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Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1973 No. 53 -
Attorney General Slade Gorton

The salary applicable to the remainder of an unexpired legislative term filled by election in November, 1973, (as provided in chapter 4, Laws of 1973) will be $3,600 per annum, the same salary as was fixed by law at the commencement of that term.
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                                                                   May 21, 1973
Honorable R. Ted Bottiger
State Senator, 2nd District
8849 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98444
                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1973 No. 53
Dear Sir:
            Following your receipt of AGLO 1973 No. 50 [[to Ted R. Bottiger, State Senator on April 30, 1973, an Informal Opinion]]which was written to you earlier in response to three questions involving the eligibility of incumbent legislators for election to the state senate at the general election to be held on November 6, 1973,1/you wrote us asking for a clarification of this opinion in terms of the following further question:
            "If a person who is not a member of either the House of Representatives or the Senate at this time were to file for election in the November 1973 general election and were elected, what salary would be applicable to his term of office that would end in January of 1975?"
            We believe that this question is fully covered by the authorities cited in our prior opinion.  As indicated on page 4 thereof the Washington supreme court has held that a constitutional prohibition against midterm pay raises ‑ such as is still contained in our state Constitution with respect to officers serving fixed terms who fix their own compensation2/ - is applicable to the term and not to the particular individual  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] or individuals who may be serving that term.  State ex rel. Henneford v. Yelle, 12 Wn.2d 434, 121 P.2d 948 (1942), and State ex rel. Hovey v. Clausen, 117 Wash. 475, 201 Pac. 770 (1921).
            For this reason we stated in this earlier opinion that:
            ". . . those persons who are elected on November 6, 1973, to fill the remainder of such unexpired senatorial terms as must be filled at that election under chapter 4 and Article II, § 15, supra, will not thereby be entitled to receive the higher legislative salaries fixed by chapter 137, Laws of 1973, Ex. Sess., but, instead, will continue to draw for the remainder of those terms, the lesser, $3,600 per annum, salary fixed by law at the commencement of the unexpired terms they are filling."
            Moreover, this will be true irrespective of whether or not the person so elected is currently a member of either the House of Representatives or the Senate.  It was because of this factor that we were able further to conclude in our previous opinion that even a current member of the legislature may be elected for such an unexpired senate term ‑ notwithstanding the prohibition contained in Article II, § 13 of the Constitution which states that:
            "No member of the legislature, during the term for which he is elected, shall be appointed or elected to any civil office in the state, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during the term for which he was elected."
            We did not by this conclusion mean to suggest, however, that it would only be an incumbent legislator who would (if so elected) be precluded from drawing the increased salary ($10,560 per year) provided for in § 110, chapter 137, Laws of 1973, Ex. Sess., until the commencement of a new full senate term in January of 1975.
            We trust that the foregoing clarification of AGLO 1973 No. 50 [[to R. Ted Bottiger, State Senator, April 30, 1973]]will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
Attorney General
Deputy Attorney General
                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***
1/See, chapter 4, Laws of 1973, amending RCW 29.13.020.
2/See, Wash. Const. Article XXX, § 1 (Amendment 54), quoted on page 3 of AGLO 1973 No. 50 [[to R. Ted Bottiger, State Senator on April 30, 1973]].