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AGO 1953 No. 74 - June 25, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

COURT REPORTERS ‑- SALARIES INCREASED DURING THE TERM

1. The salary increase for court reporters as provided in chapter 265, Laws of 1953, is effective June 11, 1953.

2. If there is not sufficient money in the budget appropriation for salaries and wages, an emergency appropriation should be made for the payment of the salary increase to be effective with the issuance of warrants on June 30, 1953.

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                                                                   June 25, 1953

Honorable Norman A. Ericson
Prosecuting Attorney
Pend Oreille County
Newport, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 74

Dear Sir:

            Receipt of your letter of June 18, 1953, is hereby acknowledged.  Your questions are as follows:

            1. When may the salary increase for court reporters as provided in chapter 265, Laws of 1953, take effect?

            2. Is an emergency budget hearing necessary to allow the salary increase to be paid as of July 1, 1953, or should the salary raise be postponed until January of 1954?

            Our conclusions are as follows:

            1. The salary increase is effective June 11, 1953.

            2. If there is not sufficient money in the budget appropriation for salaries and wages, an emergency appropriation should be made for the payment of the increase in salary to be effective with the issuance of the warrants on June 30, 1953.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The question of whether or not a court reporter is a public officer within the purview of Constitution, Article II, section 25, prohibiting the increase or diminution of the compensation of any public officer during his term of office was answered in the case of State ex rel. Brown v. Blew, 20 Wn. (2d) 47.  The answer is that court reporters do not exercise any of the sovereign powers of government, and for this reason they are not public officers within the meaning of the constitutional provision.  Consequently there is no prohibition against increasing their salary during the term for which they have been appointed.

            The effective date of chapter 265, Laws of 1953, is 12:01 a.m., June 11, 1953.  There is no language in the statute which fixes the effective date of the salary increase at any particular time.  Consequently the increase becomes effective simultaneously with the effective date of the act.

            The necessity of paying an increased salary, which was not contemplated at the time the budget was adopted,is a mandatory expenditure required by law.  This constitutes a nondebatable emergency within the meaning of RCW 36.40.180.  No further notice or hearing is necessary than that set forth in the statute cited.

            The budget should be so modified and the increased salary should be paid commencing with the issuance of the warrants on June 30, 1953.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

RALPH M. DAVIS
Assistant Attorney General

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