THIRTY - FIFTH DAY
MONTGOMERY, ALA., Tuesday, July 2, 1901.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, was called to order by the President, and opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Patterson as follows:
Dear Lord, in Thy good providence Thou hast brought us through another night, and Thou hast set before us with its privileges and responsibilities another day of life, and we would not begin the work of this day without asking Thy blessing and praying for Thy guidance and Thy direction. We realize that in all things we are dependent upon Thee and we praise Thee for Thy kindness and Thy thoughtfulness toward us, and our Father we beseech Thee Thou wouldst permit us to address ourselves to all tasks Thou hast laid upon us, with an eye single to Thy glory and honor, with a full determination, as Thou dost give us grace
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and wisdom, to discharge every obligation in a way acceptable in Thy sight. Be with these Thy servants, strengthen them, guide them, support and uphold them, and at last when Thou hast served Thy will with us all here on earth, receive us on High, for the Redeemer's sake, Amen.
Upon the call of the roll, 121 delegates responded to their names.
Leaves of absence were granted to Mr. Proctor for today; Mr. Carmichael (Coffee) for yesterday; Mr. Thompson (Bibb) for Saturday, Monday and Tuesday; Mr. Renfro for Monday and today.
MR. COBB - I have sent to the reading clerk a resolution which I desire to put upon its immediate passage, and to that end I ask a suspension of the rules, after the reading of the resolution.
Resolution No. 215 by Mr. Cobb:
Whereas, one of our colleagues, realizing the truth of the sentiment that it is not well for man to live alone, has taken to himself a life companion, and
Whereas, we recognize in this course of our brother delegate the exhibition of that wisdom and prudence which have always characterized him, and
Whereas, this Convention desires to put the stamp of approval upon conduct so eminently conducive to the happiness and usefulness of men, and
Whereas, the family relation is the chief corner stone of our political institutions,
Therefore be it resolved, That we the members of this Convention extend to Hon. E. D. Willett, and his accomplished wife, our sincere felicitations; and express to them our earnest wish that the journey on which they have recently entered may be thornless and protracted, leading them at the last to that perfect bliss which comes to those who make secure entrance into the beautiful land.
Resolved. That the clerk of this Convention deliver to Mr. and Mrs. Willett a certified copy of these resolutions (Applause.)
MR. COBB - I move a suspension of the rules.
Upon a vote being taken the rules were suspended.
MR. COBB- Mr. President, the declaration contained in the resolutions just read that "it is not well for man to live alone," is as true and forceful as it is trite. And so of the other sentiment that our political institutions rest upon the family relation as their chief corner stone. As member of this body, we are the repre
sentatives of intelligent and upright constituencies, who love virtue and faithfulness to duty; and are ever ready to extend the meed of commendation to every word and act which will secure the one and promote the other. And they will pardon us, I am sure, if we turn aside from the work we have to do, to give the plaudit of well done to our worthy confrere, and to extend to him and his accomplished bride the congratulations and well wishes of the people of Alabama. That we may give emphasis to their approval and ours, I move the adoption of the resolutions by a rising vote.
And by a rising vote, the resolutions were unanimously adopted.
The report of the Committee on the Journal was read, stating that the journal for the thirty - fourth day of the Convention had been examined and found to be correct. and the same was adopted.
MR. ROBINSON - I now move to take from the table the resolution reported by the Committee on Rules to limit debate. I think it is high time that that resolution, or one of similar import should be adopted. That resolution was reported by the Committee, and it was laid upon the table, to be taken up at any time at the pleasure of the Convention. Therefore it is a privileged question. If the convention does not desire to limit the debate to five minutes, then they can amend the resolution, but it does seem to me if we are ever to get through with the making of a constitution, there must be some limit to debate in this body. Therefore I move to take the resolution from the table and put it upon its passage.
MR. PETTUS - I would like to ask the gentleman a question. Is not there a limit on debate now, under the rules of the Convention?
MR. ROBERTSON - There don't seem to be.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Chambers moves to take from the table the report of the Committee on Rules.
Upon a vote being taken, a division was called for, and by a vote of seventy-one ayes and twenty-four noes the motion was carried.
MR. ROBINSON - I now move the adoption of the resolution.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I move an amendment to the resolution.
A reading of the resolution reported by the Committee was called for.
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MR. SOLLIE - I have an amendment, Mr. President.
MR. BULGER - I ask for a reading of the resolution. I do not remember the original resolution.
THE PRESIDENT - The Secretary will read the resolution as reported by the Committee on Rules, and will read the amendment offered by the gentleman from Dale.
The resolution was read as follows:
Resolution No. 160, by Mr. Harrison: Reported favorably by the Rules Committee, with an amendment :
Resolved That all speeches on amendments to ordinances reported by the standing committees be limited to five minutes each.
Amendment by the committee:
Amend Resolution No. 166, by Mr. Harrison of Lee, so as to read as follows:
Resolved, That all speeches on amendments to ordinances reported by the standing committees be limited to five minutes each, whether made before or after the ordering of the previous question.
Amendment by Mr. Sollie:
Amend by striking out the word "five" and substituting therefor the word "ten," so that it will read ten minutes.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I desire to offer an amendment to the amendment.
THE PRESIDENT - The committee reports the resolution with an amendment, and the proposition of the gentleman from Dale would be an amendment to the amendment.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Would a substitute be in order?
THE PRESIDENT - An additional amendment in the opinion of the Chair would not be in order at this time.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I think the gentleman will accept my amendment.
MR. SOLLIE - Let me hear it.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Resolved, that the rule shall not apply to debate on the report of the Committee on Suffrage, or to the chairman of committees.
MR. SOLLIE - Yes, I accept that as a substitute.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Dale asks unanimous consent to accept the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Lauderdale. Is there objection?
MR. ROBINSON - I object.
MR. SOLLIE - Among my immediate colleagues, coming up from the wire grass, I brought to the Convention with me something of a reputation for being long winded in speech making, and the amendment extending the time from five to ten minutes coming from me will at least, be consistent, I believe, however, that I might say, by way of parenthesis, that I have been out ‑ Heroded in the matter of speech making, and that whatever of pride I might have felt in my previous reputation along that line, the time has come when I must surrender both the reputation and the proud feeling following it. Yet, it occurs to me, Mr. President, that a debate to be limited to five minutes, is to great a limitation for the question that are constantly coming before this Convention. Many of these questions have so many bearings, and such varied aspects; the dangers in their passage, or the reasons for their passage, are so numerous, and touch upon so many points, that in my judgment, gentlemen who are capable of speaking to resolutions and to ordinances, cannot in five minutes present the arguments which they would like to present, and which, if it is well to argue them at all, this Convention ought to hear. But there will rarely come before the Convention any question which a man of moderately swift speaking capacity and ordinary powers of condensation, may not speak down within the ten minutes; and it occurs to me that the ten minute limit would be a more reasonable limitation upon the right to speak than the five minute limitation. There are two extremes in all matters, and it does appear that we have been heading strongly towards the extreme of great length in speech making in This Convention. I think it is a fault which none of the orators who have spoken here can say belongs to the balance, and not to himself. It seems to be general. Inasmuch as it is general, we all may stop and take counsel, to ourselves, and see if we, each one including himself in the number, are not taking too much time in debate. Yet, Mr. President, I for one will not consent, that the right to speak, the right to throw light upon the various questions which will be brought before the Convention, shall be cut off and limited to five minutes. We have already, from the ordinances which have been introduced, seen what a disposition there is among members of the Convention to introduce and bring in through committees, reports making radical changes in the fundamental law of Alabama; and when that is shown to be the case ‑ when it seems that we are so anxious to make grave and radical departures from the Constitution as it now stands, although the matter in which we depart from it is not one where the old Constitution has proven insufficient ‑ I say when that disposition shows up in
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the Convention that it is not well that we should cut off the right to debate and show the wrong in these proposed departures. Ten minutes is not more than sufficient time for any gentleman of moderate ability to present an argument upon these great questions, which are being brought before us. I hope that the five minute limit will not be put upon the Convention. I insist respectfully that no gentleman who is able to speak, not even those who are not able to speak, can make an argument upon a grave constitutional question inside of five minutes. We have a way in debate of laying certain predicates and proceedings to a conclusion, and there are sufficient predicates in many propositions that come before us, if they are stated categorically, to require five minutes to state them. Therefore I insist that the five minutes rule is too short, and I hope that the Convention will join in the amendment and permit the limit to be put at ten minutes and not five.
MR. GILMORE - Judging from the quality of the speeches this Convention has been forced to listen to, it seems to me that one minute is quite sufficient. Yesterday morning while the speech making was going on, I was compelled to wonder what sins we had committed on Sunday that we should be cursed in listening to the speeches that we were forced to listen to on yesterday, and I for one, Mr. President, shall insist on the five minutes.
MR. KIRKLAND - I move to lay the amendment of the gentleman from Dale on the table.
Upon a vote being taken a division was called for, and by a vote of 43 ayes and 63 noes the motion to table was lost.
MR. SOLLIE - I move the adoption of the amendment.
MR. SMITH (Mobile) - I desire to call attention to the fact that the resolution introduced by the Committee is confined entirely to discussion upon amendments to reports and not to the reports themselves. It is to be presumed that where a more lengthy consideration of the purposes of the report are desired by the Chairman, that it will follow the course that was taken by the Chairman of the Committee on Executive Department, moving in the first place the adoption of the report, and giving the members ample time to discuss the purposes of the report as a whole. In the discussion here, there have been some amendments of very considerable importance offered before the House, and on which possibly it was reasonable to permit a longer debate than that prescribed by the resolution offered by the Committee, but the great quantity of amendments have not been of that character.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Will the gentleman from Mobile permit me to ask a question?
MR. SMITH - Yes sir.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Is it not a fact that the most important questions that have come before the Convention so far, have been on amendments to the original propositions?
MR. SMITH (Mobile) - Yes.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - The ones requiring more consideration and debate?
MR. SMITH (Mobile) - In one or two instances, and I believe it to be the fact that some of the longest speeches could have been made, so far as the information that they gave the convention, or so far as they aided in reaching a conclusion, trimmed entirely of ornamentation, could have been made in less than five minutes. (Applause.)
I do not believe that if any of these gentlemen had been sitting by the side of his neighbor and had undertaken to give him instructions, and all the information and his reasons for voting for or against a proposition, that he could have talked three minutes to save his life without his neighbor asking him some question to stir him up.
Now, so long as it looked like we would get through with this debate within a reasonable period, I for one was in favor of allowing every gentleman to exhibit to the fullest extent his great ability for flights of imagination and oratory, but the hour is coming when not only the members of the Convention, but the people of the State, will become restless under the delays and procrastinations of this Convention, and it seems to me that it would be better to adopt the five minute rule, and if we do find some gentleman speaking that is so pregnant with thought that he cannot deliver himself within that time, we can ask unanimous consent to hear him for a longer period. I am afraid that might break the hearts of some of our orators, however.
MR. PETTUS - It seems to me that this is rather an anomolous procedure, for a deliberative body to adopt such a stringent rule for cutting off debate. I believe that one of the chief objects for assembling together of the delegates and representatives of the people in this convention, was for the purpose of deliberation, in order that they might discuss these great questions that come up, some of the most important of which have come before the convention by amendments offered to different propositions by different delegates, and it seems to me that it is very improper for this body to adopt a rule at this time which will limit delegates to ten minutes debate upon amendments, except by unanimous consent, which in hot weather is very difficult to obtain, when the temper of delegates are not as calm and serene as they would be on the snowy heights of Monte Sano. We have already in the rules of this Convention, a limit on debate, and a limitation on the number of speeches. Rule fourteen, on page six, lim-
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its speeches to thirty minutes, and it seems short time in which to discuss the pros and cons of any great constitutional question. The action of this body is final. It is not like a General Assembly, when the House can force under its cloture rule a measure through the lower house, and then, it is found that they have made a mistake, the friends of the bill in the House can go before the Senate Committee and have it side - tracked, or if it gets through the Senate, members of the Senate seeing they have made a mistake, can go to the Governor and get him to hold it up. The action of this Convention is final, and I think it would be very unwise to adopt a rule that is going to bind us down and limit debate on amendments on any important question to five or ten minutes. Within the last two or three weeks we have seen some remarkable instances of the change of sentiment in this Convention brought about by unlimited debate.
Now as the matter stands at this time, under the rules of this Convention, a majority of the delegates present, at any time, can cut off debate absolutely, under a call for the previous question, or a motion to lay on the table, which has precedence over any other motion, except a motion to adjourn. I am willing to see the debate cut off at any time when a majority of the delegates upon this floor say that they have made up their minds upon a subject, and that they are ready to vote, and they are tired of hearing the question discussed; but until the times comes when a majority of the delegates are satisfied that the question has been sufficiently discussed, and sufficiently argued, I am opposed to being put in the power of any single delegate, by objection, on a hot July day, to cut off debate and force the Convention to premature action on any of these questions.
Now it has been said that the people are restless, and that this Convention is getting restless, but I do not care how restless they may become, or how restless certain members of the Convention and certain people may get to be, I do not believe it is right or wise or patriotic for any rule to be adopted in this Convention, by which measures may be railroaded through, or by which wise, just and equitable amendments, offered to any proposition, may be side - tracked and laid on the table, and killed without a full, fair and free debate. I see, Mr. President, that the sentiment of the convention is in favor of cutting off debate on these propositions, and I simply rise to go on record here as raising my voice in protest against any such procedure.
I believe that the rules as they are, have gone too far in cutting off debate in a body of this character, from which there is no appeal, and here the action of the body is final. I believe that under the previous question, and under a motion to lay on the table, we put it in the power of the majority of the delegates to cut off debate at any time, and that we have gone far enough,
and that a step further will be absolutely dangerous to the liberties and to the rights of the people of this State, and I protest against this action of the Convention.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - I move the adoption of the amendment of the gentleman from Dale, and I move the previous question, upon the original section and the amendment.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Does the Chair recognize the gentleman from Sumter. There were several of us up.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Sumter is small and active, and I think got to his feet a little before the other gentlemen. The Chair recognizes him at any rate.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - I move the adoption of the amendment of the gentleman from Dale, in connection with the original section, as reported by the Committee.
The main question was ordered.
MR. SOLLIE - Mr. President, I do not know that I have a very great deal to say by way of closing the argument upon this amendment. As the opportunity has come, however-
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - It seems that having called for the previous question upon the original section and upon this amendment, that the gentleman is out of order in speaking to the question. His amendment has been adopted.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - No sir, it has not.
MR. SOLLIE - No sir.
MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the right to close, after the previous question has been ordered on the amendment and original section, or a resolution reported by the Committee, is with the chairman of the Committee reporting it.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that the point of order is well taken, and that the chairman of the Committee making the report would have the right to conclude the debate, where the proposition covers both.
MR. SOLLIE - A question of inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the question.
MR. SOLLIE - As I understand the rule, where there is an amendment pending to an original proposition, and the previous question is moved upon each, that the order of the vote is first upon the amendment, and second upon the original proposition.
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Now Mr. President if the two propositions are to be merged into one, I move a division of the previous question so that each may come up separately, and I may have a right to conclude the debate upon the amendment offered by me.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that as the rule authorizes only one person to conclude the debate under the call for the previous question, the chair would not be authorized to extend the privilege of closing the debate to two delegates. But the gentleman is entitled to a division of the question.
MR. SOLLIE - After it becomes two questions as I understand it, Mr. President-
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair rules that the acting Chairman of the Committee would be entitled to the floor if he desires it.
MR. SOLLIE - I have moved a division of the question, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT - The question is upon the question of debate, and as to who shall conclude the debate. The Chair is of the opinion that the gentleman is entitled to a division of the question, but the debate upon the whole matter is not yet closed, unless the acting chairman of the committee declines to debate it further. Does the gentleman from Mobile desire to conclude the discussion?
MR. SMITH (Mobile) - No sir, I do not care to add anything to the example I have protested against.
THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Dale.
A division was called for and on a vote of 67 ayes to 38 noes the amendment was adopted.
The question recurred upon the resolution as amended, and a division being called for it was adopted by a vote of 76 ayes to 20 noes.
The question then recurred upon the original resolution as amended.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Has the previous question been called?
THE PRESIDENT - Yes sir.
MR. BROOKS - I rise to a parliamentary inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state his parliamentary inquiry.
MR. BROOKS - Is the effect of the resolution now on its passage to deprive the chairman of the committee or the mover of a resolution under the previous question of the thirty minutes to close? Does it limit that to ten minutes also?
THE PRESIDENT - The Secretary will read the resolution again.
MR. BROOKS - If it is in order I move - -
THE PRESIDENT - An amendment is not in order at this time.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I understood the gentleman from Dale accepted the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale, excepting as to the report of the Committee on Suffrage.
MR. SOLLIE - I tried to, but could not.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Chambers (Heflin) objected and the proposition is not debatable.
MR. LONG - Would it not be in order now to offer that?
THE PRESIDENT - Not when the previous question is ordered.
On a viva voce vote the resolution was adopted as amended.
MR. DENT - I have a resolution that I wish to offer, and I ask that the rules be suspended in order that it may be placed upon its immediate passage.
The Secretary read the resolution as follows:
That hereafter the hours of the session of this Convention shall be as follows: Meet daily at 9:30 a. m. and adjourn at 1 p. m.; meet at 3 :30 p. m. and adjourn at 6 p. m.
MR. DENT - I have noticed that at 3 o'clock, the present hour for meeting of the afternoon session, that the House is usually very thin, and a great many delegates come in after the roll call, it seems to me that we could have a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon with great comfort and satisfaction, and thereby add an hour to the daily sessions of the Convention. I move to suspend the rules and that the resolution be placed upon its passage.
MR. REESE - Upon that motion I would like this Convention to go on record, and I demand the ayes and noes.
The call for the ayes and noes was not sustained.
MR. BULGER - I desire to offer an amendment.
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THE PRESIDENT - Amendments are not in order, as the question is on the suspension of the rules.
MR. BROWNE - I call for the reading of the resolution -- there is some misunderstanding.
The secretary again read the resolution.
A vote being taken the rules were suspended, there being 68 ayes and 22 noes.
MR. BULGER - I desire to offer an amendment.
"Strike out 3:30 and add 4 p. m."
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I have an amendment to offer.
The clerk read the amendment as follows: "Strike out 9 :30 a. m. and insert 10 a. m.
THE PRESIDENT - There is an amendment pending.
MR. BULGER - I would ask unanimous consent to accept the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale.
