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Glossary of Legislative Terms

Select letter to navigate this comprehensive, alphabetical list of legislative terms:

A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y 

A
ACTA bill adopted by the Legislature.
ACTUARYA legislative staff officer appointed by the Select Committee on Pension Policy to prepare actuarial analyses of pension proposals and other items as directed by the Legislature.
AD HOC COMMITTEEA committee formed for a short duration, usually to study a specific issue.
ADJOURNTo conclude a day's session with a time set to meet again, or conclude a meeting.
ADJOURN SINE DIETo conclude a regular or special session without setting a day to reconvene.
ADOPTTo approve formally.
ADOPTED AND ENGROSSEDThis is the amendment document which includes the text of the original amendment and all additional amendments made to it.
ADOPTED AS AMENDEDThis is the original amendment. Text from additional amendments made to it are not included in this document.
AGENCY REQUEST BILLA request for legislation proposed by an agency of the executive branch of government.
AGENDAThe proposed order of business for a meeting.
AMENDTo modify, delete or add to a proposal.
AMENDMENTAny change in a bill, resolution, or memorial. A committee amendment is an amendment proposed in a committee meeting. A floor amendment is an amendment proposed on the floor of a legislative chamber. A striking amendment removes everything after the title and inserts a whole new bill. Amendments can be amended.
APPEAL FROM DECISION OF THE CHAIRA parliamentary procedure for challenging the decision of a presiding officer by asking the members to uphold or reject the decision.
APPORTIONMENTThe division of the state into districts with distinct geographic boundaries and the allocation of the number of legislators or congressmen to be elected to represent each district.
APPROACH THE BARA legislator's physical movement from any place on the floor of either house to the rostrum.
APPROPRIATIONA legislative allocation of money for a specific purpose.
APPROPRIATION COMMITTEEThe chief fiscal committee in the House. The committee is responsible for recommending how state monies will be spent.
AT EASEA pause in the proceedings of either house, usually for an indefinite time.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OPINIONA formal expression of legal reasons and principles regarding statutory or common law questions from state agencies or legislators.
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B
BAR OF THE HOUSE OR SENATEThe rostrum within both houses behind which sit or stand the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and others as designated, for presiding over the body, recording, and processing legislation being considered by the houses.
BICAMERALComposed of two chambers or two legislative bodies. The Washington State bicameral legislature is made up of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The legislative biennium is from the second Monday in Januray in odd-numbered years to the 2nd Monday in January two years later.
BIENNIUMTwo-year period. The Washington State fiscal biennium is from July 1 of odd-numbered years to June 30, two years later.
BILLA proposed law presented to the Legislature for consideration.
BILL BOOKSBinders located adjacent to the chamber or in committees containing all bills and amendments currently before or passed by the Legislature or committee.
BILL DIGESTSummary of a bill, prepared by the Code Reviser's office.
BILL DRAFTING OFFICELocated in the Pritchard Building in the Code Reviser's office. Drafts legislation to be introduced to the Legislature. (Officially named the Statute Law Committee.)
BILL HISTORYA record of the action taken on bills, resolutions and memorials.
BILL INDEXA list of legislative measures by subject matter.
BILL REPORTSummary of background and effect of bills, prepared by committee staff.
BILLS ON CALENDARPrinted volumes with yellow covers distributed to each member's floor desk. Includes the full text of bills and proposed committee amendments on the pending calendar.
BUMPINGSlang term for suspending the rules to allow a bill to be advanced from second to third reading without having the bill revert to the Rules Committee.
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C
CALENDARA list or schedule of pending business. Each house has many types of calendars: Regular, Consent, Suspension, Concurring, Dispute, Conference, Gubernatorial Appointments.
CALL OF THE HOUSE OR SENATEA procedure used to compel attendance of members.
CALL TO ORDERNotice given indicating the Legislature is officially in session. Also used to restore order during floor action.
CAPITALOlympia, Washington.
CAPITAL BUDGETAppropriations made to state and local agencies for building and construction projects.
CAPITOLThe domed capitol building of the state of Washington. In Washington it is called the Legislative Building. It houses The House and Senate chambers and offices for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Auditor, and Secretary of State.
CAPITOL CAMPUSThe grounds and group of buildings surrounding the domed Legislative Building, holding the offices of most of the state's elected officials.
CAUCUSA meeting of members of a body who belong to the same political party.
