President of the Senate

The Office of Lieutenant Governor plays a unique role in state government. The Lieutenant Governor is the only statewide elected official who has duties in both the Legislative and Executive Branch. Due to the Constitutional separation of powers,  however, the Lieutenant Governor is precluded from presiding as President of the Senate when he is called upon to serve as Acting Governor.

President of the Senate

As President of the State Senate, the Lieutenant Governor stands at the rostrum in Senate Chambers whenever the senate is in session and leads the parliamentary discussion as legislation is being debated. If there is a dispute on the floor or if there is a question on procedure or even the legality of a motion, the Lieutenant Governor, in association with Senate Counsel, will be called upon to make a ruling on the matter.

The Lieutenant Governor also presides over joint sessions of the state Senate and House of Representatives, such as the Governor’s annual State of the State Address, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court’s State of the Judiciary address and many others.

In this position as President of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor is also chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, the 20-member body that determines which legislation advances to the floor of the Senate for debate. The Lieutenant Governor is a voting member of this committee.

Appointment process

During the Legislative session, bills are passed that establish new commissions, interim committees, task forces and work groups. Frequently those new laws require the President of the Senate to appoint members from the two largest caucuses of the Senate to the newly established body.

The Lieutenant Governor appoints members to over 40 different boards, some made in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor and some in his role as President of the Senate.

If you are staff to a board or commission and need information regarding an appointment, please contact Libby Hollingshead, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Lt. Governor at 360.786.7745 or

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Responsibilities of Office
RCW 43.15.020 – concerning appointments made by the President of the Senate
2013 – 2014 Legislative Manual
Senate Democratic Caucus
Senate Majority Coalition Caucus