Washington State Senate

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The Washing State Senate is the upper chamber of the bicameral Washington State Legislature. The lower chamber being the Washington State House of Representatives.

Within the Senate, depending on the location and function, there are several different organizational systems in effect.

Floor Session
On the floor of the Senate, the Lt. Governor (President of the Senate) is the presiding officer. In the absence of the Lt. Governor, the President Pro Tempore, or Vice President Pro Tempore, both Senators elected by the body from the majority party, assume that role. Assisting the presiding - officer on the rostrum are the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Senate, Journal Clerk, Status Clerk, and Reading Clerk. Attorneys from the Office of Senate Counsel are present for consultation on parliamentary and legal questions before the body. The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for security and maintaining order in the Chamber. [1]

Caucus
Each of the political parties has an organization of its own which provides leadership and direction to its members. The majority leadership appoints committee chairs, and determines the assignment of bills to committees and bills to be considered by the body. Caucus chairs preside at caucus meetings. Other majority and minority officers, such as floor leaders and whips, have responsibility for procedural functions while the Senate is in session. [2]

Committees
The Senate itself is organized into standing committees for the purpose of hearing, amending, and passing bills to the floor for action by the body. Each committee has a chair and vice-chair from the majority party, and a pre-determined number of members from each of the parties. The Senate Rules Committee is chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and determines which bills that have passed out of the standing committees will be heard on the floor. [3]

Staff
Senate staff (administrative, committee, caucus, and members' personal) provide a wide variety of support services to members and staff. The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee (F&O), comprised of the leadership from each caucus, establishes policies and procedures governing Senate operations. The Secretary of the Senate, as chief administrative officer, is responsible for the overall management of Senate operations, including administration of policies and procedures established by the F&O Committee. [4]

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