Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2005 NO. 1 >

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.

AGLO 1977 NO. 1 >

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.

AGLO 1980 NO. 1 >

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.

AGO 1986 NO. 1 >

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 2014 NO. 1 >


  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 1984 NO. 1 >

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 >

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 2002 NO. 1 >

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”.

AGO 2005 NO. 2 >

1.  RCW 58.04.007 permits property owners to resolve uncertain or disputed property boundaries when the boundary line cannot be ascertained through a reference to public records or physical landmarks, or where there is an actual dispute between landowners about the location of the boundary line.  2.  A charter county has authority to implement and facilitate the operation of RCW 58.04.007 by prescribing procedures to be followed in recording written agreements concerning the resolution of unknown or disputed boundary lines, including requirements for county review of documents presented for recording where the county provisions are not in conflict with statutory law.

AGO 1983 NO. 2 >

The construction, alteration, repair or improvement (other than ordinary maintenance) of low income housing facilities by a public housing authority established pursuant to chapter 35.82 RCW constitutes a public work which is subject to the provisions of the state prevailing wage law (chapter 39.12 RCW) where it is paid for with state or municipal funds or where, in any event, it gives rise to a lien or charge, on the part of the contractor or others involved, against the property of the housing authority.