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AGO 1950 No. 219 - February 17, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

WASHINGTON STATE FRUIT COMMISSION -- AUTHORITY TO ACT IN COORDINATION WITH OTHER STATE AGENCIES --RELIEF WORKERS ON PROJECT COVERED BY WORKMAN'S COMPENSATION ACT

(1) The Washington State Fruit Commission, in the exercise of its function to promote the production and general welfare of the soft tree fruit industry, may act in coordination with and render assistance to the Department of Agriculture and other state and city agencies in a disease control program.

(2) Relief workers employed in connection with this project would be covered by the Workman's Compensation Act.

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                                                                February 17, 1950

Honorable Ronald Hull
Prosecuting Attorney
Yakima, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 219

Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion on the following questions:

            1.         Does the Washington State Fruit Commission have the power to work in coordination with the State Department of Agriculture and other state and city agencies in undertaking the removal of diseased cherry trees within the city of Yakima and suburban areas?

            2.         If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative, would relief workers employed in connection with the project be covered by the Workmen's Compensation Act?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            (1) The Washington State Fruit Commission, in the exercise of its functions to promote the production and general welfare of the soft tree fruit industry, may act in coordination with and render assistance to the Department of Agriculture and other state and city agencies in a disease control program.

            (2) Relief workers employed in connection with this project would be covered by the Workmen's Compensation Act.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            As we understand the facts, the Washington State Fruit Commission has been asked to act as the coordinating agency, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and the City of Yakima in effectuating a program to combat the spread of disease affecting cherry trees in Yakima and immediate vicinity.  As a result of a survey conducted by the Department of Agriculture, certain trees in the stated area have been marked as diseased.

            Under the general purposes of the Act and under the enumerated powers and duties of the Commission created thereby, the Commission may perform "all acts and exercise all powers deemed reasonably necessary, proper, or advisable to effectuate the purposes of this act, and promote the general welfare of the soft tree industry of this state."  [Rem. Rev. Stat. 2909-26.]  The Commission is empowered to conduct scientific research " * * * to increase production and quality of soft tree fruits and products thereof.  * * *"  A disease control program is directly related to the scientific development of the soft fruit industry and comes within the competence of the Commission to engage in activities designed toward that end.

            Relief workers employed by the Washington State Fruit Commission to aid in the eradication of diseased cherry trees are covered by the Workmen's Compensation Act [Rem. Rev. Stat. 7692] since the project and the extrahazardous work therein is an authorized function of this state  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] governmental unit.  (Opinion of Attorney General, January 31, 1950, to the Director of the Department of Social Security.)  The controlling cases are:Lawe v. Department of Labor and Industries, 189 Wash. 650, 66 P. (2d) 848;Reid v. Department of Labor and Industries, 194 Wash. 108, 77 P. (2d) 589.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

T. H. LITTLE
Chief Assistant
Attorney General

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