How to keep tabs on your Washington State Legislature

The Associated Press


Olympia, WA - The Legislature is meeting this year in unusual circumstances, as its normal home under the Capitol dome undergoes a two-year renovation.

House and Senate committee hearings will be in their normal places, in the Cherberg and O'Brien buildings on the Capitol campus. All committee hearings are open to the public.

But the House and Senate chambers will be closed to visitors this year. Here's how to keep tabs on what's happening in Olympia from home:

--The Legislature's Web site,, is the best starting point. Here you can find information about bills and votes, Senate and House schedules and floor activity, and contact information for legislators.

--TVW, Washington state's answer to C-SPAN, is the only place to find gavel-to-gavel coverage of committee hearings, news conferences and floor sessions on television.
Channel 23 on most cable systems.

You can also check out TVW on the Web, at This site allows you to watch or listen to whatever is being broadcast on TVW. If the station isn't showing what you're interested in, you can listen to any committee hearings or floor action happening that day. The site also includes a vast audio and video library, as well as programming information.

--A new Web site called has sprung up to fill the information void. Jointly sponsored by the Washington Policy Center and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, the site lets you search and track bills by sponsor, subject and keyword. If you enter a profile with the site, you can customize a home page to track the legislation or legislators of your choice and have the site e-mail you updates.

--To get information about a bill, you can call the Legislative hot line at 800-562-6000.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. You can also call this number to record brief messages for legislators or the governor.


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