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AGO Opinions with Topic: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
AGO 1962 No. 134 >  May 14, 1962
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - STATE - LEGISLATORS - PRIVILEGE FOR WORDS SPOKEN IN DEBATE - DEFAMATION
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- STATE ‑- LEGISLATORS ‑- PRIVILEGE FOR WORDS SPOKEN IN DEBATE ‑- DEFAMATION Under Article II, § 17, of the Washington State Constitution members of the legislature are granted an absolute privilege for words spoken in debate which privilege attaches while a legislator is performing his proper legislative function whether within or without the physical confines of the legislature itself.
AGO 1964 No. 88 >  March 4, 1964
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - INTERSTATE COMPACTS - COLUMBIA RIVER BASIN - CONSENT BY CONGRESS NO LIMITATION ON FUTURE LEGISLATION
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- INTERSTATE COMPACTS ‑- COLUMBIA RIVER BASIN ‑- CONSENT BY CONGRESS NO LIMITATION ON FUTURE LEGISLATION Ratification by all states within the Columbia River Basin of an interstate compact, consented to by the Congress of the United States, will not restrict or impair the powers of Congress relating to the regulation and control of the use of waters of the Columbia River Basin.
AGO 1966 No. 83 >  April 12, 1966
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF FEDERAL CONSTITUTION - "ONE MAN ONE VOTE PRINCIPLE" - FORTY PERCENT VOTER REQUIREMENT OF 17TH AMENDMENT TO STATE CONSTITUTION
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF FEDERAL CONSTITUTION ‑- 'ONE MAN ONE VOTE PRINCIPLE' ‑- FORTY PERCENT VOTER REQUIREMENT OF 17TH AMENDMENT TO STATE CONSTITUTION (1) The "forty per centum" voter requirement contained in Amendment 17 to our state constitution (establishing the forty-mill property tax limitation) does not conflict with the "one man one vote" principle enunciated by the United States supreme court in its recent decisions applying the equal protection clause of Amendment 14 to the United States constitution in cases involving congressional and legislative apportionment. (2) The "forty per centum" voter requirement does not conflict with the "silent minority" quorum determination rule of the United States House of Representatives which was upheld by the supreme court in United States v. Ballin , 141 U.S. 1 (1892).
AGO 1967 No. 2 >  January 18, 1967
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS - INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUMS - STATE BOND ISSUES WITHIN ARTICLE VIII, § 3 - MEANING OF GENERAL ELECTION - AUTHORITY OF LEGISLATURE
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS - INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUMS - STATE BOND ISSUES WITHIN ARTICLE VIII, § 3 - MEANING OF GENERAL ELECTION - AUTHORITY OF LEGISLATURE The legislature may constitutionally enact legislation designating the Tuesday after the first Monday of November of every odd-numbered year as a general state election date on which (1) constitutional amendments, initiatives, referendums and state bond issues (Article VIII, § 3) ready for submission , will be submitted to the qualified voters of the entire state for their approval or rejection; (2) school directors will be elected by the qualified voters throughout the entire state; and (3) city and other public officers specified in RCW 29.13.020 will be elected by the qualified voters entitled to vote on such offices.
AGO 1968 No. 22 >  June 3, 1968
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - INTERSTATE COMPACTS - MULTISTATE TAX COMPACTS - TAXATION - CONSENT OF CONGRESS UNNECESSARY FOR FORMATION OF MULTISTATE TAX COMPACT
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - INTERSTATE COMPACTS - MULTISTATE TAX COMPACTS - TAXATION - CONSENT OF CONGRESS UNNECESSARY FOR FORMATION OF MULTISTATE TAX COMPACT We believe that the provisions of chapter 125, Laws of 1967, under which the state of Washington became a party to the multistate tax compact, are effective as Washington law without any legal necessity for consent to formation of the compact to be granted by the United States Congress; however, the enactment of a consent bill by Congress would completely remove any conceivable doubt as to the validity of the compact.
AGO 1968 No. 33 >  November 8, 1968
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AMENDMENT - COMPENSATION OF ALL ELECTIVE AND APPOINTIVE OFFICIALS - INCREASES
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AMENDMENT - COMPENSATION OF ALL ELECTIVE AND APPOINTIVE OFFICIALS - INCREASES (1) The constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13, which was voted upon at the 1968 general election, will become effective on the day of completion of the official canvass and issuance of the governor's proclamation, under RCW 29.62.130, confirming approval of the amendment by the voters; however, a delay of either of these events beyond the thirty-day period specified in the statute will not result in a delay of the effective date of the amendment beyond this period. (2) The approval of H.J.R. No. 13 will entitle those public officers (including supreme and superior court judges) who, because of previous constitutional limitations, have been receiving a lesser salary during their current terms of office than that provided for by the law presently in effect henceforth to receive the salary increases provided for by existing law without further action by the legislature or other salary fixing body.