Objection being made unanimous consent was refused.
MR. REESE - I move to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tallapoosa.
The Chair recognized the gentleman from Lauderdale for the purpose of offering an amendment to the amendment. The secretary will please read the amendment to the amendment.
The secretary read as follows: Amend the amendment by adding 10 a. m. instead of 9:30 a. m.
MR. REESE - I move to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tallapoosa, and the amendment offered lay the gentleman from Tallapoosa.
A vote being taken the amendments were laid upon the table.
MR. PETTUS (Limestone) - I move to strike out 6 p. m. and insert in lieu thereof 5:30 p. m.
MR. REESE - I move to lay that amendment on the table.
A vote being taken the amendment was tabled.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) - I have a resolution that I desire to offer as a substitute.
MR. REESE - I move the previous question upon the resolution.
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman yield to the gentleman from Coffee?
Mr. Reese declined to yield, and a vote being taken the previous question was ordered. The Chair recognized Mr. Dent, the mover of the resolution.
MR. DENT - I do not desire to add anything. Under my resolution the Convention begins sooner in the morning, and gains one hour, and I hope the resolution will be adopted.
A vote being taken the resolution was adopted.
MR. CRAIG (Dallas) - I have a petition that I desire to have read.
THE PRESIDENT - The rules do not provide for the reading of petitions unless the Convention so orders.
MR. CRAIG - I would like to have the consent of the Convention to introduce that petition.
The Convention consented to the reading of the petition.
To the Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama:
Gentlemen - The undersigned women tax payers of Madison county, Alabama, respectfully petition and memorialize your honorable body to incorporate in the Constitution for the State of Alabama, which you are now formulating, a provision for woman suffrage, or at least a provision authorizing all women who are residents of the State of Alabama, and who are tax payers or property owners therein, to vote on all questions affecting their property or the taxation thereof, and on all questions affecting education.
We base this request and petition upon the time - honored principle that "taxation without representation is unjust," and that "governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed." We maintain that these just principles are as applicable to the taxation of the property of women as of men, and to the government of women as of men. We protest that the taxation of women and their property, without giving them a voice in elections affecting their taxation, is unfair and a denial of their just rights. We insist that these powers of government are only just which are derived from the consent of the governed, and that the consent of women of Alabama to government affecting their rights and property can only be obtained by giving them the right of suffrage.
Virginia Clay Glopton, Celeste C. Clay, Virg E. Adams, Mary
MR. REESE- I object.
MR. JONES - The committee asks it. I submit it as a privileged matter, it is unfinished business of this House, and I am not even asking the courtesy, by carrying out unfinished business and it is in order to have it fixed for a special time.
MR. BULGER - I desire to ask the gentleman from Montgomery a question.
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman from Montgomery consent to be interrogated?
MR. JONES - Certainly.
MR. BULGER - I desire to ask the chairman of the committee if he has examined the ordinance and knows that it is correctly and accurately engrossed?
MR. JONES - I have examined it three times and it is absolutely correct.
MR. PILLANS - As passed?
MR. JONES - As passed. we made three corrections in it.
The motion of the gentleman from Montgomery to suspend the rules was adopted by a vote of 68 ayes to 18 nays.
THE PRESIDENT - The question recurs on the adoption of the resolution proposed by the gentleman from Montgomery.
MR. JONES - Now, I desire briefly to state that the committee thought that the work ought to be disposed of. In uniting on that, however, they have sacrificed their desire to make some amendments, but they believed it would provoke discussion, and they believe it is best as it is, and they therefore ask that the ordinance be placed upon its third reading and passed.
A vote being taken the resolution was adopted.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I rise to a question of inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the inquiry.
MR. HEFLIN - Can any gentleman be allowed to offer an amendment or substitute for any section?
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair not.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - There have been some ordinances offered and now in the hands of the Committee on Impeachment. A number of the members of this Convention have expressed a desire to discuss this matter, offer this amendment, and I hope this Convention will not at this time if it precludes any amendment, adopt this article.
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MR. ASHCRAFT - We have a committee to which all ordinances that have been adopted will be referred for the purpose of harmonizing. If the article be put upon its third reading and passed, I desire to ask it the Committee on Harmony should desire to make some alteration, so as to harmonize that chapter with some other chapter, would it then be in order to do so?
THE PRESIDENT - The inquiry is so far reaching that the Chair would dislike to pass on that question without further consideration.
MR. OATES - Mr. President, I would say in reference to that, in my limited experience in such matters, I know how it was in the Convention of 1875, when that committee made its report there were some changes in it. All the changes were before the Convention, and so far as accepted by the Convention conclusive, but changes made in it were open to the Convention at the time when the committee reported.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I rise to a question of parliamentary inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT- The gentleman will state the parliamentary inquiry.
MR. LONG - Would it not be in order to offer to strike out any particular section of this report as a whole?
THE PRESIDENT - Not after it has been ordered to a third reading.
MR. REESE - I desire to make a motion to rescind the action of this Convention in adopting Section 30 of this article of Executive Department.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state his point of order.
MR. JONES - When Section 30 was adopted the gentleman voted against it, and did not give any notice of a motion to reconsider, and he is now too late to make that motion, even if amendment could be allowed.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair-
MR. REESE - Will the Chair hear from me on that point?
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will be glad to hear from the gentleman from Dallas.
MR. REESE - Mr. President, I withdraw that motion, and I now move to rescind the action of this Convention by a motion to reconsider the action of this Convention by which it was ordered to a third reading and engrossed.
MR. JONES - I would like to inquire of the gentleman if he did not vote on the losing side?
MR. REESE - I will state to the gentleman I an not making a motion to reconsider, but to rescind the action of this Convention.
MR. JONES - There is no such motion under the rules.
MR. REESE - If the gentleman will read Robert's Rules of Order he will find that there is such a rule, Section 25.
MR. JONES - Not under the Rules of our Convention.
MR. REESE - I desire to call the attention of the Chair to Section 25: "When an assembly wishes to annul some action it has previously taken and it is too late to reconsider the vote, the proper course to pursue is to rescind the objectionable resolution, order or other proceeding. This notion has no privilege, but stands on a footing with a new resolution. Any action of the body can be rescinded regardless of the tine that has elapsed." I am going to stick to my first proposition, a motion to rescind the action of this Convention by which Section 30 of this article on Executive Department was adopted. It is too late for reconsideration, and that is the only method in my opinion by which it can be done.
MR. JONES - I beg to submit on that - and the Chair perhaps would be willing to be advised, as the parlimentarians say, that we are not operating under Robert's Rules of Order in the first place, and in the second place we are operating under rules of our own and in the third place he cannot escape the rules of reconsideration by saying that he wants to reconsider not lay motion to reconsider, but a motion to rescind. A motion to rescind with a subsequent action taken with reference to some matter theretofore passed such as rescinding the resolution about Andrew Jackson as done in Congress but even under the gentleman's contention it would have to go to the Committee and could not be considered now.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that possibly it is in the power of the Convention to rescind any action that it may have taken, just as a legislature might repeal any bill that it has passed, but to do so the proposition to rescind would have to go through the same formula that the ordinance did. It would have to be regularly introduced, referred and reported and the Chair cannot entertain a motion of that sort one tenus.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I move to reconsider the vote by which the article was ordered to a third reading.
THE PRESIDENT - It would seem to the Chair that a motion to reconsider would be in order, and the Chair entertains the question, but it would go over until tomorrow morning.
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MR. LONG - Under Rule 27, I move that we now reconsider it.
MR. JONES - I ask the House by unanimous consent to do so if they want to reconsider.
THE PRESIDENT - It can only be done by suspension of the rules.
MR. JONES - I hope the House will give unanimous consent and let us get through - on behalf of the Committee, I ask it.
THE PRESIDENT - There is no motion before the Chair, the Chair has ruled the motion out of order.
MR. JONES - I move unanimous consent that the gentleman be allowed to offer his amendment - I have a right to do that.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman asks unanimous consent that the Convention take up the motion at once of the gentleman from Walker to reconsider. Is there objection?
Objection was made.
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair would suggest to the distinguished gentleman from Montgomery that a motion to suspend the rules would be in order, and does not require unanimous consent.
MR. ROBINSON (Chambers) - I rise to a point of inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state his point of inquiry.
MR. ROBINSON - After this Article has been referred to the Committee on Harmony, and that Committee reports, if it be subject to amendment then they can strike out that Article.
MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - I move that the rules be suspended, and that the Convention now take up the motion of the gentleman from Walker (Mr. Long.)
MR. BULGER - I call attention to Rule 27: "When a vote has passed, except on the previous question, or on a motion to lay on the table, or to take from the table, it shall be in order for any delegate who voted with the majority to move for a reconsideration thereof on the same day, or within the morning session of the succeeding day, and such motion, if made on the same day, shall be considered immediately after the approval of the Journal on the day succeeding that on which it is made: but if first moved on such succeeding day, it shall be forthwith considered; and when a motion for reconsideration is decided, that decision shall not be considered, and no question shall be twice reconsidered. A motion to reconsider a vote, upon any incidental or subsidiary question, shall not remove the main subject under consideration
from the House, but shall be considered at the time when it is made; provided, that any vote taken on the last day of the session of this Convention may be reconsidered on the same day."
The question I desire to ask is if a motion is made not on the succeeding day, but made on any succeeding day does not the rule apply as if it had been made on the first succeeding day. This motion would have to be immediately considered now. In other words, a motion to reconsider, there is only one motion that goes over to the succeeding day, that is the motion on the same day, all others must come up immediately.
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair would call attention to the fact that the motion now sought to be reconsidered was made today, ordered to a third reading, and the motion to reconsider is to reconsider the action of this Convention, whereby the ordinance was ordered to a third reading, and the gentleman from Marengo moves that the rules be suspended for the purpose of taking up consideration at once.
MR. PILLANS - I rise to a point of inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of inquiry.
MR. PILLANS - Does the record show that any motion to reconsider Section 30 was made on the day on which the Section was adopted, or on the day next succeeding, or is this an original motion coming in too late under Rule 27?
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman froth Mobile seems to misapprehend the scope of the motion of the gentleman from Walker. The motion is to reconsider the action by which this Convention ordered this report to a third reading, which action was taken today. The gentleman from Marengo moves to suspend the rules that this motion may be taken up and reconsidered at this time.
A vote was then taken and the motion to suspend the rules was sustained by a vote of 59 ayes to 23 noes.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Is an amendment in order?
THE PRESIDENT - Motion to reconsider is in order.
MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - I move to lay the motion to reconsider on the table.
MR. LONG (Walker) - On that I call for the ayes and noes.
The requisite number did not rise and the call for the ayes and noes was not sustained.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I rise to a question of parliamentary inquiry.
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THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state his point of parliamentary inquiry.
MR. HEFLIN - Will a motion be in order when the article is ordered to a third reading to strike Section 30 from it?
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair is of the opinion that a motion to amend would not be in order after the ordinance is ordered to a third reading.
MR. HEFLIN - Then I move that the Convention rescind its action in ordering the whole article to a third reading.
THE PRESIDENT- That is not in order, the question is upon the motion to lay upon the table the motion to reconsider action of this Convention whereby the ordinance was ordered to a third reading.
MR. HEFLIN- I understand that was done.
THE PRESIDENT - A division was called for and by a viva voce vote it seemed to the Chair that the ayes had it. Thereupon a division was called for and ayes and nays demanded, and the call was not sustained. As many as favor the motion to table will please rise and remain standing until they are counted.
By a vote of 55 ayes to 43 noes the motion to reconsider was laid upon the table.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I now call for the previous question on the article as engrossed.
MR. SOLLIE - I request the gentleman to withdraw that for a moment. I have an amendment.
MR. JONES - I would like to do it, but there are a great many questions that we have yielded ourselves.
MR. LONG - I hope the gentleman will at least give us the opportunity of protesting against the article?
MR. JONES - The gentleman can do that on the minutes, on the stump, or in the public press; I would not insist upon it but have debated it five or six days. I move the suspension of the rules on the adoption of the ordinance.
The President- It seems to the Chair that under the resolution offered by the gentleman from Montgomery, the ordinance was ordered to a third reading.
MR. JONES - It was and nothing can be done, but some of my parliamentary friends say it might, and I want to cut them off.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I desire to make a motion to postpone the pending question until Monday next.
MR. JONES - I move to lay the motion on the table.
THE PRESIDENT - The ordinance has been ordered to a third reading and the question is on the adoption. The Secretary will read the ordinance.
MR. REESE - I rise to a question of inquiry. After this ordinance has been read a third time will not the question then be on the adoption of the article?
THE PRESIDENT - It will.
MR. REESE - Will not that be considering the article? It has been ordered to a third reading and following the third reading will be the question of adoption. Now it is not in order for the Convention to postpone the further reading of the article and consideration for adoption until Monday morning as moved by the gentleman from Chambers?
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that after the ordinance is ordered to a third reading that nothing is in order except the third reading of the ordinance, unless reconsidered, and the Convention has refused to reconsider the action by which it was ordered to a third reading.
MR. SOLLIE - I rise to a point of order. The postponement was demanded by the gentleman from Chambers. I make the point of order that when the question before the House is the reading of the ordinance, that a motion for the previous question for adoption is out of order and cannot be made until after the reading.
THE PRESIDENT - There is no such question pending. The ordinance has been ordered to a third reading.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I move to lay Article V on the table.
THE PRESIDENT - The motion is out of order.
MR. BROWNE - After an ordinance has been ordered to a third reading, no motion is in order except the third reading and adoption or rejection of that ordinance, except a motion to reconsider the vote by which it was ordered to a third reading.
MR. REESE - I desire to make a motion to postpone the third reading of this section until Monday morning at 11 o'clock.
In the opinion of the chair, the motion is out of order.
The Article was read as follows:
To Create and Define the Executive Department.
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama, in convention assembled, That Article V of the Constitution be stricken out and the following Article inserted in lieu thereof:
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Section 1. The Executive Department shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries and a Sheriff for each county.
Sec. 2. The Supreme Executive power of this State shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled "The Governor of the State of Alabama."
Sec. 3. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, shall be elected at the same time and place appointed for the election of members to the General Assembly in 1902 and every four years by the qualified electors of the State.
Sec. 4. The return for every election for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education, and Commissioners of Agriculture and Industries, shall be sealed up and transmitted by the returning officers to the seat of Government and directed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall, during the first week of the session to which such returns shall be made, open and publish them in the presence of both houses of the General Assembly in joint convention; but the Speaker's duty and the duty of the joint convention shall be purely ministerial. The result of the election shall be ascertained and declared by the Speaker from the face of the returns without delay. The person having the highest number of votes for any one of said offices shall be declared duly elected; but if two or more persons shall have an equal and the highest number of votes for the same office, the General Assembly, by joint vote, without delay, shall choose one of said persons for said office. Contested elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, shall be determined by both houses of the General Assembly, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
Sec. 5. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, State Auditor, Superintendent of Education and Commissioners of Agriculture and Industries, elected in 1902, shall hold their respective offices for the term of four years, from the 15th day of November of the year in which they shall have been elected, and until their successors shall be elected and qualified and after the first election under this Constitution, no one of said officers shall be eligible as his own successor; and the Governor shall not be eligible to election or appointment to any office under this State or to the Senate of the United States within one year after the expiration of his term.
Sec. 6. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall each be at least thirty years of age when elected, and shall have been citizens of the United
States ten years and resident citizens of this State at least seven years next before the date of their election. The Lieutenant Governor shall be ex officio President of the Senate, which shall elect a President pro tem, from among its own members, who shall discharge the duties of the Lieutenant Governor in the Senate whenever he is absent or disqualified, but the Lieutenant Governor, when acting as President of the Senate, shall have no right to vote except in the event of a tie.
Sec. 7. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary Of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education shall receive compensation for their services, which shall be fixed by law, and which shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which they have been elected, and shall except the Lieutenant Governor, reside at the Capitol, during the time they continue in office, except in cases of epidemic. The Lieutenant Governor shall be paid the same compensation as that received by the Speaker of the House except when serving as Governor, when he shall receive the salary of said officer.
Sec. 8. If the session of the General Assembly next after the ratification of this Constitution shall enact a law increasing the salary of the Governor, such increase shall become effective and apply to the first Governor elected after the ratification of this Constitution if the General Assembly shall so determine.
Sec. 9. The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Sec. 10. The Governor may require information in writing, under oath, front the officers of the Executive Department named in this article, or created by statute, on any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices; and he may at any time require information in writing, under oath, from all officers and managers of State institutions, upon any subject relating to the condition, management and expenses of their respective offices and institutions. Any such officer or manager who makes a wilfully false report, or fails without sufficient excuse to make the required report when demanded, is guilty of an impeachable offense.
Sec. 11. The Governor may by proclamation on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly at the seat of Government or at a different place, if since their last adjournment, that shall have become dangerous from an enemy, insurrection, or other lawless outbreak, or from any infectious or contagious diseases, and he shall state specifically in such proclamation each matter concerning which the action of that body is deemed necessary.
Sec. 12. The Governor shall from time to time, give to the General Assembly information of the state of the government, and recommend to their consideration, such measures as he may deem expedient; and at the commencement of each regular session of the General Assembly, and at the close of his term of office, give information by written message of the condition of the State; and he shall account to the general Assembly, as
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may be prescribed by law, for all moneys received and paid out by him, or by his order; and, at the commencement of each regular session, he shall present to the General Assembly estimates of the amount of money required to be raised by taxation for all purposes.