CHAIRPresiding officer.
CHAMBEROfficial hall for the meeting of a legislative body.
CHAPTER NUMBERA chapter number, in numerical order, given to each bill enacted, for example, Chapter 383 of the Laws of 2008. The chapter number is the number of the law. When codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) the chapter is inserted in the appropriate section of the statutes.
CHERBERG, JOHN A. BUILDINGThe four-story building directly southeast of the Legislative Building containing offices for senators and staff and hearing rooms.
CHIEF CLERKA person elected by the members of the House of Representatives to record the official actions of the House and to be the chief administrative officer of the House.
CODE REVISEROperating under the supervision of the Statute Law Committee, this person codifies into the appropriate sections of the RCW those measures enacted into law by the Legislature and also codifies administrative rules adopted by executive branch agencies.
COMMITTEEA portion of a legislative body charged with examining matters specifically referred to it.
COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEESCommittees in each house that select the chairs and members of standing committees.
COMPANION BILLA bill introduced in the same form in both the House and the Senate.
CONCURRENCE CALENDARA list of own-house bills amended by the opposite body and returned for possible concurrence.
CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONA resolution relating to the internal operation of the Legislature, in which one house concurs in the action of the other; it may originate in either house.
CONFERENCE CALENDARA list of bills to which both bodies have appointed conferees to discuss differences and seek resolution.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEEA committee which may be appointed to discuss specific differences of opinion between the House and Senate on bills which have passed each house but with differing positions on one or more amendments.
CONFIRMATIONApproval by the Senate of gubernatorial appointments.
CONFLICT OF INTERESTAny interest, financial or otherwise, any business or professional activity, or any obligation which is incompatible with the proper discharge of duties.
CONSENT CALENDARSpecial calendar of noncontroversial bills created by the Senate Rules Committee. Closely related to the Suspension Calendar used in the House.
CONSTITUTIONThe written instrument embodying the fundamental principles of the state that establishes power and duties of the government and guarantees certain rights to the people.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTProposed change in the Washington State Constitution which has been approved by two-thirds of both houses of the Legislature. To be enacted, the proposed amendment must be placed on the next general election ballot and secure a simple majority of votes in favor of adopting the measure.
CONSTITUTIONAL MAJORITYA majority of those members elected to either the Senate or the House. In the Senate a constitutional majority is 25; in the House it is 50.
CONVENEAssemble for an official meeting.
COSPONSORTwo or more persons proposing any document.
CUTOFF DATESTime certain set by a legislative body for specified action such as bill introduction, committee action, or passage of bills by either house.
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D
DAY CERTAINAdjournment with specific day to reconvene.
DEBATABLEOpen for discussion or argument.
DEBATEDiscussion of a matter following parliamentary rules.
DEPARTMENT REQUEST BILLA request for legislation proposed by a department of the state (also known as agency request bill).
DISCHARGEWhat happens to an elected official who has been recalled.
DISPUTE CALENDARBills amended by one body where the second body refuses to concur and asks the first body to recede.
DISSENTDifference of opinion.
DISTRICTArea encompassing citizens represented by a legislator. There are currently 49 legislative districts, each having two House members and one senator.
DIVISIONA method of voting by standing.
DIVISION OF QUESTIONConsideration of each item separately.
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E
EFFECTIVE DATEThe date a bill, once passed, becomes law. Unless a different date is specified, bills become law ninety days after Sine Die.
EMERGENCY CLAUSEA provision in a bill that allows a measure to become effective immediately upon the signature of the Governor.
ENACTMENTThe passage of a bill by both houses and the signing by the Governor.
ENGROSSED AMENDMENTWhen an amendment has been amended, the changes are worked into the text to create the engrossed amendment.
ENGROSSED BILLA bill which reflects all amendments made in the house of its origin.
ENROLLED BILLA bill passed by both houses, which incorporates all amendments, and to which has been attached a certificate of enrollment indicating the date passed, votes cast on the bill, and the certifying officers' signatures. It is presented to the Governor for signature.
ETHICSStandard of moral conduct. Legislative ethics standards are set forth in Chapter 42.52 RCW and House and Senate rules.
EX OFFICIOHolding one office by virtue of or because of the holding of another office. Ex-officio members of a committee have voice but may not vote.
EXECUTIVE ACTION1. Executive action of a standing committee refers to final consideration of a bill by the committee. 2. Executive action on a bill already passed by both houses refers to action taken by the Governor.
