Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Pending Attorney General's Office Formal Opinion Requests

The Washington Attorney General issues formal published opinions in response to requests by the heads of state agencies, state legislators, and county prosecuting attorneys.  When the Attorney General's Office receives a request for a formal opinion, a summary of that opinion request will be published here and distributed via our mailing list

Formal Requests:

Informal Requests:

If you are interested in commenting on any of these requests, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by the date listed below each request.  This is not the due date by which comments must be received.  However, if you do not notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest in commenting on an opinion request by this date, the opinion may be issued before your comments have been received. 

 You may notify the Attorney General’s Office of your intention to comment by:

  • Writing to the Office of the Attorney General, Solicitor General Division, Attention: Jeff Even, Deputy Solicitor General, P.O. Box 40100, Olympia, Washington 98504-0100;  or
  • Emailing opinioncomments@atg.wa.gov.

When you notify the office of your intention to comment, you may be provided with:

  • A copy of the opinion request in which you are interested;
  • Information about the Attorney General’s Opinion process;
  • Information on how to submit your comments; and 
  • A due date by which your comments must be received to ensure that they are fully considered.

 

Formal Opinion Requests:

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-11-02: Request by the Marcus Riccelli, State Representative, District 3

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by December 26, 2018

Can a municipality cite RCW 35.80.030 (1)(h) and place a lien for collection with the Country Treasurer as a Tax Lien without doing the repairs, alterations, improvements; or vacating and closing; or removal or demolition work stated in the RC? In other words, can a municipality assess a lien to be collected as property tax based solely on an administrative hearing fee?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-10-01: Request by the Honorable Ann Rivers, State Senator, District 18

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by November 28, 2018

  1. May diagnostic and therapeutic skills that go beyond the chiropractic scope of practice in Washington still be taught in the classroom in Washington?
  2. May a student practice those clinical skills, which go beyond the chiropractic scope of practice in Washington, in "practical laboratory" sessions where students practice these skills on each other, not the general public, under the supervision of faculty?
  3. Given that this is an accredited educational program, are the faculty who teach in classroom and practical laboratory settings, but who do not deliver clinical services to the public, required to be licensed as chiropractors in Washington?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-08-01: Request by the Honorable Tina Orwall, State Representative, District 33

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by September 12, 2018. 

  1. If a city adopts by reference the state statutes defining misdemeanor crimes instead of enacting its own municipal code, does that act unconstitutionally delegate the city’s legislative authority?
  2. Is the Washington State Patrol obligated or authorized to accept and test DNA samples taken from individuals convicted of municipal misdemeanors that are equivalent to the state law misdemeanors listed in RCW 43.43.754(1)(a), but are adopted in the form of independent municipal ordinances?
  3. Do municipal offenses constitute prior offenses for purposes of felony prosecution (a) in all cases, (b) only if adopted by “incorporation by reference,” or (c) in no cases?
  4. Can a municipal sex offense that is equivalent to misdemeanor sex offenses under state statute can be treated as a sex offense for purposes of RCW 9A.44.130(1)(a) either (a) in all cases, (b) only if adopted by “incorporation by reference,” or (c) in no cases?
  5. Should convictions for equivalent crimes, whether state, separately-codified municipal, or “incorporated by reference,” be identified the same way or differently on criminal histories?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-07-01: Request by the Honorable Michelle Caldier, State Representative, District 26

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by August 22, 2018. 

May a state school district contract directly with a state educational service district for construction management services, value engineering reviews, constructability reviews,  commissioning procedures or other public works without first complying with the competitive procurement procedures as specified in RCW 28A.335.190 and RCW 39.26.120?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-06-04 Requested by Tim Rasmussen, Prosecuting Attorney, Stevens County

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by August 22, 2018

  1. After Drummond, except when an individual expends private funds, is the prosecutor's consent necessary for an attorney to represent the county or a county official in a civil matter?
  2. Do attorneys appointed by the insurance company for the county need to be approved by the prosecutor's office pursuant to RCW 36.27.040?
  3. Can the insurance company provide legal advice for any county official without the prosecutor's knowledge and consent?
  4. Can a memorandum of coverage approved by the county commissioners give any county employee the right to be represented by counsel in a matter involving county interests, without the prosecutor's knowledge and consent?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-06-03 Requested by Warren Howe, MD, Chair, Washington State Medical Commission

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by July 13, 2018

1. Does the phrase "the initiating or modifying of drug therapy in accordance with written guidelines or protocols previously established and approved for his or her practice by a practitioner authorized to prescribe drugs" include the act of diagnosing a patient's condition?