Sec. 13. The Governor shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law; and, after conviction, to grant reprieves, paroles, commutations of sentence and pardons except in cases of impeachment. The Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor, shall constitute a Board of Pardons, who shall meet on the call of the Governor, and before whom shall be laid all recommendations or petitions, for pardon or commutations or paroles, in cases of felony; and the Board shall hear them in open session, and give their opinion in writing, to the Governor thereon, after which or on the Board's failure to advise for more than sixty days, the Governor may grant or refuse the commutation, parole or pardon, as to him seems best for the public interest. He shall communicate to the General Assembly at each session, each case of remission of fines and forfeitures, reprieve, commutation, parole or pardon, with his reasons therefor, and the opinion of the Board of Pardons in each case required to be referred; stating the name, the crime of the convict, the sentence, its date and the date of reprieve, commutation, parole or pardon. Pardons in cases of felony and other offenses involving moral turpitude, shall not relieve from civil and political disabilities, unless specifically expressed in the pardon, and approved by the Board of Pardons. Sec. 14. Every bill which shall have passed both Houses of the General Assembly shall be presented to the Governor; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and proceed to reconsider it. If the Governor's message proposes no amendment which would remove his objection to the bill the House in which the bill originated may proceed to reconsider, and if a majority of the whole number elected to that House vote for the passage of the bill, the bill shall be sent to the other House, which shall in like manner, reconsider and if a majority of the whole number elected to that house, vote for the passage of the bill, the same shall become a law notwithstanding the Governor's veto. If the Governor's message proposes amendment which would remove his objections, the House to which it is sent may so amend the bill, and send it with the Governor's message to the other House, which may adopt, but cannot amend said amendment; and both Houses concurring in the amendment, the bill shall again be sent to the Governor and acted on by him as on other bills. If the House to which the bill is returned refuses to make such amendment, it shall proceed to reconsider; and if a majority of the whole number elected to that House shall vote for the passage of the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by a majority of the whole number of that House, it shall become a law. If the House to which the bill is returned makes the amendment and the other House declines to pass the same, that House shall proceed to reconsider, as though the bill had originated therein, and such proceedings shall be taken thereon as above provided. In every case, the vote of both Houses shall be determined by
yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for or against the bill, shall be entered upon the Journals of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor, Sundays excepted, within six days after it shall have been presented the same shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law; but when return is prevented by recess such bill must be returned to the House in which it originated within two days after reassembling, otherwise it shall become a law; but bills presented to the Governor within five days before the adjournment of the General Assembly may be approved by the Governor at any time within ten days after the final adjournment, if approved and deposited with the Secretary of State within that time. Every vote, order or resolution to which concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except questions of adjournment, and the bringing on of elections by the two Houses, and amending this Constitution, shall be presented to the Governor; and, before the same shall take effect, be approved by him; or, being disapproved, shall be repassed by both Houses according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
Sec. 15. The Governor shall have power to approve or disapprove any item or items of any bill making appropriations embracing distinct items, and the part or parts of the bill approved shall be the law, and the item or items disapproved shall be void, unless repassed according to the rules and limitations prescribed for the passage of other bills over the Executive veto; and he shall in writing, state specifically the item or items he disapproves, setting the same out in full in his message; but in such case, the enrolled bill shall not be returned with the Governor's objection.
Sec. 16. In case of the Governor's removal from office, death or resignation the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor. If both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are removed from office, die, or resign, prior to the next general election, after their election for members of the General Assembly, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be elected at such election for the unexpired term and in the event of a vacancy in the office, caused by the removal from office, death or resignation of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, pending such vacancy and until their successors shall be elected and qualified, the office of Governor shall be held and administered by either the President pro tem of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State or Treasurer and in the order herein named. In case of the impeachment of the Governor, his absence from the State for more than twenty days, unsoundness of mind, or other disability, the power and authority of the office shall devolve, in the order herein named, upon the Lieutenant Governor, President pro tem of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General, State Auditor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer; if any of these officers be under any of the disabilities herein specified, the office of Governor shall be administered in the order named by these officers free from such disability, until the Governor is acquitted. returns to the State, or is restored to his mind, or relieved from other dis-
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901
ability. If the Governor shall be absent from the State over twenty days, the Secretary of State shall notify the Lieutenant Governor, who shall enter upon the duties of Governor and so on; in case of such absence, he shall notify each of the other officers named in their order, who shall discharge the duties of Governor, until the Governor or other officers entitled to administer the office in succession to the Governor, returns. If the Governorelect fails or refuses from any cause to qualify, the Lieutenant Governorelect shall qualify, and exercise the duties of the Governor's office until the Governor - elect qualifies; and in event both the Governor - elect and Lieutenant Governor - elect, from any cause, fail to qualify, the President pro tem of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Attorney General, State Auditor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer shall in like manner, in the order named, administer the Government until the Governor or Lieutenant Governor - elect qualifies.
Sec. 17. If the Governor or other officer administering the office shall appear to become of unsound mind, it shall be the duty of the Supreme Court of Alabama, upon request in writing of any two of the officers named in Section 15, not next in succession to the Governor, to ascertain the mental condition of the Governor, or other officer administering the office--and if he is of unsound mind, to so certify upon its minutes; a copy of which, duty certified, shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State; and in that event, it shall be the duty of the officer next in succession, to perform the duties of the Governor, until the Governor or other officer administering the office is restored to his mind. When the incumbent denies that the Governor or other person entitled to administer the office, has been restored to his mind, the Supreme Court, at the instance of any officer named in Section 15, shall ascertain the truth concerning the same, and, if the officer has been restored to his mind, shall so certify on its minutes and file a duly certified copy thereof with the Secretary of State, and in that event, his office shall be restored to him. The request in writing hereinabove provided for, shall he verified by the affidavit of those making such request. And the Supreme Court shall prescribe rules of practice in such proceedings, which rules shall include a provision for the service of notice on the Governor of such proceeding, and the method of taking testimony therein.
Sec. 18. The Lieutenant Governor, the President pro tem. of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, while administering the office of Governor, shall receive like compensation, and no other than that prescribed by law for the Governor.
Sec. 19. No person shall at one and the same time hold the office of Governor of this State, and any office, civil or military, either under this State or the United States, or any other State or government, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution.
Sec. 20. The Governor shall be commander - in - chief of the militia and volunteer forces of this State, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States, and he may call out the same to execute the laws,
suppress insurrection, and repel invasion; but need not command in person unless directed to do so by resolution of the General Assembly, and, when acting in the service of the United States, he shall appoint his staff, and the General Assembly shall fix his rank.
Sec. 21. No person shall be eligible to the office of Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Superintendent of Education, Attorney General, or Commissioners of Agriculture and Industries, unless he shall have been a citizen of the United States at least seven years, and shall have resided in this State at least five years next preceding his election, and shall be at least 25 years old when elected.
Sec. 22. There shall be a great Seal of State which shall be used officially by the Governor, and the Seal now in use shall continue to be used, until another shall have been adopted by the General Assembly. Said Seal shall be called The Great Seal of the State of Alabama.
Sec. 23. The Secretary of State shall be the custodian of the Seal of the State, and shall authenticate therewith all official acts of the Governor; his approval of laws, resolutions, appointments to office and administrative orders, excepted. He shall keep a register of the official acts of the Governor, and when necessary, shall attest them and lay copies of same, together with copies of all papers relative thereto, before either House of the General Assembly, when required to do so, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law.
Sec. 24. All grants and commissions shall be issued in the name and by the authority of the State of Alabama, sealed with the Great Seal and signed by the Governor and countersigned by the Secretary of State.
Sec. 25. Should the office of Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education, or Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries become vacant, for any cause, the Governor shall fill such vacancy until the disability is removed or a successor elected and qualified. In case any of said officers shall become of unsound mind, such unsoundness shall be ascertained by the Supreme Court upon the suggestion of the Governor.
Sec. 26. The State Treasurer, State Auditor, Attorney General, and the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law. The State Treasurer and State Auditor shall every year at a time the General Assembly may fix make a full and complete report to the Governor, showing the receipts and disbursements of revenues of every character, and all claims audited and paid out by items, and all taxes and revenues collected and paid into the Treasury, and from what sources and they shall make reports oftener upon any matters pertaining to their office if required by the Governor or General Assembly.
Sec. 27. The State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries shall not receive to their use, any fees, costs, perquisites of office, or other compensation than their salaries as prescribed by law, and all fees that may be
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901
payable for any services performed, through such officers, shall be at once paid into the State Treasury.
Sec. 28. A Sheriff shall be elected in each county by the qualified electors thereof, who shall hold his office for a term of four years unless sooner removed, and shall be ineligible to such office as his own successor. Whenever any prisoner is taken from the jail or from the custody of the Sheriff or his deputy, and put to death, or suffers grievous bodily harm, owing to the neglect, connivance, cowardice or other grave fault of the Sheriff, such Sheriff may be impeached under Section 2 of Article VII. of the Constitution: and the Governor when satisfied, after hearing the Sheriff, that he should be impeached, may suspend him from office until the impeachment proceedings are decided. If the Sheriff be impeached, he shall not be eligible to hold any other office in this State during the time for which he had been elected to serve as Sheriff.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Under the rules of the convention, there has to be an aye and no vote.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Under Rule 37, I call for a separation of Section 30 from the remainder of they Article.
THE PRESIDENT - In the opinion of the chair there can be no division. The question is before the Convention on the adoption of the whole Article.
MR. REESE - Is it not a debatable question as to whether we will adopt the Article?
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the chair not after it was ordered to a third reading.
MR. REESE - Is it possible that the adoption of an ordinance in its entirety is not a debatable question?
THE PRESIDENT - The ordinance is not open for amendment.
MR. REESE - But is the question not open as to whether we will adopt it in the shape it is in? I do not mean to say that we will argue as to whether any amendment should be made, but have not the members of this Convention the right to argue against the adoption of this Article at all?
THE PRESIDENT - The chair recognized the gentleman from Dallas and has allowed him to proceed, hearing no objection to the debate.
MR. COFER - Well, I object right now to the debate.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - But the chair announced, I thought, he had heard no objection.
MR. REESE - I had the consent of the House.
MR. COFER - I rise to a point of order. This is not debatable after the previous question has been ordered, and the Article ordered to its third reading. It is not open for amendment or debate.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the chair the point of order is well taken. After the Article is ordered to its third reading, it is not open to amendment or debate. When the gentleman from Dallas rose, the chair did not know for what purpose he rose, and there was no objection, and the chair did not feel authorized to interpose any objection on his own account, but as objection is made, it seems to the chair the point of order is well taken.
MR. REESE - I move to strike out the enacting clause of this ordinance.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I second the motion.
MR. HARRISON - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. HARRISON - There is nothing in order but voting on the adoption of this Article.
THE PRESIDENT - The point is well taken.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Mr. President,-
THE PRESIDENT - For what purpose does the gentleman rise ?
MR. LONG (Walker) - To a parliamentary inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - What is the inquiry?
MR. LONG (Walker) - Ought not delegates be allowed to have spread upon the journal of the house why they object to Article 5. Debate has been shut off, the gag law has been applied, and I want to say why I object to the Article and I want my objections placed on record.
MR. JONES - I object. We debated this matter three days.
THE PRESIDENT - The Convention is in the act of taking a vote and the Chair cannot entertain a motion.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I don't make any motion. I was asking if I could spread my objection on the journal.
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair twill give due investigation to the inquiry of the gentleman and will give an opinion later.
MR. BURNS - I rise for information.
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THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will propound his inquiry.
MR. BURNS - I want to know the effect of this ballot. Does this close the scene? Has the Convention at any time hereafter any right to amend or strike out or do anything?
MR. JONES (Montgomery.) - Mr. President-
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Dallas has propounded an inquiry.
MR. JONES - 1 know what the gentleman is after and I want to answer his inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman is propounding it to the Chair. The Chair is of opinion that the question is now upon the final passage of this ordinance as read. It is not now, and will not be after it is passed open to amendment. The Secretary will continue the call of the roll.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I would like to state as it may have some effect upon the vote, that any member hereafter may offer an ordinance on any subject embraced in this report, and if acted on favorably could thus amend a section of this Article.
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair has so announced that the Convention can rescind any action it has taken but it has to be done by the introduction of a separate ordinance, reference to Committee, report, etc.
The roll was called on the adoption of the Article and resulted as follows:
Davis, of Etowah,
Jones, of Bibb,
Jones, of Hale,
Jones of Montgomery,
Jones, of Wilcox,
Greer, of Calhoun,
Heflin, of Randolph,
Lowe, of Jefferson,
Lowe, of Lawrence,
Reynolds, of Henry,
Total - 101.
Davis, of DeKalb,
Greer, of Perry,
Carmichael, of Colbert,
Carmichael, of Coffee,
Long, of Walker,
Total - 19. ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.
Heflin, of Chambers,
Coleman, of Greene,
Coleman, of Walker,
Long, of Butler,
McMillan, of Baldwin,
Graham, of Montgomery,
Graham, of Talladega,
O'Neill, of Jefferson,
During the roll call Mr. Burns who had voted no, changed his vote to aye for the purpose of moving a reconsideration as to Section 30.
MR. REESE - I move to reconsider the vote by which this Article has been adopted.
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MR. JONES (Montgomery) - And I move to lay that motion on the table.
MR. REESE - I make the point of order that cannot be done now. Under rule it goes over until tomorrow.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - When a member gives notice of an intention to reconsider it goes over, but when a motion is made, can it not be taken up immediately?
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will call the attention of the gentleman from Montgomery to rule 27. "When a vote has passed, except on the previous question, or on a motion to lay on the table, or to take from the table, it shall be in order for any delegate who voted with the majority to move for a reconsideration thereof on the same day, or within the morning session of the succeeding day, and such motion, if made on the same day, shall be considered immediately after the approval of the journal on the day succeeding that on which it is made; but if first moved on such succeeding day, it shall be forthwith considered." The motion will go over until tomorrow morning.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Then I move to reconsider the vote by which the ordinance was passed and I move to suspend the miles for the purpose of considering that motion now.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I make the point of order that the gentleman cannot do indirectly what he cannot do directly.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that the gentleman from Montgomery would be in order to move to suspend the rules and that this motion be considered now, if the Convention desires.
MR. SOLLIE - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point.
MR. SOLLIE - That that precise motion to reconsider was made by the gentleman from Dallas and the other motion is of equal dignity. We cannot accumulate motions to reconsider on the same matter.
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair understood the gentleman from Montgomery to move to suspend the rules that the motion of the gentleman from Dallas might be considered at once.
MR. SOLLIE - If that is the motion, my point of order is withdrawn. But I did not so understand the gentleman from Montgomery.
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair so understood it.
MR. BURNS - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT—The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. BURNS - The Chair has announced that it would lie over until tomorrow under the rules. If we have any rules now is the time to enforce them.
THE PRESIDENT- - It would lie over under the rules unless the rules are suspended.
MR. REESE - If it is the purpose to save time by gagging the Convention and depriving the minority of any right—
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman is not in order.
MR. JONES - We have already debated five days on this matter.
THE PRESIDENT - Gentlemen will be in order. Debate is not permissible.
A vote being taken, a call for the ayes and noes; was not sustained, and on a division the house refused to table the motion to reconsider by a vote of 59 ayes and 37 noes.
MR. SOLLIE - I offer an ordinance.
THE PRESIDENT - It is not in order at this time except by unanimous consent.
Objection was made.
THE PRESIDENT - The regular order will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on Taxation and the gentleman from Talladega has the floor.
MR. BROWNE- I have only a few words more to say in regard to Section No. 5. Shortly before adjournment yesterday I read an extract from a letter received from the State Superintendent of Education of Louisiana with respect to local taxation for schools in that State wherein he stated that that tax was voted usually when submitted to the people by a majority in property and taxable value of property voting at such an election. I now desire to read an extract from a letter from the State Superintendent of Texas. The Constitution of Texas provides a local taxation for schools provided it is first submitted to a vote of the qualified electors upon whom the tax bears, and that it shall be voted for by a two - thirds majority thereof voting at such election. The Superintendent says:
"Answering your letter of the 17th inst. I beg leave to send you under separate cover a copy of our school laws, a copy of the last report of this department, copy of circular No. 16, from which you will be able to gather information relative to our school system, methods of taxation, etc
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As a general rule, the people of this State favor the special local tax feature. In my opinion, this tax subserves the highest school interests of the districts levying the same.
"The average school term in this State is about 5 1 - 2 months.
Now under the Constitution of Texas the Legislature of that State has to enact a law carrying that provision into effect the first section of which law reads as follows:
"The Commissioners' Court of the several counties of this State shall have power to levy a special tax for the further maintenance of public free schools and the erection within each school district of school buildings therein; provided, two - thirds of the qualified property tax paying voters of the district voting at an election to be held for the purpose, shall vote such tax, not to exceed in any year twenty cents on the one hundred dollars valuation of the property subject to taxation in such district."
I will state that I had another letter from the Superintendent stating that that tax had been voted in every instance where is was submitted to the people.
MR. WHITE - That is for the school district and not for the county?
MR. BROWNE - It is for the school district.
Now I have a letter which is sample taken from the letters of Superintendents of States where the matter is left to the qualified electors alone. This letter is from the Superintendent of Education of Colorado, who by the way signs himself or herself Helen G. Greenfell. I desire to say that this is one of the best letters I have received.
"Colorado has State and local taxation for schools. The school electors of the various districts at a meeting called for the purpose, or in connection with the annual election of school directors, vote for such tax, the question being decided by a majority in numbers, no property qualification being necessary. Our school districts do not consist of counties; they consist of cities or various areas of territory.
In my opinion, a special local tax for schools is most beneficial in results.
Colorado appropriates no money from the general fund for schools.
The length of term of the free schools in this State varies from six months in the poorer districts to nine and one-half months in the cities."
The gentleman asks the question if the local tax is not levied in Texas by school districts. It is so levied and in the report
of the Committee on Taxation it is provided that this tax shall be only levied in counties or cities. We are not familiar with the conditions in Texas as we are with those in Alabama. After careful investigation, the committee came to the conclusion to allow this special tax to be voted in school districts would, in a very large number of the school districts of Alabama amount to taxation without representation. There are numerous townships in the State of Alabama that are school districts, where the owners of almost all the property and in some cases all are non - residents and don't live in the district. To allow a tax to be voted in the matter would be practical confiscation of their property. In a majority of the districts, the property holders do live within the district, and there would be no objection in cases of that kind to allowing the school districts voting the tax instead of the counties. But we must make this law to suit the different conditions in different counties.
MR. WATTS - May I ask the gentleman a question?
MR. BROWNE - Yes, sir.
MR. WATTS - For instance, take a county like Montgomery where a majority of the taxpayers and people reside inside the city and have to provide for their own schools. How many would the country precincts get if the citizens of Montgomery had to vote additional taxes on themselves?
MR. BROWNE - It would be owing to the liberality of the taxpayers and citizens of Montgomery.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - Will you pardon an interruption ?
MR. BROWNE - When I get through answering the question of the gentleman from Montgomery. The city of Montgomery would levy the tax and would get a large part of it back.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - May I ask the question now?
MR. BROWNE - Yes.
MR. LOWE - Does the gentleman intend to say to the Convention that the free schools in the country districts of Alabama must be dependent upon the generosity of the taxpayers of the cities and towns?
MR. BROWNE- I do not, but every thinking man will know under this provision the poor country school districts will get more money than they would get if they were allowed to vote a tax upon themselves, because they would not pay as much of that tax as they would get back, the city paying most of the tax.