EXECUTIVE ORDERA directive or command from the Governor to agencies in the executive branch.
EXECUTIVE REQUEST BILLRequest for legislation proposed by the Governor.
EXECUTIVE RULESThe House leadership committee that oversees matters relating to staff, the physical plant and equipment, and operational matters. The corresponding committee in the Senate is called Facilities and Operations.
EXECUTIVE SESSIONA meeting for committee members to discuss and vote on bills they wish to report out of committee. These meetings are open to the public but no testimony is taken. Note that in other contexts executive sessions are closed to the public.
EXPULSIONThe act wherein a body removes one of its members as provided under its rules.
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F
FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS COMMITTEEThe Senate leadership committee that oversees matters relating to staff, the physical plant and equipment, and operational matters. The corresponding House committee is called EXECUTIVE RULES.
FIRST READINGFirst of three readings required to pass measures. Bills on first reading are introduced and referred to standing committees.
FISCALRelating to financial matters. The state fiscal year (FY) is July 1 through June 30.
FISCAL NOTEAn estimate of the expected cost of a measure to state and/or local government. Fiscal notes are prepared by the affected agencies and the Office of Financial Management (OFM).
FLAG CIRCLEThe area between the Legislative Building and the Temple of Justice.
FLASH CALENDARA listing of bills on the second or third reading calendar for the next day's agenda in the Senate.
FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OR SENATEThe actual floor space, committed primarily to legislators' desks, on which the business of the Legislature is conducted.
FLOOR RESOLUTIONA written motion calling for action, which may be offered from the floor of either house. Floor resolutions are usually congratulatory, commendatory, or memorial.
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G
GALLERYAreas of both chambers where public visitors may observe the Legislature in session.
GERMANERelating directly to a question.
GERRYMANDERINGLegislative district boundary lines drawn to obtain partisan or factional advantages.
GOVERNORThe chief executive officer of a state.
GRANDFATHER CLAUSEInserted in a bill making provisions nonapplicable to activities or personnel involved prior to the enactment of the new legislation.
GREEN SHEETThe list of bills eligible for action by the Senate Rules Committee. Green sheet bills can be placed directly on the second or third reading calendar, if approved by a majority of the members of the Senate Rules Committee. Equivalent to the House Rules Consideration list.
GUBERNATORIAL APPOINTMENTDesignation by the Governor to fill an office or position. The Senate confirms gubernatorial appointments.
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H
HEARINGA legislative committee meeting at which witnesses present testimony on matters under consideration by the committee.
HONORARY PAGEA young person who is acting as a nonpaid short-term page for either house.
HOPPERBox located in the bill drafting area in which legislative measures are deposited for introduction.
HOTLINEToll-Free number (1-800-562-6000) operated by the Legislative Information Center by which citizens can leave brief messages to communicate their concerns and opinions to their legislators, the Governor, or the Lt. Governor.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESLower chamber of our two-body legislature. The House has 98 members who serve two-year terms.
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I
INDEFINITELY POSTPONETo postpone without setting a definite time for consideration.
INITIATIVEA legislative power vested in the people. An initiative is proposed through a petition containing signatures of 8 percent of the number of voters voting in the last preceding regular gubernatorial election. There are two types of initiatives:
1. Initiative to the people. Original legislation by the voters, proposing a new law (or changing existing laws) without consideration by the Legislature.
2. Initiative to the Legislature. Original legislation by the voters, proposing a new law (or changing existing laws) for consideration by the Legislature at its next regular session. If not enacted, it is placed on the next general election ballot.
INSURANCE BUILDINGThe Insurance Building is directly east of the Legislative Building. It houses the Insurance Commissioner, the Office of Financial Management and the State Auditor.
INTERIMTime between legislative sessions.
INTERIM COMMITTEE ASSEMBLYA legislative practice during the interim of having some days devoted to committee hearings and caucuses in Olympia or another location within the state.
INTERNA college or university student from a higher education institution within the state, working with the Legislature, who receives stipend and credit hours. Legislative interns are assigned to members' offices during session and to committee staff during the interim.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLSAn order of business during which new bills are read into the record.
INVOCATIONPrayer given prior to a session. The schedule for persons offering prayer is determined by the presiding officer.
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J
JARRCJoint Administrative Rules Review Committee. Reviews agency rules to ensure consistency with legislative intent.
