Armstrong v. State
Washington Court of Appeals
958 P.2d 1010 (1998)
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (the department) (defendant) made a rule that required all hunters to wear fluorescent orange while hunting. The rule was designed to reduce the number of hunting accidents in the state. Ronald and Melvin Armstrong (plaintiffs) filed a class-action lawsuit against the department, arguing that the rule exceeded the department’s legislative grant of authority. The department was authorized by statute to regulate the manner of taking game, which the Armstrongs interpreted narrowly to include only the methods used to kill game. The Armstrongs argued that the authority to regulate hunter safety was not included in the statutory grant and could not be implied. The trial court disagreed, finding that the legislature had charged the department with the broad duty to maximize recreational hunting opportunities that, read in tandem with the authority to regulate the manner of taking game, conveyed to the department the implied authority to regulate hunter safety. The department relied on this authority to regulate other aspects of hunter safety as well, including licensing and education requirements. The Armstrongs appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Houghton, C.J.)
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