MR. WHITE - Provided they can get the city to vote the tax?
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MR. BROWNE - Provided the cities are liberal enough to vote the tax. If the gentleman thinks this tax ought to be levied and appropriated back to the school districts and townships in proportion as it is paid by them, then let him offer an amendment and take the responsibility of saying that the money derived from taxation from the cities shall be appropriated exclusively to the city and that no part thereof shall go to the outlying poorer districts.
MR. WHITE - The tax rate in the city cannot exceed $1.75.
MR. BROWNE - As a rule not, but Birmingham can do almost anything she wants.
MR. WHITE - No. There is 50 cents for the bonded debt and 65 cents for State tax, makes $1.15, and 50 cents for general purposes for city, makes $1.65, leaving only a small margin for city and county, 15 cents. Do you suppose the city will vote that 15 cents away from the city?
MR. BROWNE - It is owing altogether to the liberality in the city. I should think the city would be interested in the county surrounding the city and in the upbuilding of it and from that standpoint I should say the city would be willing to vote the tax and not get every bit of it back but that it should be appropriated to the whole county equitably as is done now in Alabama. Does the gentleman know that there are counties in Alabama that give for educational purposes three times the amount they do for other purposes?
MR. WHITE - That is what I was talking about the other day. You say you think the cities will be liberal enough to educate the outlying districts. I thought the State would be willing yesterday to help the outlying counties. (Applause.)
MR. BROWNE - I did not yield to the gentleman for the purpose of having him make a speech.
MR. WEAKLEY - Will the gentleman yield to a question from me?
MR. BROWNE - Yes.
MR. WEAKLEY - If the city is to be taxed to support the county schools, what provision is made to allow the city to support its own schools?
MR. BROWNE - If the gentleman had studied the ordinance as reported by the Committee he would see what provision is made. If the county levies that tax and levies all there is of it, then there is no room allowing the city to levy an additional tax.
MR. WEAKLEY - Then what are we to do with the city schools?
MR. BROWNE - What are you doing now?
MR. WEAKLEY - Running the best we can.
MR. BROWNE - You will continue to run them the best you can.
MR. BULGER - Will the gentleman permit an interruption?
MR. BROWNE - If it is not to be taken out of my time.
MR. BULGER - Will the gentleman consent to this amendment to the section?
MR. BROWNE - No, sir; I will not be interrupted with that. I don't think it is fair to the Convention or the Committee for me to be offering other people's amendments. I am one of those who want to get through as soon as we can and take my seat.
MR. O'NEAL - Will the gentleman yield to me for a question?
MR. BROWNE - Yes, sir.
MR. O'NEAL - Does the gentleman say the adoption of this provision with reference to local taxation will lessen the fund in the poorer counties?
MR. BROWNE- Not at all.
MR. O'NEAL - That is under the general State tax the poorer counties would receive more from the general tax than from the local?
MR. BROWNE - Not at all. I think I can explain the matter so these gentleman can understand it if they will listen. This provision has no effect upon the present system of public schools or the appropriations therefor.
MR. LONG (Walker)- Will the gentleman permit an interruption
MR. BROWNE - Yes.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Did I understand the gentleman to be opposed to the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson and in favor of the majority property vote.
MR. BROWNE - I said something upon that yesterday and after awhile will come back to it.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I want to know if the gentleman takes that position?
MR. BROWNE - Mr. President, I shall have to decline to allow this continual interruption. I do not care personally. I could stand here and answer these questions all day, but I want to get through.
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MR. LONG - Will the gentleman permit me a question?
MR. BROWNE - I understand the question and will answer it presently.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I object to the gentleman understanding my question before I put it.
MR. BROWNE - Ask the question and I will answer it.
MR. LONG - Suppose one voter in a beat owned a majority of all the taxable property in that beat. Does the gentleman contend that that one voter should offset all the other voters in the beat ?
MR. BROWNE - If the gentleman had been in his seat yesterday and had been listening to what I had to say, he would not have had to ask that because I stated, as far as I was individually concerned and my county, I would cheerfully leave that question to be determined by a bare majority of the qualified electors.
MR. LONG - May I ask another question?
MR. BROWNE - No sir, I decline to yield. I have not answered that question yet. There are different conditions in different counties in the State that made it necessary to put some safeguard against the non - tax - paying electors carrying this tax over the heads of the property holders. When the gentleman offered it I said I was willing to it for my county, but I am not one of those who look at everything from a selfish standpoint ,
MR. WADDELL - I rise to a point of order. The gentleman is out of order, he has spoken over ten minutes.
MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the rule does not apply to a Chairman of a Committee.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM (Mr. Proctor) - In the opinion of the Chair the gentleman has thirty minutes.
MR. LOMAX - I rise to a question of parliamentary inquire. As I understand the rule the ten minutes only applies to discussion on amendments proposed and does not a Chairman have thirty minutes notwithstanding that rule?
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The gentleman has thirty minutes.
MR. BROWNE - I was saying I was not one of those who look at everything from a selfish standpoint. I am very much in favor of local taxation for schools, lout I ain in favor of adopting some provision looking to that end in our Constitution that will work to the best interest of every county and every community in the State of Alabama.
When the gentleman from Jefferson offered his amendment I stated I thought probably it would be a good plan to have the tax provision to allow every tax payer to vote and to allow a two - thirds majority. However, the objection to the Louisiana plan is that one means dollars counted against cents. I will say for one that I am not afraid of the people upon the Louisiana plan. I do not believe you can go before any of your Hill Billy audiences and explain that matter to them but what they will agree with you. I am not afraid to stand here and say that when the question of voting voluntary taxes for any particular object is before our people, the property holders ought to have the biggest say as to whether that tax shall be levied, and I do not believe the Hill Billies will agree with the gentlemen who take the other view of the question.
MR. WHITE - Is the gentleman entirely acquainted with the views of that class of our fellow citizens?
MR. BROWNE - I am pretty familiar with them. I have been elected by them half a dozen times.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Does the gentleman take the position that no Hill Billy in Alabama pays any taxes?
MR. BROWNE - I do not. I was going to say that when you get among them you will find that most of them pay taxes on a gun or a pistol, or something of that sort.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - Can the gentleman explain the difference between a Hill Billy and a Black Belt Democrat?
MR. BROWNE - No, sir; I cannot see the difference.
MR. O'NEAL - Will the gentleman permit me a question?
MR. CUNNINGHAM - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order?
MR. CUNNINGHAM - I make the point of order that the word "Hill Billy" has no place in the nomenclature of this State or of any political subdivision thereof, that it is not parliamentary language, and is out of place in this Convention.
THE PRESIDENT - The point of order is sustained.
MR. BROWNE - In reply to that point of order, I think it would have been well if it had been made when the "hill billy" first made his appearance on this floor, by introduction of the gentleman from Walker.
MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order.
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MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - There is so much disorder that the gentleman from Talladega cannot proceed and we cannot hear.
MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) - I desire to ask a question. Who would vote the property held by a partnership, or by a corporation.
MR. BROWNE - No corporation would be allowed to vote.
MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) - But I say who would vote the property of a partnership?
MR. BROWNE - No one would, unless it was taxed separately. A partnership cannot vote.
MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) - If there were three men in the partnership, worth ten thousand dollars, and two of them favored that tax, and one was opposed to it, who would vote at the election?
MR. BROWNE - It would not be assessed to either one. If it was assessed to the partnership, and the taxes were paid by the partnership, a partnership would not have any voice in the matter, nor would a corporation.
I want to say, and I hope gentlemen will respect my request, that I do not desire to be interrupted any more, because one gentleman gets up and asks a question, and before I finish one sentence another gentleman gets up and interrupts me.
Now, about the cities and towns, if this section becomes a law, and the tax is levied, it is with the Commissioners' Court how they will appropriate, or apportion it among the different schools. Some cities may be so selfish that they would desire to get back all of the taxes they pay; other cities might be liberal enough to be willing to pay their part of that ten cents on the hundred dollar tax and leave the money to be equitably apportioned among the schools in the county by the Commissioners' Court. No one, it seems to me, would be so selfish as to desire that any city should get all of its tax back, and not divide it with the country precincts, upon which the city relies for its support. It the county should see fit not to collect their ten cents of that tax, then the city could levy that ten cents on the hundred dollars ; or if any county took only five cents, why the city could take the other five.
Now we deal with that as only ten cents upon the hundred dollars, but gentlemen forget the restraining influence upon the future Legislatures of Alabama that this section will have. Gentlemen will not be so anxious to appropriate sums of money in the future as they have been in the past, when they know that by not levying the full amount of the sixty - five cent limit that they will thereby allow their counties to get more than the ten cents on
the hundred dollars. In other words if in three or four years, the Legislature should see that they can pay the expenses of the State Government, economically administered, by levying a tax of only sixty cents on the hundred dollars, then the county can get fifteen cents on the hundred dollars for her public school: if the county wants it. If not, the county is not forced to take it, and before it can be taken, it must be voted for, under the provisions of this ordinance, as reported. by a majority number and in the value of the taxable property.
For one, I am willing to accent the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson. I favor it for my county, but when gentleman tell me of conditions in the counties, I do not care to force a provision upon their counties, against their will, that would tend to confiscate their property to some extent. I am told that under the most rigid suffrage law that can be enacted, that in some counties there will still be almost a majority of colored voters who are non-tax payers. That certainly, with a large majority of the colored non-tax paying voters of the county, and the very small minority of possibly non-tax paying white men, a tax could be voted upon the property of that county, against the will of the property tax payers, and I am opposed to any law that would allow such a proceeding as that.
Now, I am told that in Texas that the result of the two-thirds law is similar to that in Louisiana; that when you have gotten a two-thirds majority of all of the qualified electors who are tax payers, that in almost every instance you have a majority of the taxable values of the county. For one, I propose to vote upon this subject in the interest of the public schools of Alabama without any thought as to what effect such vote will have in the future, and without considering whether or not a small class of non-tax paying voters will object to it. The question is, how can we best help the public schools of Alabama and keep faith with the people, whose representatives we are? It seems to me that they only possible way is by permitting counties to levy a special tax for schools, within the present constitutional limit, not the one we fixed on yesterday, but the one in the old Constitution, of seventy-five cents for State and fifty cents for county purposes. I have nothing more to say Mr. President.
MR. MERRILL - I desire to offer a substitute.
The substitute was read as follows:
Substitute for the amendment to Section 5 of the Article on Taxation; in line sixteen, after the word "by" insert the letter "a" and after the word majority, insert "of two-thirds" and strike out of lines sixteen and seventeen the words in number and in value of property."
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MR. MERRILL- I agree with the gentleman from Jefferson that no question of dollars ought to enter into an election. I do not think that a man with a dollar ought to have any more power at the ballot box than the man without the dollar, but when we transfer this remarkable power of levying a tax to the people of a county, I think that it ought to be guarded in a conservative way, and that not only a majority, but more than a majority ought to be required to put the tax upon the property owners of the county.
Now, I am in favor of this local tax for educational purposes, and my action in regard to the limit that I voted in the tax rate on yesterday, was controlled very largely by my desire that this local tax should be vested in the counties. Under the Democratic platform, as I construe it, we were limited not to go above 75 cents, and if we had placed the limit at 75 cent, then, Mr. President, we would not have been able to pass this section of the ordinance, which confers upon counties the right to levy this local tax for educational purposes, because with a 75 - cent limit and a constitutional right conferred upon counties to vote this local taxation for educational purposes, we would have exceeded the power and the right conferred upon us in the Democratic platform.
Now it is my opinion- of course, it is not worth much, but it is the thing upon which I am acting - that when we put it above a majority, then we protect to a very large extent the property owners, and if we put it at two-thirds, I believe that a majority of the property owners in the county will have voted for it before it is carried, and , therefore, are willing to put the tax upon themselves. I think that this is a conservative amendment and ought to be adopted by this Convention.
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - As I understand the immediate issue, it is confined to one single proposition, and I do not propose to weary the gentlemen but a very few minutes. The immediate question is whether the tax raised by the counties is to be voted by a majority or two - thirds of the county, or voted simply by those who contribute the money. That is the issue as raised by the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson. Again, so that I can understand it clearly myself, the question is whether this taxation, which is to be raised by an election in the different counties, is to be voted by the counties at large, or whether it is; to be voted by those who have it to pay.
Well, it seems to me, Mr. President, that we need not go far for a solution of this question. It is in the nature of a contribution to the public schools by those who are able to contribute, and to hold that a contribution, or anything in the form of a contribution, shall be required by the vote against those who pay nothing, and who do nothing except to vote against those who have the property out of which to furnish a little money,
would be a strange thing to do. Inasmuch as a sort of new era is upon us, by which counties are, under proper proceedings, to hold elections for the purpose of taxing the people for their contributions to the schools. I think it is wrong to subject those who have to pay the money to the will of those who have no money to pay and who do not pay any money. It seems to me it would be in the nature of taking a man's property without just provision of law. Look at it as you are situated in your own county. I do not care whether the property holders have a majority or not, in many of the counties they are not in the majority. This is a proposition to hold an election for the purpose of advancing additional support to the public schools, supplementing the State fund, and strengthening the schools of the county. As a matter of course, every man who has got a house full of children, and no money to pay for their tuition, would be in favor of taxing his neighbor to the full extent. The committee seems to think it wise to limit the taxing power to those who have the tax to pay. It is well enough for us not to forget that under the present school system, everybody is paying for schooling everybody else's children, and here is an additional and supplementary proposition to pay for everybody else's children but his own. I repeat that I do not care how the majority may stand in a county, but I repeat further that I do not believe that men ought to have the casting vote upon that question who have to pay the means by which the schools are to be carried on.
Now you turn the man who has some little ability to give this contribution to the schools into the power and control of men who have no means to contribute to the schools, even if they desired to do so, and have no means to aid in the enlargement of this fund, and let them vote this charge upon the property of the taxpayers, you thereby add to the burdens those property - holders have already borne, which are chiefly the burden of the administration of the government of the State.
MR. LONG (Walker) - May I ask the gentleman a question?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - Certainly ; but I don't know whether I can answer him.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Suppose a member of the legislature is a non - property owner, would he not have the right to vote on any question relating to taxation in this State?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - To taxation generally, as a matter of course, but that means general taxation for the purpose of carrying out the legislation of the State, but the gentleman must not forget that this is a special tax to be laid by a vote of the people of the County, for the purpose of raising a special fund to educate the children of that County, and it comes in the nature of a special tax.
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MR. LONG (Walker) - Suppose there was a special tax for the State. They levy a special tax of one mill in this State for the Confederate soldiers. Would not the poor man be allowed to vote on that question in the legislature?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - That is general legislation. The question is in a nut shell. Mr. President, and that is why I desire to be understood as speaking on the single proposition, and not long on that, and the issue comes right square down to all of us. Here is a proposition in any county you may name, to raise an additional tax out of the people of that county, for the purpose of supplementing the general fund in that county. There are people in that county who could do nothing towards it, however much they desired to do so. There are others who can. Now, who shall have the privilege of determining when, where and how much of the means of the taxpayers of the County shall be appropriated to the object of schooling?
MR. WHITE - Will the gentleman allow a question?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - Yes.
MR. WHITE - Then if the property owner ought to be allowed to vote, what about females that own property?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - I have got nothing to say about women voting, whether they own property or not. I am against their voting to the end.
It is a common saying that those who are able to pay taxes, must come up to the command of those who are not able to pay taxes, and pay in their funds to educate the children. You property owners that pay the taxes of the State, we who do not pay the taxes of the State for the schools or anything else, we say to you, you must march up like good fellows to the ring here, and submit your fund to this general fund for the county for the education of our children, and we will reap the benefit of it.
MR. BULGER - May I ask the gentleman a question?
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - Does the gentleman permit an interruption?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - Yes, the gentleman may ask any question he pleases. I do not pledge you I will answer it.
MR. BULGER - Do you not think it would be wise to postpone the further consideration of this section until the Committee on Education reports a like section on this subject?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - Yes, I think so. If the gentleman will make such a motion, I will vote with him, but just now the matter of inquiry is as to what this Convention will determine upon the question.
MR. BULGER - I will ask the gentleman another question. Will you not make the motion, or yield to me to make it?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - I will yield to you to make the motion.
MR. LOMAX - Wait until he gets through.
MR. BULGER - Then I move that this section-
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - Does the gentleman from Barbour yield?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - I do.
MR. BULGER - Then I move that this part of the section referring to local taxes, be recommitted to the Committee on Taxation, until the Committee on Education reports a like section.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - To be considered at the same time ?
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - Before the gentleman takes his seat
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - To be considered at the same time as the report of the Committee on Taxation?
MR. BULGER - To be considered at the same tune the same kind of a section is considered in the report of the Committee on Education.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. - The gentleman from Talladega moves that this Section 5, together with the amendment, be referred back to the Committee, to be considered at the same time a like section is considered from the Committee on Education.
MR. BROWNE- Mr. President, as Chairman of the Committee I will state that we have given this thing our most careful consideration, and that there is no necessity to send it back to the Committee. It will be reported just exactly as it is now and I do not see why a matter of taxes should be left and held here until the Committee on Education reports. Certainly the Committee on Education can report no tax article. I therefore move to lay the motion of the gentleman on the table.
MR. ASHCRAFT - I think the Chair has misunderstood the effect of the motion.
MR. BULGER - My motion only includes that part of Section 5 which relates to special taxes for school purposes.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - If I understand him, Mr. President, the gentleman from Tallapoosa moved to strike from the middle of the twelfth line of Section 5 where it reads "provided further" to the remainder of the Section, as I understood it.
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MR. BULGER - That is right.
MR. HARRISON - I call attention to the rule of the House which requires these motions to be made in writing, and that it is therefore out of order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The present occupant of the Chair is not aware of the rule.
MR. LOMAX - I submit that the rule does not apply to a motion to postpone or refer, but it applies to an amendment.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The Chair is of the opinion that it does not apply to a motion of this character.
MR. HARRISON - It ought to be written out. There was a difference between gentlemen as to what the motion was.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The gentleman from Tallapoosa moves to recommit all of Section 5, beginning with the word "provided." in the twelfth line, will the gentleman put his motion in writing?
MR. REESE - I make the point of order that this House cannot consider a motion that is not in writing, and it has universally been ruled that this Convention----
MR. JENKINS - I offer a substitute to the motion of the gentleman from Tallapoosa.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The Chair would hold that a substitute is not in order at this time.
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - I yielded to nobody but the gentleman from Tallapoosa to make a motion. I am holding the floor.
