SB 5504

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by Senate Committee On:

State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections, February 21, 2019

Ways & Means, January 29, 2020

Title: An act relating to state agency employee access to peer-reviewed journals.

Brief Description: Concerning state agency employee access to peer-reviewed journals.

Sponsors: Senators Warnick, Sheldon, Hasegawa, Hunt, Zeiger, Takko, Wagoner, Hawkins, Honeyford, Carlyle, Keiser and Wilson, L.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections: 2/20/19, 2/21/19 [DP-WM].

Ways & Means: 1/27/20, 1/29/20 [DPS].

Brief Summary of First Substitute Bill

  • Directs the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to conduct a study that identifies the extent to which state employees in other states have access to peer-reviewed journals.


Majority Report: Do pass and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Signed by Senators Hunt, Chair; Kuderer, Vice Chair; Zeiger, Ranking Member; Bailey, Hasegawa, Hawkins and Takko.

Staff: Melissa Van Gorkom (786-7491)


Majority Report: That Substitute Senate Bill No. 5504 be substituted therefor, and the substitute bill do pass.

Signed by Senators Rolfes, Chair; Frockt, Vice Chair, Operating, Capital Lead; Mullet, Capital Budget Cabinet; Braun, Ranking Member; Brown, Assistant Ranking Member, Operating; Honeyford, Assistant Ranking Member, Capital; Billig, Carlyle, Conway, Darneille, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Hunt, Keiser, Liias, Muzzall, Pedersen, Rivers, Schoesler, Wagoner, Warnick and Wilson, L..

Staff: Michele Alishahi (786-7433)

Background: In a number of scientific fields, academics and professionals rely on articles published in peer-reviewed journals for their research. Before publication in a peer-reviewed journal, articles must be reviewed by experts in the field who may suggest revisions to an article before it is published. An article is rejected from publication if it lacks scholarly validity and rigor.

Access to peer-reviewed journals often requires purchasing a subscription or paying an access fee, although specific articles may sometimes be purchased individually. College and university libraries generally subscribe to relevant journals for their students or others with library accounts. The Washington State Library statewide database licensing project also includes a research library with some magazines, periodicals, and scholarly journals.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) was created by the Legislature in 1983 as a nonpartisan organization to carry out research at the direction of the Legislature or the WSIPP Board of Directors (Board). The Board is comprised of 16 members representing the Legislature, the Executive Branch, and the academic community. Fiscal and administrative services for WSIPP are provided by The Evergreen State College.

Summary of Bill (First Substitute): WSIPP must conduct a study that identifies the extent to which state employees in other states have access to peer-reviewed journals. When applicable, WSIPP will identify the funding, organizational structures, and policy mechanisms used in other states where relevant public employees have electronic access to peer-reviewed journals, and potential barriers to similar access in Washington State.

The study must be completed and submitted to the Legislature by December 1, 2021.


Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Original Bill (State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections) (Regular Session 2019): PRO: There are agencies that must look at these resources and we need to get up to speed in how to do this in an electronic manner. Health impact reviews require access to this peer review literature and could not be done without this information. Having agencies use good science to made decisions results in good policy. This issue is not simple and is complicated by subscription issues and other licensing agreements among the various entities. This bill would allow for the review of these barriers and is a critical first step to determine the best way to move forward to provide better access to this resources in the state. This bill will allow the state to save money through the use of bulk purchasing.

Persons Testifying (State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections): PRO: Senator Judy Warnick, Prime Sponsor; Gareth Waugh, Port Blakely; Jay Jennings, Office of the Secretary of State; Christy Hoff, State Board of Health.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections): No one.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Original Bill (Ways & Means) (Regular Session 2020): The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: Other states have realized cost savings in purchasing access to peer-reviewed journals by consolidating negotiations. More science-based decision making is for the benefit of all. Access to journals is critical to encouraging this thinking. Other states have done this to provide a more collective effort to ensure access to journals for people in their state. Today state employees find it difficult to access peer-reviewed journals. We believe this bill will result in cost savings to the state while increasing state employees access. Academic libraries face a dilemma as costs of journal subscriptions rise while budgets stagnate or shrink. A statewide collective that provides access to peer reviewed journals would not only aid state agencies but academic libraries across the state would also benefit.

Persons Testifying (Ways & Means): PRO: Senator Judy Warnick, Prime Sponsor; Carolyn Logue, Washington Library Association; Jay Jennings, Legislative Director, Office of Secretary of State; Kirsten Feifel, Aquatics Science Advisor, Washington State Department of Natural Resources; Ruben Flores, Council of Presidents; Gareth Waugh, Director of Forestry, Port Blakely; Lori Blewett, Council of Faculty; Ahniwa Ferrari, The Evergreen State College.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Ways & Means): No one.