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.

 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: Alicia O. Young, 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. 24-01-02: Request by Leesa Manion, Prosecuting Attorney, King 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.

May counties operate and administer their own basic corrections officer training academies to both train and certify new corrections officers in accordance with standards established by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC)?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-12-01: Request by The Honorable Jim Walsh, State Representative, District 19

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.

1. May owners sell assault weapons to pawnbrokers pursuant to subsection 3(2)(c) outside the context of an unredeemed pledge?

2. May pawnbrokers may sell firearms acquired in this way online or in person to nonresidents?

3. May an owner of a pawned assault weapon offer to sell that firearm to the pawnbroker, prior to the loan period expiring, for the purpose of selling or transferring the assault weapon to a person who does not reside in this state?

Entire text of original request

 

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-08-01: Request by The Honorable Monica Stonier, State Representative, District 49

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 by September 15, 2023. 

Is an inclusive and culturally competent education permissible under, as well as consistent with the goals of, state and federal civil rights laws, including Washington’s Equal Education Opportunity Law, Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.642.010; its related prohibition on sex discrimination in public schools, Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.640.010; the education clause of the state constitution, Wash. Const. art. IX, § 1; the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d; and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-06-02: Request 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 by July 7, 2023. 

Can county commissioners increase the employee benefits for health insurance where the commissioners would also receive such increases during the current term of office?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-04-02: Request by The Honorable Phil Fortunato, State Senator, 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 by May 22, 2023. 

If a pawn broker receives an assault weapon as collateral for a loan, before or after the enactment of legislation banning assault weapons, is the pawn broker permitted to return the firearm to the owner?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 22-12-01: Request by Randall Gaylord, Prosecuting Attorney, San Juan 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 by December 27, 2022. 

After January 1, 2025, the effective date of the 2021 amendments to RCW 36.16.030, may the county legislative authority appoint the prosecuting attorney to perform the services of the county coroner?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 22-11-02: Request by Randall Gaylord, Prosecuting Attorney, San Juan 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 by December 1, 2022. 

1. Where a hearing is held in person before a visiting judge, must the hearing be held in the courthouse where the case was filed, or may the hearing be held at the courthouse of the visiting judge without consent of the parties? Are there certain types of in person hearings which must be held in one location or another?

2. Where a hearing in a civil or criminal case is held, may a visiting judge assigned pursuant to RCW 2.08.150 hold the hearing in the county where the case is tried and appear from a location outside the county? Does the answer differ if the remote, video-only hearing involves a dispositive matter, such as change of venue, motions to dismiss, or motions for summary judgment, change of plea or sentencing?

3. May a remote hearing occur in the visiting judge's courtroom without consent of the parties or must it be held in the county where the case is filed?

4. Does RCW 2.08.190 apply in San Juan County, a county in which the Superior Court Judge is not part of a district?

5. If a court hearing is held in a visiting judge's home county, is the clerk of the court for the county where the case is filed or the clerk of the court for the judge's home county responsible for keeping the minutes and the record of proceedings held?

6. Where a visiting judge is assigned pursuant to RCW 2.08.150, may the visiting judge delegate authority to a court commissioner or referee to conduct hearings as authorized by Chapter 2.24 RCW? If delegation to a court commissioner or referee is permitted, must the court commissioner or referee be a person appointed by the visiting judge or must it be a person appointed by the presiding judge the county where the case is filed?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 22-03-01: Request by The Honorable Patty Kuderer, State Senator, District 48

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 by March 31, 2022. 

What legal authority does the State have to legislate and regulate rail worker occupational safety as it relates to the provisions of SB 5065?

Entire text of original request

​​


 

Opinion Docket No. 21-09-03 : Request by The Honorable Skyer Rude, State Representative, District 16

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 by October 15, 2021. 

 

SET ONE:

1. Do RCW 71.05.150 and RCW 71.05.153 establish a legal duty for peace officers? And would the decision to not respond pursuant to these provisions constitute a breach of a legal duty?

2. If a peace officer is not authorized to use physical force to conduct an investigatory detention where there is reasonable suspicion, but not probable cause as required by RCW 10.120.020(1), that the person is involved in criminal activity, then can the person lawfully evade or flee the officer attempting to conduct the investigation? In the absence of the circumstances delineated in RCW 10.120.020(1), under what authority, if any, could the officer pursue a fleeing suspect? Can the officer use physical force to stop or detain a fleeing suspect?

3. Does RCW 10.120.020(2)(a) require peace officers to leave the scene where there is a high likelihood of the use of physical force and where there is no threat of imminent harm and no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity? If a peace officer is required to leave a scene under such circumstances, would it be reasonable for a peace officer to not respond to a scene because information known to the peace officer indicates that there is a high likelihood of the use of physical force and that there is no threat of imminent harm and no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity? Would the refusal to respond to such a scene breach a legal duty? And would that constitute an exception to the Public Duty Doctrine?

