Rich v. Williams, No. 8788

CourtIdaho Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSMITH; PORTER
Citation341 P.2d 432,81 Idaho 311
Decision Date24 June 1959
Docket NumberNo. 8788
PartiesRoscoe C. RICH, Leonard K. Floan, and Wallace C. Burns, Idaho Board of Highway Directors, and C. Bryce Bennett, State Highway Engineer, Plaintiffs, v. Joe R. WILLIAMS, State Auditor, Defendant.

Page 432

341 P.2d 432
81 Idaho 311
Roscoe C. RICH, Leonard K. Floan, and Wallace C. Burns, Idaho Board of Highway Directors, and C. Bryce Bennett, State Highway Engineer, Plaintiffs,
v.
Joe R. WILLIAMS, State Auditor, Defendant.
No. 8788.
Supreme Court of Idaho.
June 24, 1959.

[81 Idaho 313]

Page 433

Wm. R. Padgett, Oscar W. Worthwine, Boise, for appellant.

Frank L. Benson, Atty. Gen., Thomas Y. Gwilliam, E. G. Elliott, B. James Koehler, Jr., Asst. Attys. Gen., for respondent.

[81 Idaho 314] SMITH, Justice.

This is an original proceeding commenced in this Court for a writ of mandate to be directed to the defendant, Joe R. Williams, State Auditor, to compel him to issue certain warrants chargeable against the appropriation of Idaho Sess.Laws 1959, ch. 83, hereinafter sometimes referred to as Chapter 83, enacted by the 35th Session of the Legislature, or to show cause why the writ should not issue. The alternative writ of prohibition issued, to which the defendant made due return and answer.

Plaintiffs in their petition allege the legislative appropriation of Idaho Sess.Laws 1959, ch. 83, of $2,000,000 'for the purpose of constructing an office building for the use of the Department of Highways and those divisions of the Department of Law Enforcement lawfully supported by appropriations from the Highway Fund of the State of Idaho;' that plaintiffs caused publication of legal notices calling for bids for the construction of the building, and that Statesman Newspapers and Daily Journal of Commerce, the publishing newspapers, submitted vouchers evidencing the publication costs in the respective amounts of $33.60 and $40.15; that although plaintiffs duly approved said vouchers as proper charges against the money appropriated by Chapter 83, defendant refuses to issue warrants drawn upon the Treasurer for payment thereof, and that defendant will continue to refuse to draw warrants as charges against the moneys so appropriated by the Chapter; that defendant's refusal to issue warrants chargeable against such appropriation prevents plaintiffs from awarding any contract for the construction of such building.

Plaintiffs pray for the issuance of an alternative writ of mandate compelling defendant to issue said warrants chargeable against the appropriation of Chapter 83 in payment of the two vouchers and all other properly certified and approved vouchers, or show cause why he has not [81 Idaho 315] done so, and that the alternative writ be made permanent.

Defendant, in his return and answer to the alternative writ, grounds his refusal to issue said warrants upon three defenses, which constitute the issues which must be met in disposition of this case.

First, that Chapter 83 is unconstitutional as being an improper diversion of highway user funds constitutionally dedicated to only those purpose authorized by Idaho Constitution, Art. 7, § 17, in that by said Chapter the Legislature purports to appropriate highway user funds not only for the purpose of constructing an office building for use by the Department of Highways, but also unlimited use by the Department of Law Enforcement, some of the expenditures of which latter Department are not chargeable to the Highway Fund by reason of said constitutional limitation.

Second, that though the vouchers, evidencing the claims of the two newspapers, are duly certified and approved as proper charges against the appropriation of Chapter

Page 434

83, nevertheless said vouchers have not been presented to the State Board of Examiners for examination of such claims as required by Idaho Const. Art. 4, § 18.

Third, that this Court has no jurisdiction of this proceeding, nor to grant the mandatory relief which plaintiffs seek, because said claims have not been first presented to the State Board of Examiners for examination.

We shall first consider the question of the constitutionality of Chapter 83. The relevant portions of said Chapter read as follows:

'Section 1. There is hereby appropriated out of the Highway fund of the State of Idaho the sum of $2,000,000 to the Board of Highway Directors of the State of Idaho for the purpose of constructing an office building for the use of the Department of Highways and the Department of Law Enforcement at Boise City, Ada County, Idaho.

'Section 2. From the total sum of $2,000,000, the sum of $500,000 will be appropriated and available upon the passage of this Act. The remaining sum of $1,500,000 will be appropriated and available on July 1, 1959.'

