Washington Law Review


The purpose of this article is to exaimne-the nature of the powers of municipal corporations in Washington in relation to the powers of the state legislature. A municipal corporation has been defined by the Washington supreme court as a body politic established by law as an agency of the state-partly to assist in the civil government of the country, but chiefly to regulate and administer the local and internal affairs of the incorporated city, town or district. Dependent upon the objective of the particular statute creating the body in question and the definition in such statute, the term "municipal corporation" may include almost any governmental body at the local level, from cities and counties to school districts, irrigation districts and port commissions. For the purposes of this paper, the term "municipal corporation" will be used to refer to cities and towns unless otherwise indicated. The article will first examine the general governmental relationship between the legislature and municipal corporations. There will then be a detailed discussion of several specific constitutional limitations and prohibitions upon the legislature, a consideration of the judicial approach to the powers of different classes of cities and towns, and a suggested method of harmonizing complementary and conflicting state statutes and municipal ordinances.

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