Attorney General: George F. Wandrak, Division of Special Revenue, 1997-006 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

March 20, 1997

George F. Wandrak
Acting Executive Director
Division of Special Revenue
Russell Rd., P.O. Box 11424
Newington, CT 06111

Dear Mr. Wandrak:

This letter responds to your request for an opinion dated January 31, 1997. Briefly stated, your letter relates that since 1993 the Division's regulations have provided: "A prize to which a purchaser may become entitled shall not be assignable." Conn. Stat. Regs.  12-568-5(d). Until June 6, 1996, the general statutes were silent on the issue of assignment.

On June 6, 1996, the Governor signed P.A. 96-236, which became effective upon passage. That Act added a sentence to Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-568(a) that provided:

The right of any person to a prize drawn shall not be assignable, except that payment of any prize drawn may be paid (1) to the estate of a deceased prize winner, (2) to a person pursuant to an appropriate judicial order, or (3) pursuant to subsection (c) of section 53-362(d).

On June 4, 1996, the Governor also signed P.A. 96-212, which repealed Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-568 in its entirety. That Act became effective on July 1, 1996, and thereby repealed the above quoted provision regarding assignments in Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-568 (a).

You ask whether "repeal of Section 12-568 by virtue of P.A. 96-236 invalidated Division Regulation 12-568-5(d) prohibiting assignments of lottery winnings while in the hands of the Division and, if so, does the Division have the authority to promulgate a new regulation prohibiting assignments for any lottery payment by the Division?" We conclude that P.A. 96-236 did in fact invalidate Division Regulation 12-568-5(d), and that if the Division wishes to prevent assignments it should promulgate a new regulation.

"[W]hen a statute and a regulation conflict, the statute must prevail. Yanni v. DelPonte, 31 Conn. App. 350, 357, 624 A.2d 1175 (1993)." Commissioner Admin. Serv. v. Gerace, 40 Conn. App. 829, 673 A.2d 1172 (1996). In this case P.A. 96-236 conflicted with Regulation 12-568(d) because the statute permitted assignments in certain instances and the regulation did not permit assignments under any circumstances. When a regulation and a statute are "irreconcilable," the legislature is presumed to have intended to repeal the regulation. See Dugas v. Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Co., 217 Conn. 631, 641, 587 A.2d 415 (1991); Harper v. Tax Commissioner, 199 Conn.133, 141, 506 A.2d 93 (1986). Therefore, the earlier regulation was invalidated by the later passed statute. Austin v. Housing Authority, 143 Conn. 338, 348-49, 122 A.2d 399 (1956).

Thus, in answer to your question, we believe that Division Regulation 12-568-5(d) was invalidated by the passage of P.A. 96-236. The subsequent repeal of Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-568 by P.A. 96-212, including the language contained in Public Act 96-236, could not act to revive an already repealed regulation. If the Division wishes to have a regulation regarding the assignment of awards, it should promulgate a new regulation pursuant to the authority described in the present general statutes.

We hope you find this response helpful.

Very truly yours,

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL

Gregory T. D'Auria
Assistant Attorney General


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