Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2014 NO. 1 > Jan 13 2014


  1. If the county commission appoints a person to fill a vacancy in the office of county prosecuting attorney within 60 days of the vacancy occuring, but the appointee declines to accept the position, the authority to fill the vacancy does not transfer to the governor 60 days after the initial vacancy arose.
  2. If an individual appointed by a county commission to fill a vacancy in the office of county prosecuting attorney declines to accept the position, the county commission may request that the relevant political party provide a new list of three nominees.
  3. The county commission lacks the authority to appoint a person who has not been nominated by the relevant political party to fill a vacancy in the office of county prosecuting attorney.
  4. If the county commission appoints an individual who has not been nominated by the relevant political party to fill a vacancy in the office of county prosecuting attorney, that individual lacks the legal authority to act as prosecuting attorney.
AGO 1986 NO. 1 > Jan 16 1986

A legislative authority of a home rule county may condition its appropriation to the prosecuting attorney's office on a particular allocation of resources within the prosecuting attorney's office but may not, by its appropriation, effectively prevent the prosecuting attorney from performing statutory duties.

AGO 1984 NO. 1 > Jan 12 1984

Lands which are owned by an incorporated city or town (including but not limited to those situated outside the corporate limits of that municipality) are not subject to weed district assessments imposed pursuant to RCW 17.04.240.

AGO 1992 NO. 1 > Feb 25 1992

1.   Chapter 17.10 RCW establishes weed control boards to regulate noxious weeds.  RCW 17.10.040 sets out the procedure to activate a county noxious weed control board.  When a weed control board has not been activated, a county can nevertheless regulate noxious weeds under the authority of chapter 17.10 RCW, but only when a weed control board has been ordered to activate by the director of the Department of Agriculture.  A county may not continue without a weed control board for a second consecutive year.   2.   Article 11, section 11 of the Washington Constitution grants counties broad police power related to the general welfare of the people.  This authority must be consistent with laws enacted by the Legislature.  The Legislature has enacted a comprehensive system to regulate noxious weeds.  A county's exercise of authority to regulate noxious weeds under the police power would be inconsistent with this system.  Therefore, a county may not regulate noxious weeds pursuant to its police power authority.

AGO 2005 NO. 1 > Feb 2 2005

When a noncharter county has acquired land and/or buildings with funds derived from RCW 43.83D (Referendum 29) and/or RCW 43.99C (Referendum 37) and has leased the buildings to a nonprofit corporation operating programs for the developmentally disabled, and the lease has expired, the county lacks statutory authority to donate the buildings and lands to the lessee.

AGO 2002 NO. 1 > Mar 18 2002

1.  A county may not use revenue from taxes levied under RCW 82.14.370 to acquire or install fiber optic cable for a utility which provides cable service to the county but which is privately owned and operated.  2.  RCW 82.14.370, in limiting the use of special sales tax revenue to “public facilities”, does not specify the extent to which an operation might be jointly owned or operated in a public/private partnership and still remain a “public facility”.

AGLO 1980 NO. 1 > Jan 9 1980

Explanation of the interrelationship between § 13.208 of the Uniform Fire Code, 1976 Edition, and the platting of subdivisions or short subdivisions under chapter 58.17 RCW and/or a local short subdivision ordinance; consideration of the respective roles of the original subdivider and subsequent purchasers of building lots in achieving compliance with the access requirements of § 13.208 of the Uniform Fire Code.

AGLO 1977 NO. 1 > Jan 6 1977

Where, in connection with a prosecution in superior court for a violation of state fishing laws, there has been a change of venue from the county in which the action was commenced to another where the trial took place, and a fine was assessed and collected, the county entitled to retain fifty percent of that fine under RCW 75.08.230 is the one in which (1) the trial took place in superior court resulting in a judgment assessing the fine and (2) the fine is collected by the superior court to be remitted to the county treasurer.

AGO 2014 NO. 2 > Jan 16 2014


  1. Initiative 502, which establishes a licensing and regulatory system for marijuana producers, processors, and retailers, does not preempt counties, cities, and towns from banning such businesses within their jurisdictions.
  2. Local ordinances that do not expressly ban state-licensed marijuana licensees from operating within the jurisdiction but make such operation impractical are valid if they properly exercise the local jurisdiction’s police power.
AGO 2011 NO. 2 > Sep 7 2011

Cities, counties, and special districts cannot contract directly with another agency for architectural and engineering services without first complying with the procurement procedures set forth in RCW 39.80, except where the legislature has granted specific statutory authority to do so.