- The court's first priority in statutory interpretation is to "ascertain and carry out the Legislature's intent." Dep't of Ecology v. Campbell & Gwinn, LLC, 146 Wn.2d 1, 9-10, 43 P.3d 4 (2002).
- To determine the legislature's intent, courts first look to the statute's plain language, which it may discern from what the legislature has said in the statute and related statutes which disclose legislative intent about the provision in question. Skagit County Pub. Hosp. Dist. No. 1. v. Dep't of Revenue, 158 Wn. App. 426, 437, 242 P.3d 909 (2010).
- To interpret a statute's plain language, the courts examine the text of the statute, "as well as 'the context of the statute in which that provision is found, related provisions, and the statutory scheme as a whole.'" State v. Larson, 184 Wn.2d 843, 848, 365 P.3d 740 (2015).
- If the plain language is subject to only one interpretation, the court's inquiry ends because plain language does not require construction.” Skagit County, 158 Wn. App. at 437.
- If there is not a statutory definition, court's give the words in the statute their common and ordinary meaning. To determine the plain meaning of an undefined term, we may look to the dictionary.” Skagit County, 158 Wn. App. at 437.
- When a statute is susceptible of more than one reasonable interpretation, court's defer to the agency's interpretation of the statute if that interpretation does not conflict with the statutory language and is within the agency's expertise.” New W. Fisheries, Inc. v. Dep't of Revenue, 106 Wn. App. 370, 377, 22 P.3d 1274 (2001).
- Courts cannot interpret a statute in a manner that leads to an absurd result. Estate of Bunch v. McGraw Residential Ctr., 174 Wn.2d 425, 433, 275 P.3d 1119 (2012).
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