JLARCJoint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. A joint, bipartisan committee which conducts performance audits, program evaluations and other oversight duties assigned by the Legislature.
JOINT COMMITTEECommittee which consists of members from both houses.
JOINT MEMORIALA message or petition addressed to the President and/or Congress of the United States, or the head of any other agency of the federal or state government, asking for consideration of some matter of concern to the state or region. Proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution are also in the form of joint memorials.
JOINT RESOLUTIONAn act of the Legislature which proposes an amendment to the state Constitution for reference to the people for acceptance or rejection. To pass, joint resolutions must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members elected in each house.
JOURNALOfficial record of action of legislative session.
JTCJoint Transportation Committee. A joint committee composed of eleven senators and twelve representatives which conducts transportation studies between legislative sessions.
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L
LAWCommon law is law set by precedent in court and by interpretation of the Constitution and statute law. Statute law is governing action or procedure approved through the legislative process.
LEADERSHIPThe officers elected by their respective caucuses.
LEAPLegislative Evaluation and Accountability Program. A joint committee that serves as the Legislature's independent source of information and technology with respect to budgets and revenue.
LEGISLATIVE AUDITORStaff director of JLARC.
LEGISLATIVE BUDGET NOTESDocument providing detail about the biennial operating budget.
LEGISLATIVE BUILDINGThe domed capitol building of the state of Washington containing the House and Senate chambers and the offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, Auditor and Secretary of State.
LEGISLATIVE DIGEST AND HISTORY OF BILLSA publication issued periodically containing the sponsors, titles, short digest of content, legislative actions, and veto messages of the Governor for each bill, memorial, resolution, and gubernatorial appointment.
LEGISLATIVE ETHICS BOARDNine-member board with four legislators and five nonlegislators. Authority to interpret and apply the state ethics law for legislators and staff by training, advisory opinions, and complaints.
LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (LIC)Located on the first floor of the Legislative Building, staff are available to answer questions about the Legislature and the legislative process and provide copies of all bills and legislative documents.
LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION SPECIALISTAn employee of the Legislative Information Center who can answer questions about the legislature and provide copies of bills, amendments and other legislative documents.
LEGISLATIVE INTENTIf the words of a law cannot be clearly interpreted as written, the court may refer to the journal and recordings of floor and committee sessions to establish the intent of the Legislature in passing certain bills.
LEGISLATIVE MANUALBiennial publication that contains the rules of each body, joint rules, biographical and other information about the Legislature and state government.
LEGISLATIVE REPORTSummary of legislation passed during one or more legislative sessions.
LEGISLATORElected member of either the House of Representatives or Senate.
LEGISLATUREThe body made up of the members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Legislative biennia are also referred to as Legislatures, for example, "The 61st Legislature."
LIEUTENANT GOVERNORPresiding officer of the Senate.
LOBBYISTA person who tries to get legislators to introduce or vote for measures favorable and against measures unfavorable to an interest that he or she represents.
LSCLegislative Service Center. A legislative agency providing planning, data and information processing services, equipment and training in support of the Legislature and legislative agencies. Policy and administrative supervision are provided by the Joint Legislative Systems Committee and the Legislative Systems Administrative Committee.
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M
MADE ELIGIBLE TO BE PLACED ON SECOND READINGThe bill has passed the first of two steps in the rules committee which will decide if the bill will be placed on the floor calendar for a second reading.
MAJORITY LEADERLeader of the majority party in the state Senate. In the House, second in command to the Speaker. Elected by the majority caucus in each body.
MAJORITY PARTYThe party numbering the most members in a legislative body.
MAJORITY REPORTDocument bearing the signatures of a majority of the members of a committee recommending a particular action on a measure.
MANSIONThe official residence of the Governor, located directly west of the Legislative Building.
MEASUREAny matter before a body such as a bill, memorial, or resolution.
MEDIA DIGESTCompilation of print media about legislative activities for a certain period. Also called "daily clips."
MEMBERSLegislators having taken the oath of office.
MINORITY PARTYA party numbering less than a majority of members in a legislative body.
MINORITY REPORTDocument carrying signature(s) of a minority of the members of a committee recommending an action different from the majority.
MOOTA term indicating that a motion is not timely because it can no longer affect an action or event.
MOTIONA proposal that the Senate or House take a certain action.
MOTION TO RECONSIDERA motion which, if it succeeds, would place a question in the same status as it was prior to a previous vote on that question.