4. How should RCW 10.120.020(1)(b) be read together with RCW 9A.16.040?

5. How should RCW 10.120.020 be read in context of the Court's ruling in Graham v. Connor?

6. Is RCW 10.120.020 consistent with the Court's "objectively reasonable" standard in Graham v. Connor?

7. Is a peace officer's use of force lawful if it is consistent with the Court's ruling in Graham v. Connor but is not consistent with RCW 10.120.020?

 

SET TWO:

1. Do the restrictions on the acquisition and use of "firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater" in RCW 10.116.040 apply only to pistols, rifles, and conventional ammunition typically measured by caliber? Put another way, does the same provision prohibit the acquisition and use of a firearm or conventional ammunition measuring at .50 inches or greater even if the particular firearm or conventional ammunition is not typically measured by caliber, including, for example, shotguns and shotgun slugs?

2. Does RCW 10.116.040 prohibit law enforcement agencies from acquiring and/or using any firearm with a barrel diameter of .50 inches or greater even if the device is being acquired and/or used for the purpose of deploying less lethal alternatives?

3. Does RCW 10.116.040 prohibit law enforcement agencies from acquiring and/or using less lethal alternatives (i.e. rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, tear gas rounds, flash bang rounds, baton rounds, and other less lethal projectiles) with a diameter of .50 inches or greater?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 21-07-02 : Request by Gregory Banks, Prosecuting Attorney, Island 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 by September 3, 2021. 

Where a prosecutor knows of information about a law enforcement officer that constitutes potential impeachment evidence, under what circumstances may the officer's information or name be removed from any list of potential impeachment disclosures?

Entire text of original request

​​


 

​Opinion Docket No. 20-07-01 : Request by Lin-Marie Nacht, Chair, Commission on Judicial Conduct

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 by November 25, 2020.

Absent a constitutional amendment, can the CJC create a rule, consistent with Article IV §31, under the CJCRP to request the Washington Supreme Court to order the interim suspension of a judge or justice charged with or convicted of a felony or any judge or justice suffering from a mental, emotional, psychological, or physical disability that renders them unable to fulfill their judicial duties, and whose continued service would pose an immediate and substantial harm to the public or to the administration of justice?

Entire text of original request

 


 


Informal Opinion Requests:


 

Opinion Docket No. 24-01-01: 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.

Would the airport noise and air pollution mitigation program proposed by HB 2103/SB 5955(2024) comply with the state constitutional prohibition against the gift of public funds?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-12-02: Request by The Honorable Steve Bergquist, State Representative, District 11

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.

If they are not self-performing the work, is a contractor required to specifically list licensed HVAC, plumbing, and electrical subcontractors on bid forms for public works under RCW 39.30.060?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-10-02: Request by The Honorable Brad Hawkins, State Senator, 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.

Does a city have councilmanic authority to use lodging taxes to repay revenue bonds for affordable housing projects within one-half mile of a transit station?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-10-01: Request by The Honorable Drew MacEwen, State Senator, District 35

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 by October 19, 2023. 

At what point is a firearm with the capacity to accept a detachable magazine converted to a firearm with a fixed magazine within the meaning of HB 1240?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-07-01: Request by The Honorable Jim Walsh, State Representative, District 19

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 by September 15, 2023. 

Does Washington have any current laws which prohibit, restrict, or otherwise regulate individuals or organizations from collecting the completed ballot of any Washington voter and delivering the ballot to a mailbox, a ballot drop-box, a polling place, or an election office, and would any potential laws to that effect would be constitutionally suspect?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 23-03-01: Request by The Honorable Sam Hunt, State Senator, 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 by April 6, 2023. 

1. Do any of the following laws, in whole or in part, protect the non-residents from any potentially harmful actions by the owners, operators, or staff of the long-term care setting in which they live?

  • Chapter 70.129 RCW — Long-Term Care Resident Rights
  • Chapter 18.20 RCW — Assisted living Facilities; Chapter 388-78A WAC — Assisted Living Facilities Licensing Rules
  • Chapter 70.128 RCW — Adult Family Homes; Chapter 388-76 WAC — Adult Family Home Minimum Licensing Requirements
  • Chapter 59.18 RCW — Residential Landlord-Tenant Act
  • Chapter 59.12 RCW — Forcible Entry and Forcible and Unlawful Detainer
  • Chapter 74.34 RCW — Abuse of Vulnerable Adults

2. What other rights do non-residents who live in long-term care settings have against discharge and eviction?

Entire text of original request

 


 

Opinion Docket No. 22-11-03: Request by The Honorable Jamie Pedersen, State Senator, District 43

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 by December 1, 2022. 

What effect does RCW 64.90.525 and RCW 64.90.080(2) have on contrary provisions of preexisting condominium declarations made under RCW 64.32 or RCW 64.34?

Entire text of original request

 


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