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AGO 1950 No. 236 - March 14, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

REORGANIZATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Such special election as the county superintendent of schools is required to call under section 19, chapter 266, Laws of 1947, are not subject to the limitations set forth in sections 1 and 2, chapter 161, Laws of 1949.

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                                                                  March 14, 1950

Honorable Pearl A. Wanamaker
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Old Capitol Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 236

Dear Madam:

            We have your letter of March 9, 1950, in which you ask the following question:

            Are such special elections as the county superintendent of schools is required to call under section 19, chapter 266, Laws of 1947, subject to the limitation on school district elections set forth in sections 1 and 2, chapter 161, Laws of 1949?

            The conclusion reached may be summarized as follows:

            Such elections are not subject to the limitations contained in sections 1 and 2, chapter 161, Laws of 1949.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Your request reads:

            "Are such special elections as the county superintendent of schools is required to call under the provisions of section 19, Chapter 266, Laws of 1947, subject to the limitations on school district elections set forth in sections 1 and 2, Chapter 161, Laws of 1949?  If so, who determines if an emergency exists justifying the calling of the aforesaid special election?"

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Chapter 266, Laws of 1947 (4895-20 et seq. Rem. Supp. 1947), relates primarily to the creation and change of school districts.  It embraces some forty sections exclusive of the repealing, severability, and emergency sections.  It is quite complete within itself.  We will not particularize further as to its provisions.

            Chapter 161, Laws of 1949, relates to certain elections.  Section 1 (5144 Rem. Supp. 1947) relates to elections in Class A and counties of the first class, and section 2 (5150 Rem. Supp. 1949) relates to elections in all other counties.  There would seem no doubt that sections 1 and 2, supra, is a general law, since it relates to all elections (other than the regular biennial elections) in all or practically all election units.

            The distinction between a general and special law is defined inYoung Men's Christian Ass'n. of Seattle v. Parish, 89 Wash. 495, 154 Pac. 735; andLibby, McNeill and Libby v. Ivarson, 19 Wn. (2d) 723, 144 P. (2d) 258.

            We held in an opinion to the Secretary of State, dated October 18, 1949, that chapter 161,supra, did not apply to elections in irrigation districts.

            A general statute does not repeal a special statute unless such is the plain legislative intent, even though the two statutes may contain somewhat inconsistent provisions.  State v. Ross, 62 Wash. 82, 113 Pac. 273; Seattle Land and Improvement Co. v. Blan, 71 Wash. 530, 128 Pac. 1026;State v. Clausen, 51 Wash. 548, 99 Pac. 743, and 51 Wash. 689, 101 Pac. 835;State v. Whitney, 66 Wash. 473, 120 Pac. 116;State v. Hewitt Land Co., 74 Wash. 573, 134 Pac. 474;State v. Hanson, 111 Wash. 124, 189 Pac. 1000; State v. Public Service Commission, 111 Wash. 294, 190 Pac. 1012;Brickson v. Perica, 113 Wash. 510, 194 Pac. 963;Bank of Fairfield v. Spokane County, 173 Wash. 145, 22 P. (2d) 646; State ex rel. Department of Public Service v. Northern Pacific Railway Co., 200 Wash. 663, 94 P. (2d) 502.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We therefore hold that special elections called under section 19, chapter 268, Laws of 1947, are not subject to the limitations contained in sections 1 and 2, chapter 161, Laws of 1949, insofar as the declaring of an emergency is concerned.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

GEORGE DOWNER
Assistant Attorney General

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