AGO 1968 No. 36 >  December 5, 1968
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AMENDMENT - COMPENSATION OF MUNICIPAL OFFICERS - INCREASES
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AMENDMENT - COMPENSATION OF MUNICIPAL OFFICERS - INCREASES (1) The constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13, which was adopted by the voters at the 1968 general election, grants to all municipal officers who do not fix their own compensation a constitutional right henceforth to receive the salary provided for by the state law or municipal ordinance in effect at the time that their services are being rendered, notwithstanding a city charter provision to the effect that the salary of no officer of the city shall be increased during his term of office. (2) Where the salary of a mayor of a city is fixed by city ordinance, the mayor is an officer who fixes his own compensation within the meaning of H.J.R. No. 13, where he is a member of the city council or commission which enacts all city ordinances; however, he is not such an officer if he has only a veto power over ordinances passed by the city council.  Where the mayor is authorized to cast either an affirmative or negative vote on an ordinance in the event of a tie in the votes of the councilmen, he will be prevented by the constitution from receiving a pay raise during his term of office only where his own affirmative vote becomes necessary for the passage of an ordinance raising his salary. (3) Where the mayor of a city is a member of the council or commission which enacts all city ordinances, he may not qualify himself to receive a mid-term increase in his compensation by abstaining from participating in the enactment of an ordinance involving his compensation as mayor.
AGO 1969 No. 2 >  January 20, 1969
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AMENDMENT - COMPENSATION OF DISTRICT AND COUNTY OFFICERS - INCREASES
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AMENDMENT - COMPENSATION OF DISTRICT AND COUNTY OFFICERS - INCREASES (1) Pursuant to RCW 54.12.080, the commissioners of a public utility district "fix their own compensation" within the meaning of the constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13; accordingly, these officials continue to be prohibited from receiving a mid-term increase in their compensation. (2) Under RCW 52.12.010, the commissioners of a fire protection district fix their own compensation within the meaning of the constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13; accordingly, these officials continue to be prohibited from receiving a mid-term increase in their compensation. (3) Pursuant to RCW 53.13.250, the commissioners of a port district do not fix their own compensation, within the meaning of the constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13. (4) Except to the limited extent provided for by RCW 41.04.180, relating to group hospitalization and medical aid coverage, the members of a board of county commissioners do not fix their own compensation, within the meaning of the constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13; accordingly, these officials are entitled to receive the salary provided for by the law in existence at the time their services are rendered, for all services rendered after the effective date of HJR No. 13, but they may not, during their terms of office, receive an increase in the amount of the county's payment for group hospitalization or medical aid coverage.
AGO 1956 No. 342 >  November 19, 1956
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - INITIATIVES - NUMBER OF SIGNATURES
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- INITIATIVES ‑- NUMBER OF SIGNATURES A proposed initiative measure circulated and filed prior to December 6, must contain only 50,000 signatures; if filed after that date it must contain signatures equal to eight percent of the total number of votes cast for governor at the 1956 gubernatorial election.
AGO 1957 No. 4 >  January 21, 1957
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - APPOINTMENT OF LEGISLATOR TO FILL VACANCY
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -- APPOINTMENT OF LEGISLATOR TO FILL VACANCY Where a vacancy occurs in the legislature and the county commissioners are unable to agree upon a successor pursuant to the terms of the 13th Amendment of the state constitution, it is preferable for the governor to wait sixty days from the inception of the vacancy before making the appointment.
AGO 1957 No. 118 >  September 12, 1957
COUNTIES - CITIES AND TOWNS - HEALTH - AIR POLLUTION - AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DISTRICTS - NUISANCE - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