Defendant contends that Chapter 82 is violative of Idaho Const. Art. 7, § 17, which reads as follows:

'Gasoline taxes and motor vehicle registration fees to be expended on highways.--On and after July 1, 1941 the proceeds from the imposition of any tax on gasoline and like motor vehicle fuels sold or used to propel motor vehicles upon the highways of this state and from any tax or fee for the [81 Idaho 316] registration of motor vehicles, in excess of the necessary costs of collection and administration and any refund or credits authorized by law, shall be used exclusively for the construction, repairs, maintenance and traffic supervision of the public highways of this state and the payment of the interest and principal of obligations incurred for said purposes; and no part of such revenues shall, by transfer of funds of otherwise, be diverted to any other purposes whatsoever.' (Emphasis supplied.)

Idaho Code, § 40-118, reads in part as follows:

'The permanent offices of the Idaho board of highway directors shall be maintained at the state capitol at Boise City, Idaho, in suitable offices and quarters assigned to the board, in the absence of which the board shall provide suitable offices and quarters in Boise City, and such equipment, records and supplies as may be deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.'

The question pinpointed is, whether Chapter 83 is unconstitutional as being an improper diversion of the dedicated highway user revenues.

Funds dedicated for highway user by Idaho Const. Art. 7, § 17, hereinafter sometimes will be referred to as the State highway fund, highway fund, or highway user funds.

Defendant emphasizes the prohibition of Idaho Const. Art. 7, § 17, that the State highway fund 'shall be used exclusively for the construction, repair, maintenance and traffic supervision of the public highways of this state * * *; and no part of such revenues shall * * * be diverted to any other purposes whatsoever.' He urges that such prohibition forbids diversion of highway user funds, for the purpose of constructing an office building, which cannot be classified as construction, repair, maintenance and traffic supervision of the public highways.

We recognize the fundamental principle that where special funds or revenues are dedicated to a particular purpose, the same cannot be used for any other purpose, and that an act of the Legislature attempting to provide otherwise is unconstitutional. Roach v. Gooding, 11 Idaho 244, 81 P. 642; State ex rel. Moon v. Jonasson, 78 Idaho 205, 299 P.2d 755.

Page 435

In determining the constitutionality of a legislative enactment, fundamental principles must be borne in mind, and rigidly observed. Noble v. Bragaw, 12 Idaho 265, 85 P. 903.

A legislative act is presumed to be constitutional and all reasonable doubt as [81 Idaho 317] to its constitutionality must be resolved in favor of its validity. Noble v. Bragaw, supra; Ingard v. Barker, 27 Idaho 124, 147 P. 293; Smallwood v. Jeter, 42 Idaho 169, 244 P. 149; Packard v. O'Neil, 45 Idaho 427, 262 P. 881, 56 A.L.R. 317; Sanderson v. Salmon River Canal Co., 45 Idaho 244, 263 P. 32; In re Edwards, 45 Idaho 676, 266 P. 665; Chambers v. McCollum, 47 Idaho 74, 272 P. 707; Robison v. Enking, 58 Idaho 24, 69 P.2d 603; Wanke v. Ziebarth Const. Co., 69 Idaho 64, 202 P.2d 384; Boughton v. Price, 70 Idaho 243, 215 P.2d 286; Eberle v. Nielson, 78 Idaho 572, 306 P.2d 1083.

Where a statute is open to two constructions one of which will render it unconstitutional, and the other constitutional, the rule of construction must be adopted which will uphold it. State ex rel. Black v. State Board of Education, 33 Idaho 415, 196 P. 201; City of Idaho Falls v. Pfost, 53 Idaho 247, 23 P.2d 245; State ex rel. Graham v. Enking, 59 Idaho 321, 82 P.2d 649; State v. Peterson, 61 Idaho 50, 97 P.2d 603; Big Wood Canal Co. v. Unemployment C. Division, Etc., 63 Idaho 785, 126 P.2d 15.

The burden of showing the unconstitutionality of a statute is upon the party asserting it, and invalidity must be clearly shown. Eberle v. Nielson, supra, and authorities therein cited.

