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state seal 70.10
Coffee and Light Refreshments


July 1, 2014

The agency must first adopt written policies

An agency may not provide coffee and light refreshments at meetings and formal training sessions unless the agency has formally adopted written internal policies and procedures that describe the approval process for these items.

In accordance with Executive Order 13-06, executive cabinet agencies are required, and all other agencies strongly encouraged, to incorporate healthy food and beverages in their coffee and light refreshment internal policies. Refer to


July 1, 2005

When may coffee and light refreshments be served?

Per RCW 43.03.050(4), with approval of an agency head or authorized designee, an agency may serve coffee or light refreshments at a meeting where:

  • The purpose of the meeting is to conduct state business or to provide formal training that benefits the state; and

  • The coffee or light refreshment is an integral part of the meeting or training session; and

  • The agency obtains a receipt for the actual costs of the coffee and/or light refreshments.

This authority is not intended for use with the normal daily business of elective or appointive officials or state employees, but rather for special situations or occasions, as determined by the agency head or authorized designee, for example, recognizing agency or employee accomplishments. Per RCW 43.03.050(3), in addition to the requirements noted in Subsection 70.10.20.a, coffee and light refreshments may be served to elective or appointive officials or state employees regardless of travel status where:

  • The meeting or training session takes place away from the employee’s or official’s regular workplace; and

  • The agency person responsible for the meeting receives agency approval for the serving of coffee and/or light refreshments prior to the event.


All legally authorized boards and commissions may provide coffee and/or light refreshments at their official public meetings, including executive sessions.


Agencies are not required to provide coffee and/or light refreshments at meetings.


May 1, 1999

Expenditures for coffee and light refreshments are prohibited in some cases

Agencies may not make expenditures for coffee and/or light refreshments in the following situations:

  • For anniversaries of agencies, receptions for new, existing, and/or retiring employees or officials, election celebrations, etc.
  • Any "hosting" activities. "Hosting" includes, but is not limited to, those activities that are intended either to lobby a legislator or a governmental official, or are to be a social rather than governmental business event, and include expenditures for coffee and/or light refreshments for those whom agencies are not legally authorized to reimburse.


May 1, 1999

Documentation of approval is required

Agencies must document the request and approval for expenditures for coffee and/or light refreshments. Agencies may use a Travel Authorization (form A40-A) or agency equivalent form, an Invoice Voucher (form A19-1A), or a formally written agency memorandum for this purpose. The documentation should provide support for the authorization, including:

  • The names of the state organizations or persons attending the meeting (includes conferences, conventions, and formal training sessions), and
  • The purpose of the meeting or expenditure.

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