Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

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 1990 NO. 11 > Oct 17 1990

RCW 17.10.240(1) authorizes the county legislative authority to levy a special assessment against land for the purpose of operating the county's weed program. This assessment may be levied on land located in incorporated areas within the county.