COUNTIES ‑- CITIES AND TOWNS -- HEALTH ‑- AIR POLLUTION ‑- AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DISTRICTS -- NUISANCE -- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- TAXATION ‑- FORTY MILL LIMITATION 1. Chapter 232, Laws of 1957, chapter 70.94 RCW, requires that an entire county be included within an air pollution control district but does not require that two or more cities, exclusive of any unincorporated county area, be contiguous. 2. Chapter 232, Laws of 1957, chapter 70.94 RCW, requires each city, town or county to conduct tests and surveys prior to the enactment of air pollution control measures for the formation of an air pollution control district. 3. Chapter 70.94 RCW, chapter 232, Laws of 1957, does not require that each component city, town or county of an air pollution control district separately enact air pollution control measures but does provide that the district as a governmental unit may promulgate rules and regulations for this purpose. 4. It is not necessary that a city, town or county follow the procedure established in chapter 232, Laws of 1957, chapter 70.94 RCW, in order to enact or enforce air pollution control measures. 5. Amendment 17 to the Washington State Constitution requires that any tax by a city, town, county or district in excess of the 40-mill limitation must be [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]submitted to the electorate each year that such governmental unit seeks to levy the additional tax.
AGO 1957 No. 75 >  June 4, 1957
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - LEGISLATURE (MEMBERS) - CIVIL OFFICE ELIGIBILITY OF A LEGISLATOR FOR APPOINTMENT TO THE BARBER EXAMINING BOARD CREATED BY A SESSION OF WHICH HE WAS AN ELECTED MEMBER
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- LEGISLATURE (MEMBERS) ‑- CIVIL OFFICE ELIGIBILITY OF A LEGISLATOR FOR APPOINTMENT TO THE BARBER EXAMINING BOARD CREATED BY A SESSION OF WHICH HE WAS AN ELECTED MEMBER (1) A member of the 1957 legislature is not eligible for appointment to the barber examining board created by that legislature by reason of the prohibition of Article II, Section 13 of the state. (2) Upon expiration of his present term as legislator, a member of the 35th legislature will not be prohibited by Article II, Section 13, from appointment to a civil office created by that legislature.
AGO 1957 No. 23 >  February 26, 1957
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - DEBT LIMITATION
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- DEBT LIMITATION A Bond issue to finance the construction of certain buildings at the University of Washington does not contravene constitutional limitations on the amount of state debt that may be incurred, if passable solely from tuition fees.
AGO 1956 No. 250 >  April 20, 1956
EMINENT DOMAIN - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - IMMEDIATE POSSESSION BY STATE
EMINENT DOMAIN ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- IMMEDIATE POSSESSION BY STATE 1. House Joint Resolution No. 22 if ratified by the voters in November will permit the State to take immediate possession of property involved in a condemnation action for purposes other than highway right of way. 2. The term "state" as used in House Joint Resolution No. 22 does not include counties, cities, towns and other municipal corporations.
AGO 1955 No. 58 >  April 13, 1955
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - RIGHT OF LEGISLATURE TO SET SALARIES OF MUNICIPAL OFFICERS
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- RIGHT OF LEGISLATURE TO SET SALARIES OF MUNICIPAL OFFICERS Cities ‑- Legislature may provide limits on the salaries of city officials even though the action contravenes the charter provisions of the cities affected.
AGO 1955 No. 12 >  January 20, 1955
NON-HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - PARTICIPATION BY NON-HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN FINANCING HIGH SCHOOL FACILITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH WHICH THEY ARE AFFILIATED
NON-HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- PARTICIPATION BY NON-HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN FINANCING HIGH SCHOOL FACILITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH WHICH THEY ARE AFFILIATED. 1. Section 1, ch. 299, Laws of 1953, providing that non-high school districts may contribute funds to be used for capital outlay by high school districts is not within the prohibition of Art. VIII, sec. 7, of the constitution which forbids municipal corporations from giving or loaning money or credit.2. Ch. 229, Laws of 1953, does not violate the constitutional prohibition against the delegation of legislative power.3. Ch. 229, Laws of 1953, is not in conflict with Art. IX, sec. 1 of the constitution, which requires the state to make "ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.  . . ." 4. It is possible that ch. 229, Laws of 1953, does violate the provision of Art.I, sec. 19, of the constitution, which requires that no bill contain more than one subject and that expressed in its title.   If this is true, most of the act will be saved because the offending provision may be severed.
AGO 1953 No. 177 >  December 3, 1953
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - LEGISLATIVE POWERS - UNCONSTITUTIONAL DELEGATION OF POWER - STATUTES - VALIDITY - JUSTICE COURTS - DISTRICTS
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- LEGISLATIVE POWERS ‑- UNCONSTITUTIONAL DELEGATION OF POWER -- STATUTES ‑- VALIDITY ‑- JUSTICE COURTS ‑- DISTRICTS ‑- DETERMINATION OF NUMBER -- FIXING OF QUALIFICATIONS

