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July 14, 1970
Mr. Sidney E. Smith, Secretary
Department of Social & Health Services
Public Lands Building
Olympia, Wa. 98501
Cite as: AGLO 1970 No. 99
Dear Mr. Smith:
By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested an opinion of this office upon the following question:
"Does the Department of Social & Health Services, which was created by chapter 18, Laws of 1970, succeed to the authority of the State Department of Public Assistance previously granted by the Governor of the State of Washington pursuant to RCW 43.17.120, to enter into and carry out the agreement with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Section 221 of the Social Security Act?"
We answer this question in the affirmative for the reasons which appear below.
RCW 43.17.120 provides as follows:
"Such state agency as the governor may designate is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement on behalf of the state with the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to carry out the provisions of the federal social security act, as amended, relating to the making of determinations of disability under title II of such act."
As noted in the letter of May 28, 1970, to you from Clifton E. Davenport, Regional Representative, Bureau of Disability Insurance, Regional Office of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, San Francisco, California, by letter dated January 4, 1955, to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the Governor of the State of Washington designated the State Department of Public Assistance as the agency to contract with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare for the making of disability [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] determinations. On the basis of RCW 43.17.120 and the designation of the Governor, an agreement was executed between the State of Washington, Department of Public Assistance and the Secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare on June 1, 1955, pursuant to the provisions of section 221 of the Social Security Act. This contract has remained in force since that time through various modifications.
A new department of State Government within the State of Washington known as the Department of Social and Health Services was created by Chapter 18, Laws of 1970, 1st Ex. Sess., to become effective July 1, 1970. Section 3 of Chapter 18, Laws of 1970 provides as follows:
"NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. There is hereby created a department of state government to be known as the department of social and health services. All powers, duties and functions now or through action of this 1970 legislature vested by law in the department of health, the department of public assistance, the department of institutions, the veterans' rehabilitation council, and the division of vocational rehabilitation of the coordinating council on occupational education are transferred to the department, except those powers, duties and functions which are expressly directed elsewhere in this or in any concurrent act of this 1970 legislature. Powers, duties and functions to be transferred shall include, but not be limited to, all those powers, duties and functions involving cooperation with other governmental units, such as cities and counties, or with the federal government, in particular those concerned with participation in federal grants-in-aid programs."
Section 47 provides in part:
"***All existing contracts and obligations pertaining to the functions herein transferred shall remain in full force and effect, and shall be performed by the department. Neither the transfer of any department or agency, or division thereof, nor any transfer of powers, duties and functions, shall affect the validity of any act performed by such department or agency [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] or division thereof or any officer or employee thereof prior to the effective date of this 1970 amendatory act."
It, therefore, appears that effective July 1, 1970, the Department of Social & Health Services succeeds to the authority of the State Department of Public Assistance previously granted by the Governor of the State of Washington pursuant to RCW 43.17.120 to enter into and carry out the agreement with the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under section 221 of the Social Security Act.
We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Walter E. White
Assistant Attorney General