Honorable Leonard A. Sawyer
House of Representatives
Olympia, Washington 98504 Cite as: AGLO 1972 No. 5 (not official)
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion as to whether the provisions of RCW 81.44.0971 are permissive or mandatory.
RCW 81.44.0971 codifies the provisions of § 8, chapter 116, Laws of 1969, 1st Ex. Sess. This 1969 act deals, in general, with railroad cabooses, their size, and necessary equipment; and the particular section to which you have referred provides, specifically, that
"Facilities for the washing of hands and face shall be maintained separately from drinking facilities."1/ (Emphasis supplied.)
We have no doubt that this provision is expressed in mandatory terms ‑ and in connection with this conclusion we would further point out the penalty provision contained in § 14 (RCW 81.44.100) which states:
"Any person, corporation or company operating any railroad or railway in this state, violating any of the provisions of this 1969 amendatory act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars, nor more than one thousand dollars, for [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] each offense."
However, as we have discussed, it is extremely important for any persons reading this 1969 act further to understand the legislatively established timetable for its full implementation. See, § 12, chapter 116, Laws of 1969, 1st Ex. Sess. (RCW 81.44.0982), which provides as follows:
"Compliance with this 1969 amendatory act shall be accomplished within five years of its effective date. The requirements stated in this 1969 amendatory act shall be deemed complied with by equipment or standards of maintenance equal or superior to those herein prescribed."
Thus, the mandate of § 8, supra, requiring facilities for the washing of hands and face to be maintained separately from drinking facilities, will not be enforceable until August 11, 1974 ‑ five years after the effective date of the 1969 enactment. In the meantime, installation of these separate facilities in all cabooses will remain discretionary with the various railroad operators.
We trust that the foregoing explanation of the matter referred to in your letter will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General
*** FOOTNOTES ***
1/See, RCW 81.44.097, together with WAC 480-66-020 (codifying a regulation promulgated by the utilities and transportation commission) with regard to drinking water facilities on cabooses. This regulation, it should be noted, is currently in full effect even though the cited statute (like RCW 81.44.0971, supra) will not be fully operative until five years after the effective date of the 1969 enactment as below further explained.