2. If the answer to tt I above is yes, is there a statutory or administrative requirement for direct contact between the non-pharmacist practitioner and the patient?

3. May a physician licensed under RCW 18.71 delegate the diagnosis of a patient to a pharmacist licensed under RCW 18.64?

4. Does a pharmacist who diagnoses patients pursuant to a CDTA with a physician commit an act of unlicensed practice of medicine under RCW 18.130.190?

5. May a physician assistant licensed under RCW I8.71A delegate the diagnosis of a patient to a pharmacist licensed under RCW 18.64?

6. Does a pharmacist who diagnoses patients pursuant to a CDTA. with a physician assistant commit an act of unlicensed practice as a physician assistant under RCW 18.130.190?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-04-01 Requested by the Honorable Susan J. Owens, Justice, Washington Supreme Court

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by May 23, 2018.

What is Washington State’s obligation to enforce out of state and tribal court protection orders?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-02-02 Requested by Bret Daugherty, Adjutant General, Washington State Military Department

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by March 14, 2018.

(1) Does the term "reassignment or deployment orders" include retirement orders, separation (from active duty) orders, and orders requiring the servicemember to move into government quarters?

(2) Provided that the servicemember provides notice to the landlord of his/her reassignment or deployment, what is the effective date of the lease termination?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-01-03 Requested by the Honorable Jeff Morris, State Representative, District 40

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by February 14, 2018.

What duties of an electric utility to a customer-generator continue after the utility has interconnected systems beyond the 0.5% threshold set forth in RCW 80.60.020(1)(a)?

What is the source of a utility's authority to purchase power from a customer-generator? Does that authority derive exclusively from Chapter 80.60 RCW?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-01-02 Requested by the Honorable Cary Condotta, State Representative, District 12

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by February 14, 2018.

(1)   Does a regional clean air agency need to first engage in rulemaking prior to adopting policies or taking enforcement actions that apply to cannabis production and processing?

(2)   What requirements does a clean air agency have to prove that a particular type of odor is subject to Title 70 of the Revised Code of Washington?   Is there a legal burden of proof that applies to a local air agency's determination?

(3)   If the Department of Ecology has not set a minimum emission level for a particular type of odor or emission, what authority does a clean air agency have to impose its own restrictions?

Entire text of original request

 

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 17-09-02 Requested by Shawn Sant, Prosecuting Attorney, Franklin County

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by October 11, 2017.

Should 1980 AGO No. 1 be withdrawn/revised in light of changes in technology and practice, the legislative intent of RCW 42.56.070(9), and the recent decision in SEIU Healthcare 775NW v. Department of Social & Health Services, 193 Wash.App. 377, 377 P.3d 214, review denied, 186 Wash.2d 1016, 380 P.3d 502 (2016)?

Is it proper to redact names of individuals from a list or data compilation which is requested under the Public Records Act and for a commercial purpose?

Entire text of original request


 

Opinion Docket No. 17-09-01 Requested by Pat Kohler, Director, Department of Licensing 

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by October 11, 2017.

Are concealed pistol licenses disclosable?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 17-05-01: Request by Governor Jay Inslee

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by June 28, 2017.

When both the governor and the lieutenant governor are temporarily absent from Washington at the same time, who possesses the legal authority to serve as the acting governor in their absence?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 17-04-06: Request by James L. Nagle, Prosecuting Attorney, Walla Walla County

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by May 24, 2017.

Is Washington State Department of Transportation property subject to assessments for mosquito control districts?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 17-04-05: Request by the Honorable Marko Liias, State Senator, District 21

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by May 24, 2017.

