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AGO 1951 No. 448 - February 15, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SOCIAL SECURITY ‑- REPORTS TO THE GOVERNOR.

The Department of Social Security is still required to make an annual report to the Governor relative to old age assistance under Rem. Supp. 9998-16.

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                                                                February 15, 1951

Honorable A. B. Comfort
State Representative
House of Representatives
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                            Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 448

Dear Sir:

            You have requested the opinion of this office on the following question:

            Has section 16, chapter 182, Laws of 1935, as amended by section 10, chapter 156, Laws of 1937 (9998-16 Rem. Supp.) been repealed by implication or is the Department of Social Security still required to make annual reports to the Governor?

            Our conclusion may be summarized as follows:

            The Department of Social Security is still required to make an annual report to the Governor relative to old age assistance under Rem. Supp. 9998-16.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 16, chapter 182, Laws of 1935 as amended by section 10, chapter 156, Laws of 1937 (9998-16 Rem. Supp.) provides as follows:

            "The Department of Social Security is hereby authorized and directed to make such reports and in such detail as may be required of it to the Federal government.  Within ninety (90) days after the close of each calendar year, the department  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] shall make a report to the governor for the preceding year, stating (a) the total number recipients, (b) the amount paid in cash, (c) the total number of applications, (d) the number granted, (e) the number denied, (f) the number canceled during the year, and (g) such other information as may be deemed advisable."

            The provision relates only to the category of old age assistance and does not cover any of the other Federal-aid categories or general assistance.

            We have been advised by the Department of Social Security that no time since 1937 has an annual report been made to the Governor as required by the act.  The Department of Social Security issues a monthly publication called the Blue Book which contains all of the information required in the annual report with the exception of the total number of applications, but which contains in addition a great deal of other material.  The statistics in the Blue Book cover the entire field of public assistance and copies of each monthly report are transmitted to the Governor for his information.  Accordingly, the Governor is kept fully advised concerning the current trends in public assistance, its costs, as well as other pertinent information.

            We have been unable to find any statutory provision which has been enacted subsequent to 1937 which would have the effect of repealing specifically or by implication Rem. Supp. 9998-16, and while it is a rule of statutory construction that the courts will give great weight to the interpretation placed upon a statute by executive or administrative officers, that rule of construction applies only in cases of ambiguity in the language of the statute.  That rule of statutory construction is not applicable here, inasmuch as the statute clearly requires making of an annual report within ninety days after the close of each calendar year.  Such a report must be made only for the category of old age assistance, however.

            In conclusion it is the opinion of this office that the Department of Social Security under the provisions of Rem. Supp. 9998-16 is required to make yearly reports to the Governor relating to old age assistance.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JANE DOWDLE
Assistant Attorney General

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