Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1954 No. 257 - May 13, 1954
AGO Opinion Header Image
Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD ‑- REVOLVING FUND ‑- DISTRIBUTIONS OF MEDICAL AND BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH FUND ‑- PRIORITY OF FUNDS PROVIDED FOR STATE TOXICOLOGICAL LABORATORY.

The amounts prescribed by RCW 68.08.107 for the establishment of a state toxicological laboratory at the University of Washington and for the salaries of the staff thereof, are a preferred charge upon that portion of the liquor revolving fund which is made up from license fees, penalties and forfeitures derived from Class H licenses and Class H licensees, and are to be paid from that portion of the funds allocated to the University of Washington under RCW 43.66.080.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                   May 13, 1954

Honorable Evro M. Becket,Chairman
Washington State Liquor Control Board
Public Lands-Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                               Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 257

Dear Sir:

            Your letter, received by us April 20, 1954, refers to RCW 68.08.107 1953 Supp. (as derived from chapter 188, Laws of 1953) which provides for the establishment of a state toxicological laboratory at the University of Washington and directs that funds from the "medical and biological fund" under RCW 43.66.080 be provided for the establishment of the laboratory and for the salaries of the staff thereof.

            You request our opinion as follows:

            "We would like an opinion from you as to whether this law requires the payment of $25,000 for the setting up of the laboratory and the payment of $50,000 per biennium to be made from the funds received from  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] H licenses or Class H licensees prior to distribution to the University of Washington and Washington State College, or whether priority provided by RCW 68.08.108 is to be applied by the University of Washington to the funds distributed after such funds have been received by the University."

            It is our conclusion that:

            The amounts prescribed by RCW 68.08.107 1953 Supp. for the establishment of a state toxicological laboratory at the University of Washington and for the salaries of the staff thereof, are a preferred charge upon that portion of the liquor revolving fund which is made up from license fees, penalties and forfeitures derived from Class H licenses and Class H licensees, and are to be paid from that portion of the funds allocated to the University of Washington under RCW 43.66.080.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The title to chapter 188, Laws of 1953, reads in part as follows:

            "AN ACT relating to jurisdiction over inquests, autopsies and post-mortems in certain cases; prescribing the powers and duties of certain officers; providing certain procedures; defining crimes and prescribing certain penalties; determining responsibility for certain costs; * * *"

            Section 13 of the act (now RCW 68.08.107 1953 Supp.) provides that:

            "There shall be established at the University of Washington Medical Schoola state toxicological laboratory under the direction of a competent toxicologist whose duty it will be to perform all necessary toxicologic procedures requested by all coroners and prosecuting attorneys.  The facilities of the police school of the Washington State College and the services of its professional staff shall be made available to the coroners and the prosecuting attorneys in their investigations under this chapter.  This  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] laboratory shall be deemed to be within the meaning of medical and biological research as defined in RCW 43.66.080, and funds for this purpose not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars shall be provided for setting up such laboratory and an additional amount not to exceed fifty thousand dollars per biennium may be provided for salaries for staff of said laboratory, and the funds so provided may take priority over disbursements of any other sums from said medical and biological research fund."  (Emphasis supplied)

            RCW 43.66.080 directs the Liquor Control Board to make quarterly distribution from the liquor revolving fund and provides:

            "* * * That all license fees, penalties and forfeitures derived under this act from Class H licenses or Class H licensees shall every three (3) months be disbursed by the Board to the University of Washington and to Washington State College for medical and biological research only, in such proportions as shall be determined by the Board after consultation with the heads of said state institutions."

            The basic subject of chapter 188, Laws of 1953, as expressed in the title, is "jurisdiction over inquests, autopsies and post-mortems in certain cases."  In furtherance of the purpose of the act a state toxicological laboratory is established at the University of Washington, "to perform all necessary toxicologic procedures requested by all coroners and prosecuting attorneys."  By legislative determination the establishment and operation of the laboratory is brought "within the meaning of medical and biological research as defined in RCW 43.66.080."  The act then sets up the maximum amounts to be used for the establishment of the laboratory and for salaries for the staff and provides that such funds "may take priority over disbursement of any other sums from said medical and biological research fund."  (Emphasis supplied)

            No medical and biological research "fund," as such, has been expressly created by statute.  Under RCW 43.66.080 all license fees, penalties and forfeitures derived from Class H licenses and Class H licenses are earmarked for medical  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] and biological research and are to be disbursed to the University of Washington and Washington State College.  Apparently, the reference to the "medical and biological research fund" in RCW 68.08.107 1953 Supp. means any of the money coming in to the liquor revolving fund from the source indicated in RCW 43.66.080.

            The last clause, authorizing first priority for this expenditure, makes no provision as towhen the priority attaches.  It does not indicate whether the priority applies before or after the disbursement to the University of Washington and Washington State College.  However, it is significant that the language of the priority clause is permissive, and not mandatory.  The statute therefore merely enables the proper authority to rate the priority for this expenditure ahead of other types of medical and biological research, if that becomes desirable or necessary.  It could not be said that the statute requires the liquor board to make this disbursement prior to the other allocations, since it is not mandatory at all.  Furthermore, the 1953 act, neither expressly amends nor modifies RCW 43.66.080.  Neither is it repugnant to the prior statute.  They can easily be read together and both be given effect.  There being no express language in the 1953 act to the contrary, it must be assumed that the entire subject of apportionment of these funds between the University of Washington and Washington State College is left exactly as it was before.  As it was from the very beginning, the matter remains in the discretion of the liquor board, after consultation with the heads of two institutions.

            The conclusion must be that the funds are to be apportioned according to a formula established by the board, and the priority applied after disbursement.  If this results in a hardship to the University of Washington, that is a matter to be considered by the board in fixing the apportionment.  The funds to be expended pursuant to RCW 68.08.107 1953 Supp. must come from the University's share of that money distributed under RCW 43.66.080.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

RALPH M. DAVIS
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo