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AGO 1951 No. 164 - November 06, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

ELIGIBILITY OF LEGISLATOR TO APPOINTMENT AS SHERIFF

A member of the House of Representatives of the 1951 Legislature is not ineligible, by reason of such membership, to be appointed sheriff.

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                                                                November 6, 1951

Representative Wally Carmichael
P.O. Box 736
Everett, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 164

Dear Sir:

            We have your oral request for an opinion as to whether a member of the House of Representatives in the 32nd, or 1951, session of the legislature is eligible at this time to appointment to fill a vacancy in the office of sheriff.

            It is our conclusion that membership in the House of Representatives in the 32nd session does not disqualify one from appointment at this time to the office of sheriff.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 13, Article II of the State Constitution provides:

            "No member of the legislature during the term for which he is elected shall be appointed or elected to any civil office in the state which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during the term for which he was elected."

            This section has been construed by our Supreme Court to disqualify a member of the legislature for any office created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during the entire term for which he was elected regardless of his resignation from the legislature, and also to make him ineligible to run for election to such an office during his term, even though the term for which he runs will commence subsequent to the expiration of his legislative term.  State ex rel. Pennock v. Hall, 26 Wn. (2d) 172, 173 P. (2d) 153.  However, this section of the Constitution does not serve as a general disqualification of members of the legislature from accepting other offices during their terms, but applies only where the emoluments have been increased or the position has been created.

            There has been no increase in the emoluments of the office of sheriff by the 1951 regular or special sessions. Emoluments for this office were increased during the 1949 session of the legislature, but no member of the House of Representatives is now serving in the term in which that measure was passed.  Since all members of the House of  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] Representatives in the 32nd legislature are now serving in a term beginning in January 1951, they are disqualified only for an office created, or the emoluments of which were increased, during the two year term beginning in January 1951.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

LYLE L. IVERSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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