MOVEA formal request for action.
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N
NEWHOUSE, IRVING R. BUILDINGA two-story building southeast of the Legislative Building, it houses office space for senators and staff (formerly called the Institutions Building).
NULL AND VOID CLAUSELanguage specifying that a measure is invalid unless funding is provided in the budget by a specified date.
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O
OATH OF OFFICEOath taken by members-elect of the Legislature prior to being seated.
O'BRIEN, JOHN L. BUILDINGThe four-story building southwest of the Legislative Building containing House members' and staff offices, hearing rooms, and other House facilities.
OFMOffice of Financial Management. The chief executive agency for evaluating the budget, preparing fiscal notes, and providing fiscal policy analysis to the Governor.
OPERATING BUDGETTwo-year plan for funding ongoing activities of state agencies, except transportation.
OPROffice of Program Research. The House research and committee staff located in the John L. O'Brien Building. Equivalent to Senate Committee Services.
ORDER OF BUSINESSThe usual order of daily activities of a body, set out in its rules.
ORDER OF CONSIDERATIONA list of measures anticipated to be acted upon by the House or Senate on a particular day.
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P
PAGEHigh school students who assist the House or Senate. Each page is appointed by a member for one week, for which they receive a stipend.
PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRYQuestion posed to chair for clarification of a point in the proceedings.
PASSAGE OF BILLThe act of passing a bill by either or both houses of the Legislature.
PASSED TO RULES COMMITTEE FOR SECOND READINGThe bill has been sent to the Rules Committee which will decide if the bill will be placed on the floor calendar for a second reading.
PDCPublic Disclosure Commission. Oversees the reporting of information filed by lobbyists, state agencies, legislators, candidates and political committees on the amount of money spent on the political process and enforces the campaign laws.
PENALTY CLAUSESSections of bills which lay out criminal or civil penalties for violation of the law.
PENSION POLICY, SELECT COMMITTEECommittee which reviews proposed changes to retirement laws and recommends changes.
PER DIEMPayment in lieu of living expenses.
PETITIONA formal request.
PICTORIAL DIRECTORYPublication containing pictures and biographical material about the statewide elected officials and members of the Legislature. Known as the "baby book."
PLACED ON SECOND READING BY RULES COMMITTEEThe bill has been sent to the floor of the House or Senate and placed on the floor calendar for a second reading.
PLURALITYThe person or alternative with the most votes between two or more choices; as opposed to a "simple majority," meaning 51 percent or more of those present and voting. A "constitutional majority" is 51 percent or more of those elected to the House or Senate.
POINT OF ORDERA demand or request by a member for a legislative body to adhere to its rules of procedure.
POSTPONE TO A DAY CERTAINTo defer consideration until a later time or day.
PREFILINGThe act of introducing a bill prior to the beginning of session. Prefiling starts on the first Monday in December prior to the commencement of the session, or twenty days prior to a special session.
PRESIDENTPresiding officer of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor of the state.
PRESIDENT PRO TEMPOREA senator elected by the Senate to discharge the duties of presiding officer in the Lieutenant Governor's absence.
PREVIOUS QUESTIONA motion to close debate and bring the pending question or questions to an immediate vote.
PRIME SPONSORThe originator or first name on a bill or amendment that has been introduced.
PRITCHARD, JOEL M. BUILDINGThe former state library south of the Legislative Building. It houses the Statute Law Committee, the public cafeteria, and other legislative offices.
PROCLAMATIONAn order issued by the Governor, such as a proclamation calling a special session of the Legislature.
PROVISOA clause in a bill that sets out specific exceptions to the general law.
PULLSlang term for moving a bill. For example, Rules Committee members may move (pull) bills from the Green sheet to the floor for action by the full Senate or from the White sheet to the Green sheet, or members may vote to pull a bill from a committee to the floor.
PUT THE QUESTIONWhen the presiding officer instructs the body regarding what it is about to vote on.
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Q
QUORUMA majority of members of the group concerned. This means a majority of those elected to either house; in a committee, this means a majority of members assigned to the specific committee.
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R
RCWRevised Code of Washington - A codification of current statutes as enacted and amended.
RECALLThe recall is the vote of the people which, in effect, tries the elective public officer on charges brought against the officer. All elective public officers except judges of courts of record are subject to recall and discharge from elective offices.
