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June 17, 1971
Honorable William E. Schneider
Director, Department of General Administration
General Administration Building
Olympia, Washington 98501 Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 81 (not official)
By letter previously acknowledged you have requested an opinion of this office with regard to your authority, as director of general administration,
". . . to charge rent for the exclusive use of marked automobile parking spaces along the roadways and on areas adjoining these roadways on the state capitol grounds."
You have indicated that this question is being posed in connection with your recent decision to extend the application of WAC 236-12-290 to certain newly numbered parking spaces located along or adjacent to the various streets or roadways running through the portion of the state capitol grounds which is located to the west of Capitol Way. WAC 236-12-290 codifies a regulation which was promulgated by you on August 14, 1970, and sets forth the following schedule of fees for rental permits:
"FEES FOR PERMITS. "The fees for rental parking shall be as follows:
"(1) Covered Space (automobiles $ 10.00 per month
(motorcycles 5.00 per month
"(2) Open Space (automobiles 5.00 per month
(motorcycles 3.00 per month
"(3) Temporary Permits
"Fee to be set by Director not to exceed 25 cents per day"
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
Although this regulation, in its present form, was not adopted until 1970, this promulgation merely replaced an earlier rate schedule which was adopted in 1964, as § 24 of a comprehensive set of regulations entitled "Stage Capitol Grounds ‑ Traffic Rules and Regulations." Section 1 of these regulations (now codified as WAC 236-12-001) set forth the authority for their adoption as follows:
"Pursuant to the authority granted by chapter 46.08 Revised Code of Washington, the director of the department of general administration hereby establishes the following rules and regulations to govern pedestrian and vehicular traffic and parking upon state lands which are part of the state capitol."
The over-all subject of parking permits, and the rental of parking spaces, was covered in §§ 15-28 of these 1964 regulations ‑ all of which, except for the above‑quoted fee schedule itself, remain today in their original form. At the time of their adoption, chapter 46.08 RCW contained the following pertinent provisions with respect to the regulation of traffic and parking on the state capitol grounds:
"The director of general administration shall have power to devise and promulgate rules and regulations for the control of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the parking of motor vehicles on the state capitol grounds. Such rules and regulations shall be promulgated by publication in one issue of a newspaper published at the state capitol and shall be given such further publicity as the director may deem proper."
"There is hereby established an account within the general fund of the state treasury to be known as the 'state capitol vehicle parking account'. All unpledged parking rental income and fines collected by the department of general administration from rental of parking space and the enforcement of traffic regulations on the capitol grounds and the east capitol site shall be deposited in the 'state capitol vehicle parking account'.
[[Orig. Op. Page 3]]
"The 'state capitol vehicle parking account' shall be used to pay costs incurred in the operation, maintenance, regulation and enforcement of vehicle parking and parking facilities at the state capitol."
The first of these two statutes was originally adopted as § 1, chapter 11, Laws of 1947. It was amended by § 21, chapter 285, Laws of 1955, a part of the act creating the new "state department of general administration" only to the extent of inserting the "director of general administration" in place of the "director of the department of finance, budget and business" as used in the original 1947 act. The second statute, RCW 46.08.172, supra, was not enacted until 1963, by means of § 1, chapter 158, Laws of 1963 ‑ but, of course, it was also in effect as of the adoption of your 1964 regulations.
The significant thing about this second statute is that by its enactment, the legislature appears to have evidenced an understanding, as of 1963, that at some time in the past it had granted authority to the department of general administration to rent parking space both on the capitol grounds and on the "east capitol site.1/ In so far as the then newly established east capitol site was concerned, a manifestation of this previous grant of authority can be found in § 7, chapter 167, Laws of 1961 (RCW 79.24.560), authorizing the department of general administration
". . . to rent, lease, or otherwise use any of the properties acquired in the east capitol site."