MR. REESE - A point of order. There can be no proposition before this Convention of the character made by the gentleman from Tallapoosa unless it is in writing; therefore there is no proposition before this House and the amendment by the gentleman from Wilcox is out of order.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Will the gentleman allow a question?
MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I make the further point of order that the gentleman from Barbour has the floor, and yielded only to the gentleman from Tallapoosa.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - All motions of that character the Chair would hold should be in writing. As the motion of the gentleman from Tallapoosa was not in writing, the chair will hold it was out of order, and the gentleman from Barbour has the floor.
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - I will not trouble the Convention but a minute or two longer----
MR. OATES - If the delegate from Barbour will allow me, I hear much difference of opinion expressed, and I would ask him on this point, it seems that the proposition of the Committee was that only tax payers should be allowed to vote in the proportion to the amount of taxes paid.
MR. GILMORE - I make a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - Will the gentleman from Montgomery suspend? The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. GILMORE - The gentleman from Barbour has consumed his tune.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - I move that the time of the gentleman from Barbour be extended five minutes.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The Chair holds that the Chair shows that the gentleman from Barbour had two minutes left when he yielded to the gentleman from Tallapoosa.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - I move that the time of the gentleman from Barbour be extended five minutes.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The Chair holds that the gentleman's time has not expired, that that he has two minutes.
MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the gentleman from Barbour cannot yield for the purpose of introducing a motion by the gentleman from Tallapoosa without allowing a motion to be made to lay that motion on the table.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The gentleman from Barbour yielded to the gentleman from Tallapoosa, and the gentleman from Tallapoosa offered a motion, which was ruled out of order; then the Chair held that the gentleman from Barbour had the floor.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I rise to a point of order, that the motion made by the gentleman from Jefferson, as I understood it, to extend the time of the gentleman from Barbour five minutes, under the rules of this House, this Convention stands adjourned at 1 o'clock, and it is now, I understand, about three or four minutes to 1, and unless the rules are suspended eve could not go beyond 1 o'clock
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The Chair will entertain the motion of the gentleman from Jefferson. The Chair was laboring under the impression that the gentleman from Jefferson did not know that the time of the gentleman from Barbour had not expired. It is now moved by the gentleman from Jefferson that the gentleman's time be extended five minutes.
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During the stating of the question and the taking of the vote, Mr. Reese (Dallas), and Mr. Pettus (Limestone), sought to secure recognition upon a point of order, but failed.
And upon the vote being taken, the time of the gentleman from Barbour was declared to be extended for five minutes.
MR. REESE- I rise to a parliamentary inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The gentleman will state the inquiry.
MR. REESE - How can that time be extended without a suspension of the rules?
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - That is the point of order I wanted to make.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The Chair understood that was the motion made by the gentleman from Jefferson.
MR. REESE - The motion made by the gentleman from Jefferson-
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - The time of the gentleman from Barbour has been extended and the gentleman from Barbour has the floor.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I made the point of order that unless the rules are suspended -
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The gentleman from Jefferson, as the Chair understood it, made a motion to suspend the rules, and that the time of the gentleman from Barbour be extended five minutes, and that was put to the house and the Chair decided that the motion was carried, and the gentleman's time is extended.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - The point of order is that the Convention did not understand it that way.
The President here resumed the Chair.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman is out of order.
MR. BULGER - May I ask the gentleman from Barbour a question?
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman consent to be interrupted ?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - Well, I am embarrassed, Mr. President, I told the gentleman once that I would if he would make such a motion, and that I would vote for it.
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman consent to be interrupted by the gentleman from Tallapoosa ?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - Wait a moment. He was ruled out of order because he did not have his motion in writing. Since that time he began to write his motion and this humble individual proceeded. I found so many gentlemen around me opposed
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman consent to have the inquiry submitted from the gentleman from Tallapoosa?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - I was just going to state that I would answer my friend's request in the negative. That I could not consent now to yield for the motion to be made. If it is simply a question that I am able to answer, I will do it with pleasure.
MR. BULGER - The question I desire to ask the gentleman from Barbour is would he yield to me to submit my motion to the Convention in writing?
MR. WILLIAMS (Barbour) - No sir, I cannot now yield.
The clock struck one o'clock.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - A point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Barbour has the floor. The hour for adjournment has arrived and the Convention will stand adjourned until half past 3 o'clock this afternoon. ____________
The Convention was called to order by the President and a call of the roll showed the presence of 117 delegates.
THE PRESIDENT - The pending question before the Convention is Section 5, as reported by the Committee on Taxation. To that has been offered an amendment by the gentleman from Jefferson and an amendment has been offered to that amendment by the gentleman from Barbour.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from Randolph.
MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - Mr. President and gentlemen of the convention, it is not my purpose to consume much of the time of the Convention. I simply rise to enter my solemn protest against the passage of Section 5, as reported by the Committee on Taxation, and to suggest a few words in support of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.
It is supposed that this section is offered in the interest of education. I have always been a friend to the common schools of the country, a friend of education, as my record in the past has demonstrated. I have always willingly and gladly voted for an
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increased appropriation whenever I thought the condition of the State treasury would admit of it. I believe, sir, a community, a town or a county, should have the right to impose on itself local taxation for the benefit of the public schools, but I do object to this measure as drafted and reported by this committee.
Mr. President, we all believe in education. We believe that as the people are educated, the cause of civilization will advance. As our citizens are educated, they become better citizens; they are more useful, they make better men in all stations of life, other things being equal, than the uneducated or the illiterate. There are great strides being made today all along the line of education. Some writer has said, "We must educate or we must perish," and it is true to a certain extent. Then, if we should educate, how should we educate? We should educate the mind and the body. We should move along the right line and place within the reach of every child of Alabama a common school education. When we have done that, we have elevated the standard of civilization. When the children go out front the college after they have finished their courses, they become the pride of their parents' hearts; they become ornaments to society, advocated of religion and education, blessings to the world.
I am unalterably opposed to the section as reported by the committee. It is class legislation of the worst kind. It is an unjust discrimination in favor of the rich and against the poor. Why, sir, if this ordinance, as reported here, should become a law, there are men in counties in this State whose single vote would go farther than the vote of a thousand other men who are good citizens, patriotic, honest, upright, Christian gentlemen; men who are as good by nature as the millionaire, and far better by practice. This is dangerous, it is contrary to the spirit of our institutions, and eve should consider carefully and cautiously whither we are drifting. When we were candidates on the stump before we came here, we promised that we would not disfranchise a single white man in the State of Alabama. I say to you, if this measure passes, we have disfranchised hundreds, aye, thousands, of the best citizens of the country; men who are as patriotic as we are, who are honest, upright and intelligent, but whose property has been swept away by the ravages of the civil war. I want to ask you, and each of you, if there is a man on this floor, a descendant of that grand body of men, who will say by your voice or vote that on account of their poverty, we will not allow them to vote on any question that confronts the people of Alabama? If this should pass, why not say a man shall not vote in an election - that is, that his vote shall be weighed and measured according to the wealth his vote represents? And why not make it apply to national, State and county elections? If you do that, and Andrew Carnegie should happen to be a citizen of Alabama, his vote would count far more than the vote of every elector in the State, meas-
ured by that standard. It is wrong; it is class legislation, and if we pass it, the people will rise up and curse us.
Who is the man on this floor who had that in his platform when he went before his people for election? Not one, and I dare say, there is not a man on this floor who, if he had argued for such a provision, could have been elected constable in his beat.
Now, Mr. President, who does this discriminate against? Paupers, serfs, a low grade of people? Not at all; but against the best class of people on God's green earth, that band of men who followed Lee and Stonewall Jackson, who responded to the call of their State when the tocsin of war was sounded, and who rallied to the tune of Dixie under the bonnie blue flag, and went forward to meet fourfold their number in the death struggle of war. Shall we say by our votes that that class of men, that bank of patriots shall be disfranchised? No, forever no. We will ever keep green in the garden of memory their heroic achievements and deeds of valor done on field of battle. It will ever remain with us as pleasant recollections of a dark and bloody war and float down the silent stream of memory while life shall last. We say to them and to those who have crossed over the river, "We remember you, you need no marble shaft, molten brass nor monumental granite to perpetuate your deeds of valor on field of battle but your names, like the untitled stars of heaven shall shine forever." 'Those soldiers were as patriotic as Washington or Jefferson and as brave as the defenders of the Alamo or of Thermopylae.
Mr. President, this is a dangerous provision. It is a departure from beaten paths. It is striking at the old landmarks. We are drifting in the wrong direction and if we pursue this course, ere long we will have trouble, turmoil and strife. We should profit by the history of the past.
Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey Where wealth accumulates and men decay, For an honest yeomanry, a country's pride. When once destroyed can never be supplied.
Mr. President, we should keep our word with the people. I am one of those servants of the people who believe we should be true and that platforms were not made to get in on, but to stand on after we have gotten in; and we should be sincere and not deceive the people. If we deceive the people you can rest assured that this will be the last opportunity we have of doing so.
Oh, worker, whatever your fortunes Wherever your lot be cast, Look first that your efforts be honest And men will accept you at last.
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The world may be heartless and stupid And its judgment is often severe. But sooner or later its favor Go out to him who's sincere.
Mr. President, the best citizenship of the State of Alabama, or some of the best, is represented by that class known as poor people, the poverty-stricken people, the common people, the yeomanry of the country, the best people on God's green earth. Some writer has said they are the best people of earth and that the Lord demonstrated that fact by having made more common people than of any other class, and I believe it.
Mr. President, in this country of our's the poor boy, the son of the pauper, has an equal showing with the son of the millionaire. Here is this Southern clime, in the land of Dixie , in this home of patriotism, virtue walks hand in hand with justice, bravery, truth and religion and here in America today where the tree of liberty dies not and heroic sentiment lives forever, the magnificent temple of justice, the Goddess of Liberty stands out in all its august and radiant beauty and throws it rays on every nation of the earth, inspiring each and every one of them to loftier patriotism.
Now, Mr. President, in considering this question I ask every man to put his hand on his heat and to do what is right and see if his people, when he goes home, if he has acted conscientiously will not praise him. But if he has been untrue, if he has betrayed that trust they will curse him and the next time he offers for office he will not be in the fight at all. The history of the world has been that when a nation or a monarchy has drifted along this channel
THE PRESIDENT - The time of the gentleman has expired.
MR. FOSTER- I move that the gentleman's time be extended.
MR. HARRISON - I move that the gentleman have leave to print.
MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - Shall I proceed? (Laughter.)
MR. O'NEAL - I move that the rules be suspended and that the gentleman's time be extended five minutes.
A vote being taken the motion was carried.
MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I am very much obliged to the Convention for extending this courtesy to me. This is the first time I have attempted to make a speech and I promise the Convention not to trouble it much hereafter.
As I was going to say, we should be governed by the history of the past. Take the centuries that have gone and see what was the result in nation or monarchy that has divided its people into classes. Rome tried class legislation and divided her people into patricians and plebeans and she fell down among her beautiful hills and died. England tried it and bleeding Ireland tells the tale. France tried it and there was the French revolution with the history of which you are all familiar. And I believe even in this liberty loving land of ours, if we persist in this course, ere long trouble and strife and turmoil will come and ruin will stare us in the face.
Another thing in regard to the platform. I appear here today as the representative of the people, the common people and I say we should keep our pledges to that class of people. If we do not, we shall never have the opportunity to keep a pledge hereafter. I Say to you now unless we do, our days are numbered and soon the places that now know us will know us no more forever. If you are not true to the people, not only will you never be a delegate to a Constitutional Convention again, but you will never have the enjoyment of occupying any other office while you live, because no people will ever put faith in a man who has once been untrue to a trust reposed in him. And in connection with that I am reminded of a piece I read in the newspaper several years ago on the state of man. It reads after this manner:
Man that is born of a woman is as small potatoes and few in a hill. In infancy he is full of colic and catnip tea. In old age he is full of cuss words and rheumatism. In his youth his mother draweth him across her knee and sweeteneth his life with a slipper. When he is a man grown up the Sheriff pursueth him all the days of his life. He getteth into office. His friends cling to him like spring flies to a sugar barrel. He swelleth with vanity and cutteth ice for a time but is hewn down at the next Convention, cast in the salt box and his name is Dennis. Out of office he soon goeth busted and lieth down in the cow pastures beside the still waters of brook. He dieth out of the world and goeth where it is warm enough without clothes. The last end of that man is worse than the beginning.
Take care that that is not the future of some of us.
Mr. President, I ask you and each of you to consider this question. Take it up link by link, thread by thread, explore it in all its bearings, do your duty and when you leave these sacred halls whether you shall be successful hereafter politically or not, you can feel the sweet consciousness of having discharged your duty, of having kept the Democratic platform, of having been true to the pledge made to the white people during the campaign, and then when you start on your journey to the other world, when you come to that river that marks the unknown shore, like the dying
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swan with its latest breath you can chant the sweetest strains and sing yourself to death.
Mr. Long obtained recognition and asked for the reading of the section and all amendments, which was had.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Mr. President, I am heartily in favor of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson. This is a democratic government under a republican form of government. There can be no more reason given here why members upon this floor should vote to exclude electors of the State of Alabama who are not property owners than that they should vote that no man who does not own property in Alabama should be allowed to hold office. The very question is repulsive to every idea of a republican form of government. A man in a beat might have $200,000 worth of property and all the other men in the beat might not have one thousand and that man would then control the beat upon this proposition. If that is right God made a mistake when he admitted Lazarus into the Kingdom of Heaven and refused admittance to Dives. If that proposition is right, every form of American government is wrong and Thomas Jefferson and all the others did wrong when they allowed men and not property to vote in the United States. Now, Mr. President, this is a serious question for us to consider. I do not believe it is necessary to speak upon this question because I have confidence in the members upon this floor, and I do not believe there are a dozen men on this floor who favor this proposition. If any excuse could be offered for it in this black belt, the majority report of the Committee on Suffrage will eliminate that excuse. There can be no excuse for it in the mountains because the people don't want it and there cannot be a good reason given why it should be granted. If Christ himself were here he could not vote under that proposition and neither could his disciples. There are not half a dozen ministers of the Gospel in the State of Alabama who could vote if this section is adopted, no matter how intelligent or good they are. If you deny them the right to vote on a little pittance of one-tenth of one per cent. tax for the benefit exclusively of the public schools you had as well deny them every other right of suffrage and you had as well deny them the right to hold office. Why, there cannot be a single sound reason given why this should be in the Constitution of the State of Alabama. You put it there and I tell you the people of Alabama will not support such a radical piece of legislation in the fundamental laws of our State and this Constitution will go under by fifty thousand majority.
The poor people in Alabama made as good soldiers as the rich in the last war and many a man today sleeps under the sod, who never owned a slave but was fighting for slavery. Many of those who were formerly overseers own plantations now in Alabama. And I want to deny the assertion that has been made here
that property pays the tax. A man in London may own farming lands in Alabama, but he does not pay one cent of the taxes. It is the tenant on the farm that pays those taxes; it is his labor that pays the taxes and produced all the wealth in Alabama, and everywhere else. A man, no matter how poor he is, has certain inalienable rights guaranteed to him by the Federal Constitution. You talk about the suffrage plank being against the Federal Constitution ; you put this provision in the Constitution, and if the question were contested, I believe it would be the duty of Congress to say to the people of Alabama, you have not a republican form of government, because you deny to the poor people a right to vote; you allow property, instead of votes, to control your political destinies. Mr. President, I do not desire to say anything further on a proposition so absurd on its face. I do not believe there are a dozen members on the floor that are in accord with the report of the committee.
MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) ‑ I dislike to take up the time of the Convention in discussing this question, but I feel that I would be untrue to the people I represent did I not say a few words on this subject. This is a remarkable proposition and something new in the history of the country, that property, and not men, should vote.
I take this view of the question that the Convention should not, and ought not, to put anything in the Constitution that is not needed, that is not right and just and demanded by the people.
Mr. President, We have lowered the tax limit with the idea that we would give to the people of the State the right of local self-taxation for public schools. I submit that there is no one on the floor can gainsay that. We have reduced our tax rate, guaranteeing they would give to the people locally the right to levy the amount that the tax was reduced. But this provision is so worded that it is inoperative, and the people cannot enforce it. I lay down the broad proposition that there is not a county in Alabama that can levy a school tax under this provision. If this proposition is right and just , why not put it so the people can enforce it? I say, if it is wrong, this Convention should not be put in our organic law; if it is right, it should be put in a shape that it can be enforced.
Who pays the taxes in the country? Go down these streets and you find tenants in houses paying rent. They are the ones who own the property, figures the taxes and includes it in the amount for which he rents. And will we say that the man who is poor shall not vote? I believe levying taxes upon property for the benefit of education is for the benefit of the property itself. I represent the hill billies ‑ but I believe that has been ruled out so I represent a poor agricultural people. In my county we have this law. It is inoperative because the officers don't put it into
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operation. In my county, in the remote country districts, wherever we have good school houses and good schools, valuations are higher than in districts where we have no school houses and churches. Then, to levy school taxes and build up common schools in the country, increases the value of the property, and why not let the property bear its share of taxation to build up the schools? You educate people in the country and you elevate them and make them ride more on the railroads and the railroads ought to be made to pay their share of taxation, because they get the benefit when you elevate the people. This Convention ought to be the last body of men who would for a moment consider any proposition to tear down the school houses of the State. Why? Because we have before us now a problem as to what to do with the ignorant white man in Alabama. That is a great problem before the Convention. And should we put down in the organic law of the State for all time to come such a proposition as it embodied in this section? This ought to be the last body of men in the world to strike down the common schools of the country when it is said in the future only the educated can be allowed to vote. So I ask the delegates to pause and consider the great undertaking upon which they are entering before they put this proposition into the organic law for all time.
Who have fought the great battles of the country? When our country calls for warriors, men to go out and fight the battles, does she call for the property owners of the country? No. they are the biggest cowards that ever lived in the country. Wealth is always cowardly, and the poor people are those who fight the battles.
Now I want to say to this Convention that I never cast my vote for any special privilege for benefits of education to any class of people or against any class. I do not believe because men are rich or because corporations are wealth), that they ought to be oppressed by law. I believe the laws on the statute books should bear equally on all classes alike. I do not believe in any special laves or special licenses or license taxes that are now on our books. Always in the Legislature I have voted against thetas. Some gentlemen I believe referring to some tax said the poor people would not have much to pay of it, that it ‑ would all fall on the rich people and possibly so heavily that they could not pay it. That would not be right. It is the duty of this Convention not to allow anything become part of our law that permits one class to bear heavily on another class. I think the laws should be made just and equitable and nothing that operates harshly on any portion of our citizenship should be tolerated.
