Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1993 NO. 16 >

1.  When two statutes passed by the Legislature deal with the same subject in different ways, the court will try to avoid any conflict by harmonizing the statutes, giving effect and meaning to both.  If the statutes cannot be harmonized, the court usually applies the statute enacted later on the theory that it repeals the earlier statute. 2.  Initiatives 601 and 602 deal with state revenue collections and expenditures in different ways.  Certain provisions of these two initiatives cannot be harmonized, giving effect and meaning to both. 3.  The usual rule of statutory construction that a later statute controls a conflicting statute enacted earlier does not apply in the case of two initiatives enacted simultaneously.  If Initiatives 601 and 602 pass and the Legislature does not act to resolve any conflict between them, the courts will have to develop a new rule to choose between conflicting provisions of the two initiatives.