Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1975 NO. 23 >

(1) Although a state legislator may, at public expense, inform his constituents on matters pending, proposed, enacted or defeated by the legislature (including the legislator's own views and/or voting record on such matters), such a legislator is prohibited by RCW 42.17.130 from using the facilities of his office or expending funds appropriated for legislative purposes to persuade or attempt to persuade his constituents or other persons to vote one way or another on a statewide ballot proposition; the question of whether a particular communication is or is not in violation of this statute will depend upon all of the facts of each case including, particularly, the timing thereof as related to the time of the election at which the measure or measures are to be voted upon.  (2) The governor, because of his constitutional responsibility to communicate with the legislature in order to ". . . recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient for their action," may use the facilities of his office to explain, or even, to some extent, to advocate, his official position on a statewide ballot measure pending before the people in their legislative capacity; in the case of other officers of the executive branch of the government, however, the legality of such action will depend upon the constitutional or statutory authority of the particular officer and the relationship of the ballot measure involved to the functions and duties of the office in question.  (3) These same principles also apply, with certain qualifications,21,, to officers of the legislative or executive branches of counties, cities and towns, with respect to comparable local ballot measures.


AGO 1973 NO. 24 >

The members of a board of county commissioners, during the remainder of the terms of office they were serving on the effective date of the salary increases granted by the legislature in chapter 88, Laws of 1973, 1st Ex. Sess., may receive those legislatively granted increases; they may not, however, constitutionally receive mid-term increases in such health care benefits as they have provided for themselves and other county officers and employees under the provisions of RCW 41.04.180.