  1. Is Washington State pre-empted by the presidential qualifications clause in Article II, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution, another federal constitutional provision, or federal statutes from amending RCW 29A.56 to require that in order to appear on the November ballot in a presidential year in Washington state, candidates for President and Vice President of the United States must disclose information the state believes relevant to holding the office (for example, federal tax returns)?

 

  1. Is Washington State pre-empted by the presidential qualifications clause in Article II, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution, another federal constitutional provision, or federal statutes from amending RCW 29A.56.030 to require that in order to appear on the presidential primary ballot in Washington state, a candidate for President of the United States must disclose information the state believes relevant to holding the office (for example, federal tax returns)?

 

  1. May the legislature amend 29A.56 to prohibit the secretary of state from accepting a certificate with the names and address of presidential electors chosen by a political party or convention if the presidential or vice presidential candidate nominated by that party did not release their federal tax returns in the 12 months prior to receiving the nomination?

Entire text of original request

 

 


Opinion Docket No. 15-10-01: Request by the Honorable Sam Hunt, State Representative, District 22

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by November 16, 2015.

1.  Are the positions of school board director and planning commission member incompatible under Washington law? How is that determination made and, if the positions are incompatible, what remedies are available to address the incompatibility?

2. Is there a conflict of interest between such dual positions under Washington law? How is that determination made, and if a conflict or potential conflict exists, what remedies are available to address it?

3. Does holding such dual positions violate the appearance of fairness provisions of RCW 42.36? How is that determination made, and what remedies are available to address it?

4. In the scenario presented, what obligations does Washington law impose on the person holding dual positions in regard to confidential information?

5. Under what circumstances, if any, may a school board exclude an elected member from executive session because of concerns about incompatibility of office, conflict of interest, appearance of fairness or confidential information?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Informal Opinion Requests:

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-07-03: Request by the Honorable Joe Fain, State Senator, District 47

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by August 7, 2018. 

  1. Does RCW 42.17A.555 require a City to prohibit initiative signature gathering on City property?
  2. Does RCW 42.17A.555 allow a City to prohibit initiative signature gathering on City property?
  3. If a City is aware of initiative signature gathering on City property, and takes no action to stop or prevent it, can the city or individual officials or employees be held liable for penalties, fees or costs, or other sanctions?

Background.

A citizen wants to collect signatures for an initiative at a Plaza in front of City Hall. The Plaza is not part of the City right-of-way. City policy in place since 2002 completely bans this activity in this location this activity based on RCW 42.17A.555’s (and its predecessor 42.17.130) prohibition against “allowing” anyone else to utilize City facilities for political campaigns, ballot measures, and election measures.

By letter dated November 10, 2009, the AG’s office addressed this issue as it relates to the placement of campaign signs on public property, and concluded in part that the statute would not prohibit the placement of signs in areas that are traditionally open for public expression, such as public sidewalks and associated rights-of-way.

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-04-02: Request by the Honorable Pat McCarthy, Washington State Auditor

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by May 11, 2018. 

Does a fire protection district formed pursuant to RCW 52 have the statutory authority to operate a Training Center that provides training to employees who work for private companies or local governments in subjects that do not reasonably relate to the provision of emergency medical services or prevention or suppression of fire?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 18-03-02: Request by Jonathan Meyer, Prosecuting Attorney, Lewis County

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by March 29, 2018. 

Are records of juvenile matters occurring prior to July 1, 1978, to be sealed?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 17-03-01: Request by the Honorable Matt Shea, State Representative, District 4

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by March 17, 2017.

Under RCW 9.41.010, does the 590 Shock-6 Shot firearm (reference: Mossberg #50659) fit within the current state law definition of "pistol?"

Entire text of original request


 

Opinion Docket No. 16-08-05: Request by the Honorable Christopher Hurst, State Representative, District 31

The Attorney General’s Office seeks public input on the following opinion request. If you are interested in commenting on this request, you should notify the Attorney General’s Office of your interest by September 13, 2016.

Are local and county police departments able to use unmarked vehicles to patrol traffic?

Entire text of original request

 


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