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AGO 1951 No. 040 - May 17, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

MEDICINE AND SURGERY --  REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES -- FILING WITH COUNTY CLERK --DENTISTRY.

1. It is no longer mandatory for practitioners of medicine and surgery to file their registration certificates with the county clerk.

2. It is no longer mandatory for dentists to file their registration certificates in the county in which they are located with the county clerk, but they shall do so with the county auditor.

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                                                                   May 17, 1951

Honorable J. D. McDougall
Acting Director of Licenses
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 40

Dear Sir:

            We acknowledge receipt of your inquiry of March 26, 1951, in which you set out certain statutes which appear to be inconsistent, and ask the following questions:

            1. Is it still mandatory for those practicing medicine and surgery to file their certificates with the county clerk?

            2. Is it still mandatory for dentists to file in the county in which they are located with the county clerk under the criminal code or the county auditor under the dental code which is a later act?

            Our conclusions are:

            1. It is no longer mandatory for practitioners of medicine and surgery to file their registration certificates with the county clerk.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            2. It is no longer mandatory for dentists to file their registration certificates in the county in which they are located with the county clerk, but they shall do so with the county auditor.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            As you have pointed out in your inquiry, the basic medical act, chapter 192, Laws of 1909, contained section 9, requiring the recording of medical certificates with the county clerk, and section 10, directing the county clerk to keep a record book for that purpose.  These sections were amended by sections 5 and 6, chapter 134, Laws of 1919, practically without change, but by section 2, chapter 166, Laws of 1941, sections 5 and 6, chapter 134, Laws of 1919, were specifically repealed.  By section 7, chapter 112, Laws of 1935, dentists are required to file their registration certificates with the county auditor of the county in which they shall practice.

            In the medical code as above set forth, it was made a misdemeanor to fail to file said certificates and, in the criminal code of 1909, section 292, chapter 249, provides:

            "Every person who shall practice medicine or surgery or dentistry without having obtained and filed in the office of the county clerk where he resides, a license as required by law, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor."

            Careful reading of this section reveals that filing of the licenses, or certificates,as required by law is provided in this section, with the county clerk where the practitioner resides.  Inasmuch, however, as neither medical practitioners, surgeons nor dentists are now required by law to file their certificates with the county clerk, and the clerk is no longer required to keep a record book therefor, this criminal section is no longer operative.  It may well be that the legislature, in making its various amendments concerning filing, overlooked this criminal section, but in any event by the 1919 amendment clerks are no longer required to keep books for such filing and medical and dental practitioners are no longer required to file with him, although dentists must file with the county auditor, and this criminal act may, therefore, be considered no longer operative.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Incidentally, the code committee for the revised code of Washington reached this same conclusion and considered section 2544 Rem. Rev. Stat., which contains section 292, chapter 249, Laws of 1909, as being superseded and is not found in RCW.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

PHILIP W. RICHARDSON
Assistant Attorney General

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