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AGO 1950 No. 402 - December 19, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

FIREMEN'S RELIEF AND PENSION ACT

Full time paid firemen employed by a fire district are not covered by the Firemen's Relief and Pension Act, chapter 91, Laws of 1947 (Rem. 1947 Supp. 9578-40 to 9578-51).

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                                                               December 19, 1950

Representative Daniel W. Giboney
123 Walnut Road
Opportunity, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 402

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of November 13th, in which you inquire whether full time paid firemen employed by a county fire protection district are eligible for the benefits of sections 9578-40 to 9578-51 of Remington's Revised Statutes, the latter being chapter 91, Laws of 1947, the Firemen's Relief and Pension Act.

            It is our conclusion that the firemen employed by a fire protection district do not fall within the class of persons covered by chapter 91, Laws of 1947 (Rem. 1947 Supp. 9578-40 to 9578-51).

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 91, Laws of 1947 provides for a system of pension and disability allowances for firemen of municipalities.  The first section of the act contains a series of definitions.  We quote the pertinent ones.

            "* * *

            "(6) 'Fireman' shall mean any person regularly or temporarily, or as a substitute, employed and paid as a member of a fire department, who has  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] passed a Civil Service Examination for fireman and who is actively employed as a fireman; and shall include any 'prior fireman.'

            "(7) 'Fire Department' shall mean the regularly organized, full-time, paid, and employed force of firemen of the municipality.

            "* * *

            "(9) 'Municipality' shall mean every city and town having a regularly organized full-time, paid, fire department employing firemen.

            "* * *"

            It will be noted from the foregoing definition that a fireman to be included under this law must be employed in a fire department of a city or town.  For the special purposes of the act the term "municipality" has been limited to cities and towns.

            The title of chapter 91, Laws of 1947, reads in part as follows:

            "AN ACT relating to firemen of cities and towns; establishing and creating a firemen's relief and pension system and a pension fund in certain cities and towns; providing for the maintenance of and contributions and payments thereto, and for distribution of and payments therefrom; providing for the administration of the act; etc."

            Our Supreme Court has held that a title of a law is a limitation upon its contents.  Thayer v. Snohomish Logging Co., 101 Wash. 459, 172 Pac. 552; State ex rel. Swan v. Taylor, 21 Wash. 672.  The title refers only to cities and towns and, therefore, also limits the application of the law to firemen employed by cities and towns.  It is our conclusion that the Firemen's Relief and Pension Act is applicable only to firemen employed by cities and towns.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

LYLE L. IVERSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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