Government of Washington (state)

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The government of Washington is the governmental structure of the state of Washington as established by the Washington Constitution. The executive is composed of the Governor, several other statewide elected officials and the Governor's cabinet. The Washington State Legislature consists of the House of Representatives and State Senate. The judiciary is composed of the Washington Supreme Court and lower courts. There is also local government, consisting of counties, municipalities and special districts.


The statewide elected officers are:


The Governor's executive cabinet includes directors of the:[1]

101 King Street in Seattle housing the Department of Social and Health Services.
The General Adminstration Building in Olympia.

The Governor's small agency cabinet consists of several other departments, commissions, boards and commissions.[2]


The State Senate Chamber of the Washington State Capitol.

The Washington State Legislature is the state's legislative branch. The state legislature is bicameral and is composed of a lower House of Representatives and an upper State Senate. The state is divided into 49 legislative districts of equal population, each of which elects two representatives and one senator. Representatives serve two-year terms, whilst senators serve for four years. There are no term limits.

The Speaker of the House presides over the House of Representatives. The Speaker and the Speaker Pro Tem are nominated by the majority party caucus followed by a vote of the full House. As well as presiding over the body, the Speaker is also the chief leadership position, and controls the flow of legislation. In the absence of the Speaker the Speaker Pro Tem assumes the role of Speaker. The Lieutenant Governor of Washington serves as the President of the Senate, but only casts a vote if required to break a tie. In his or her absence, the President Pro Tempore presides over the Senate. The President Pro Tempore is elected by the majority party caucus followed by confirmation of the entire Senate through a Senate Resolution. The President Pro Tempore is the chief leadership position in the Senate. The other legislative leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders are elected by their respective party caucuses.


The Temple of Justice where the Supreme Court convenes.

The Washington Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. Nine justices serve on the bench and are elected statewide to six-year terms.

The Washington Court of Appeals is the intermediate level appellate court. The court is empowered to hear cases involving: appeals from final judgments and order of a superior court,[3] Personal Restraint Petitions,[4] writs of mandamus and quo warranto,[4] appeals from decisions of administrative agencies, discretionary Review of the Superior Court's decision in an appeal from a court of limited jurisdiction,[5] and discretionary Review of interlocutory appeals from rulings of the Superior Court for which there is no other effective remedy.[6] Judges are elected for six-year terms. The court is divided into three divisions. Cases are heard by panels of three judges. There is no en banc procedure.

The Washington superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction, one for each county. The Washington district courts and Washington municipal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.

Local government[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Office of the Governor of Washington. "Executive cabinet". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Office of the Governor of Washington. "Small agency cabinet". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Wash. R.App.P 2.2, 6.1
  4. ^ a b Wash. R.App.P. 16.1 et seq.
  5. ^ Wash. R.App.P. 2.2.
  6. ^ Wash. R.App.P 2.3

External links[edit]