Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1973 No. 34 -
Attorney General Slade Gorton


Consideration of the availability of funds received from the sale of bonds authorized by Referendums 29 and 31 for the construction and acquisition of a criminal justice court as contemplated by Senate Bill 2132 and House Bill 168 (1973).

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                                                                   March 7, 1973

Honorable Martin J. Durkan
State Senator, 47th District

Honorable John S. Murray
State Senator, 36th District

Honorable Joe D. Haussler
State Representative, 7th District

Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington 98504

                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1973 No. 34


            By letter dated February 28, 1973, you have advised us that the legislature is currently considering the possible creation of "a criminal justice center."  You have asked for our opinion

            ". . . as to whether any of the monies available from the sale of bonds authorized through Referendum 29 and Referendum 31 could be used for the capital purposes of acquiring such a center or centers. . . ."

            We respond to this question in the manner set forth in the following analysis.


            Referendums 29 and 31 are two of the five "Washington Futures" state bond referendum bills which were passed by the 1972 legislature1/ and approved by the voters at the November 7, 1972, general election in accordance with the requirements of Article VIII, § 3 of our state Constitution.  The first of these two measures provides for the issuance and sale of state general obligation bonds in the sum of $25,000,000 to provide funds for planning, acquisition, construction and improvement of health and social service facilities, and the second authorizes the sale of $50,000,000 in such bonds to fund  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] the acquisition, construction and improvement of community college facilities.

            The term "social and health service facilities," as used in the first of these referendum bills, is defined by § 5 thereof to mean:

            ". . . real property, and interests therein, equipment, buildings, structures, mobile units, parking facilities, utilities, landscaping, and all incidental improvements and appurtenances, developed as a part of a comprehensive plan for a system of social and health service facilities for the state including, without limitation, facilities for social services, adult and juvenile correction or detention, child welfare, day care, drug abuse and alcoholism treatment, mental health, public health, developmental disabilities, and vocational rehabilitation."

            Likewise the term "community college facilities" is defined in § 5 of Referendum 31 as follows:

            "For the purposes of this act, the term 'community college facilities' shall mean and include, but not be limited to, vocational facilities, including capital equipment acquisition, and such other specific projects as approved and funded for planning purposes by the legislature which shall include general education classrooms, science laboratories, faculty offices, student dining facilities, library and media facilities, offices for student personnel services and administrative personnel, and all real property and interest therein, equipment, parking facilities, utilities, appurtenances and landscaping incidental to such facilities."

            Although you have not specifically identified and described the nature of the facility to which your question is addressed, we assume that what you have in mind is the "Washington State Criminal Justice Center" which would be  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] established if either Senate Bill No. 2132 or House Bill No. 168 should be enacted by the legislature.  In essence, this would be a training facility for state and local law enforcement personnel, correctional employees and judicial personnel (including both judges of the various courts and their subordinate employees).  Operationally, the center would be under the general jurisdiction of a new state agency (also to be created by these bills) known as the Washington state criminal justice training commission.

            Potential Availability of Referendum No. 29 Bond Proceeds:

            For any portion of this proposed facility to be fundable with proceeds of the Referendum No. 29 "health and social service facility" bonds it will have to be within the purview of the "comprehensive plan" referred to in § 5 of that measure,supra.  Section 4 of the bill further states, in this regard, that:

            "The proceeds from the sale of the bonds . . . shall be administered by the state department of social and health services, subject to legislative appropriation.  The department shall prepare a comprehensive plan for a system of social and health service facilities for the state and may use or permit the use of any funds derived from the sale of bonds authorized under this act to accomplish such plan by direct expenditures and by grants or loans to public bodies, including grants to public bodies as matching funds in any case where federal, local, or other funds are made available on a matching basis for improvements within the purposes of this act."

            It is, however, our understanding that as of now this department's comprehensive plan for the application of these bond proceeds does not include any reference to any sort of criminal justice center or the like.  Accordingly, while it might be possible for such a facility to come under this funding program ‑ perhaps as a "facility for social services" if so labeled and treated by the department of social and health services in the further formulation of its comprehensive plan ‑ it presently does not do so, in our opinion.

            Potential Availability of Referendum No. 31 Bond Proceeds:

            Likewise in this case there is in the applicable  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] bond referendum a further requirement for approval by the administering agency ‑ in this instance, the state board for community college education.  Section 5 of Referendum No. 31 provides that:

            "If the general obligation bond issue provided within this act is ratified at the 1972 general election, then the state board for community college education shall submit to the governor for the 1973 Legislature, a list of projects to be funded during the six-year capital program for 1973-79.  Included within the project description may be the amount of necessary planning funds per project not to exceed one percent of the project cost which shall be appropriated from the general fund directly for planning purposes and shall not be derived from the proceeds of the bond issue as provided by this act."

            Again, however, our present information is that no mention of a facility such as you have in mind is currently included in the list of fundable projects which has been proposed (in this case by the state board for community college education) under this section.  Moreover, in any event, even if such a facility were included as a community collegevocational facility to be funded with Referendum No. 31 bond proceeds, it seems apparent that in order to so qualify the proposed "criminal justice center" would have to be a part of the state community college system rather than (as contemplated by Senate Bill No. 2132 and House Bill No. 168) an adjunct of a new and independent state agency.

            Accordingly, as with the Referendum No. 29 bond proceeds, we must advise that as of now, at least, it does not appear that the acquisition and development of a criminal justice center in accordance with the present provisions of these two pending bills would constitute a proper use of the proceeds to be obtained from the sale of the "community college facility" bonds authorized by Referendum No. 31.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/See, chapters 130 and 133, Laws of 1972, Ex. Sess.