Washington State: Branches of Government

The Washington State Constitution describes the branches of Washington State Government. Like all states, Washington has three branches modeled after the federal government: executive, legislative, and judicial.

  • Executive - includes the Governor and other elected state officials. These individuals implement the laws passed by the Legislature. The Governor has the power to appoint members of the Judicial branch. Further, bills passed by the Legislature are sent to the Governor to be signed or vetoed.
  • Legislative - composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives and enacts bills into laws. The Senate has 49 elected members corresponding to the number of legislative districts in the state. The House has 98 elected members, two for each district.
  • Judicial - composed of the state courts: Trial court (Municipal, District and Superior), Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court. State courts make rulings on the constitutionality and legality surrounding the implementation of a law, as passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.