RECEDETo withdraw from an amendment in which the other house refused to concur.
RECOMMITTED BILLA procedure whereby a bill is referred back to a standing or conference committee for further consideration. A bill may be recommitted at any time, usually on second or third reading. Recommitment of bills can be used to kill a bill during the final days of a session.
RECONSIDERTo vote again on a question previously before the body.
RED BOOKThe legislative manual: The biennial publication that contains the rules of each body, joint rules, biographical and other information about the Legislature and state government.
REDISTRICTINGRedrawing the boundaries of areas of representation to make them equal in population. Generally done once each decade.
REFERTo send a measure to a committee for study and consideration.
REFERENDUMRecently passed legislation referred by the Legislature to the voters for their rejection or enactment.
REFERENDUM MEASUREThe legislative power whereby the electorate may call back recently enacted laws for voter consideration. It originates in a petition containing signatures of 4 percent of those registered and voting at the last preceding regular gubernatorial election.
RELIEVEDA committee may be relieved of further consideration of any bill in either house by a majority vote of the members of the particular house.
REORGANIZATION MEETINGSMeetings of legislative caucuses to select leaders. Generally held in even-numbered years shortly after the general election.
REPEALTo revoke or abrogate by legislative action.
REPEALER CLAUSEThe section of a bill that lists which RCW sections and chapters of law are revoked and abrogated by the proposed legislation.
REPORTING OUTAction by a committee on a measure which moves the measure out of the committee. A measure may be reported out with a do pass, do not pass, amend, substitute, refer to another committee, or no recommendation.
RE-REFERTo reassign a measure to a different committee.
REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON (RCW)A codification of current statutes as enacted and amended.
ROLL CALLRecord of how members voted on a particular issue or question.
RULE SUSPENDEDTo temporarily set aside a rule.
RULESRegulating principles used in the conduct of legislative business.
RULES COMMITTEECommittees in each house responsible for setting the daily calendars of the Senate and House. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, respectively, serve as chairs of these committees.
RULES CONSIDERATIONThe list of bills eligible for action by the House Rules Committee. Bills on the Rules Consideration list can be placed on the second reading or third reading calendar, if approved by a majority of the members of the House Rules Committee.
RULES REVIEWThe list of bills eligible for consideration to be moved to the House Rules Consideration list or calendar. Equivalent to the Senate White sheet.
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S
SCOPE AND OBJECTA parliamentary ruling by the presiding officer as to whether a proposed amendment fits within the subject matter of the bill under consideration. Senate and House rules prohibit amendments which change or expand the scope and object of a bill.
SECOND READINGThe reading of a bill for the second time, in full, in open session, opening it to amendatory action.
SECRETARY OF THE SENATEA person elected by the Senate members to record the official actions of the Senate and to be the chief administrative officer of the Senate.
SELECT COMMITTEEA committee appointed to consider a particular  topic for a limited time. Used interchangeably with special committee.
SENATEUpper chamber of our two-body legislature. The Senate has 49 members who serve four-year terms.
SENATE COMMITTEE SERVICESThe Senate research and committee staff located in the John A. Cherberg Building. Equivalent to House Office of Program Research.
SERGEANT AT ARMSEnforces protocol of the House or Senate and provides security for the legislative offices.
SESSIONOfficial meeting of the Legislature. The Constitution provides for one 105-day regular session during odd-numbered years and one 60-day regular session during even-numbered years each biennium.
SEVERABILITY CLAUSEA section of a bill which instructs the court that if one section of the act is found unconstitutional, the remainder of the act will remain intact.
SHORT TITLEAn abridged description of the bill.
SINE DIETo conclude a regular or special session without setting a day to reconvene.
SPEAKERPresiding officer of the House of Representatives.
SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESSA motion to take up a specified measure at a specific time.
SPECIAL SESSIONA session of no more than 30 days, convened by the Governor or the Legislature, following adjournment of the regular session. The Legislature, upon two-thirds vote of all members, may call itself into special session.
SPONSORMember offering a bill, amendment, resolution or memorial.
STANDING COMMITTEESCommittees set up by the Legislature to last for the entire length (two years) of a legislature.
STATE OFFICIALSThe nine elected statewide administrative officers: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Commissioner of Public Lands, Insurance Commissioner, and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
STATUS SHEETA daily publication during session giving status of bills pending or acted upon by the Legislature.
