Legal Authority

Honoring humanity creates an equitable and just society.

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Often, in the United States, the guarantee of human rights starts with recognition in the law. The Washington State Office of Equity champions equity and justice for everyone in the state, working to ensure that the civil rights of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander people are protected based on the law. We are committed to promoting policies and laws in Washington state that protect the human rights of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander residents based on principles of humanity, justice, and belonging. 

Below are laws that protect the human and civil rights of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander people. Please visit Policy for more information on federal and state laws that protect human rights and outlaw discrimination.


  • RCW 49.60.030 Freedom from discrimination—Declaration of civil rights.
  • RCW 43.117.010: The Legislature declares that the public policy of this state is to insure equal opportunity for all of its citizens. The Legislature finds that Asian Pacific Americans have unique and special problems. It is the purpose of this chapter to improve the well-being of Asian Pacific Americans by insuring their access to participation in the fields of government, business, education, and other areas. The Legislature is particularly concerned with the plight of those Asian Pacific Americans who, for economic, linguistic, or cultural reasons, find themselves disadvantaged or isolated from American society and the benefits of equal opportunity. The Legislature aims to help all Asian Pacific Americans achieve full equality and inclusion in American society. The Legislature further finds that it is necessary to aid Asian Pacific Americans in obtaining governmental services to promote the health, safety, and welfare of all the residents of this state.
  • RCW 43.06D.020: The Washington state office of equity is established within the office of the governor for the purpose of promoting access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes statewide across state government.
  • RCW 43.117.070: The Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs  shall examine and define issues pertaining to the rights and needs of Asian Pacific Americans and make recommendations to the governor and state agencies with respect to desirable changes in program and law.
  • RCW 43.117.110: The Legislature declares that: May of each year will be known as Asian Pacific American heritage month; The fourth week of May is designated as a time for people of this state to celebrate the contributions to the state by Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, sciences, commerce and education; and (3) Educational institutions, public entities and private organizations are encouraged to designate time for appropriate activities in commemoration of the lives, history, achievements and contributions of Asian Pacific Americans.

Executive Orders

  • Executive Order 17-01, February 2017, Issued by Governor Jay Inslee – Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.
  • Executive Order 21-01, February 2021, Issued by Governor Jay Inslee – Affirming Washington State Business Resource Groups.
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