If this measure is just, Mr. President, let us put it on the statute books, but if it is just that the men of Alabama should rule upon this question let that be the provision.
Where is the man who went before the people of Alabama and advocated such a thing as this? Some of the most fluent speakers of the State made speeches in my county and territory, and they said there will be no white man disfranchised, not a single individual. They promised my people if a single white man was discriminated against except on account of crime, they would come back and make speeches against the ratification of the Constitution, and if you put this provision that is reported by the Committee into this instrument, I serve notice now that we shall hold those gentlemen to their promises and demand that they come back to my county and oppose the adoption of this Constitution. This is the most important matter that has come before the Convention since it has been in session. Yesterday we were on another important matter, and I cast my vote against the reduction of the tax rate. I believe that the Legislature has appropriated a great deal of money that it should not have appropriated. But I was afraid if you lowered the tax limit the next thing would be a blow at the common schools and I cast that ballot against what I thought a majority of my people would do, but I believe I did it believing I was doing my duty towards the poor boys and girls of Alabama. I will not say barefooted boys, because I believe another member has copyrighted that. I hope the amendment of the delegate from Jefferson will pass, and I am opposed to the substitute of the gentleman from Lowndes. I believe in a majority rule. I believe when one man goes up to the polls and casts his ballot that ballot should count as much as the ballot of any other man. I do not believe that men should be measured by their wealth. We will drift into that sooner or later, but let us not hurry into it. I do not think the people of Alabama are ready for this system and I think they will rise up and repudiate it.
The Chair recognized the delegate from Tallapoosa ( Mr. Bulger) who yielded to the delegate from Barbour (Mr. Merrill.)
MR. MERRILL - I ask unanimous consent to be allowed to correct my amendment. I want to strike out five words in the fifteenth line. It was my intention to strike out entirely the property holders. My amendment is to strike out the words "property tax payers who are." I ask unanimous consent that this may be done.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman desires unanimous consent to correct the amendment which he has offered.
MR. MERRILL - That leaves it to the qualified electors without reference to any property qualifications.
The consent was given and the amendment corrected as indicated.
MR. BULGER - One of the most prominent pledges made to the people of Alabama when this Convention was called was
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that we should take no backward step in education. On that pledge we went to the people on the question of Convention or no Convention, and a majority of the people voted for the Convention. Now the people of Alabama have a right to expect that this Convention will adhere to its pledge. In the wisdom of the Convention we have reduced the tax limit from seven and a half to six and a half mills. Some of the members of the Convention are apprehensive that that will put the Convention in a position that it will be impossible for them to maintain and continue the present appropriation to the public schools of Alabama. If that is true, if by this ordinance we have put the Legislature in a position that it cannot further help the public schools, then it becomes necessary if we would keep our faith with the people, to put the people where they themselves can help the public schools, and now the question is as to how that shall be done. In my humble judgment it would be unwise to put any clause in the Constitution of this State by which you elevate money against men. It will be a departure from our theory and system of government. It will be contrary to the grand principles and grand doctrines of the Democratic party.
Mr. President. I have faith in the distinguished gentlemen who compose and make up the Committee on Taxation and I think they should be willing and this Convention should be willing on an all important question like this to be conservative, to be wise and not hastily consider this question; I have learned that the Committee on Education has this same subject under consideration and very soon will bring into this body an ordinance on the subject of local taxation for the benefit of the schools. My purpose in rising was not to make a speech, but to make a motion that this particular section 5 as reported by the Committee on Taxation from and including the word "provided" in Section 5 be laid upon the table to be taken up and considered when the Committee on Education makes its report. I believe that this would be wise as I have suggested it is all important. The people of Alabama while they are interested in the great subject of suffrage, purifying the ballot and having honest elections, have never lost sight of the great subject of free schools and education in Alabama.
MR. HARRISON - When does our Committee on Education expect to report and what does it expect to report and in what way are they better informed than the Committee on Taxation?
MR. BULGER - They are not any better informed. They do not claim that, but they have had under consideration this subject of education and it seems to me that this particular subject is as well in the hands of the Committee on Education as it is in the hands of the Committee on Taxation and certainly it is safe in the hands of both of these learned committees and we have then the advantage of a report from both of the committees on this subject.
MR. HARRISON - Can you not tell us the report?
MR. BULGER - No, sir; because the reduction in the rate of taxation has somewhat changed the views of the Committee on Education and since that has passed, they have been formulating a report upon that particular subject that will be more satisfactory than the one we are now discussing and at least this Convention and the people of Alabama cannot be injured by having them both together.
MR. MILLER (Marengo) - You say they have been formulating a plan since the tax limit was reduced. Have they had a meeting since?
MR. BULGER - We have a sub - committee that is working on that matter.
MR. REESE - Has not the Committee on Education by a vote decided to formulate no plan providing for local taxation?
MR. BULGER - No, sir; that committee has a sub - committee which is now considering this subject.
MR. REESE - Has not the full committee passed a resolution saying there shall be no local taxation?
MR. BULGER - Yes; but that was on the theory that there would be no reduction of the tax rate from seventy - five to sixtyfive.
Mr. Jones of Wilcox sought recognition from the Chair.
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman desire to interrupt the delegate from Tallapoosa?
MR. JONES (Wilcox) - No, sir; I thought he had finished his remarks.
MR. BULGER - I am not through. I just want to lay that part of the section and the amendment or substitute on the table to be taken therefrom when the Committee on Education makes its report.
THE PRESIDENT - With what part do you start?
MR. BULGER - After the word "provided."
MR. Jones (Wilcox) - Will the gentleman withdraw that motion for a moment?
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Wilcox asks the gentleman from Tallapoosa will he withdraw his motion to table for a moment?
MR. BULGER - I will if the gentleman agrees to renew the motion. Will he do that?
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MR. JONES (Wilcox) - No, sir.
MR. BULGER - Then I decline to withdraw the motion.
MR. ROBINSON - I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT - The delegate will state the point.
MR. ROBINSON - The gentleman cannot move to lay half the section or proposition on the table.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that that point is well taken.
MR. BULGER - Then I move to lay that whole section on the table.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Tallapoosa moves to lay Section 5 of the report of the Committee on the table to be taken therefrom at the pleasure of the Convention, when the report from the Committee on Education comes in.
A vote being taken on the motion to table and a division being called for. the motion was carried by 63 ayes and 40 noes.
So Section 5 of the Committee's report was tabled.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman's motion I believe, applied to the Section and pending amendments?
MR. BULGER - Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman so stated his motion but the Chair in announcing the question, omitted to include the amendments, but it was so understood. The clerk will read the next section.
Section 6 was read as follows:
Sec. 6. The property of private corporations, associations and individuals of this State, shall forever be taxed at the same rate; provided, this section shall not apply to institutions devoted exclusively to religious, educational, or charitable purposes.
MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I move that the section be adopted.
MR. COBB - I have an amendment.
The amendment was read as follows:
Amend Section 6 by adding, "but this exemption so far as applicable to educational institutions shall be limited to 200 acres of land and the buildings thereon which are used exclusively for educational purposes, and to personal property not to exceed $10,000 exclusive of philosophical and chemical apparatus and musical instruments and libraries.
MR. COBB - I do not propose to make any argument upon this amendment but simply desire to call the attention of the Convention to this fact that there are educational institutions in this country, and they are multiplying, that are accumulating from time to time vast quantities of land. Those lands they claim to be used for educational purposes and it is going on in this direction until in some counties of the State the revenues of the county are endangered and it is also putting in danger the other property holders of the county and making it oppressive on them and I do believe that the time has come that we should put some limit to the amount of land that can be held free from taxation by these institutions. I therefore introduce this amendment. I am not committed to any number of acres. My belief and best judgment is that while it is wise to exempt from taxation all the buildings erected for educational purposes without regard to the amount of money expended in their erection, and all philosophical and chemical apparatus and musical instruments and property of that kind which must be used for exclusively educational purposes, when they reach out as they are to my certain knowledge and gather in from time to time all the land they can get in certain counties by purchase and claim it to be free from taxation because they belong to institutions which are educational, that there should be a halt.
MR. WILSON (Clarke) - Under your amendment would the State University and the Industrial School have to pay taxes on their land?
MR. COBB - This would not apply as that land belongs to the State of Alabama and is not covered by my amendment.
MR. ROBINSON - This says devoted exclusively to religious, educational or charitable purposes, and that would prevent it.
MR. JACKSON - Will the gentleman permit an interruption?
MR. COBB - There are so many trenching on my time that I don't like to, but I can't refuse.
MR. JACKSON - Would this affect the A. & M. College?
MR. COBB - It would not in my opinion. The A. & M. College and the Girls Institute at Montevallo and institutions of that kind which have attached to them certain amounts of property will not be affected.
MR. FITTS - You stated that the land of the University stood in the name of the State. That is not the case. The title is in the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama.
MR. LOMAX - It certainly would affect them if that amendment is passed.
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MR. FITTS - I know that because I had charge of it.
MR. COBB - I don't know but my friend to the right informs me that these lands are non - taxable and I know they belong to the State although the title may be Trustees.
MR. LONG (Walker) - Would it affect Booker Washington's school, owning fifteen or twenty thousand acres of land in this State?
MR. COBB - I think it would.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I hope so it is just that class of institutions that I am trying to call the attention of the Convention to, not that I am opposed to any of these institutions but-
MR. BULGER - May I ask the gentleman a question?
MR. COBB - I have six already ahead of you that I have not disposed of, but you can go on.
MR. LOMAX - Would it affect the nine district agricultural schools?
MR. COBB - It would not, in my opinion; but if there is doubt about that I am perfectly willing that the amendment shall be so framed as to exempt schools where the lands or property belong to the State of Alabama, although they are held by trustees. But there are private institutions chartered in this State that have vast amounts of money coming to them year after year, and they are buying every acre of land that they can put their hands on- but let me answer the question of my friend from Chambers. I would say, in my opinion, these lands are not exempt from taxation, but when they go before the assessors and claim that they are exempt, the assessors of the various counties are too prone to take refuge behind this exemption clause of the law and exempt all of these lands from taxation. They claim they are exempt from taxation and frequently those claims are allowed. I think before we get through with this section that it should be made plain that while we encourage these private educational institutions, while we wish them God - speed and will give them every reasonable exemption, there should be some limit to it in behalf of the other people of the State.
MR. GREER (Calhoun) - When we went before the people of Alabama, there was a pledge made that no backward step should be taken on education. I believe this amendment is a backward step. and I move to table the amendment of the gentleman from Macon.
MR. WHITESIDE - Will the gentleman permit a question?
MR. GREER (Calhoun) - Yes, sir.
MR. WHITESIDE - I have heard that expression that it was a pledge in the Democratic platform that no backward step should be taken on education that I would like to inquire in what section of the platform it is?
MR. GREER (Calhoun) - I think it is in the platform, although even if it is not in words, it is in principle.
THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the motion of the delegate from Calhoun to table.
A vote being taken on a call for a division, the House, by a vote of 46 ayes and 54 noes, refused to table.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) - I wish to offer an amendment.
The amendment was read: Amend the amendment by inserting $20,000 instead of $10,000.
MR. COBB - I accept that.
MR. O'NEAL - Why don't you exclude all furniture used in the operation of a school?
MR. COBB - My amendment says that.
MR. O'NEAL - No, sir; your amendment refers to philosophical and chemical and musical instruments.
MR. COBB - Put in everything in that line you want.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) - By unanimous consent, we can include all school furniture.
Objection was made.
THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Coffee to the amendment of the delegate from Macon.
MR. COBB - My amendment was drawn up in great haste, and I am perfectly willing that it be put in shape.
MR. SPEARS - May I ask the gentleman a question?
MR. COBB - Certainly.
MR. SPEARS - Do you remember that the Government of the United States donated 25,000 acres of land to Montevallo and in the same act donated 25,000 acres of land to the Booker T. Washington school? Now, what I want to know is, do you propose to tax what the Government gave to the negro school and not tax what the Government gave to the whites?
MR. COBB - No, sir; I don't propose to tax any of that land. I was going to make this motion. This matter occurred to me
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hastily, and I drew up this amendment hurriedly, and I move that this matter be referred to the Committee on Taxation to formulate such a report as, in their judgment, will meet the sense of the Convention in this behalf.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Macon offers an amendment to Section 6. Thereupon the gentleman from Coffee offered an amendment, and now the gentleman from Macon moves to refer the section with the pending amendments back to the Committee on Taxation.
MR. LOMAX - I do not think either of these amendments ought to be referred back to the committee or adopted by this Convention. By no amendment that could be offered would you strike a deadlier blow at higher education in Alabama than by the adoption of this amendment. The amendment as framed and as amended put a tax upon every acre of land owned by the University of Alabama because that land is held in the name of the Board of Trustees of the university and not in the name of the State of Alabama.
MR. FOSTER - May I interrupt the gentleman?
MR. LOMAX - Certainly.
MR. FOSTER - Does not the gentleman know that it is uniformly held by the courts in this country that lands held in the names of trustees for the benefit of States are not taxable?
MR. LOMAX - I do not know that it would be so held as to this land. The Supreme Court of Alabama has never passed on the question and there has never been a constitutional provision of this sort in this State. We cannot tell what the Supreme Court will hold in view of the new and changed purposes of the part of the Constitution makers of the State. This amendment puts a tax upon the A. and M. College. the school at Montevallo, all of their lands. If it so happens that Howard College at Birmingham owns any land, or has in prospect the owning of any land, it would tax that. It would put a tax upon the land of the Greensboro College if it owns any land. It will put a tax upon the land of every institution for higher education in the State of Alabama and I submit it ought not to be done. It also puts a tax upon the personal property of institutions of that sort over $20.000. Suppose it should happen, and God grant that it may! that either the university of the A. and M. or Howard College or the University of the South at Greensboro or that at Owenton should receive an endowment which would enable them to put in a plant for the education of the young men of Alabama worth $100,000, do you propose to say that the people of Alabama want to put a tax on $80,000 of that money invested in Alabama for the education of her young men? Suppose, as my friend from Lauderdale
suggests, some philanthropist should give a library to one of these great institutions of learning in the State of Alabama of the value of $ 100,000?
MR. COBB - That is exempted in my amendment.
MR. LOMAX - Is apparatus exempted?
MR. COBB - Yes.
MR. LOMAX - Let that amendment be read again.
The amendment was read showing that the language was not as the delegate from Macon understood.
MR. COBB - Put it there.
MR. LOMAX - That don't include mechanical apparatus or for a school of mines and apparatus that would be needed in many different schools that might be established in any of these institutions.
MR. WHITE - If some gentleman should donate $100,000 of bonds to the university the interest to be applied annually, would that be exempt?
MR. LOMAX - It would not be under this amendment.
But even admitting that the university lands would be exempt, even admitting that the Montevallo property and lands would be exempt and that the Agricultural and Mechanical College would be exempt and that Howard College and the Greensboro and Owenton Colleges would be, are we going to pass this amendment to put a tax upon the school of Booker T. Washington? Why should we tax that more than other schools? I submit to you gentlemen of the Convention.
MR. OATES - I would like to ask my colleague from Montgomery if the State is not a contributor to that school?
MR. LOMAX - Yes.
MR. OATES - And would it not assist in cutting down so much of the State's appropriation?
MR. LOMAX - Yes.
A Delegate - I would like to inquire whether or not the Masonic Temple costing over $50,000 would be exempt under this.
MR. COBB - That is education.
MR. LOMAX - It is charitable, devoted exclusively to charity.
MR. COBB - The gentleman misunderstood the amendment. This applies only to educational institutions and does not include the Masonic Temple or churches or charitable institutions, and
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while I am on my feet I want to disclaim any purpose to discriminate on account of race, color or previous condition.
MR. ROBINSON - May I ask the gentleman from Montgomery a question?
MR. LOMAX - Certainly.
MR. ROBINSON - Ought not agricultural schools to have more than two hundred acres of land?
MR. LOMAX - Certainly they should. Then look at it in another way. The State of Alabama contributes - I beg your pardon - pays to the University of Alabama on the debt it owes it, $24,000 a year and pays to the University of Alabama on the debt it owes it, $24,000 a year and contributes out of the general fund $10,000 a year to support the institution. Where is the sense, as suggested by my colleague from Montgomery, (Mr. Oates), of paying $36,000 out of your treasury a year for the support of an institution and then taking back half of it in the way of taxes? The same proposition applies to the A. and M. College.
MR. COBB - It has no application whatever to the University or to the A. and M.
MR. BULGER - For information, suppose one of the religious denominations owned six or eight hundred acres of land and established a school on it, could that be taxed?
MR. LOMAX - Under this amendment it would be taxed. And if the A. and M. College at Auburn owns land, the effect of this amendment is to tax that land, and there is no sense in giving to that institution a certain amount of money a year on its endowment fund and requiring it to pay back to the State Treasury a part of that money by way of taxation; and there is no more reason why the Constitutional Convention should put a tax on a denominational school because it owns property and is in better condition by reason of owning property to extend higher education to the sons of Alabama, than to extend the same proposition to State schools. Instead of undertaking to tax these institutions and cripple their energies, instead of undertaking to reduce their powers and curtail their influence, we should in the interest of--I am not talking about barefooted boys alone - but in the interest of education in Alabama, in the interest of the wider spirit and our broader enlightenment, in the interest of a grander civilization, we should contribute every means in our power to upbuild every institution of learning which has for its purpose the improvement of our youth in letters, in morals, and in character. I submit that this Constitutional Convention cannot afford, in this day and time, in this enlightened age, when all the energies of all the civilized countries in the world are being used for the upbuilding of man's character, for the elevation of his morals and the broadening of
his mind - I submit that we ought not to take a step which puts Alabama back amid the dark ages in the line of education, and which, in my judgment, strikes down and impairs the usefulness of every institution of higher learning in the State.
The section as reported by the committee is, I am informed, word for word the section which was in the constitution of 1875. I have no doubt if I had the references before me, I could show that the same section was in every Constitution that has been adopted in Alabama. I do not suppose that, ever before, in any Constitutional Convention in Alabama, it was proposed that the State, by means of taxation, should undertake to cripple and paralyze and destroy the institutions of higher education and learning that existed within the State. For the reasons I have stated, I move that the motion to refer this proposition and amendments back to the committee be laid on the table. I do not want to cut off debate, and if my friend from Macon wants to discuss it, I will withdraw the motion to table.
