Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1983 NO. 1 >

The Washington Open Public Meetings Act (chapter 42.30 RCW) is applicable to meetings of services and activities fees committees at state institutions of higher education.

AGO 1967 NO. 1 >

RCW 36.18.020 does not require the collection of two fees from a defendant who appeals from a justice court criminal conviction; rather, the only fee chargeable against such an appellant pursuant to this statute is a fee of $15.00 upon conviction or plea of guilty or upon failure to prosecute the appeal, as provided by subsection (15) thereof.

AGO 1994 NO. 2 >

1.  RCW 88.46.130 authorizes the Office of Marine Safety to establish an emergency response system to prevent oil spills in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  This includes the authority to acquire and operate a tugboat as part of the response system.2.  RCW 82.23B.020(2) imposes an oil spill administration tax.  This tax is to be used, in part, to fund the costs of administration of chapter 88.46 RCW, which includes the Office of Marine Safety emergency response system.  Nowhere has the Legislature delegated to the Office the authority to impose a fee and, since the Legislature has provided a funding source for the Office, the authority to impose a fee cannot be reasonably implied from other authority delegated to the Office.

AGLO 1975 NO. 3 >

(1) Revenues of a community college from the operation of a predischarge education program (PREP) under RCW 28B.50.092 do not constitute tuition revenues payable into the state general fund under RCW 28B.50.360; however, they are subject to the requirements of the state budget law under RCW 28B.50.320. (2) A community college district may not engage in a PREP operation by means of a contract to provide educational services to a private nonprofit corporation formed for that purpose which will, in turn, contract with the military personnel who are to receive the services.

AGLO 1974 NO. 4 >

A fire protection district which is providing ambulance services is not authorized to charge a fee for those services.

AGLO 1973 NO. 4 >

Where demand has been made by a litigant for a jury trial in a civil action, and the jury fee required by RCW 36.18.020 has been paid, and thereafter the case is settled out of court and the court is notified of such settlement by an attorney for one of the litigants not less than twenty-four hours prior to the time that such case was scheduled to be called to be heard, the jury fee may be refunded.

AGO 2014 NO. 4 >


RCW 43.135.055(1), as most recently amended by Initiative 1185 and previously by Initiatives 960 and 1053, does not amend or repeal approval the legislature has granted in other statutes for the imposition or increase of fees, and makes no distinction as to when legislative approval must take place.


AGO 2005 NO. 5 >

1.  A public library organized under RCW 27.12 may not charge “user fees” for public access to library materials.  2.  A public library has authority to assess and collect reasonable fines as a penalty for keeping loaned library material beyond its due date.

AGO 1993 NO. 6 >

1.  Chapter 70.105 RCW requires local governments to adopt hazardous waste plans for the management of moderate-risk waste.  A local government can implement such plans through its board of health. 2.  A local health board can assess a fee against a sewer district for services the board performs in connection with the implementation of a local hazardous waste plan.  However, the fee must be no greater than the actual cost of providing the relevant services. 3.  The authority granted to the Department of Ecology to regulate hazardous waste does not preempt the authority of a local health board to adopt a local hazardous waste plan for the management of moderate-risk waste and to charge a fee in connection with the implementation of the plan.

AGO 1988 NO. 7 >

Where counties, cities, and towns charge fees for short plats in amounts designed to cover the actual cost of administering a regulatory program, such fees are authorized by statute and are not an improper form of taxation. However, where fees for short platting are designed to raise revenue over and above the actual costs of administering the regulatory program, the fees are a form of taxation in excess of the local government's statutory taxing power.