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AGO 1952 No. 287 - April 21, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ‑- LICENSES ‑- CONFLICT WITH STATE STATUTE.

 In view of chapter 184, Laws of 1933, (RRS (P. Supp.) 8276-1 et seq.), as amended, a municipal corporation in furtherance of its regulatory powers may not require the payment of a license fee for the privilege of conducting or holding boxing and/or wrestling contests within said municipality.

 It is to be noted that this conclusion is based upon the assumption that there is no special provision in a given municipal charter granting a municipality autonomy with respect to wrestling, boxing, and the regulation thereof.

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                                                                   April 21, 1952 

Honorable Leslie C. Simkins, Chairman
Washington State Athletic Commission
620 Stimson Building
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 287

 Dear Sir:

             This is in reply to a letter from your department requesting our opinion concerning a question which we interpret to be as follows:

             May a municipal corporation in furtherance of its regulatory powers require the payment of a license fee for the privilege of conducting or holding boxing and/or wrestling contests within said municipality?

             Our conclusion is as follows:

             In view of chapter 184, Laws of 1933, (Rem. Rev. Stat. Supp. § 8276-1 et seq.), as amended, a municipal corporation in furtherance of its regulatory powers may not require the payment of a license fee for the privilege of conducting or holding boxing and/or wrestling contests within said municipality.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            It is to be noted that this conclusion is based upon the assumption that there is no special provision in a given municipal charter granting a municipality autonomy with respect to wrestling, boxing and the regulation thereof.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             There are many instances in which both the state and municipal governments have concurrent jurisdiction over certain subject matter.  Given such jurisdiction, it is the general rule that both governments may legislate relative to said subjects as long as there is no conflict between said legislation, but where a conflict occurs, then the general law of the state must prevail and that of the municipality fail.  62 C.J.S. § 143;In re J. E. Ferguson, 80 Wash. 102, 141 Pac. 322 (1914);State ex rel. Isham v. Spokane, 2 Wn. (2d) 392, 98 P. (2d) 306 (1940).  Chapter 184, Laws of 1933, as amended, created the Washington State Athletic Commission, which was given general powers over boxing and wrestling contests; this power is aptly described by chapter 48, Laws of 1951, § 2, an amendment of and addition to the original act, which states that

             "The commission shall have power and it shall be its duty to direct, supervise and control all boxing contests or sparring and wrestling matches or exhibitions conducted within the state * * *."

             By the original enactment the commission was given the power to issue licenses for the conducting of boxing and wrestling contests, and it was made a misdemeanor to conduct these activities without first obtaining such a license.  Relative to said licensing power it was provided:

             "Such licenses shall entitle the holder thereof to conduct boxing contests and sparring and/or wrestling matches and exhibitions under such terms and conditions and at such times and places as the commission may determine."  (Emphasis supplied) (Rem. Rev. Stat. Supp. § 8276-7)

             Does a regulatory municipal ordinance which requires the payment of a license fee for the privilege of staging fights conflict with the above statute?

            In our opinion the legislative intent, as expressed by the above statutes, is that once a license has been acquired as provided by said statutes, the licensee then has the privilege and is entitled to conduct boxing and/or wrestling  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] contests within this state subject only to the conditions prescribed by the state athletic commission.  Thus, a municipal ordinance requiring the payment of an additional license fee as a prerequisite to the staging of such activities is in conflict with the state statute.  Such a requirement is more than a supplement or addition to the state legislation, it is in direct conflict therewith and consequently is invalid.

 Very truly yours,
SMITH TROY
Attorney General

WILLIAM G. JENKINS
Assistant Attorney General

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