MR. COBB - I would like to have five minutes.
THE PRESIDENT - The motion cannot be withdrawn without the consent of the Convention. Is there objection?
There was objection, and, a vote being taken, the motion to table was carried.
MR. COBB - I withdraw my amendment. It was tentative. more than anything else, and I ask leave to withdraw it.
There was no objection and the amendment was withdrawn.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I move to amend by adding after the word education the words "not over 1,500 acres of land held for educational purposes shall be exempt from county taxation; provided, that all buildings and personal property of every description shall be exempt from all taxation.
MR. LONG (Walker) - I shall not consume much of the time of the Convention on the amendment. I just want to say that my county is suffering more today than any two counties in the State. These institutions hold sixty - five or seventy thousand acres of the most valuable land in the State of Alabama in fee simple. If the State of Alabama wishes to exempt them from taxation, they have the right to do it, but I do deny the right of the State to cripple my county's resources by exempting them for all time to come.
MR. BURNETT - May I ask the gentleman a question? Are you aiming at Booker Washington's school?
MR. LONG - Yes, sir; why, that institution has gotten so much land that absolutely a number of settlers have been turned out of their homes by donations of these lands.
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MR WHITE - I would like to ask the gentleman a question. Were those lands on the tax rolls when they were given to that school?
MR. LONG (Walker) - Some would have soon been.
MR. WHITE- But were any on the rolls?
MR. LONG (Walker) - No, they were not. The gentleman knows it takes five years under the laws of the United States for that land to become taxable.
MR. FITTS - You are striking at the twenty odd thousand acres University endowment held in Walker County.
MR. LONG (Walker) - No, sir; I am striking at all those institutions that hold these vast quantities of land without taxation.
MR. FITTS - That is what I thought you were striking at and I just wanted to uncover it.
MR. LONG - As I say people have been turned out of homes so that the University of Montevallo and Booker Washington School may have more lands. You may have the power but you have no right to exempt them from County taxation. In the name of the Lord ain't fifteen hundred acres enough. Our development is being kept down by these holdings. You cannot walk across their land without risk of being persecuted and prosecuted by these great corporations. The State has the right to keep up the University and to keep up the school at Montevallo but it has not that right at the expense of Walker County. I am perfectly willing for the Convention to do as it pleases but it is a question of simply right and justice to my county and you should not allow the Montevallo University or any other institution to have hundreds and thousands of acres of land without paying taxes holding them in the hope that they will be worth 3 or 4 or 5 hundred dollars an acre. You have no right to let them hold their lands at the expense of Walker County.
MR. JENKINS - May I ask the gentleman a question?
MR. LONG (Walker) - Yes.
MR. JENKINS - What is the assessment roll of Walker County?
MR. LONG (Walker) - Six millions.
MR. JENKINS - How much do you want?
MR. LONG (Walker) - We want to manage our own affairs.
MR. BROWNE - I move to lay the amendment on the table.
A vote being taken the motion to table was carried and on a further motion by Mr. Browne the section was adopted.
THE PRESIDENT - The Clerk will read the next section.
Section 7 was read as follows:
Sec. 7. No city, town, or other municipal corporation other than provided for in this Article, shall levy or collect a larger rate of taxation, in any one year, on the property thereof, than onehalf of 1 per centum of the value of such property, as assessed for State taxation during the preceding year; Provided, that for the payment of debts existing at the time of the ratification of the Constitution of 1875 and the interest thereon, an additional rate of 1 per centum may be collected, to be applied exclusively to such indebtedness; provided further, that for the maintenance of public schools such city, town or other municipal corporation may levy and collect such special tax as may be authorized by law, provided such special tax shall not be levied and collected when it shall cause a greater rate of taxation in any one year than $1.75 on every $100 of taxable property, for all State, county and municipal purposes, except the erection, construction and maintenance by counties of necessary public buildings, bridges or roads, and provided such special tax for schools, the time it is to continue and the purposes thereof, shall have been first submitted to a vote of the property tax payers who are qualified electors in said city, town or other municipal corporations, and voted for by majority thereof, in numbers, and in value of taxable property, voting at such election, and provided such tax for schools shall be apportioned equitably and paid to the public schools of said city, town or other municipal corporation by the municipal authorities thereof; and provided, this Section shall not apply to the city of Mobile, which city may levy a tax not to exceed the rate of threefourths of 1 per centum to pay the expenses of the city government, and may also levy a tax not to exceed the rate of threefourths of 1 per centum to pay the indebtedness of said city existing at the time of the ratification of the Constitution of 1875 and the interest thereon: Provided further, that this Section shall not apply to the city of Birmingham, which city may levy and collect a tax not exceeding one - half of 1 per centum. in addition to the tax of one - half of 1 per centum hereinabove allowed to be levied and collected, such special tax to be applied exclusively to the payment of the interest on the bonds of said city of Birmingham heretofore issued by said city in pursuance of law, and for a sinking fund to pay off said bonds at the maturity thereof.
MR. WEAKLEY - The Committee on Municipal Corporations under instructions of this Convention has submitted a report upon municipal taxation. In order to save time that would be consumed in the discussion of this question I move that Section 7 be laid upon the table and be taken therefrom to be con-
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sidered with Section 11 of the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations which covers identically the same question.
MR. BROWNE - As your report is in here, why not bring it up and consider it now. It has to come under the head of taxation and when we get through with this report we can order it to a third reading and be through with it.
MR. KYLE - Before that motion to table is put I would like to offer an amendment.
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman withdraw?
MR. WEAKLEY - I will let him offer the amendment provided it takes the same course.
MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the gentleman cannot do that and hold the floor. I would like to have him be as discourteous to other gentleman as to the Committee.
MR. WEAKLEY - Then I decline to withdraw.
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that the gentleman can yield to the gentleman from Etowah if he desires.
MR. WEAKLEY - If the Chair so rules I take pleasure in yielding. I simply desire that this matter shall be discussed with the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations.
MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the gentleman cannot control the floor by making a motion to table and then withdrawing it to let other members offer amendments and still hold the floor.
THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Lauderdale yields to the gentleman from Etowah to offer his amendment. And the question as to who has the floor will be a question for the Chair to determine when it arises.
MR. FOSTER - The gentleman from Lauderdale also yields to the gentleman from Tuscaloosa to offer an amendment.
The amendment of the delegate from Etowah was read as follows:
Strike out all of said section commencing on the eighth line after the word "collect" and ending at the word "qualified" on the fifteenth line and insert the following:
A special tax not to exceed 1 - 4 of one per cent, provided such tax shall not be levied and collected until such special tax for public schools, the time it is to continue and the purpose thereof, shall have been submitted to a vote of the qualified
And to further amend said section, commencing after the word "thereof" on the twenty - ninth line and read as follows:
And provided all cities, towns and municipal corporations in this State, except the cities of Mobile and Birmingham, otherwise provided for in this Constitution, having a bonded indebtedness created after the adoption of the Constitution of 1875 and now in effect, as well as all cities, towns and municipal corporations in this State that desire to raise means to secure light plants, water works and sanitary sewerage by the issuance of bonds within the limit prescribed in this Constitution, shall be authorized to levy and collect a tax not to exceed 1 - 4 of one per cent on all real and personal property listed for taxation in said cities : to be applied exclusively to the payment of interest on such bonded indebtedness and to provide a sinking fund to pay off the bonds at maturity; provided, such levy and collection of said tax shall first have been submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of such city, town or municipal corporation and voted for by a majority thereof in number and value of taxable property voting at such election.
Amendment by Mr. Foster was read as follows:
Amend Section 7 by striking out of line 7 the words "maintenance of public schools," and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "payment of debts, existing at the ratification of this Constitution and interest thereon." And by striking out all from and after the word "roads" in line 13, to and including the word "thereof" in line 19, and inserting in lieu thereof the following : "and provided that the question whether or not such special tax shall be levied be first submitted to a vote of the qualified electors in said city, town or other municipal corporation, and voted for by a majority thereof."
MR. WEAKLEY - I now renew my motion that Section 7 and the amendments be laid on the table to be taken therefrom when Section 11 of the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations is considered.
MR. SPRAGINS - Will the gentleman allow me to offer an amendment before he does that?
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will state to the gentleman from Madison that there is an amendment and an amendment to the amendment already pending.
MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) - Haven't we already got the committee's report on the other question?
THE PRESIDENT - It has been reported but it is not up for consideration at this time.
MR. REYNOLDS - Could it not be taken up with this report ?
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THE PRESIDENT - It is in the power of the Convention to do so if it chooses.
MR. REESE - I rise to a question of inquiry. Can a motion to table have tacked to it that it should be considered at some contingent period when something else is to be considered?
THE PRESIDENT - The Chair is of the opinion that when an amendment or resolution or ordinance is laid upon the table. it may be taken up at any time at the pleasure of the Convention.
MR. REESE - Then that part of the motion that it shall be considered at a certain time will not be considered?
THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that the Convention can take it up when it chooses.
MR. WHITE - Won't the effect of this motion if carried be to postpone the consideration of this until that particular time?
THE PRESIDENT - That is the effect of it, but the Convention could take it up immediately if it pleases.
MR. REESE - I make the point of order that the motion is out of order because it is not a motion to table and that part of it is out of order which provides for the time when it shall be taken up.
THE PRESIDENT - The point of order is overruled.
A vote being taken the motion to table was carried.
THE PRESIDENT - The Secretary will read the next Section.
The Section was read as follows:
Sec. 8. The General Assembly shall not have the power to require the counties or other municipal corporations to pay any charges which are now payable out of the State Treasury.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) - I move that the Section be adopted.
MR. GRAHAM (Montgomery) - Before that Section is adopted I would be pleased to hear the Chairman of the Committee to explain what it means. I don't understand what that means.
MR. O'NEAL - Is not that same provision in the present Constitution ?
MR. BROWNE - That has been in the Constitution since 1875. And it means that the Legislature shall not have the power to require counties and municipalities to pay any of the charges that are now payable out of the State Treasury.
MR. GRAHAM (Montgomery) - I don't understand what that means.
MR. WHITE - Does that include the judges salaries?
MR. BROWNE - I suppose so. If it were not for such a provision in the Constitution the General Assembly could require one county to pay the salary of the Governor.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter)- That is an exact copy of the old Constitution, is it not?
MR. BROWNE - I did not want to inform the gentlemen it was. I wanted them to vote on their oven convictions. I thought the lawyers would know it was a copy, of old Section 9.
A vote being taken the Section was adopted.
THE PRESIDENT - The Clerk will read the next Section:
The next Section was read as follows:
Sec. 9. No county shall become indebted in an amount greater than 5 per centum of the taxable value of the property thereof; Provided, this Section shall not apply to any indebtedness in excess of such 5 per centum, which has already been created, or authorized by law to be created.
MR. WEAKLEY - I desire to offer an amendment to that Section.
The amendment was read as follows:
Amend Section 9 by striking out the word "five" in the first line and inserting instead the word "three."
MR. BROWNE - I will state that the committee is willing to accept that amendment.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - Then I move the adoption of the section as amended.
MR. BROWNE - I will state that I am authorized by the committee to say we accept the amendment making it three. The ordinance was originally introduced by the gentleman from Lee, Mr. Harrison, at three per cent., and the committee changed it to five, in order that the Convention could lower it if they saw fit.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Will the gentleman state, for the information of the Convention, what counties, if any, in Alabama, have an indebtedness of more than 5 per cent. of the taxable value of property.
MR. BROWNE - We know of none.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - What is the largest percentage in any county at this time?
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MR. BROWNE - I cannot answer the question. My county keeps out of debt, so I was not interested in it.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - This seems to me to be an innovation, and it strikes me as being a very dangerous innovation. I certainly do not know, and evidently the Chairman of the committee does not know, the average indebtedness of the counties in Alabama today, but we do know those counties which perhaps the greatest debts are in the most prosperous condition. There are counties in Alabama today which are progressive, building, roads and making improvements that are absolutely essential to the development and prosperity of the county. Now this Constitutional Convention ought not to think that it can supplant the local authorities in determining what is best for every county in Alabama. Every county in Alabama, before it issues bonds, will have to have the sanction of the General Assembly, and it will also have to have the sanction of the Commissioners' Court, the immediate representatives of the people of the county. I am willing, if this Convention in its wisdom thinks it proper to do so, that a limitation be put upon the counties, though I challenge the gentleman to show in any one instance in all the history of Alabama since the Republicans days, when it has been necessary for the Constitutional Convention to limit the power or the right of the county to borrow money for local purposes, I challenge the chairman of the committee, or any member of the committee, to show that any county in Alabama has abused its power at any time within the last quarter of a century. Why then should we, with no more consideration than it is apparent the committee has given this proposition, impose this limitation upon the counties of this State?
Now, if we are going to adopt a limitation at all, let us adopt such a liberal limitation that there would be no danger on the one hand of the public works of the county suffering, or on the other hand of extravagance on the part of the local officers. I believe the people of my county are willing to trust their local authorities in matter of the expenditure of their moneys and the determination of its indebtedness. Now I do not propose that any county should fix the limit of its indebtedness. It must be authorized by the General Assembly, and must be ratified by the Commissioners' Court of the county, the immediate representatives of the people.
I think that the amendment of three per cent. should lie upon the table, but I will not make the motion inasmuch as I understand Mr. Weakley wishes to speak to it.
MR. KYLE - I want to say as far as the gentleman's idea is concerned that it would not work in my county. The Commissioners' Court came down to the last Legislature and without any consultation with the tax payers, secured the passage of a law
authorizing the county to issue thirty thousand dollars of additional bonds, for the purpose of paying the current expenses of the county, without the knowledge of the people at all, and if that kind of chinaniging can be carried on with the Legislature, it is time to put a limit on it to stop it.
MR. WEAKLEY - In my opinion the question of a debt limit is more important than the question of a tax limit. If the Constitution of 1875 had inserted in it some limitations upon the taxing power of the cities and counties of this State to create debts, the present financial condition with which we are confronted would not exist today. The gentleman who has preceded me seems to think that this limitation is too low, and that it would interfere with the county of Jefferson. In answer to him I desire to say that the county of Jefferson has an assessed valuation of forty millions of dollars, and under this limitation the county of Jefferson can create a debt of $1,200,000, and I submit, gentlemen, that debt is all that the county of Jefferson is able to pay the interest on with the proceeds of a fifty cent tax rate.
I have given the matter some investigation, and so far as I am able to find out, there is not a county in the State of Alabama that would be seriously affected by this limitation, and I do know, Mr. President, there is one county in the State that has contracted a debt of exactly five per cent of its assessed valuation, and has defaulted in its interest, and is unable to pay it, and that too when one - half of this debt is bearing interest at the rate of only 5 per cent. per annum. If gentlemen will take the report of the State Auditor, which they have upon their desks, they will see there the statement of the total assessed valuation of every county in the State, and each member can calculate for himself how much his county will be allowed to create under this limitation. I doubt not Mr. President, after that calculation has been made, every member will come to the conclusion that a limit of 3 per cent. will allow all the debt that the county in reason ought to create. The gentlemen must remember that counties are required to raise money and to incur debts for very few things. The building of Court Houses, the erection of jails, poor houses, and the construction of a road system-
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Will the gentleman from Lauderdale yield to a question?
MR. WEAKLEY - Yes.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - You understand this Section to mean, then, that you could not impose a tax greater than 3 per cent., and you must include in that the debt which already exists?
MR. WEAKLEY - Yes sir.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - The bonded debt that already exists has got to be included in that 3 per cent?
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MR. WEAKLEY - Yes.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - And counties that now have that limit-
MR. WEAKLEY - Cannot create any additional debt. And there are very few counties that have it.
I was going to say that the reason counties should create debts are very few. They are to build court houses and jails, and bridges, and roads
A DELEGATE- And poor houses?
MR. WEAKLEY - And poor houses. And I will state further, that at the present rate we are contracting debts, we will have to build a few more poor houses in this country before very long.
A calculation of these matters of the debt limit, has induced the leading financiers of the county to conclude that a 5 per cent. debt limit is a reasonable one, where there is no limitation upon the rate of taxation, lout where there is a limitation upon the rate of taxation as in this State, and our means of paying the interest upon the debt we already have is small, a limitation of 3 per cent. is not too great a restriction.
MR. O'NEAL - How many States in the Union have this limit?
MR. WEAKLEY - The gentleman asks how many States in the Union have this debt limit. I answer him that probably twothirds or probably three - fourths of the States in the Union have a debt limit. It is recognized everywhere, as I said in the beginning, as more important than the tax limit, because if the debt is not created the tax will not have to be levied to pay it.
MR. WATTS - I am opposed to the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale. I do not think the 5 per cent. should be stricken out and 3 per cent. substituted. It would not do for the county of Montgomery. We are engaged in a system of road building, to bridge our prairies and put our county in a fine condition. That system has been extended for about twelve miles in every direction. If this amendment were adopted it would prevent Montgomery from extending her road system, and I do not think it would be advisable to adopt the amendment in our case. The different counties have their Boards of Revenue, or Commissioners' Court, who have these matters under consideration, and 5 per cent. it seems to me is a small enough limit to put upon them. I hope, therefore, Mr. President, that the amendment of the gentleman will not be adopted.
MR. HARRISON - I want to ask the delegate what should be the indebtedness of Montgomery County?
MR. WATTS - About a million dollars. Five per cent. would make it a million, and 3 per cent. would make it about $600,000, and we already have $425,000 of bonds for roads, not counting those for the Court House and other purposes.
MR. WADDELL - Mr. President, I oppose the amendment which proposes to change it from 5 to 3, simply for the reason that the poorer counties in the State, should they lose their court houses and jails, or either of them, by fire, they would not be able to rebuild them, if the 3 per cent. rate should carry. The taxable property in my county is given in this year at about $1,700,000, and I expect there are some counties in the State which come a great deal below that. Should it become necessary for my county to build the Court House or jail, under this rate, we would not be able to meet our current expenses and pay for it. For this reason I oppose the amendment.
