Office of the Code Reviser


The primary responsibilities of the Statute Law Committee and the Code Reviser are to periodically codify, index, and publish the Revised Code of Washington and to revise, correct, and harmonize the statutes by means of administrative or suggested legislative action as may be appropriate.

The Code Reviser's Office is also the official bill drafting arm of the legislature and provides a central bill drafting service for legislators, legislators-elect, legislative committees, joint committees, the governor, state elected officials, and agencies. Others, including lobbyists and private citizens must first obtain authorization from a legislator to use his or her name. Written authorization is preferred, but oral direction is agreeable.

1. Nonpartisan

The drafting attorneys proceed on a strictly nonpartisan basis and serve all regardless of party affiliation, seniority, or any other factor. Requests will be processed in the order received and as rapidly as careful workmanship will permit.

2. Confidential

The attorneys and our support staff keep all bill drafting work strictly confidential. Your request will not be disclosed or your draft given to any person except as you may authorize. Requests for any information about a specific bill which has been introduced will be referred to your office.

3. The Drafting Process

Your requests may be communicated in person, by mail, or by telephone. Requests will be received by any drafting attorney in the Code Reviser's Office, located on the first floor in the Pritchard Library building. When submitting requests it is helpful to receive as much pertinent information as possible. Committee research analysts may be able to assist you in obtaining preliminary information. A complete, detailed, and specific explanation and purpose of your proposal, will expedite a more professional bill draft.

Our attorneys will put your ideas into proper form and will assure you of technical accuracy. We will not comment on a proposal's desirability as a matter of public policy. We will use our legal knowledge and drafting skills to express your proposal in writing as clearly as possible, so as to achieve your objective and avoid constitutional conflicts.

After receiving and recording a request, we will formulate the bill draft. You will be contacted by telephone if policy questions arise.

All bills must be adapted to existing statutes. If a statute exists on the subject, new legislation must amend or repeal existing laws. If no statute exists, the new legislation must create a provision which fits into the existing statutes. The draft must also be made to conform to overriding provisions of the state and federal Constitutions, federal law, regulations of federal agencies, if any, and court cases which interpret them. When the draft is completed a sponsor sheet will be attached and your office notified. You are encouraged to study it carefully and bring it back for revisions before placing it in the hopper.

Immediately following each session of the Legislature, the Committee indexes and publishes the temporary edition of the session laws and subsequently publishes the permanent edition. The Committee also responds to citizens' requests for copies of recently enacted laws, and reviews all initiative proposals prior to their being filed with the Secretary of State.

The Committee administers the Administrative Procedure Act with respect to notice of hearings and the proposal and final adoption of rules. The Committee acts as official repository for the rules of the various state agencies and the institutions of higher learning, and publishes the Washington Administrative Code. The Committee publishes the Legislative Digest and History of Bills. The Committee also publishes on a twice monthly basis, the Washington State Register which contains proposed agency rules, adopted rules, executive orders, agency public meeting notices, and Supreme Court rules.

The Committee utilizes substantial computer support services provided by the Legislative Service Center and provides committee data bases for access by the Public Printer's photocomposition operation and for automated legal research services.

The Statute Law Committee Publications Account consists of proceeds from the sale of our major legal publications, including the RCW, WAC, Washington State Register, and Session Laws. These publications are edited and published by the Statute Law Committee, printed by the Public Printer or private printer subject to bid, and distributed by our staff. The material is sold on the basis of returning to the state the actual cost of printing and distribution. Editorial cost is considered a governmental expense.

The Committee consists of eleven members plus the Code Reviser who serves as its Secretary. The Committee includes: 1) the secretary of the senate, ex officio; 2) two members of the senate, one from each of the two largest caucuses in the senate, appointed by the president of the senate; 3) the chief clerk of the house of representatives, ex officio; 4) two members of the house of representatives, one from each of the two largest caucuses in the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; 5) the staff director of the nonpartisan professional committee staff of the senate, ex officio; 6) the staff director of the nonpartisan professional committee staff of the house of representatives, ex officio; 7) a lawyer admitted to practice in this state, appointed by the board of governors of the Washington State Bar Association; 8) a judge of the supreme court or a lawyer who has been admitted to practice in this state, appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court; and 9) a lawyer staff member of the governor's office or a state agency, appointed by the governor.   The Reviser's staff consists of bill drafting attorneys, editorial assistants, data entry operators, proof readers, and other support personnel. The total staff is forty-one.

The objectives of the Committee are to provide high quality services in a professional and strictly nonpartisan and cost effective manner. The Committee seeks to foster professionalism and expertise which will result in highly accurate publication of laws and agency rules.