Understanding the Legislative Process

Many crucial issues from funding, to sex offender policy to laws relating to sex crimes are debated in the Washington State Legislature every year. WCSAP tracks these many issues and communicates back to our members so that you can participate.

Detailed information on the Legislative Process can be found on the state's website, and here is a short summary:

  1. An idea is proposed and drafted into a Bill, sponsored either by a legislator or a state agency
  2. The bill is introduced, then referred to an appropriate legislative committee
  3. The committee may hold a hearing, and if they find the Bill to be valuable, may send it back to the main body (either the House or the Senate).
  4. The Bill may then be scheduled for a vote, and if it passes, the process is repeated in the opposite house.

Many procedures, comments and agreements can shape a Bill along the way, or stop its progress entirely.

Bear in mind also that many important policy issues that affect survivors and advocates never pass through the Legislature. And even for many issues that do, the details of implementation are worked out by state agencies and interested professionals outside of the Legislative Process.

Additionally, federal laws and budgets can have a huge impact on funding and policies about sexual assault in Washington State.