.
• CBO Score – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a tremendous resource. The nonpartisan government agency is tasked with determining how much various pieces of legislation could cost if enacted as law. Not all bills have CBO scores, but for those that do, this information is beneficial when advocating with your legislator.
• Additional Resources – Use the Library of Congress website and GovTrack to learn glossary terms and track key legislation on a National level. Click here to follow legislation coming out of Olympia.
Please make sure you are registered to vote. It's easy and secure. Make sure you vote in every election, not just the presidential election.
To register to vote in the state of Washington, you must be:
Any other options for expanding my lens and to learn more about how the Macro impacts the Micro?
Yes. Thank you for asking such a wonderful question and for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. There are loads more than what is listed here, but this is a great starting point.
Questions about how to get involved or looking for more information? Reach out to your legislative chair.