In the proper application of the foregoing rules it becomes the duty of the courts to uphold the constitutionality of legislative enactments if such can be accomplished by reasonable construction. Grice v. Clearwater Timber Co., 20 Idaho 70, 117 P. 112; Continental Life Ins. & Inv. Co. v. Hattabaugh, 21 Idaho 285, 121 P. 81; J. C. Penney Co. v. Diefendorf, 54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Garrett Transfer & Storage Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; Scandrett v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761; State v. Evans, 73 Idaho 50, 245 P.2d 788. The further rule is stated in Petition of Mountain States Telephone and Tel. Co., 76 Idaho 474, 284 P.2d 681, 683:

"It is fundamental that the judicial power to declare legislative action invalid upon constitutional grounds is to be exercised only in clear cases. The constitutional invalidity must be manifest, and if it rests upon disputed questions of fact, the invalidating facts must be proved.' Los Angeles Gas & Electric Corp. v. Railroad Commission, 289 U.S. 285, 53 S.Ct. 637, 645, 77 L.Ed. 1180, at page 1194.'

See also State v. Rorvick, 76 Idaho 58, 277 P.2d 566.

Plaintiffs point out that the 35th Session of the Legislature appropriated in excess [81 Idaho 318] of $90,000,000 from the highway fund for the 1959-61 biennium...

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44 practice notes
  • Nelson v. Marshall, No. 10729
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 15, 1972
    ...construction, that construction must be adopted. See, e. g., Williams v. Swensen, 93 Idaho 542, 467 P.2d 1 (1970); Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho 311, 341, P.2d 432 Our determination that the trial court erred in deleting the words 'in special cases when approved by the board' makes it necessar......
  • State ex rel. Rich v. Idaho Power Co., No. 8739
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • October 2, 1959
    ...by the Constitution. Idaho Const. Art. 1, § 21; Eberle v. Nielson, 78 Idaho 572, 306 P.2d 1083; Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho ----, 341 P.2d 432. Expressions of this rule, as it relates to the power of the legislature to change the common law obligation of utilities to pay the cost of relocati......
  • Oneida County Fair Bd. v. Smylie, No. 9336
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • September 26, 1963
    ...58 Idaho 24, 69 P.2d 603; Eberle v. Nielson, 78 Idaho 572, 306 P.2d 1083; Noble v. Bragaw, 12 Idaho 265, 85 P. 903; Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho 311, 341 P.2d 432; Padgett v. Williams, 82 Idaho 114, 350 P.2d 353; Caesar v. Williams, 84 Idaho 254, 371 P.2d The constitutionality of a statute is......
  • McGraw v. Hansbarger, No. 15676
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • March 31, 1983
    ...Opinion to the Governor, 200 So.2d 534 (Fla.1967); State ex rel. Charlotte County v. Alford, 107 So.2d 27 (Fla.1958); Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho 311, 341 P.2d 432 (1959); State ex rel. Moon v. Jonasson, 78 Idaho 205, 299 P.2d 755 (1956); Patterson v. Iowa Bonus Bd., 246 Iowa 1087, 71 N.W.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
44 cases
  • Nelson v. Marshall, No. 10729
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 15, 1972
    ...construction, that construction must be adopted. See, e. g., Williams v. Swensen, 93 Idaho 542, 467 P.2d 1 (1970); Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho 311, 341, P.2d 432 Our determination that the trial court erred in deleting the words 'in special cases when approved by the board' makes it necessar......
  • State ex rel. Rich v. Idaho Power Co., No. 8739
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • October 2, 1959
    ...by the Constitution. Idaho Const. Art. 1, § 21; Eberle v. Nielson, 78 Idaho 572, 306 P.2d 1083; Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho ----, 341 P.2d 432. Expressions of this rule, as it relates to the power of the legislature to change the common law obligation of utilities to pay the cost of relocati......
  • Oneida County Fair Bd. v. Smylie, No. 9336
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • September 26, 1963
    ...58 Idaho 24, 69 P.2d 603; Eberle v. Nielson, 78 Idaho 572, 306 P.2d 1083; Noble v. Bragaw, 12 Idaho 265, 85 P. 903; Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho 311, 341 P.2d 432; Padgett v. Williams, 82 Idaho 114, 350 P.2d 353; Caesar v. Williams, 84 Idaho 254, 371 P.2d The constitutionality of a statute is......
  • McGraw v. Hansbarger, No. 15676
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • March 31, 1983
    ...Opinion to the Governor, 200 So.2d 534 (Fla.1967); State ex rel. Charlotte County v. Alford, 107 So.2d 27 (Fla.1958); Rich v. Williams, 81 Idaho 311, 341 P.2d 432 (1959); State ex rel. Moon v. Jonasson, 78 Idaho 205, 299 P.2d 755 (1956); Patterson v. Iowa Bonus Bd., 246 Iowa 1087, 71 N.W.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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