Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1962 No. 148 -
Attorney General John J. O'Connell


The reference to RCW 50.04.150 in the female and child labor law (chapter 49.12 RCW) adopts the statute as it existed on the effective date of its adoption but does not incorporate subsequent amendments.

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                                                                    July 26, 1962

Honorable Jerry Hagan
Director, Department of
Labor and Industries
General Administration Building

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 148

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you requested an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Does the reference to RCW 50.04.150, in the Female and Child Labor Law (chapter 49.12 RCW) adopt this statute as it existed on the effective date of its adoption or does it include subsequent amendments?

            The reference to RCW 50.04.150 in chapter 49.12 RCW adopts this statute as it existed on the date of its adoption (see § 3, chapter 215, Laws of 1947) without subsequent amendments.


            RCW 49.12.120 (§ 1, chapter 195, Laws of 1949) provides as follows:

            "The committee may at any time inquire into wages, and conditions of labor of minors, employed in any occupation in the state and may determine wages and conditions of labor suitable for such minors and issue work permits for the employment of minors.  When the committee has made such determination in the cases of minors it may proceed to issue an obligatory order in the manner provided for in RCW 49.12.090, and after such order is effective it shall be unlawful for any employer in said occupation to  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] employ a minor for less wages than is specified for minors in said occupation, or under conditions of labor prohibited by the committee for said minors in its order: Provided, That the provisions of RCW 49.12.010 through 49.12.180 shall not apply to (1) agricultural labor as defined in section 16, chapter 35, Laws of 1945, as last amended by section 3, chapter 215, Laws of 1947 [RCW 50.04.150], (2) domestic work performed in private homes, (3) chores in or about private residences and (4) newspaper vendors and newspaper carriers."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            After this statute was enacted in 1949, the adopted statute (RCW 50.04.150) was amended by § 1, chapter 264, Laws of 1957.

            Thus, the question arises of whether this amendment is also applicable to RCW 49.12.120.  The rule is well settled that such amendment has no effect on a statute previously adopting the amended statute by reference.

            InPacific Etc. Ass'n. v. Pierce County, 27 Wn. (2d) 347, 355, 178 P. (2d) 351 (1947) the court said:

            "The general rule is that, when a statute is adopted by specific descriptive reference, the adoption takes the statute as it exists at that time, without subsequent amendments; but, when the language of the adopting act evidences legislative intent to include subsequent amendments, courts will give effect to that intent, and the adopted act, and the amendments thereto, or changes therein, will be held to be within the meaning of the adopting act and to govern the subject matter thereof.  Trimmier v. Carlton, 116 Tex. 572, 296 S.W. 1070."

            Also, in 2 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, 3d Ed., § 5208, p. 548, it is stated:

            "A statute of specific reference incorporates the provisions referred to from the statute as of the time of adoption without subsequent amendments, unless the legislature has expressly or by strong implication shown its intention to incorporate subsequent amendments with the statute.  In the absence of such intention subsequent amendment of the referred statute will have no effect on the reference statute.  Similarly, repeal of the statute  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] referred to will have no effect on the reference statute unless the reference statute is repealed by implication with the referred statute."

            Therefore, since there is no language in the adopting statute evidencing a legislative intent to include subsequent amendments, RCW 49.12.120 adopts RCW 50.04.150 as it was enacted by the legislature pursuant to § 3, chapter 215, Laws of 1947, without subsequent amendments.

            We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General