STATUTEA law enacted by the Legislature.
STATUTE LAW COMMITTEEThe Code Reviser codifies into the appropriate sections of the RCW those measures enacted into law by the Legislature and also codifies administrative rules adopted by executive branch agencies.
STRIKE OUTTo delete language from a bill or resolution.
STRIKING AMENDMENTAmendment removing everything after the title and inserting a whole new bill. Strikers can be amended, therefore, you might see a designation for Adopted as Amended. The version of the amendment with the changes worked into the text is labeled "Engrossed."
SUBCOMMITTEESelected members of a committee designed to study a special area of concern and then report to the whole committee their findings and recommendations.
SUBSTITUTEA version of a bill offered by a committee in the first house. If adopted, the substitute replaces the original bill or resolution. The floor and the second house cannot offer substitutes.
SUNSETA program for review of state agencies, programs, and statutes by JLARC and OFM.
SUNSET PROVISIONA date certain for a law to automatically be repealed unless renewed by the Legislature.
SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGETChanges in the second year of the biennium to funds allocated in the original capital, operating, or transportation budgets.
SUPREME COURTThe highest court of the state. Comprised of nine elected justices who serve staggered six-year terms.
SUSPENSION CALENDARSpecial calendar of noncontroversial bills created by the House Rules Committee. The only question on the floor is acceptance of committee recommendations and advancement to third reading. Closely related to the consent calendar occasionally used in the Senate.
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T
TABLETo set aside a matter for possible consideration at a future time.
TEMPLE OF JUSTICEThe building directly north of the Legislative Building, housing the Supreme Court and offices of the Supreme Court Clerk, Commissioner, Reporter of Decisions, and the Law Library.
TERMDuration of office of an elected official.
TERM LIMITSRestrictions on the length of service for elected offices.
THIRD HOUSEAn association whose membership includes most of the professional lobbyists in the state.
THIRD READINGThe final consideration of a bill before either house. The bill can be debated, tabled, referred, but not amended. Final passage takes a constitutional majority.
TITLE OF BILLDescription of bill or act which encompasses the intent of the bill.
TITLE-ONLY BILLA bill which contains nothing more than a title and a number. It is introduced in order to have a vehicle on which to amend substance at a later time.
TRANSPORTATION BUDGETAppropriations for highways, bridges, ferries, transit, vehicle licensing, and traffic enforcement.
TVWWashington State version of C-SPAN,  broadcasting state government meetings and activities.
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U
ULCER GULCHSlang term for area in the Legislative Building used by lobbyists and general public for telephone calls and messages.
UNFINISHED BUSINESSBusiness which has been laid over from a previous day.
UNICAMERAL LEGISLATUREA legislative body having only one house, such as a city council. Nebraska has the only unicameral state legislature.
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V
VETORejection of a bill by the Governor. The Governor has power to veto sections of bills but cannot make any additions. The Governor can also veto appropriation items. To pass a bill over a Governor's veto takes a two-thirds vote of both houses and is known as overriding a veto.
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W
WACWashington Administrative Code. The administrative rules and regulations by which state agencies operate to execute the Laws enacted by the Legislature.
WASHINGTON STATE REGISTERA monthly publication which lists all proposed new agency rules and regulations as well as proposed amendments, meeting notices, etc.
WAYS AND MEANSThe chief revenue and appropriations committee in the Senate. The committee is responsible for recommending how state monies will be spent and the means that will be used to raise the tax revenues.
WHIPAn assistant to the majority or minority leader, the duties of the whip include counting votes, checking attendance, and maintaining caucus discipline on partisan issues and procedural questions.
WHITE SHEETThe list of bills eligible for consideration to be moved to the Green sheet by the Senate Rules Committee. Pulls from White to Green do not require a vote. Equivalent to the House Rules Review list.
WITHDRAW A MOTIONTo recall or remove a motion according to parliamentary procedure.
WITHIN THE BARRefers either to a legislator's presence within the bar of the house or to his or her physical presence on the floor of the Legislature.
WORK ROOMAn office in each house where the bills are processed, roll call information retained, and bills engrossed, enrolled, etc.
WORK SESSIONInformal discussion of a measure or topic by a committee. No executive action or amendments are permitted.
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X
X-FILEThe House and Senate Rules Committees may place bills that will go no further in the process on the "X-file."
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Y
YIELDTo relinquish the floor of the House or Senate to allow another member to speak.