It is our opinion that the justice court district act (RCW 3.14.010 and RCW 3.14.030) is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power, both as it relates to the determination of the number of justices of the peace to be elected and to the qualifications of candidates for such office.  It also violates Amendment 21 of the state constitution relating to uniformity in county government.

 

AGO 1953 No. 16 >  April 23, 1953
CIVIL OFFICE - STATE WELFARE MEDICAL CARE COMMITTEE - LEGISLATOR AS COMMITTEE MEMBER - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
CIVIL OFFICE ‑- STATE WELFARE MEDICAL CARE COMMITTEE ‑- LEGISLATOR AS COMMITTEE MEMBER ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW Membership in the state welfare medical care committee is not a "civil office" within the purview of Constitution, Article II, section 13.  Hence, the governor may legally appoint a member of the 33rd legislature to serve on such committee.
AGO 1953 No. 491 >  March 9, 1953
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - ORDINANCES - POLICE POWER - REQUIRING PERSONS PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED OF CRIMES TO REGISTER WITH POLICE
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- ORDINANCES ‑- POLICE POWER ‑- REQUIRING PERSONS PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED OF CRIMES TO REGISTER WITH POLICE An ordinance requiring persons previously convicted of certain specified crimes to register with police upon coming within a city is constitutional.
AGO 1953 No. 500 >  March 23, 1953
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - SUBJECTS AND TITLES - SINGLE SUBJECT - SUFFICIENCY OF TITLE - STATE DEPARTMENTS - PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS - AT STATE CAPITOL
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- SUBJECTS AND TITLES ‑- SINGLE SUBJECT ‑- SUFFICIENCY OF TITLE ‑- STATE DEPARTMENTS ‑- PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS ‑- AT STATE CAPITOL Senate Bill No. 244 providing for the construction of a state office building in Seattle, to be paid for with employees retirement system funds does not contravene Constitution, Article II, §§ 19 or 37, nor does it impliedly repeal section 20, chapter 7, Laws of 1921.
AGO 1953 No. 5 >  April 13, 1953
POWERS OF GOVERNOR - VETO - LEGISLATIVE POWER - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF LEGISLATURE
POWERS OF GOVERNOR ‑- VETO ‑- LEGISLATIVE POWER ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF LEGISLATURE The call of a special extraordinary session of the legislature does not deprive the Governor of his constitutional power to veto bills within ten days after presentment to him and after adjournment of the legislature when the general adjournment of the legislature has prevented the return within the five‑day period.
AGO 1953 No. 453 >  January 5, 1953
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - BOND ISSUES BY SCHOOL DISTRICTS - ISSUANCE IN PARCELS DEPENDING UPON ASSESSED VALUATIONS DURING 10 YEAR PERIOD
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, BOND ISSUES BY SCHOOL DISTRICTS, ISSUANCE IN PARCELS DEPENDING UPON ASSESSED VALUATIONS DURING 10 YEAR PERIOD

(1) A bond issue offered and sold in parcels during a 10 year period authorized by the electors depending upon increase in assessed valuation of the district would not be repugnant to section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution of Washington. (2) A state guarantee fund insuring payment of said bonds would not be repugnant to section 6, Article VIII of the constitution of Washington.

AGO 1953 No. 472 >  January 30, 1953
BOARD OF REGENTS - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - AUTHORITY TO ISSUE BONDS SAFEGUARDING MILITARY EQUIPMENT
BOARD OF REGENTS ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- AUTHORITY TO ISSUE BONDS SAFEGUARDING MILITARY EQUIPMENT RCW 28.80.130 (19) authorizing the Board of Regents of Washington State College to issue bonds to safeguard military equipment, does not violate Wash. Const. Art. VIII, § 1 or § 5.
AGO 1951 No. 426 >  January 13, 1951
HIGHWAY BONDS - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - STATE INDEBTEDNESS
HIGHWAY BONDS ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- STATE INDEBTEDNESS The entire motor vehicle fund may not be pledged to secure a bonded indebtedness.
AGO 1951 No. 054 >  May 25, 1951
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES - STATUTES - SUFFICIENCY OF TITLE
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ‑- CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES ‑- STATUTES ‑- SUFFICIENCY OF TITLE

Chapter 236, Laws of 1951 is unconstitutional as to section 5 inasmuch as the subject of that section is not germane to, nor included in, the title.  Chapter 115, Laws of 1951, complies with all constitutional requirements and requires you to make the disbursements set forth therein.

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