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Researching Washington Historical Laws

Updated Feb. 27, 2012.
Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg.

This guide identifies print and online sources for current and historical Washington State laws. Access to LexisNexis Academic is UW Restricted; LexisNexis and Westlaw are available to individual subscribers. Other links go to free online sources on the Internet.

For more information on historical Washington codes, see Chapter 3, Fundamentals of Legal Research in Washington in the Washington Legal Researcher's Deskbook 3d. KFW75.W37 2002 at Reference Area

For more information on Washington Territory session laws, see Chapter 49, Washington Territorial Legal Materials, in Prestatehood Legal Materials. KF240.P688 2005 at Reference Office

See also the Gallagher guides on Washington State Legislative History and the Statutory Research Checklist.


Session Laws

The chronological arrangement of laws enacted by the Washington Legislature and signed into law by the Governor are called session laws. When you need read the text of a law as it was originally enacted, consult the session laws.

In Print

Online

Session Laws of the State of Washington (Laws of Washington), 1889-
KFW25 .A22 at Reference Area & Compact Stacks

Office of the Code Reviser, 1854-

LexisNexis: WASH;WAALS, current session

West’s Washington Legislative Service.
KFW30 1961 .B3 at Reference Area (current session)

Westlaw: WA-LEGIS, current session

Westlaw: WA-LEGIS-OLD, 1988-

Laws of Washington: A Publication of the Session Laws of Washington Territory, 1854-88. 5 vols.
KFW25.2 1854 at Reference Area & Special Collections Washington

Secretary of State, 1854-62

Statutes of the Territory of Washington, Being the Code passed by the Legislative Assembly, at their First Session Begun and Held at Olympia, February 28th.
Also called the Code of 1854.
KFW30 1854 .A22 at Reference Area Microfiche, Special Collections Rare Books & Special Collections Washington


Indexes

Index to the Laws, Memorials and Resolutions Passed by the Washington Territorial Legislature.
KFW40 .I63 1993 at Reference Area & Washington State Library

A Complete Index to the Code of Washington and to the Session Laws enacted by the Territorial Legislature, Sessions of 1881, 1883, 1885, and 1887: Together with All Laws Remaining in Force at the Time of the Adoption of the Code, Approved December 7, 1881.
KFW40 .C6 1888 at Reference Area & Compact Stacks

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Codes

A code is a subject arrangement of the laws in force. An official version is published by the state; annotated versions are issued by commercial publishers.

Current

In Print

Online

Official


Revised Code of Washington, 1974- . RCW
Biennial, with off-year supplement.
KFW30 1951 .A2 at Reference Area (current edition);
earlier editions at Classified Stacks

Washington State Legislature, current edition

LegalWA, current edition

LexisNexis: WAxxxx, 1991-

Westlaw: WA-ST, current edition

Revised Code of Washington, 1951-73. Looseleaf.
KFW30 1951 .A19 at Reference Area Microfiche & Special Collections Washington


Commercial

West’s Revised Code of Washington Annotated. RCWA
KFW30 1961 .B3 at Reference Area (current edition);
superseded vols. at Classified Stacks & Special Collections Washington

Westlaw: WA-ST-ANN, current edition

Westlaw: WA-STANNxx, 1989-

Annotated Revised Code of Washington. ARCW
KFW30 1994 .A43 at Reference Area (current edition);
superseded vols. at Special Collections Washington

LexisNexis Academic, current edition

LexisNexis: WASH;CODE

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Historical

Several codes have been published since Washington was a territory.

Code of Washington Containing All Acts of a General Nature, Revised and Amended by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington. Also called the Code of 1881. Also published as vol. 5 of the Laws of Washington.
KFW30 1881 .A2 at Reference Area & Classified Stacks

General Laws of Washington Territory Enacted by the Legislative Assembly in the Year 1881. 3 vols.
Includes laws found in the Code of 1881 and laws not found in the Code of 1881.
KFW25.2 1881 .B4 1942 at Classified Stacks & Special Collections Washington

General Statutes and Codes of the State of Washington, 1891. 2 vols. Also called Hill’s Code.
KFW30 1891 .A419 at Special Collections Condon & Special Collections Washington

The Revised Statutes and Codes of the State of Washington, 1896. Also called McLaughlin’s Code.
KFW30 1896 .A4196 at Classified Stacks & Special Collections Washington

Ballinger's Annotated Codes and Statutes of Washington, 1897. 2 vols. Also called Ballinger’s Code.
KFW30 1897 .A22 at Special Collections Washington

Pierce's Code: A Compilation of All the Laws in Force in the State of Washington, 1912. Also called Pierce's Code.
KFW30 1912 .A42 at Classified Stacks & Special Collections Washington

Remington & Ballinger's Annotated Codes and Statutes of Washington, 1910. 2 vols. & 1914 supplement. Also called Remington & Ballinger’s Annotated Codes.
KFW30 1910 .A4191 at Classified Stacks & Special Collections Washington

Remington's Compiled Statutes of Washington Annotated, 1922-27. 3 vols. with 1923 & 1927 supplements. Also called Remington Compiled Statutes.
KFW30 1922 .A422 at Classified Stacks, Reference Area Microfiche, & Special Collections Washington

Remington's Revised Statutes of Washington, Annotated, 1932-49. 12 vols. with 1941, 1943, 1945, 1947 & 1949 supplements. Also called Remington’s Revised Statutes.
KFW30 1932 .A4132 at Reference Area, Classified Stacks & Special Collections Washington

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