Robison v. Dwyer

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Citation364 P.2d 521,58 Wn.2d 576
Decision Date31 August 1961
Docket NumberNo. 35683,35683
PartiesLester ROBISON, L. F. Hopkins and Kenneth Owsley, Respondents, v. Joe DWYER, Director of The Department of Agriculture of The State of Washington, Appellant.

Page 576

58 Wn.2d 576
364 P.2d 521
Lester ROBISON, L. F. Hopkins and Kenneth Owsley, Respondents,
Joe DWYER, Director of The Department of Agriculture of The
State of Washington, Appellant.
No. 35683.
Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.
Aug. 31, 1961.

[364 P.2d 523] John J. O'Connell, Atty. Gen.,

Page 578

Richard M. Montecucco, Asst. Atty. Gen., John N. Rupp, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellant.

Paine, Lowe, Coffin, Herman & O'Kelly, Horton Herman, Eldon H. Reiley, Spokane, for respondent.

Elwood Hutcheson, Yakima, amicus curiae.

FOSTER, Judge.

Joe Dwyer, director of agriculture and the defendant in the superior court, appeals from a final judgment which held void the Washington agriculture enabling act 1 and vacated the administrative order promulgated thereunder creating a wheat commission. The findings and conclusions upon which the judgment is based are sweeping, indeed, for the frial court sustained every argument advanced against the constitutionality of the act. The resulting twenty-six assignments of error frustrate efforts at opinion brevity.

A petition to create a wheat commission was filed in August of 1958. Subsequently, the director prepared a list

Page 579

of wheat producers. A mailing list of 8,500 names was procured from the Washington Wheat Growers Association, to which the director added one hundred thirteen others. The superior court concluded that the list so compiled was hand-picked to include those favoring the promulgation of a marketing order for wheat and excluding those opposed.

Notices were sent to such selected producers and notice was published in newspapers in nineteen of the twenty affected counties. The 2,786 persons who responded constituted the director's roll of affected producers and were notified of a public hearing. This hearing resulted in findings and a recommended marketing order. A final decision approved the same. A referendum pursuant to the statutory formula ratified the marketing order. Thereafter, a wheat commission was established.

Respondents appealed to the director who upheld the marketing order. Appeal to the superior court resulted in a judgment holding the statute to be unconstitutional, from which judgment the director appeals.

Statutes are presumed to be constitutional. Clark v. Dwyer, 56 Wash.2d 425, 353 P.2d 941, certiorari denied 364 U.S. 932, 81 S.Ct. 379, 5 L.Ed.2d 365; Port of Tacoma v. Parosa, 52 Wash.2d 181, 324 P.2d 438; Gruen v. State Tax Comm., 35 Wash.2d 1, 211 P.2d 651.

The superior court held that the act violated Art. II, § 19, of the state constitution, which provides that 'No bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.'

The title is:

'An Act relating to agriculture and agricultural production; defining terms; providing for the issuance, amendment and termination of marketing orders and agreements; providing for the creation of commodity commissions and prescribing powers and duties thereof; prescribing hearing, appeal, election and other procedures; levying assessments; providing for enforcement; and establishing penalties.'

This is an adequate caveat of the material contained in the act. Rourke v. Dept. of Labor & Industries,

Page 580

41 Wash.2d 310, 249 P.2d 236, held a title need not be a comprehensive[364 P.2d 524] index, but need only give notice and indication of what is dealt with. No one would be misled by this title.

An act dealing with a general subject may contain numerous subdivisions without offending the constitution. Art. II, § 19, of the state constitution, was intended to prohibit logrolling and riders. State ex rel. Graham v. Enking, 59 Idaho 321, 82 P.2d 649.

The enactment is within the police power, notwithstanding the trial court's contrary conclusion. Clark v. Dwyer, supra, sustained a statute relating to the apple industry and rejected the argument now advanced by respondents.

In C. V. Floyd Fruit Co. v. Florida Citrus Comm., 128 Fla. 565, 175 So. 248, 253, 112 A.L.R. 562, the Florida supreme court stated:

"The protection of a large industry constituting one of the great sources of the State's wealth and therefore directly or indirectly affecting the welfare of so great a portion of the population of the State is affected to such an extent by public interest as to be within the police power of the sovereign." 2

Respondents claim, however, that the act contains unreasonable classifications because producers of less than five hundred bushels of wheat annually are exempted. The proof that the cost of collection would exceed the resulting revenue is a sufficient reason for excluding small producers.

In Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., 301 U.S.

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495, 57 S.Ct. 868, 873, 81 L.Ed. 1245, the United States supreme court stated:

'Administrative convenience and expense in the collection or measurement of the tax are alone a sufficient justification for the difference between the treatment of small incomes or small taxpayers and that meted out to others. Citizens' Telephone Co. v. Fuller, 229 U.S. 322, 332, 33 S.Ct. 833, 57 L.Ed. 1206; New York ex rel. Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U.S. 152, 159, 27 S.Ct. 188, 51 L.Ed. 415, 9 Ann.Cas. 736; New York v. Latrobe, 270 U.S. 421, 428, 49 S.Ct. 377, 379, 73 L.Ed. 776, 65 A.L.R. 1341; Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Georgia Public Service Comm., 295 U.S. 285, 289, 55 S.Ct. 709, 710, 79 L.Ed. 1439; Cf. Florida Central & Peninsular R. Co. v. Reynolds, 183 U.S. 471, 480, 22 S.Ct. 176, 46 L.Ed. 283; Packer Corp. v. Utah, 285 U.S. 105, 110, footnote 6, 52 S.Ct. 273, 274, 76 L.Ed. 643, 647, 79 A.L.R. 546, 549. * * *'

The argument that, if producers of less than five hundred bushels are exempted, the first five hundred bushels of all producers must be exempted from assessment is rejected for the same reason. Were the first five hundred bushels of all producers exempted, the result would be the same in collecting from producers of from five hundred to one thousand bushels as it presently is from producers of five hundred or less bushels. Such a result is absurd. The legislature decided that those producers above the statutory line of demarcation are materially affected by the operation of the statute while those below are not.

The superior court held the act unconstitutional on the further grounds that the assessment authorized by the act and levied by the commission is not related to [364 P.2d 525] a special benefit, is a second tax upon personal property, is not uniform within a classification, is not for...

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    ...949 P.2d 1260 (1997); Burba v. City of Vancouver, 113 Wash.2d 800, 805-06, 783 P.2d 1056 (1989); Robison v. Dwyer, 58 Wash.2d 576, 583-84, 364 P.2d 521 ¶ 24 In this case, the two-part test provided in Barry & Barry is satisfied. First, the legislature has provided the necessary guidelines d......
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    ...subject and the incidental subdivisions. Kueckelhan v. Federal Old Line Ins. Co., 69 Wn.2d 392, 418 P.2d 443 (1966); Robison v. Dwyer, 58 Wn.2d 576, 364 P.2d 521 (1961). Water Dist. 105 v. State, 79 Wash.2d 337, 341, 485 P.2d 66 Fritz v. Gorton, 83 Wash.2d 275, 290, 517 P.2d 911, 920-21 (19......
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    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 4 Enero 1974
    ...and the incidental subdivisions. Kueckelhan v. Federal Old Line Ins. Co., 69 Wash.2d 392, 418 P.2d 443 (1966); Robison v. Dwyer, 58 Wash.2d 576, 364 P.2d 521 (1961). [517 P.2d 921] Water Dist. 105 v. State, 79 Wash.2d 337, 341, 485 P.2d 66, 69 In short, we are satisfied that the interrelate......
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