MR. WILSON (Clarke) - I favor the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Lauderdale. I think it is more important, as he says, to limit the debt contracting power of a county, than it is to limit the rate of taxation. While the gentleman was speaking I reverted to my own county, and made some figures. In my county, as I remember, the taxable values are in round numbers, three millions of dollars. If the Committee's report is adopted, authorizing that county to incur an indebtedness of 5 per cent. of its taxable values, it might incur an indebtedness of $150,000. At 6 per cent interest, the interest on such a debt would be $9,000, to say nothing of ever providing for paying back the principal. The total tax which could be collected under the limitation of 50 cents on the hundred dollars is $15,000, leaving only $6,000 to pay all of the living expenses of the county, after paving the interest of $9,000 on the maximum amount of the debt which could be contracted. On the other hand, with a capacity to contract debts to the extent of 3 per cent of the taxable values-
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - Will the gentleman pardon me for an interruption?
MR. WILSON (Clarke) - Certainly.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - What is the debt of your county now?
MR. WILSON (Clarke) - I think it is about $10,000, probably. It is very small.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - There is no limit in the Constitution now.
MR. WILSON (Clarke) - None whatever.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - Then do you need a limit to keep the Commissioners' Court from running up that debt beyond what they can pay?
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MR. WILSON (Clarke) - Yes; I think a limit should be put on the power to contract debts, and I will tell you why. We desired to build a court house a few years ago, and issued $15,000 in bonds to build it, and when we went to sell those bonds, we had to pay about 6 per cent interest. In my judgment, if it had been absolutely guaranteed in the Constitution that that county could never create any debt above what it could pay the interest on, we could have sold those bonds at a great deal less rate of interest than we did. That is the reason I want to put in there to limit the capacity to contract debts.
Now at 3 per cent. my county could contract $90,000 worth of debts. Six per cent on that debt, would be $5,400, which would leave for the general living expenses of the county $9,600. Now, I figure that on the basis of 6 per cent, but I believe if we put a limitation in the Constitution upon the debt - contracting power, then every one of these counties can get their debt floated for, a lower rate of interest than they have to pay now to get their bonds floated. For that reason, I am in favor of the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Lauderdale, and I believe this Convention should adopt it.
In answer to the gentleman from Montgomery, in reference to his public roads, I will ask the chairman of the committee if, under the prior section of this Article, the County Commissioners have not the right to levy additional taxes above this 50 cents, for public roads?
MR. BROWNE - They have a right to include public roads along with bridges and public buildings, as one of the subjects of special taxation.
MR. WILSON (Clarke) - For special taxation above 50 cents, and it is not limited at all?
MR. BROWNE - Yes, it is limited in the report of the committee to one - fourth of one per cent. In the present Constitution, it is not limited at all.
(Mr. Ashcraft here took the chair).
MR. HARRISON - I trust that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale and accepted by the committee will be adopted. There can be no question in my mind that this limit should be fixed both for the counties and for the cities and towns. For the information of my friend from Jefferson, Mr. Lowe, who asks the question if, in the last half century, we have ever had any reason to complain, I would remind him of the history of seven counties that were long known in Alabama as the strangulated counties?
MR. LOWE - I said in the last quarter of a century.
MR. HARRISON - And those strangulated counties, or some of them, have been laboring from the effects of that ever since.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - That was under the Republican administration in carpet - bag days.
MR. HARRISON - Yes, under Republican administration, when they were allowed to vote on it, and went through the form of voting for it.
MR. HINSON - I have been informed that the County of Colbert has a bonded indebtedness of $200,000, and that is about 5 per cent of the taxable valuation of the property in the county.
MR. HARRISON- They need a guardian if they owe that much.
MR. HINSON - I also understand that she has made default in the payment of her interest, and is unable to pay the interest, and that this state of affairs exists right now in Colbert County, and she has a debt of only 5 per cent of the value of her taxable property. I would like to ask if that is the fact? I do not know, but I have been informed that is the condition of affairs in that county.
MR. HARRISON - I would be pleased to reply to the delegate, but I am not familiar with the condition of affairs in the county to which he refers. What county did you inquire as to?
MR. HINSON - Colbert County. I say if that is a fact, it would answer every objection that the gentlemen make to this limit, and show the necessity for a 3 per cent limit.
MR. HARRISON - Yes, sir; there is no question of the necessity. I think we owe it to the people of Alabama. We owe it to those counties, and we owe it to the cities, too, because they are today paying a higher rate of interest than any other municipal corporation in the country.
Answering the question of the gentleman to my right, one of my colleagues here has furnished me some figures as to the taxable property in Colbert County. It is placed at $3,874,000. Making a calculation at a limit of 5 per cent, it would be able to incur a debt of $193,000, which shows, as intimated by the gentleman's question, the necessity for this limit. The great necessity for it is that no county, no municipality, city or town, should be permitted to incur a debt which they cannot reasonably expect to pay within the limit of taxation authorized by the State. We need, Mr. President and delegates, to prevent their incurring debts, for we do not want to place anything in the Constitution that sounds like repudiation, and we should not permit municipalities to go beyond what they can reasonably pay by the authority they have to raise money within the tax limit, and I submit
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that not only as to the counties, but the delegates will observe that the very next section of this report places the same restriction on towns and cities, and if you make a calculation, and apply it to the tax limit, you will find three per cent for both of them is a safe and conservative limit, and that while we ought not to interfere with any debt already contracted, because if they have incurred it they should pay it if they can, we should come in with the strong arm of the fundamental law of the land and say thus far you shall go and no further. We have fixed the limit of taxation, and now we fix the limit beyond which you shall not incur any debts. It would give credit to these counties. It would give credit to the cities. It would prevent what we have seen in Alabama, and what we hear today. As said in my opening remarks, I know of one county that was prostrated for years, and never would have gotten out of her trouble if the State of Alabama had not come to her rescue and loaned money to the county in an indirect way. After her inability to pay her debts, they effected a compromise and finally worked out of it, and upon the principle that a burnt child dreads the fire, I trust that no other county will have to pass through it. My good friend from Chambers and I labored here for years to try and work out of it, his county being one of them.
While, perhaps, the danger today is not so great as it has been. I ask the delegates to reflect upon the fact that recently many cities and towns in Alabama have defaulted in the interest on their bonds. In my own town recently it was with great difficulty that they could float a small number of bonds, because certain towns, I don't care to name them, but you can name half a dozen towns in Alabama that have defaulted and have not paid their interest, and the credit of Alabama cities and towns have been affected in the great markets of the country, and those who are disposed to pay their debts have to pay one, one and half and two per cent more interest simply because they say that Alabama towns are permitted to incur a greater debt than the tax limit will authorize them to pay.
For this reason I trust this limit will be conservative. My good friend from Russell made the illustration that the court house might be burned down. Taking his own county as an illustration it has an assessed valuation of $2,484,000, which at 3 per cent would authorize his county to incur a debt of $74,520, which I apprehend is as much as Russell County ought to incur. Certainly for his court house, because I am satisfied it could be replaced for twenty - five thousand dollars if it were burned down, and seventy - four thousand dollars, I submit, would be ample. Even if you apply it to the great County of Montgomery, I submit with all of its capital and wealth ought not to be allowed to go over $600,000 indebtedness, because I doubt their ability to pay it if they should incur it.
MR. SANDERS - I desire to offer a substitute.
The substitute was read as follows:
No county shall become indebted in an amount greater than three per centum of the taxable valuation of the property thereof, provided this limitation shall not affect any existing indebtedness exceeding such three per centum which have been authorized by law to be created.
MR. SANDERS - I offer that substitute not for the purpose of discussing the merits of the three per cent or the five per cent limitation, but for the purpose of clearing up a manifest and patent ambiguity. Section 9, as it reads, is as follows: No county shall become indebted in an amount greater than five per centum of the taxable value of the property thereof; provided, this section shall not apply to any indebtedness in excess of such five per centum, which has been already created or authorized by law to be created."
The reasonable construction of that language is that if an indebtedness of five per cent or three per centum, which ever may be adopted, already exists, the section does not prevent the creation of an additional indebtedness of five per cent or three per centum. I am satisfied that this is not the meaning or the intention of the Committee.
MR. BROWNE - Will the gentleman allow me to ask a question ?
MR. SANDERS - Yes, sir.
MR. BROWNE - Is the only change you make by your amendment inserting the word limitation in lieu of the word section ?
MR. SANDERS - I ask the clerk to read the amendment, it is short. The amendment was again read.
MR. SANDERS - It simply means that if there is an existing indebtedness, exceeding three per centum, or if by law such indebtedness has been authorized to be created, this section shall not affect it, and shall not apply to it. If, in a county where no indebtedness has been created at all, under the substitute that I offer, an indebtedness of 3 per cent may be created. If one and a half per cent indebtedness already exists, there would only be an additional indebtedness of one and a half per cent. In other words, Mr. President, where the indebtedness is not already up to the limit it may be increased to the limit. If it exceeds the limit already, or if, by law, an indebtedness exceeding the limit has been authorized, this limitation shall not apply to it. I merely offered the substitute for the purpose of clearing up what in my
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mind is a very manifest ambiguity in the meaning of the section as reported by the committee.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I fully concur in the wisdom of a provision limiting the power of counties to create debts. I think it is one of the most important provisions in this Article, but at the same time I am inclined to believe that the limitation of 3 per cent, as suggested by the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale is too low. Now by an examination of the Constitutions of all the States on this subject, we find that but one State has a limitation as low as that. That is the State of Indiana. All of the Constitutions enacted since about 1890 contain similar provisions. The State of New York had a provision of 10 per cent instead of three.
The State of California has the following provision: No county, city, town, township, board of education, or school district, shall incur any indebtedness or liability in any manner, or for any purpose, exceeding in any year the income and revenue provided for it for such year, without the assent of two - thirds of the qualified electors thereof voting at an election to be held for that purpose, nor unless before or at the time of incurring such indebtedness, provision shall be made for the collection of an annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on such indebtedness as it falls due, and also provision to constitute a sinking fund for the payment of the principal thereof on or before maturity, which shall not exceed forty years from the time of contracting the same. Any indebtedness or liability incurred contrary to this provision shall be void."
Now, take the State of Georgia, our neighbor. Here is a provision which they have: "The debt hereafter incurred by any county, municipal corporation or political subdivision of this State, except as in this Constitution provided for, shall never exceed 7 per centum of the assessed value of all the taxable property therein, and no such county, municipality or division shall incur any new debt, except for a temporary loan, or loans, to supply casual deficiencies of revenue, not to exceed one - fifth of one per centum of the assessed value of the taxable property therein, without the assent of two - thirds of the qualified voters thereof, at an election for that purpose, to be held as may be prescribed by law."
Now the State of Georgia authorizes a rate of 7 per cent, and in addition excepts temporary loans to supply casual deficiencies of revenue, not to exceed one - fifth of one per cent.
It further provides: "But any city, the debt of which does not exceed 7 per centum of the assessed value of the taxable property at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, may be authorized by law to increase, at any time, the amount of said debt, three per centum upon such assessed valuation."
Now, there is 7 per cent with an additional provision. The State of Idaho provides for 5 per cent., with an authority to increase it over 5 per cent in certain contingencies.
Now the State of Indiana has the lowest limit of any State in the Union, so far as I have been able to ascertain. Here is the provision of that State: "No political, or municipal corporation, in this State, shall ever become indebted, in any manner or for any purpose, to any amount, in the aggregate exceeding 2 per centum of the value of taxable property within such corporation, to be ascertained by the last assessment for State and county taxes, previous to the incurring of such indebtedness, and all bonds or obligations, in excess of such amount given by such corporations shall be void; provided, that in time of war, foreign invasion, or other great public calamity, on petition of a majority of the property owners in number and value, within the limits of such corporations, the public authorities, in their discretion, may incur obligations necessary for the public protection and defense, to such an amount as may be requested in such petition.
Now that State, with that low limit, provides that in case of a great public calamity, or pestilence, or war, invasion or insurrection, that the people, by petition, can increase that amount, provided the petition is ratified by an election. But we, would have absolutely no provision for any class of emergency that may arise.
Take the State of Iowa. The State of Iowa is one of the great States of the Union, and it provides: "No county, or other political or municipal corporation, shall be allowed to become indebted in any, manner, or for any purpose, to an amount, in the aggregate, exceeding 5 per centum on the value of the taxable property within such county or corporation, to be ascertained by the last State and county tax lists, previous to the incurring of such indebtedness."
Illinois and Kentucky have much larger rates than that. The State of Missouri has this provision:
"No county, city, town, township, school district or other political corporation, or subdivision of the State shall be allowed to become indebted in any manner or for any purpose to an amount exceeding in any year the income provided for such year, without the assent of two-thirds of the voters thereof voting at an election to be held for that purpose; nor in cases requiring such assent shall any indebtedness be allowed to be incurred to an amount, including existing indebtedness, in the aggregate exceeding 5 per cent." And then it provides that even that can be increased.
"It may be allowed to become indebted to a larger amount for the erection of a court house, or jail; and provided, further,
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that any county, city, town, township, school district, or other political corporation or subdivision of the State, incurring any indebtedness requiring the assent of the voters aforesaid, shall, before or at the time of doing so, provide for the collection of an annual tax sufficient to pay the interest."
North Dakota provides for 5 per cent., and permits 3 per cent. for certain contingencies.
Pennsylvania has 7 per cent. upon the assessed value, and allows an increase of 2 per cent. in certain contingencies.
So, gentlemen, 5 per cent. is about the lowest limit in the Union except the State of Indiana. The Committee adopts the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale without any qualifications, without any provision for contingencies of any kind, for calamities or war, for invasion or insurrection, or for epidemics, and this might result in tying the hands of the people and preventing them from relieving themselves of this cast iron rule when it would become oppressive.
'I'herefore, Mr. President, I think that the report as made by the Committee should be adopted. Five per cent. is low enough, and it contains no exceptions for any contingencies. I am willing to accept that. I think that may be safe, but to go any lower, without additional provisions providing for contingencies, would, in my judgment, be unwise and unsafe. I shall, therefore, move to lay the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale on the table.
MR. WADDELL - I rise to a question of personal privilege. I stated in my remarks that the taxable value of the property in my county was about $1,700,000. It is $2,700,000 for this year-
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I make the point of order that is not a question of privilege.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The question is upon the adoption of the substitute offered by the gentleman from Limestone.
MR. O'NEAL - My motion is to lay the amendment and substitute on the table.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The question is upon the motion of the gentleman from Lauderdale to lay the amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale and the substitute offered by the gentleman from Limestone on the table.
MR. WHITE - I call for the reading of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Limestone.
The amendment was read as follows:
Amend Section 9 so as to read: "No county shall become indebted in an amount greater than 3 per centum of the taxable property thereof, provided this limitation shall not affect any existing indebtedness exceeding such 3 per centum which has already been created, or which has been authorized by law to be created.
Amendment by Mr. Weakley - Amend Section 9 by striking out the word five in the first line, and insert instead the word three.
MR. SOLLIE - I ask for a division of the motion. The motion reaches both the substitute and the amendment.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - A division of the motion has been demanded. The question is upon the motion to table the substitute offered by the gentleman from Limestone.
Upon a vote being taken the motion to table was carried.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM - The question is on the motion to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale.
Upon a vote being taken, a division was called for, and by a vote of 52 ayes to 49 noes the motion to table was carried.
The President resumed the Chair.
MR. KIRK - I have an amendment.
The amendment was read as follows:
Amend Section 9 by adding the following: "Except where it may be necessary for the erection of bridges and county buildings, which may be paid for by a levy of a special tax."
MR. KIRK - Now the question as to what the limit should be I do not care to discuss, but as my county has been spoken of, it may not be amiss for me to refer to the condition of that county before reaching the point raised by this amendment.
I do not think it is wise for any county to create a debt greater than 5 per cent. of the assessed value of its property. Colbert County has an assessment of something over $3,800,000. She owes a debt of $200,000, one half of which draws an interest of 5 per cent. and the other half draws 6 per cent., making the total charge for interest $11,000. We receive as taxes about $19,000 in that county, under the present tax rate. You will see from that the small amount that has been left to the county to defray the expenses of the county. We are today in arrears in the payment of interest. We have defaulted, in other words, in the payment of interest. The interest that we are paying, or that we have obligated ourselves to pay, cannot be paid out of the taxes collected
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by the county and at the same time defray the other expenses. Therefore, I say it is eminently wise to place a debt limit and that limit, in my judgment, should be three per cent. But whether it is three per cent or five per cent, Colbert County cannot increase that debt.
Now to the point raised by my amendment. The section provides that no county shall become indebted in an amount greater than five per centum of the taxable value of the property thereof. Colbert County has, as I have stated, already exceeded that amount, and if she should meet with the misfortune of losing her court house, it would be impossible for the county to build another court house, or to incur the expense of building another court house, until she could raise the money by this special rate of taxation that is allowed in the Constitution we are now framing. Therefore some provision, or some exception should be made to the rule that would allow any county which had already incurred a debt equal to the constitutional limit, or greater than the constitutional limit, to provide against such contingencies.
MR. FOSTER - Would not your special tax raise sufficient funds to build your court house? One - fourth of one per cent?
MR. KIRK - I think not.
MR. FOSTER - Would it not be about eleven or twelve thousand dollars?
MR. KIRK - We collect now, I believe, about nineteen thousand dollars.
MR. FOSTER - It would be half of that.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I would like to ask the gentleman as the hour of adjourning has nearly arrived, if he will yield to me for the purpose of introducing a short ordinance. I want it referred to a Committee which will meet immediately after this Convention adjourns.
THE PRESIDENT - Does the gentleman yield?
MR. KIRK - Yes, sir.
Ordinance No. 408, by Mr. Heflin of Chambers:
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That a Sheriff shall be elected in each county, by the qualified electors thereof, who shall hold his office for the term of four years, unless sooner removed, and shall be eligible to such office as his own successor, unless he is impeached during his first term for failing to discharge his duties. Vacancies in the office of Sheriff shall be filled by the Governor, as in other cases; and the person appointed shall continue in the office until the next general election in the County for Sheriff, as provided by law.
Sec. 2. That the Sheriff shall be subject to impeachment and removal for such causes and in such a manner as may be provided by law.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I ask that the ordinance be referred to the Committee on Impeachment, as they have one on that same line.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I ask that the ordinance be referred to the Committee on Executive Department. Evidently this is an attempt to substitute that Committee on a matter on which the Executive Committee has passed, and I do not think it should be done.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I move that the ordinance be referred to the Committee on Impeachment, because it has a section in it referring to impeachment.
MR. PILLANS - A question of order.
The clock struck the hour of six.
MR. SANFORD - It is six o'clock.
THE PRESIDENT - The point of order is well taken and without a suspension of the rules the question of reference would not be in order at this time.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I will let it go over until tomorrow.
Thereupon the Convention adjourned until 9:30 a. m. tomorrow morning.