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AGO 1962 No. 143 - June 13, 1962
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON ‑- WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY ‑- STATE COLLEGES ‑- ASSOCIATED STUDENTS ‑- PRINTING CONTRACTS.

The associated student organizations of the state institutions of higher learning are not required to have their printing done through the state printer but may have it done in accordance with the provisions of RCW 28.76.390.

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                                                                   June 13, 1962

Honorable John C. Gregory
State Printer
P.O. Box 398
Olympia, Washington

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 143

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Must the associated student organizations of the two universities and the three state colleges have all of their printing done through the state printer?

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The question which must be answered in order to resolve your inquiry is which of two statutes governs printing to be done by the associated student organizations of our institutions of higher learning:  (1) Thegeneral statute coveringall state offices and agencies; or (2) thespecial statute relating solely to printing contracts of the student organizations.

            In 1957, the legislature passed chapter 212, Laws of 1957, an act which provides that certain printing contracts of the associated students of the institutions of higher learning must be let by competitive bid.  This statute codified as RCW 28.76.390, reads as follows:

            "The associated students of the University of Washington, the associated students of the State College of Washington and the student associations of the colleges of education shall contract  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] for all purchases for printing of athletic programs, athletic tickets, athletic press brochures, yearbooks, magazines, newspapers and letting of concessions, exceeding one thousand dollars, notice of call for bid on the same to be published in at least two newspapers of general circulation in the county wherein the institution is located two weeks prior to the award being made.  The contract shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, if the price bid is fair and reasonable and not greater than the market value and price, and if the bid satisfactorily covers the quality, design, performance, convenience and reliability of service of the manufacturer and/or dealer.  The associated students of the University of Washington, the associated students of the State College of Washington and the student associations of the colleges of education may require such security as they deem proper to accompany the bids submitted, and they shall also fix the amount of the bond or other security that shall be furnished by the person to whom the contract is awarded.  The associated students of the University of Washington, the associated students of the State College of Washington and the student associations of the colleges of education may reject any or all bids submitted, if for any reason it is deemed for the best interest of their organizations to do so and readvertise in accordance with the provisions of this section.  The associated students of the University of Washington, the associated students of the State College of Washington and the student associations of the colleges of education may reject the bid of any person who has had a prior contract, and who did not, in its opinion, faithfully comply with its terms:  Provided, That nothing in this section shall apply to printing done on presses owned and operated by the associated students of the University of Washington, the associated students of the State College of Washington or the student associations of the colleges of education, or to printing done on presses owned or operated by their respective institutions."  (Emphasis supplied.)          [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Earlier in 1905, the legislature had passed an act relating to the state printer.  See, chapter 168, Laws of 1905.  As last amended by § 1, chapter 88, Laws of 1959, the act is codified as RCW 43.78.030.  The statute reads as follows:

            "[The public printer shall print and bind the session laws, the journals of the two houses of the legislature, all bills, resolutions, documents, and other printing and binding of either the senate or house, as the same may be ordered by he legislature; and such forms, blanks, record books, and printing and binding of every description as may be ordered by all state officers, boards, commissions, and institutions, and the supreme court and officers thereof, as the same may be ordered on requisition, from time to time, by the proper authorities:  Provided, That this section shall not apply to the printing of the supreme court reports:]  Provided further, That where any institution or institution of higher learning of the state is or may become equipped with facilities for doing such work, it may do any printing:  (1) For itself, or (2) for any other state institution when such printing is done as part of a course of study relative to the profession of printer:  And provided further, Any printing and binding of whatever description as may be needed by any institution of higher learning, institution or agency of the state department of institutions not at Olympia, or the supreme court or any officer thereof, the estimated cost of which shall not exceed two hundred dollars, may be done by any private printing company in the general vicinity within the state of Washington so ordering, if in the judgment of the officer of said agency so ordering, the saving in time and processing justifies the award to such local private printing concern."

            The bracketed portion of the above statute has remained unchanged since 1905 except for minor changes in the language.  Since it is a well-established rule of statutory construction that the legislature is presumed to be familiar with its own legislation (Hatzenbuhler v. Harrison, 49 Wn. (2d) 691, 306 P. (2d) 745 (1957);Graffell v.  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] Honeysuckle, 30 Wn. (2d) 390, 399, 191 P. (2d) 858 (1948)), the legislature must be presumed to have been aware of the provisions of § 3, chapter 168, Laws of 1905, in 1957 when it passed chapter 212, Laws of 1957 (RCW 28.76.390).  The amendment of RCW 43.78.030 (§ 1, chapter 88, Laws of 1959) in 1959 did not specifically amend the provisions of the 1957 act nor do we feel such provisions were amended by implication.

            The supreme court of this state has held that where a general and subsequent special statute relate to the same subject, the provisions of the special act will prevail over those of the general law.  State v. Collins, 55 Wn. (2d) 469, 348 P. (2d) 214 (1960).

            The same rule is found in 2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, § 5204, p. 541, as follows:

            "General and special acts may be in pari materia.  If so, they should be construed together.  Where one statute deals with a subject in general terms, and another deals with a part of the same subject in a more detailed way, the two should be harmonized if possible; but if there is any conflict,the latter will prevail, regardless of whether it was passed prior to the general statute, unless it appears that the legislature intended to make the general act controlling."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            InPeople v. Breyer, 139 Cal.App. 547, 34 P. (2d) 1065, 1066, (1934) the California court stated the rule as follows:

            "It is the general rule that where the general statute standing alone would include the same matter as the special act, and thus conflict with it, the special act will be considered as an exception to the general statute whether it was passed before or after such general enactment.  Where the special statute is later it will be regarded as an exception to or qualification of the prior general one; and where the general act is later the special statute will be considered as remaining an exception to its terms unless it is repealed in general words or by necessary implication.  [Citations omitted.]"

            Based on the foregoing it is the opinion of this office that RCW 28.76.390 is a special statute relating in part to printing contracts  [[Orig. Op. Page 5]] of the associated students of our institutions of higher learning and as such the provisions thereof must be considered as an exception to or qualification of RCW 43.78.030 which governs the printing of all other state agencies.

            Accordingly, the associated student organizations are not required to have their printing done through the state printer.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

CHARLES I. McCLURE
Assistant Attorney General

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