However, in the case of those parking areas located on the west side of Capitol Way, the only such possibility, as of 1963, would have been either RCW 46.08.150, supra, or the original, 1955, version of a statute, now codified as RCW 79.24.300, relating to the construction and rental of certain parking facilities. This statute originated as § 1, chapter 293, Laws of 1955, and obtained its present form by reason of an amendment thereto contained in § 1, chapter 129, Laws of 1965. Both the original text of this statute and its amended language will be seen from the following quotation of the 1965 amendment in bill form:
[[Orig. Op. Page 4]]
"The state capitol committee may construct parking facilities for the state capitol adequate to provide parking space for ((up to four hundred)) automobiles, said parking facilities to be either of a single level, multiple level, or both, and to be either on one site or more than one site and located either on or in close proximity to the capitol grounds, though not necessarily contiguous thereto. The state capitol committee may select such lands as are necessary therefor and acquire them by purchase or condemnation. As an aid to such selection the committee may cause location, topographical, economic, traffic, and other surveys to be conducted, and for this purpose may utilize the services of existing state agencies, may employ personnel, or may contract for the services of any person, firm or corporation. In selecting the location and plans for the construction of the parking facilities the committee shall consider recommendations of the director of ((public institutions)) general administration.
"Space in ((the)) parking facilities ((, when completed, shall)) may be rented to the officers and employees of the state on a monthly basis at a rental to be determined by the director of ((public institutions)) general administration. The state shall not sell gasoline, oil, or any other commodities or perform any services for any vehicles or equipment other than state equipment ((: PROVIDED, That the director of public institutions shall survey automobile parking facilities operated by the state and prepare a report to the thirty-fifth legislature as to the automobile parking facilities operated by the state, their location and charges, if any, being made on them)). The director of general administration shall include in his biennial report a comprehensive statement on such parking facilities, their location and charges together with any recommendations he may have."
Unquestionably, the second paragraph of the original [[Orig. Op. Page 5]] version of this statute related only to "the" parking facilities constructed by the capitol committee under the original first paragraph, "when completed." Moreover, it is notable that the term used was "parking facilities" and not the broader term "parking space" which appears in § 1, chapter 258, Laws of 1963 (RCW 46.08.172), supra. And thirdly, as of 1964 the rental authority therein granted was still vested in the "director of public institutions" ‑ albeit, that this office had been replaced by that of the "director of general administration" by § 4, chapter 285, Laws of 1955.
Thus, in so far as parking fees on the (west campus) capitol grounds were concerned in 1963, it seems more likely that the legislature which then enacted the above‑quoted statute establishing the "state capitol vehicle parking account" was thinking of RCW 46.08.150, supra, as the basis for the imposition of rental charges by the director of general administration for parking space than it was of the more limited provisions of RCW 79.24.300 as it then read.
In addition, of course ‑ and notwithstanding the state of the law in 1964 when WAC 236-12-001, et seq., were promulgated ‑ an argument in defense of your current broadened parking rental program can be formulated on the basis of the 1965 amendments to RCW 79.24.300. See, particularly, the legislature's removal of "the" and "when completed," whereby the original, 1955, express grant of rental authority had clearly been restricted only to those parking facilities constructed by the capitol committee.
Finally, there is RCW 43.19.125, codifying § 9, chapter 285, Laws of 1955, and providing as follows:
"The director of general administration, through the division of capitol buildings, shall have custody and control of the capitol buildings and grounds, supervise and direct proper care, heating, lighting and repairing thereof, and designate rooms in the capitol buildings to be occupied by various state officials."
In AGO 59-60 No. 75 [[to President, University of Washington on October 15, 1959]], copy enclosed, a similar statute [[Orig. Op. Page 6]] vesting control over the University of Washington campus and buildings2/ was construed to authorize rentals of portions thereof.
Based upon all of the foregoing, we are of the opinion that both WAC 236-12-290, supra, and its application to the parking spaces which are the subject of your request are legally defensible.
We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General
*** FOOTNOTES ***
1/See, e.g., Cowiche Growers, Inc. v. Bates, 10 Wn.2d 585, 117 P.2d 624 (1941), at page 604, with regard to the significance to be attached to an act manifesting a legislative construction of a previous enactment.