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AGO 1951 No. 94 - July 31, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


It is not mandatory upon the State Parks and Recreation Commission to accept deeds to land under the provisions of chapter 128, Laws of 1951.

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                                                                    July 31, 1951

Honorable Wilbur G. Hallauer
State Representative
P.O. Box 1398
Oroville, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 94

Dear Mr. Hallauer:

            Receipt is hereby acknowledged of your letter of July 24, 1951, enclosing a letter from the State Park's Director addressed to you.

            You asked us for an interpretation of H.B. 211 (chapter 128, Laws of 1951), particularly as to whether "the language of H.B. 211 would make it mandatory upon the Commission to accept these park properties?"

            The language of H.B. 211 (chapter 128, Laws of 1951) is not mandatory upon the Commission, but merely permissive.


            Section 1 of the law creates and establishes "a state park on Osoyoos Lake near Oroville, to be known as Osoyoos Lake State Veterans' MemorialPark."  It does not designate said park by metes and bounds.  The law further provides that the State Parks and Recreation Commission "may" accept proper deeds" for certain land from the town of Oroville and from the Hodges Post No. 89 American Legion, (sections 2 and 3, chapter 128, Laws of 1951).  Underscoring ours.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            When used in statutes in its natural and ordinary sense "may" does not import a command but merely signifies permission, ability or possibility, and generally denotes that action spoken of is optional or rests in discretion of body to which permission is given.  Peoples v. D. E. Renna, 2 N.Y.S. 694, see also 26 Words and Phrases, page 774.

            It is therefore our opinion that the State Parks and Recreation Commission is not compelled to accept deeds for lands for park purposes from the town of Oroville nor from the Hodges Post No. 89, American Legion.  The Act merely gives it permission to do so if and when it sees fit to accept certain lands.  The law in question is not mandatory, but merely permissive.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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