Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1953 No. 470 - January 23, 1953
AGO Opinion Header Image
Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

PLACES OF REFUGE ‑- NURSING HOMES ‑- BOARDING HOUSES ‑- RECIPIENTS OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE:  WHETHER A BOARDING HOUSE IN WHICH RECIPIENTS OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE LIVE IS A PLACE OF REFUGE WITHIN THE MEANING OF RCW 74.32.010; AND WHETHER RCW 18.51.010 SUPERSEDES RCW 74.32.010 OR DEPRIVES LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF JURISDICTION OVER PLACES OF REFUGE AS DEFINED THEREIN.

A boarding house in which recipients of general assistance live is a place of refuge within the meaning of RCW 74.32.010.  RCW 18.51.010 in no way affects or supersedes RCW 74.32.010, since the two statutes have application to different subject matter.

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

                                                                 January 23, 1953 

Honorable Howard Bargreen
State Senator
Washington State Senate
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 470 

Dear Sir:

             This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 14, 1953, in which you request an opinion as to whether a boarding house in which recipients of general assistance live is a place of refuge within the meaning of RCW 74.32.010, and whether RCW 18.51.010 supersedes RCW 74.32.010 or deprives local authorities of jurisdiction over places of refuge as defined therein.

             Our conclusion may be summarized as follows:

             A boarding house in which recipients of general assistance live is a place of refuge within the meaning of RCW 74.32.010.  RCW 18.51.010 in no way affects or supersedes RCW 74.32.010, since the two statutes have application to different subject matter.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

             At the outset, we shall quote the applicable portions of the two statutes under consideration.

             Places of Refuge RCW 74.32.010‑-Definition:

             "* * * any * * * building, or dwelling for housing the aged, infirm, or imbeciles, wherein three or more persons, not related * * * to the householder, owner, operator, or manager thereof, are lodged or boarded more than fifteen days in any calendar month.  It shall not include * * * any nursing home * * *."

             Nursing Homes RCW 18.51.010‑-Definition:

             "* * * any home, place or institution which operates or maintains facilities providing convalescent or chronic care, or both, for a period in excess of twenty-four consecutive hours for four or more patients not related * * * to the operator, who by reason of illness or infirmity, are unable properly to care for themselves.  Convalescent and chronic care may include any or all procedures commonly employed in waiting on the sick, * * *"

             RCW 74.32.010 expressly excludes "nursing home" from its definition.  It applies to "any * * * building or dwelling for housing the aged, [or] infirm."  Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd Ed., defines "infirm" to mean "not firm or sound physically."  The statute is sufficiently broad to include any infirm person on public assistance, whether aged or not.  Since a boarding house is surely a "building" or "dwelling," the only requirements remaining are that the occupants be not related to the operator or manager of the house, and that they be lodged or boarded more than fifteen days.  If these requirements are met by the boarding house in question, it is a place of refuge under RCW 74.32.010.

           RCW 18.51.010, which defines "nursing homes," requires that the home operate or maintain "facilities providing convalescent or chronic care."  Convalescent and chronic care includes "any or all procedures commonly employed in waiting  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] on the sick."  Unless this boarding house provides such "convalescent or chronic care," it can not fall within the purview of this section.

             It is true that the statute relating to places of refuge was amended by an act regulating nursing homes (chapter 117, Laws of 1951).  But, since section 20 of chapter 117 did not change the definition of places of refuge, except to add the provision that they shall not include "any nursing home," it is clear that the legislature did not intend that chapter 117 should affect the law applicable to places of refuge.

             Since the two statutes are expressly distinct, there is no basis for saying that one supersedes the other.

             We, therefore, advise that such a boarding house as you refer to is a "Place of Refuge," and is not a "Nursing Home," and is not affected by the statutes which relate to nursing homes.

 Very truly yours,
DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General 

WILLIAM C. HALLIN
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo