1462

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THIRTY - SIXTH DAY

MONTGOMERY, ALA., Wednesday, July 3, 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:

Almighty and Ever Living God, King of Heaven and Earth, Maker and Preserver of our bodies and of our spirits, without whose help we can do nothing, but upon whose sympathy and support we may constantly rely, we praise and bless Thee this morning for Thy goodness. We thank Thee for Thy providential care, and we come unto Thee for Thy favor and for Thy grace to help us during this day. We pray that Thou wilt enlighten our minds with the knowledge of Thy truth, and that in all things we undertake to do, we may remember that Thou art our King and our God. We ask that Thou wilt help us. That Thou wilt


1463

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

strengthen us for every duty. That Thou wilt guide these Thy servants in their deliberations. Wilt Thou keep them true unto themselves, unto duty and unto Thee. Surround us all with Thy protecting care. Watch over us and our interests and those interests which are put in our trust and protection, and when Thou hast served Thy will with us here upon earth, receive and own us as Thine in Heaven, and to Thy name shall be the praise, world without end. Amen.

Upon the call of the roll 114 delegates responded.

Leaves of absence were granted to Mr. Craig for Friday and Saturday; Mr. Sollie for this morning's session; Mr. Sentell for this afternoon and Thursday,; Mr. Fitts for today; Mr. Davis (DeKalb) Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Mr. Greer (Calhoun) for Thursday and Friday and Saturday; Mr. Samford (Pike) for today and Thursday; Mr. Gilmore for Friday and Saturday.

The report of the Committee on the Journal was read, stating that the Journal for the thirty - fifth day of the Convention had been examined and found to be correct, and the same was adopted.

MR. REESE - On yesterday I made a motion to reconsider the vote by which the article on Executive Department was ordered to a third reading.

THE PRESIDENT - The special order this morning will be the consideration of the motion to reconsider the vote whereby the ordinance on the Executive Department was ordered to a third reading.

MR. REESE - I desire to submit at this time a few remarks as to why the vote should be reconsidered. I am not one that subscribes to the views laid down by the gentleman from Montgomery a few days ago, which asserts the infallibility of minorities: that minorities are always right and majorities are always wrong. I do not prefer to be classed with minorities. I would rather be with majorities. I concede, however, in the matter before this convention now, that the gentlemen with whom my sympathies are appear to have been in the minority. I think that with all due deference and respect to the gentlemen who compose the committee on Executive Department that they have unwisely advised this Convention. I think the extreme eloquence of the gentleman who is the chairman of that committee has carried this Convention away from its sober thought. Guided by the highest and best motives, the distinguished chairman of that committee has set his great and noble heart upon the adoption of this provision, which is directed and aimed at the Sheriffs of Alabama. I think it is an extremely unwise and imprudent provision. Mr. President, I do not believe that anything that may appear in my humble remarks will perhaps have the effect of changing a vote


1464

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

upon this question, but I was sent here to represent some of the citizens of Alabama, and I should think that I had done less than my duty if I did not hold up my hand with a feeble warning to this Convention.  I make an appeal, Mr. President, in behalf of the constituents that I represent, and I do not make it to the Convention , Mr. President.  It may be, perhaps, in bad taste, but I make this appeal to a class in this Convention that I believe the people of Dallas county have a right to appeal to.  A class in this Convention that I believe the people of the Black Belt have a right to appeal to.  Mr. President, the constituents of the class that I represent have lost their character apparently.  They have lost it in the northern counties of this State, and they have lost it in that section of the United States from which it appears at this date that we are to be advised and by whose opinions this Convention should be guided.  I speak of the maudlin sentiment or opinion of the people of the North on these questions that confront us here today.  There are evils that exist in this country, and to correct those evils the distinguished gentleman, the chairman of the Executive Department Committee, would make a radical departure from a system that has prevailed since Runnymede.  The jury system of this country, Mr. President, has been good enough for the common people of this country, and until a man rises and gets as elevated and stands upon as high a plane as the distinguished chairman of that committee, he has confidence in the honesty and integrity of the Grand and Petit Juries of this country.

MR. JONES (Montgomery)- Will the gentleman allow me to ask him a question, because I might have the conclusion and want him to have an opportunity to answer it.

MR. REESE - I would be glad to answer the question of the gentleman.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Has it ever been a part of the system of impeachment that a party tried was entitled to a jury trial until put in the Constitution of 1865, in certain cases?

MR. REESE - I will answer that question by saying to the gentleman that I have never heard of a Sheriff being impeached in the State of Alabama by any other method.

Mr. President, here you have a class of county officers, men selected by the electors of the county, and the gentleman has singled out a particular class, and an active, aggressive and vindictive war has been made against this class of office holders.  This class of office holders, Mr. President, are citizens of the State of Alabama, and good citizens, too.  They are the best citizens we have, and in this connection I am reminded of the tragic death of the great Ceasar at Rome, when the last stab was made, he remarked "and thou too Brutus," for, Mr. President, it would have been well had this stab come from any other source than from which


1465

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

it originated. The Sheriffs and clerks and the probate judges of this Black Belt country have been the bulwark of the safety of this government, Mr. President, in my short life, I have been actively engaged in the carrying on of those measures which I have thought were for the best interest of the people. I first participated in public affairs of this State at a time which was the most critical in twenty - five years. It was at a time when the white man's government was threatened in this country. When I saw men to the manor born had been misled, and allowed themselves to march under the flags and in the clans of the enemies of white supremacy, men parading under piratical flags, blood of our blood, born in this country, and it was at that period that the power and the patriotism of the Sheriffs and their two supervisor colleagues was mostly invoked. I refer to the election of 1892. And I say, Mr. President, without fear of contradiction by any man upon this floor, that had the Sheriffs of the Black Belt wavered at that time, instead of having enthroned in the Governor's chair of this State a man whose integrity, honesty, and courage set him above many of his predecessors, the peer of all, the inferior of none, we would have had someone else. The great party of white supremacy in this country would have melted away, and a mongrel crowd would have administered the affairs of the State in Alabama, and we would have never had the bright recollection of the record of the administration of the gentleman from Montgomery.

Mr. President, it was the Sheriffs that did this. We have been charged in the county that I have the honor to represent, with being a little careless with election figures and in view of the fact that those charges of carelessness had been made against us prior to 1892, at the time that the gentleman was a candidate for election to the office of Governor of this State, there were some rumors that messages were sent to Dallas county, and to her neighbors, these Black Belt counties, that for fear of a mistake there would not be any hurry in announcing the result of the election. Now the acts of the Sheriffs on those occasions, and on subsequent occasions has caused my people to fall under the ban of suspicion. We have actually been charged with engaging in fraudulent practices in the matter of elections, but there never has been a man, and there is not a man in this Convention, that has ever refused to accept the benefits of whatever little irregularities that might have occurred. But we have been condemned in the Northern press.

MR. KIRKLAND - I rise to a point of order.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order.

MR. KIRKLAND - The gentleman has spoken ten minutes.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. REESE - I desire to say that this is not an amendment that I am discussing, it is a motion to reconsider.

MR. KIRKLAND - I understand the rule applies to his case.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will examine the resolution passed on yesterday, and rule upon the point of order.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I move that unanimous consent be given that the gentleman's time be extended.

MR. REESE - I object, Mr. President to the extension of any one's time.

THE PRESIDENT - The motion is not in order at this time. The Chair will rule upon the point of order made by the gentleman from Dale as soon as he examines the resolution.

MR. CHAPMAN - I would suggest that the gentleman speak on while the Chair is examining the question.

THE PRESIDENT - In the opinion of the Chair the rule is confined to debates upon amendments and that it does not apply to this case.

MR. REESE - Mr. President, up to the time that I came to this convention, from my intimate association with this class of citizens that have been so bitterly fought here, I had the idea they were a very clever set of fellows. I thought that the sheriffs of Alabama were about as honest and patriotic a set of men as the other citizens of Alabama. Some how in Dallas County they have been about the most popular citizens we have had. They have been as good citizens as we have had, and there has been a great flourish of trumpets here, and a whangbanging of drums, about the great evils existing in this State. Why, Mr. President, it is almost like a phonographic reproduction of the performances in the north, criticizing the way we ought to run our government here in Alabama, and, Mr. President, I regret to see where this thing comes from. I see no pressing necessity to adopt any radical legislation to force sheriffs to perform their duty. In my restricted field of observation I have seen no cause for that.

This convention will pardon me for a home reference, but I desire to refer to the last three sheriffs of my county. .fit a crucial time in the period of this State, when gentlemen who fought under the flags of Democracy and called themselves Democrats, when they allied themselves with the enemies of the white supremacy in this country, in 1896, and at other times, the sheriffs of this State have been brave enough to turn their guns on them, just like they have on the negro party parading under their own proper flag, and in their proper uniform. Mr. President. I have seen the sheriff in my county in 1892, in the fall election, drag the United States Marshal from the booth and keep him from inter-


1467

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

fering with an honest count in that election. I have seen that man's successor and have helped to undress the sheriff of Dallas County, when he was wounded by four wounds, just received in the discharge of his duty. The last sheriff of Dallas County, a man by the name of Lumpkin, arrested a desperado, or surrounded the house where this desperado and others were, and in the attempt to arrest that man, the sheriff was shot four times, seriously, and at one time his life was thought to be in danger. With the blood dripping from those wounds, Mr. President, and at a time when that posse was enraged almost beyond control, and sought to take the life of that prisoner that they had just taken from that house and arrested under a charge of shooting the sheriff, that great man, the Sheriff of Dallas County, a man that belongs to the class that is being fought and abused in this Convention, turned to that posse and said he would kill any man that interfered with the life of that prisoner. That he was going to put him in jail, and he did put him in jail. It has not been two months ago since I attended the funeral of an officer, a deputy sheriff of Dallas County, who had been shot by a felon he was undertaking to arrest. In a few days after that, with all the excitement that was pending against that man, the sheriff of Dallas County arrested that man and he is safely confined in the jail today, awaiting his trial.

MR. GILMORE - I would like to call the gentleman's attention to the fact that the sheriff of Dallas County did not arrest that man.

MR. REESE - I desire to call the gentleman's attention to the fact that I did not say the sheriff did arrest him.

MR. GILMORE - I understood it so.

MR. REESE - I said he was arrested and put in jail and that he will be there until he is tried. I do not desire to quibble about words.

MR. GILMORE - I understood the gentleman to say that the sheriff arrested him, and the sheriff of Dallas County did not put him in jail.

MR. REESE - The man was arrested in Clarke County, I desire to state for the satisfaction of the gentleman. I don't suppose anybody else is interested in it, that this prisoner was arrested at Grove Hill.

MR. GILMORE - The negro gave himself up.

MR. REESE - The negro was taken charge of by the sheriff of Dallas County at Thomasville, but he was put in jail by the sheriff.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Now, just in conclusion, I want to say that these sheriffs have stood up to the Democratic party, and it is to the Democratic party that I make this appeal. We have had to do things in the Black Belt, and as I have said, even the holier than thou gentleman from North Alabama has never refused to profit by these irregularities. We have had to do those things for which we have been commended, in a quiet way, and slandered in the North. We want relief from those conditions. We plead with the Democrats of this Convention for relief from a system that compels us to raise our boys up under a system of elections that is bound to corrupt. Mr. President, our boys are being corrupted and we ask you in their names, to help us to reform the suffrage. We ask this Convention to give us the plan that a wise and able committee have recommended to this Convention, under which it may be possible to teach our boys to be honest in all things, and under which we may teach our boys that the laws ought to be obeyed.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman's time has expired.

MR. BEDDOW - I for one, am tired of this conglomerated mass of hetrogenous eloquence. There is no man who obeys the laws that ought to be afraid of any hearing, and I move that the motion of the gentleman from Dallas be laid on the table.

Upon a vote being taken, a division was called for, and by a vote of seventy - four ayes and twenty - three noes the motion to reconsider was tabled.

MR. SENTELL - I desire to ask unanimous consent to introduce a resolution.

Resolution No. 218.

Whereas, as tomorrow, July 4th, is a National Holiday, and

Whereas, many of the members of this Convention desire to observe the same with their families and friends at home, therefore be it resolved that when this Convention adjourns at 6 o'clock this afternoon it stands adjourned until 9:30 o'clock next Friday morning.

MR. SENTELL - In order to get the sense of this Convention upon the question of adjournment, I ask for a suspension of the rules and that the resolution be put upon its passage.

MR. REESE - I move to lay that on the table.

THE PRESIDENT - A motion to suspend the rules cannot be laid upon the table.

MR. REESE - I call for a yea and nay vote.

THE PRESIDENT - The question is, is the call sustained.

The requisite number did not rise and the call was not sustained.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Upon a vote being taken the rules were suspended.

MR. BEDDOW - I move to amend the resolution by adjourning until Monday at 12.

MR. O'NEAL - I move to lay that amendment on the table.

MR. SENTELL - I move that the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson be laid on the table.

The motion to table was carried.

MR. SENTELL - I move that the resolution be placed upon its final passage.

MR. REESE - I move to table the resolution.

MR. REESE - I demand the ayes and noes.

THE PRESIDENT - The ayes and noes are demanded, the question is, is the call sustained.

The requisite number not rising the call was declared to be not sustained.

A vote being taken, a division  was demanded, and by a vote of thirty - nine ayes and sixty - four noes, the motion to table was lost.

THE PRESIDENT - The question recurs on the motion of the gentleman from Crenshaw.

MR. CUNNINGHAM (Jefferson) - I desire to offer an amendment.

MR. PETTUS - I move the previous question and the adoption of the resolution.

The amendment was read as follows:

"Provided that no per diem be allowed to the members or officers of this Convention."

MR. REESE - I desire when I can be heard to say a word on the adoption of this amendment to the resolution.

There are 155 of us here, and I doubt whether there are five of us that observed the fourth of July last year. We were working for ourselves, or probably for somebody else. We are now working for the State of Alabama, at the great compensation of $4 a day, but we were all glad to get the job at that price. Now, Mr. President, the Legislature thought we were going to get through with our business here in fifty days and they expected


1470

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

The resolution was read as follows:

"Whereas, tomorrow, July 4th, is a National Holiday, and whereas many of the members of this Convention desire to observe the same with their families and friends at home, therefore be it resolved that when this Convention adjourns at 6 o'clock this afternoon it stand adjourned until 9:30 o'clock next Friday morning."

The amendment was read as follows:

"Provided that no per diem be allowed to the members or the officers of this Convention."

MR. REESE - Now we are asked to adjourn this Convention, for what purpose? In order that we may be permitted to observe the fourth of July with our families at home. Gentlemen, I do not believe that there are one - tenth of the members of this Convention that ever have observed the fourth of July with their families at home, and probably they were not three blocks from their house either. Mr. President, if you are going to adjourn at all, let's put it on some higher ground than the one given there. The courts in this country do not shut up on the fourth of July. If we have got any private business to attend to, we never let the fourth of July interfere with it. The people of Alabama are getting impatient for this Convention to do the work for which it was sent here, and I think we will make a mistake to adjourn for any reason, and especially for the reasons stated in this resolution.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - I desire to say that I offered this amendment, that it is not a joke, and not in any spirit of buncombe. I believe that this Convention should, with propriety observe the National holiday, the natal day of our independence, but as a simple matter of justice, I do not believe that the tax payers of the State ought to pay us for the exercise of this patriotism. I voted against adjournment and against the suspension of the rules, because I thought that we should remain in session and do the business for which we have been elected. Now, as the majority of the Convention seemed determined to observe this holiday I submit as a matter of simple justice, that we should do it at our own expense and not at the expense of the tax payers of the State of Alabama. That is the proposition that is up to us on this amendment, and I sincerely hope that it will be adopted.

MR. LEIGH - I call for the previous question on the resolution and amendment.

A vote being taken the main question was ordered.

MR. PILLANS - I call for the ayes and nays.

The call for the ayes and nays was sustained.


1471

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will state for the benefit of the members that the resolution is that the Convention is to adjourn until Friday after 4th of July; the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson is that the members draw no per diem.

The result of the roll call was as follows:

AYES

Messrs. President,

Heflin, of Chambers,

O'Rear,

Ashcraft,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Palmer,

Banks,

Henderson,

Parker (Cullman),

Barefield,

Hinson,

Parker (Elmore),

Beddow,

Hodges,

Pettus,

Bethune,

Hood,

Pillans,

Blackwell,

Inge,

Pitts,

Bowne,

Jackson,

Reese,

Bunett,

Jenkins,

Reynolds (Chilton),

Burns,

Jones, of Bibb,

Robinson,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Jones, of Hale,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Sanders,

Chapman,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Sanford,

Cobb,

Kirk,

Searcy,

Cofer,

Kirkland,

Selheimer,

Coleman, of Greene,

Knight,

Sentell,

Coleman, of Walker,

Kyle,

Sloan,

Cornwall,

Leigh,

Smith (Mobile),

Craig,

Lowe, of Jefferson,

Smith, Mac. A.,

Cunningham,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Davis, of Etowah,

Macdonald,

Sorrell,

Dent,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Spears,

Duke,

Malone,

Spragins,

Eley,

Martin,

Stoddard,

Eyster,

Maxwell,

Tayloe,

Espy,

Merrill,

Waddell,

Ferguson,

Miller (Marengo),

Walker,

Fletcher,

Miller (Wilcox),

Watts,

Foster,

Mulkey,

Weakley,

Gilmore,

Murphree,

Weatherly,

Glover,

NeSmith,

White,

Grant,

Norman,

Whiteside,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Norwood,

Williams (Barbour),

Greer, of Perry,

Oates,

Wilson (Clarke),

Haley,

O'Neal (Lauderdale),

Harrison,

Opp,

 TOTAL - 105.

NOES

Bartlett,

Bulger,

Carnathon,

Beavers,

Byars,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Brooks,

Cardon,

Foshee,


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Graham, of Montgomery,

 Long, of Butler,

Rogers (Sumter),

Howze,

Moody,

Stewart,

Locklin,

Phillips,

Williams (Marengo),

Lomax,

Porter,

Winn.

 TOTAL - 21.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Altman,

Howell,

Reynolds, of Henry,

Almon,

King,

Samford,

Boone,

Ledbetter,

Sollie,

Case,

Long, of Walker,

Thompson,

deGraffenreid,

McMillan, of Baldwin,

Vaughan,

Fitts,

Morrisette,

Willet,

Freeman,

O'Neil, of Jefferson,

Williams (Elmore),

Graham, of Talladega,

Pearce,

Wilson (Washington).

Grayson,

Proctor,

Handley,

Renfro,

During roll call.

MR. BURNS - I rise to a point of information, I did not vote, I want to ask for information so I can vote.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman can be recorded, how does the gentleman wish to vote.

MR. BURNS - I understood the reading of the resolution to include the officers and employees-

THE PRESIDENT - The matter is not open for discussion; does the gentleman wish to vote aye or no.

MR. BURNS - I vote aye.

MR. SANDERS - If I am in order, I now move to table the whole business to adjourn and the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson, and on that I call for an aye and no vote.

THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that a motion to table is not in order after the previous question has been ordered. The previous question has been ordered on the resolution and amendment.

MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - On the main question, whether we adjourn or not, I call for the ayes and noes.

The call for an aye and no vote was sustained, and the roll call resulted as follows:

AYES

Cofer,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Ferguson,

Craig,

Eyster,

Gilmore,


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Harrison,

Maxwell,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Heflin, of Chambers,

Miller (Marengo),

Sentell,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Mulkey,

Sloan,

Henderson,

Norman,

Smith, Mac A.,

Hodges,

Norwood,

Spears,

Howze,

Oates,

Tayloe,

Jackson,

O'Neal (Lauderdale),

Waddell,

Jenkins,

Opp,

Watts,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Parker (Cullman),

Weakley,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Pettus,

White,

Kirk,

Pitts,

Whiteside,

Ledbetter,

Reynolds (Chilton),

 Total - 41. NOES

Messrs. President,

Fletcher,

Miller (Wilcox),

Banks,

Foshee,

Moody,

Barefield,

Foster,

Murphree,

Bartlett,

Glover,

NeSmith,

Beavers,

Grant,

O'Rear,

Beddow,

Greer, of Perry,

Palmer,

Bethune,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Parker (Elmore),

Blackwell,

Haley,

Pillans,

Brooks,

Hinson,

Porter,

Browne,

Hood,

Proctor,

Bulger,

Inge,

Reese,

Burnett,

Jones, of Bibb,

Robinson,

Burns,

Jones, of Hale,

Rogers (Sumter),

Byars,

Kirkland,

Sanders,

Cardon,

Knight,

Sanford,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Kyle,

Searcy,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Leigh,

Selheimer,

Carnathon,

Locklin,

Smith (Mobile),

Chapman,

Lomax,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Cobb,

Long (Butler),

Spragins,

Coleman, of Greene,

Long (Walker),

Stewart,

Cornwall,

Lowe (Jefferson),

Studdard,

Cunningham,

Lowe (Lawrence),

Walker,

Davis, of Etowah,

Macdonald,

Weatherly,

Dent,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Williams (Barbour),

Duke,

Malone,

Williams (Marengo),

Eley,

Martin,

Wilson (Clarke),

Espy,

Merrill,

Winn,

 Total - 85.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Altman,

Boone,

deGraffenreid,

Almon,

Case,

Fitts,

Ashcraft,

Coleman, of Walker,

 Freeman


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Graham, of Talladega,

Morrisette,

Sollie,

Graham, of Montgomery,

O'Neill (Jefferson),

Thompson,

Grayson,

Pearce,

Vaughan,

Handley,

Phillips,

Willet,

Howell,

Renfro,

Williams (Elmore),

King,

Reynolds (Henry),

Wilson (Wash'gton).

McMillan (Baldwin),

Samford,

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - I ask unanimous consent to introduce a resolution to be referred to the Committee on Rules.

MR. BEDDOW - I object. The gentleman's name will be called presently, and he will have an opportunity to introduce it.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - I have a report to introduce from the Committee on Rules, as a substitute for Resolution 205, introduced by Mr. Reese of Dallas.

The Committee on Rules reports as a substitute for Resolution No. 205, introduced by Mr. Reese of Dallas the following resolution:

Resolved, That subdivision 6 of rule 22 be amended so as to read as follows:

6. Call of the roll in alphabetical order for the introduction of resolutions, memorials, petitions and ordinances, and their proper reference. But if the roll call is not completed by 10:30 o'clock of any day the Convention shall at that hour proceed with the next order of regular business.

Resolution No. 205, by Mr. Reese:

Whereas, But little time of this Convention is consumed by the regular call of the roll for the introduction of ordinances, resolutions, etc., and

Whereas, Much unnecessary consumption of time is had in explaining and obtaining unanimous consent or suspension of the rules for the introduction of ordinances, resolutions, etc., therefore

Be it resolved, first that hereafter the roll call for the introduction of ordinances, resolutions, etc., shall not be suspended except by unanimous consent.

Second, that no resolution or ordinance shall be introduced at any other time except by unanimous consent.

Third, it will be deemed very bad taste on the part of any member taking up the time of the Convention in asking said consent, except in dire and pressing emergency.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - That rule is amended simply to conform with the change of the hour at which the Convention meets.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Formerly the roll call was until 11 o'clock, but as the Convention meets half an hour earlier we put the roll call a half hour earlier also. I move the adoption of the report.

A vote being taken the report of the Committee on Rules was adopted.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - The Committee on Rules desires to report Resolution No. 208.

The Committee on Rules reports as a substitute for Resolution No. 208, introduced by Mr. Cornwell of Jefferson, the following:

Resolved, That rule 55 be amended so as to read as follows:

That the rules of the Convention shall not be suspended except by a two - thirds vote of every delegate present, provided a quorum must vote; provided further, that the rule limiting debate upon ordinances reported by committees shall not be suspended except by unanimous consent.

Resolution No. 208, by Mr. Cornwell:

Resolved, That the time allowed each delegate for speaking on any one question be and is hereby limited to ten minutes, and that unanimous consent must be obtained to extend time.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - I move the adoption of that report.

MR. PETTUS - I would like to ask the gentleman from Mobile a question. What difference it makes in the existing rule what the object of the change is?

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - The object of the change is to prevent an extension of the limit for debate, as a mere matter of courtesy, which has been universal up to this time, and the committee thought proper to avoid that if possible.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - Does it not take away the right of one member to yield his time to another?

MR. SMITH - It does not affect that, as I understand it.

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - Mr. President, I call for the reading of the resolution again, some of us did not hear it.

The resolution was again read to the Convention.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I sympathize as much as any member with the desire to shorten discussions of this body, but there are some things that ought to be discussed, and we ought to remember that no matter who it is that speaks, that he represents a constituency who are entitled to be heard here. Here we are wrapping ourselves up in a network of rules that make the

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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

wish to suspend the limit of debate, or the majority wish to lengthen it, and yet they would be in the control of the minority-

MR. DENT - And of one man.

MR. JONES - And of one man, and it seems to me that we are fastening ourselves up, tying our hands, and surrendering the control of this Convention to a minority. I yield as much deference as anybody to the Committee on Rules, but I am tired of that committee coming in here continually in the face of the sentiment of this body and asking us to turn over our power to a minority, and I move to lay the resolution on the table.

MR. PILLANS - I ask that the report be read again, as I did not hear the last part of it.

The report was again read.

A division was called for and the report of the committee was laid upon the table by a vote of 58 ayes and 40 noes.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - The Committee on Rules desires to report favorably Resolution No. 184.

The clerk read the resolution as follows:

Resolution 184: Resolved, That from and after the passage of this resolution, no per diem will be allowed to delegates of this Convention who are absent, except those granted leave, of absense on. account of sickness of themselves or members of their families.

MR. SMITH - I desire to ask the adoption of that resolution.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - On that I call for the ayes and noes.

The call for the ayes and noes was sustained and the result of the roll call was as follows:

AYES

Ashcraft,

Coleman, of Greene,

Howze,

Banks,

Cunningham,

Inge,

Barefield,

Dent,

Jones, of Hale,

Bartlett,

Eley,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Beddow,

Espy,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Blackwell,

Ferguson,

Kyle,

Brooks,

Fletcher,

Knight,

Browne,

Foster,

Leigh,

Bulger,

Glover,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

Burns,

Greer, of Perry,

MacDonald,

Carnathon,

Haley,

Malone,

Chapman,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Martin,

Cobb,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Maxwell,

Cofer,

Henderson,

Miller, of Wilcox,

 


1477

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Murphree,

Phillips,

Spears,

NeSmith,

Pillans,

Spragins,

Norman,

Porter,

Stewart,

Norwood,

Rogers, of Lowndes,

Waddell,

Oates,

Rogers, of Sumter,

Walker,

O'Neal, of Lauderdale,

Sanders,

Weakley,

Opp,

Sanford,

Weatherly,

Palmer,

Searcy,

White,

Parker, of Elmore,

Smith, of Mobile,

Whiteside,

Pettus,

Smith, Mac A.,

Williams, of Marengo,

Total - 72.

NOES

Beavers,

Hood,

Pitts,

Bethune,

Jackson,

Proctor,

Burnett,

Jones, of Bibb,

Reese,

Byars,

Kirk,

Reynolds (Henry),

Cardon,

Kirkland,

Reynolds, of Chilton,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Ledbetter,

Robinson,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Locklin,

Selheimer,

Cornwall,

Lomax,

Sentell,

Craig,

Long of Butler,

Sloan,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Long, of Walker,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Davis, of Etowah,

Lowe, of Jefferson,

Sorrell,

Duke,

McMillan, of Wilcox,

Studdard,

Eyster,

Merrill,

Watts,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Miller, of Marengo,

Williams, of Barbour,

Grant,

Moody,

Wilson, of Clarke,

Grayson,

Mulkey,

Winn.

Greer, of Calhoun,

O'Rear,

Hodges,

Parker, of Cullman,

Total - 52.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Messrs. President,

Graham, of Talladega,

Renfro,

Almon,

Handley,

Samford,

Altman,

Harrison,

Sollie,

Boone,

Hinson,

Tayloe,

Case,

Howell,

Thompson,

Coleman, of Walker,

Jenkins,

Vaughan,

deGraffenreid,

King,

Willet,

Fitts,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Williams, of Elmore,

Foshee,

Morrisette,

Wilson, of Washington.

Freeman,

O'Neill (Jefferson),

Gilmore,

Pearce,

 Total - 31.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - The committee desires to report favorably Resolution No. 169.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

The clerk read the resolution as follows:

Resolution No. 169, by Mr. Williams (Marengo):

Whereas, The Convention has incurred considerable expense in obtaining a stenographic report of the proceedings of the Convention, and whereas, the wisdom of the reports appears more apparent every day, and whereas, as a ready reference the reports are a failure as they are now, and whereas an index would add greatly to the value of the reports;

Now, therefore, Be it resolved by the Convention, that as soon as the Convention shall have adjourned sine die, that the Secretary of State be, and is hereby authorized to contract with some reliable party who shall make a complete index of said reports and shall place the same in each of the volumes of the reports heretofore ordered kept for the use of the State, and shall further cause to be printed in some paper in Alabama the said index, so that those people of Alabama who are preserving the reports may easily obtain a copy of said index for their use and preservation.

MR. SMITH - I desire to move the adoption of the resolution.

A vote being taken the resolution was adopted.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - On behalf of the Committee on Rules, I desire to report Resolution No. 192, without recommendation.

Resolution No. 192, by Mr. Rogers (Lowndes):

To amend rule 36 so as to read: The ayes and noes shall only be ordered when the call therefor is sustained by fifty delegates.

MR. REESE - Mr. President, I move to lay that upon the table.

A vote being taken the resolution was laid upon the table.

MR. BEDDOW - I ask unanimous consent to introduce a resolution.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - I object. (Laughter.)

MR. BEDDOW - I will withdraw my objection to your resolution.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - I will present mine first then. I ask unanimous consent to introduce a resolution.

MR. BEDDOW - I object.

THE PRESIDENT - The clerk will call the roll for the introduction of ordinances, petitions and resolutions.


1479

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - We adopted a rule fixing the limit at 10:30 a. m.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - But it was after 10:30 when we adopted the changed rule, and it does not apply today.

THE PRESIDENT - In the opinion of the Chair it would not go into operation until tomorrow.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - On yesterday I introduced an ordinance which went over until today. It refers to the election of Sheriff, filling of vacancies to that office, impeachment or removal of the Sheriff. It has been the custom in this Convention, Mr. President, without a single exception, when any delegate has offered a resolution or an ordinance, and has indicated to the President a desire to have it referred to any particular committee with but one exception, and that was yesterday by the gentleman from Montgomery, who stands guarding on all occasions the report of the Executive Department, and because, forsooth, it has gone through in a manner and is now beyond the reach of this Convention, sits watching ordinances introduced pertaining to that department and he, on yesterday, raised the objection that my ordinance should not be referred to the Committee on Impeachment. One section in that ordinance referred, Mr. President, to the impeachment and removal of the sheriff, and I asked that it be referred to that committee, without seeing the Chairman of that Committee, without knowing how a single member of that Committee stands upon this proposition, I asked that they might consider this ordinance and report it back to this Convention in some shape or other. Ordinances on this line have gone to the Committee on Executive Department, and, Mr. President, they are sleeping there until this good hour. This Convention has never had an opportunity to investigate them or to express its desire concerning them. For that reason I desire this ordinance to go to a Committee that would act upon it and report its action back to this Convention. I did think, Mr. President, and I think now, that it comes with bad taste from the Chairman of that Committee to object to the reference of this ordinance to another Committee and ask that it be referred to his own. I will state that if I were the Chairman of a Committee in this Convention, and any delegate on this floor, no matter how humble and obscure he might be, if he indicated by a suggestion to the Chair that he did not want his ordinance referred to my Committee, I would sit as silent as the tomb. I would not ask, Mr. President, with a display of enthusiasm to have that ordinance referred to my Committee for its action.

MR. COFER - I rise to a point of order.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state his point of order.


1480

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. COFER - The point is there is nothing before the House.

MR. HEFLIN - I will inform the towering statesman and splendid genius from the County of Cullman, that the ordinance has not yet been referred, and I am now speaking to the subject.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will state for the information of the gentleman that when the ordinance was offered on yesterday the hour of adjournment was about reached pending the consideration of the question of reference, the Convention adjourned.

MR. COFER - I make the point of order that a motion to refer to a Committee is not debatable.

THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that the point of order is well taken.

MR. HEFLIN - I just want to state, Mr. President, in conclusion, that I do not know what the Committee will do-

The point of order was made that hour of 11 o'clock had arrived.

THE PRESIDENT - Point of order is sustained.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - That leaves the objection in a bad fix, after having heard the gentleman from Chambers. I ask unanimous consent to be allowed to speak in reference to the suggestion that I made to refer it to the Executive Department.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I raise the point of order that the Chair has already sustained a point of order that the motion is not debatable.

MR. JONES - I ask unanimous consent.

Objection was made.

MR. JONES - I am sorry the gentleman charged us with lack of courtesy, and then is not willing to hear from us.

MR. BROOKS - I desire to call attention to the fact that while a motion to refer is not debatable, yet it is within the power of the President to allow of sufficient debate as to why it should or should not go to a certain Committee to allow him to determine that question. I think if the President will reflect he will see the propriety.

THE PRESIDENT - Will the gentleman refer the Chair to the rule?

MR. BROOKS - There is no special rule.

THE PRESIDENT - The recollection of the Chair is that all ordinances when introduced will be referred without debate.


1481

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. BROOKS - But it is in the province of the Chair to allow of sufficient debate to see to what Committee it should go.

THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair the question to refer would not be debatable.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Then I rise to a question of privilege.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the question.

MR. JONES - It has been charged in the debate that the Committee of which I have the honor to be Chairman has been hiding out or pigeonholing resolutions. I have a right to make a statement as to that.

THE PRESIDENT - It does not seem to the Chair that that is a question of personal privilege.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Then I make another point: The Chair allowed the gentleman to speak and have all the advantage of debate and never called him to order and I submit under those circumstances if the Chairman has not an equitable right to be heard.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair did not call the gentleman from Chambers to order and would not call the gentleman from Montgomery to order unless delegates raise the question. Then the Chair is compelled to.

MR. KIRKLAND - I desire to withdraw the objection I interposed to hearing the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. HINSON - I object to the consideration of the question.

THE PRESIDENT - The question is whether unanimous consent shall be given the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. JONES - I don't ask it now.

Objection was made.

MR. HINSON - As I understand the rule, it is proper for any delegate to object to the consideration of a question and if two - thirds of the Convention sustain that objection, the question shall be considered no more during the session. I understand that is the parliamentary rule.

THE PRESIDENT - The question now before the Convention is on the reference of the order introduced by the gentleman from Chambers.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I move to amend that by referring it to the Committee on the Executive Department.


l482

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE PRESIDENT - And the gentleman from Montgomery moves to amend by referring it to the Committee on Executive Department.

MR. REESE - I move to lay the amendment on the table.

MR. LONG (Walker) - I rise to a point of order. A mere motion to refer to a Committee is not subject to amendment. It is a question which should be left to the President.

THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair that when a gentleman moves to refer an ordinance to a special Committee it would be in order for the convention to amend the motion and refer it to some other committee. The point of order is overruled.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - I rise to a point of order.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - Under our rules when a motion is made to refer an ordinance to a Committee other than that Committee to which it should properly go, the question should first come on referring it to the committee to which it naturally would go. Section 29 is as follows: "When motions are made for the reference of a subject to a select committee and a standing committee, the question for the reference to a standing committee shall be first put."

THE PRESIDENT - The point of order is overruled.

MR. HINSON - I rise to a point of order.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order.

MR. HINSON - As I understand the rule, I objected to the further consideration of the question, and I did it upon authority of Rule 15 of Robert's Rules of Order. My idea in making that objection is that we have discussed this question as long as necessary and the rule reads like this—

THE PRESIDENT - The ordinance is not up for consideration now. The only question is the question of reference. The Chair would overrule the point of order.

MR. REESE - I move to table the motion of the gentleman from Montgomery.

A vote being taken the motion to table was lost, and a further vote being taken on the amendment of the delegate from Montgomery (Mr. Jones) on a division, there were 64 ayes and 44 noes.

So the amendment was adopted.

A further vote being taken the motion as amended was carried, and the ordinance was referred to the Committee on the Executive Department.


1483

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. LONG (Walker) - If I am in order I move that the Executive Department be requested to report this ordinance one way or the other and not to let it sleep there and die as all other similar resolutions have done—

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will be in order.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I insist on my right to speak in behalf of the committee.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman is not in order.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - I yield to the Chair, but at the same time I desire to state it is because of the respect I have for the Chair and not because I think the Chair is right.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will state that the ordinance to define and regulate the Executive Department which has been adopted by this body is referred to the Committee on Order, Consistency and Harmony.

MR. O'NEAL - I ask unanimous consent to introduce a short resolution.

THE PRESIDENT - Is there objection?

MR. BURNS - I object. I call for the regular order.

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I move for the regular order, the continuation of the roll call.

THE PRESIDENT - The hour of 11 having arrived, under the rules the roll call will be dispensed with and the secretary will call the roll of standing committees.

This was done, and on the call of the Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses-

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I desire on behalf of my committee to call up a report that I made from the Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses, and ask that it be put on its passage.

THE PRESIDENT - The clerk will read the report to which the gentleman refers.

The report was read as follows:

The Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses have instructed me to make the following partial report, viz:

The committee have audited the accounts hereto attached and find that the State of Alabama is indebted to the Brown Printing Company of Montgomery, Alabama, in the sum of $255.25. We find that said State is indebted to Marshall & Bruce of Nashville, Tenn. in the sum of $12.


1484

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

We also find that said State is indebted to Ed. C. Fowler Company, Montgomery, Alabama, in the sum of $24.75.

All of the above amounts are for articles furnished the State of Alabama for the use of the Constitutional Convention, and all of the above amounts are itemized as shown by bills hereto attached. Total amount $302.

And we recommend the payment of the same, all of which is respectfully submitted, John T. Heflin,

Chairman of Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses.

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - I move that the report of the committee be adopted and that the President be authorized to draw his warrant in favor of these parties for the amounts there set out.

MR. ROBINSON - Does this require an ordinance to carry it into effect?

THE PRESIDENT - The ordinance has been introduced heretofore and adopted.

MR. LOMAX - My impression is that there has been a change in the rules requiring that the payment of money be done only on a yea and nay vote, and there might be some objection to the payments in these matters unless that the rule is complied with.

THE PRESIDENT - Will the gentleman refer to the rule?

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - We passed a resolution a few days ago that no appropriation be made except by a yea and nay vote, and I call for the adoption of this report by a yea and nay vote.

MR. LOMAX - The secretary informs me that the resolution to which I and the gentleman refer is on the calendar and has not been adopted.

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) - Then this does not require yea and nay vote, and I withdraw the call.

THE PRESIDENT - As the Chair recollects the yeas and nays are required upon the final adoption of any article or section of the Constitution. The yeas and nays are then taken and spread on the Journal and referred to the Committee on Order, Consistency and Harmony.

Resolution 120 that all resolutions authorizing the payment of any money shall only be adopted by a yea and nay vote has been placed on the calendar, but has not yet been passed.


1485

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

The special order is the report of the Committee on Taxation.

MR. WHITE - I have an amendment to Section 9.

THE PRESIDENT - There is an amendment pending to Section 9.

MR. WHITE - Then I offer mine as amendment to that amendment.

THE PRESIDENT - Did the gentleman have the floor at the time the gentleman occurred?

THE CLERK - No sir; Mr. Kirk had the floor.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman is not in order at this time to offer the amendment. 'The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colbert.

MR. KIRK - The amendment which I offered on yesterday afternoon is one ,which is of great interest to every county, in the State. This move of establishing a debt limit for each county, as suggested by the gentleman on yesterday, is an innovation in this State, and should receive the careful consideration of every delegate in this Convention. I believe it is a wise innovation, but the point at which I am driving is to get every delegate on this floor to consider the effect of this innovation and so frame this section of the Constitution that it will not work a disadvantage to the county instead of ail advantage as we propose and suppose. Now it is very probable that every county in the State of Alabama will at some day or other find it necessary to create a debt to the extent of the debt limit. When that has been done, that county will not be able to create a debt for any purposes however great the needs of that county may be. If you make that limit three or five per cent when the county has created a debt that comes up to that limit, then she is unable to create and other debt. Take my county that has already exceeded a limit of 5 per cent and if her court house and every bridge in the county were swept away, we would be unable to raise money to replace those bridges or to rebuild the court house. Now I submit to the gentleman that would be a very bad condition for any county to get into, with her court house destroyed, her bridges swept away and unable to create a debt by which she could replace those improvements. Then I think it is wise to adopt the amendment I offer providing in cases of that kind where the county has created a debt up to the amount of the limit that it may when necessary, increase that indebtedness for the purpose of erecting buildings and county brides. It seems to me that will address itself to the attention of every delegate here who feels an interest in the welfare of his county. A provision of that kind should be made. None of us know when the other counties of the State will want to increase their debt to the extent of the debt limit. Perhaps this question weighs on my mind more heavily from the


1486

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

very fact that my county is already in that condition. Not only that, but as I stated on yesterday, we are unable even to pay the interest on those bonds and we have here today representatives of the bondholders who are desiring and working to get this Convention to increase the tax rate in my town and county in order to pay off those debts. You can see the condition we are in and other counties should profit by that in my judgment.

MR. WHITE - Will the gentleman allow me a question?

MR. KIRK - Yes, sir.

MR. WHITE - Should your county have the opportunity to go more in debt than now?

MR. KIRK - Yes; if the bridges or the court house should be destroyed we could issue county warrants and place those interest drawing warrants with our own bankers or some one in the county and raise sufficient money to replace the bridges and rebuild the court house.

MR. O'NEAL - Could you get anyone to advance money to your county when you admit your county has failed to pay interest on its public debt?

MR. KIRK - We can for the reason that the Constitution or the report of the Committee now before the Convention has provided for the levy of one - fourth of one per cent special tax to cover those expenses.

MR. O'NEAL - Would not that one - fourth of one per cent be sufficient to enable you to rebuild a court house if destroyed ?

MR. KIRK - No, sir; it would not be one - fourth enough to build a court house. It would take two or three years.

MR. O'NEAL - Could you not issue warrants and pay it as the money is collected under that tax?

MR. KIRK - Not under that provision.

MR. O'NEAL - Why not?

MR. KIRK - Because it says when the debt limit has been reached the county shall not create any further indebtedness. That is the trouble. Whenever we reach the debt limit the county cannot create any further debt.

MR. KYLE - Will the gentleman permit me an interruption?

MR. KIRK - Yes, sir.

MR. KYLE - How did you create that debt of $200,000?

MR. KIRK - The debt was created for the purpose of building roads.


1487

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. KYLE - What sort of roads?

MR. KIRK - Macadamized roads and very much against my opposition. Our representative succeeded in getting a measure through the legislature authorizing the issue and sale of $100,000 of bonds. That was submitted to a vote of the people and about one - third of the voters of the county went out and voted on that occasion. They had a small majority. Two years from that they voted upon the issue of another hundred thousand and the people voted that and I will state if it were submitted to the people of my county they would still vote another hundred thousand dollars.

MR. WHITE - I offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

Amend Section 9 so as to read as follows: After the ratification of this Constitution no county shall become indebted in an amount greater than 5 per centum of the taxable property thereof; and in estimating the amount of said indebtedness, its then existing debts shall be included.

THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the amendment of the delegate from Jefferson to the amendment of the delegate from Limestone to the report of the Committee.

MR. WHITE - It has occurred to me that the main good to be accomplished is to increase the credit of the towns and to do that the law ought to be very clear and unambiguous. Of course we sympathize with the conditions in Colbert County, but all the other counties in Alabama cannot afford to have their credit impaired and destroyed by those local conditions. In fact, I doubt very much whether the county of Colbert even, if it had the privilege under the law of increasing the debt, could I do it. I do not see why anyone would be justified in buying bonds or the securities offered.

MR. KIRK - Can I ask the gentleman a question?

MR. WHITE - Yes.

MR. KIRK - Could not the County Commissioners issue warrants to pay for a court house and could it not pay for it out of the special tax to be levied of one - fourth of one per cent.

MR. WHITE - They can do that now.

MR. KIRK - They can't do it under this section, because it says when the debt limit has been reached the county shall create no further debt.

MR. WHITE - I doubt very much if you can get anyone to take your warrants.


1488

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. KIRK - There is a special tax to be levied for that purpose.

MR. WHITE - The gentleman might after the section is agreed upon except Colbert from it, as far as that is concerned, but my idea is this, that this ought to be very clear and couched in such language that it cannot be misunderstood. My amendment provides that counties may become indebted to the extent of 5 per cent of the value of the property of the county, but when you estimated that 5 per cent, it must include all past indebtedness.

I think 5 per cent. is as small amount as we should fix. It is as small as in any other State except one, and I am not sure but what it is as small as any other State. I know in Jefferson, with our great sewerage system upon which we are just entering we may need 5 per cent. and I take it most other counties may under certain circumstances need it. As I do not wish to discuss the matter further and it has been discussed sufficiently, I move the Previous question.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - Can I make a request of the gentleman?

MR. WHITE - Yes, sir.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - I would like to hear the amendment read.

The amendment was read.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - My objection to the amendment is that part of it which says the existing indebtedness shall be included.

MR. WHITE - Including the existing indebtedness to make up the 5 per cent.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - Where the section reported by the committee is that it shall not apply, the 5 per cent. to indebtedness that has already been created. You antagonize that provision?

MR. WHITE - Yes. The point is this, there is not a county in the State but what is indebted to some extent now, some greater and some less, and if you are to absolutely eliminate its present indebtedness and not consider that at all, when you go to estimate the amount it shall be allowed to create, it may make it 9 per cent. The county may be now in debt like Colbert, 5 per cent. and then you add 5 more which would make 10 per cent. if the gentleman from Green is right in his construction, and I am inclined to think he is. My amendment limits it to 5 per cent. that is, with the debt now existing and the debt to be created, that


1489

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

they shall not exceed 5 per cent. Whether you like it or not, that makes it plain.

MR. O'NEAL - Can I ask the gentleman a question?

MR. WHITE - Yes.

MR. O'NEAL - Is it your purpose to repudiate any debt now in excess of 5 per cent?

MR. WHITE - How could we repudiate it when the Federal Constitution protects it?

MR. O'NEAL - We don't want to leave ourselves in uncertainty.

MR. WHITE - There cannot be any uncertainty. Section 10 of Article I of the Federal Constitution says no State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of a contract. As I understand this amendment has gone as far as an amendment can go. That we can offer no other amendment and I will ask the previous question on the adoption of the section with the amendment. That will give the chairman of the committee an opportunity to discuss it.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - I will ask the gentleman to withdraw that motion.

MR. WHITE - I will if you will renew it.

MR. O'NEAL - I ask the gentleman to withdraw it as the gentleman from Greene was preparing to make some remarks.

MR. WHITE - I have no objection to yielding to the gentleman from Colbert, and then the gentleman from Greene can discuss it and renew the motion.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - All I desire to say is I hope the members of this Convention will not become fixed in their opinion about this matter as to prevent the relief that Colbert county needs. The gentleman from Colbert (Mr. Kirk) has referred to the financial conditions of our county. We are now indebted in a bonded debt to the amount of $200,000. This bears interest part of it at 5 per cent. and the other part at 6, which requires about $11,000 to pay the annual interest. It might be that we would need a new court house. I prefer the amendment of the gentleman from Colbert, because that provides that any county may incur an indebtedness for ordinary county purposes, that is for jails, court houses, poor houses, etc., but not for extraordinary purposes, such as the building of turnpikes or things of that kind. Now I can see no objection to allowing the county, even a county in the condition that Colbert is in, to contract indebtedness if that county can find those who are willing to enter into a contract with them for these ordinary and necessary county purposes. It would


1490

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

be absolutely impossible for our county to contract a debt of any kind or for any amount in the condition we are now. We already have an indebtedness of $200,000, which is more than 5 per cent. of the assessed value of our property. Now I submit to the members of this Convention that it would be absolutely impossible for us to incur a debt of any kind.

MR. DENT - Can I ask the gentleman a question?

MR. CARMICHAEL - Yes, sir.

MR. DENT - As I understand the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson that would have it as it now stands at five per cent ?

MR. CARMICHAEL - Yes, sir.

MR. DENT - Would that help your county? As I understand your taxable property is less than four million.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - No, sir; it would not help us. The amendment of the gentleman from Colbert which allows further indebtedness for the building of county jails and bridges, etc., will.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - Will the gentleman permit me a question?

MR. CARMICHAEL - Yes, sir.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - If you will turn to Section 5, commencing at line 6, it reads: "provided further, that to pay any debt or liability now existing against any county incurred for the erection, construction and maintenance of the necessary public buildings or bridges, or that may hereafter be created for the erection of necessary public buildings, or roads, any county may levy and collect" special taxes. Does not that cover your case.

MR. CARMICHAEL - I think not.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - Why not?

MR. CARMICHAEL - For this reason: This says, provided further, that to pay any debt or liability now existing against any county, incurred for the erection, construction and maintenance of the necessary public buildings or bridges, or that may hereafter be created for the erection of necessary public buildings, bridges or roads, any county may levy and collect such special taxes not to exceed a rate of one - fourth of one per centum.

Now that is in addition to the five mills; but that has to be levied upon the assessed value, which, in our county, amounts $3,800,000. That has to be levied on the assessed value. But there is a subsequent section which says that no county shall be


1491

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

indebted in an amount greater than five per cent. of the assessed value, which I think controls this section.

MR. COLEMAN - With your permission, I will reply when you get through.

MR. CARMICHAEL - If this Convention is willing to adopt the amendment of the gentleman from Colbert, very well; but if not we would like to have an opportunity of offering amendment to provide that this amendment shall not apply to the county of Colbert and then we would be perfectly willing to the amendment.

MR. WHITE - Will the gentlemen permit me just a moment? A number of gentlemen wish further to discuss this matter and I therefore release the gentleman from renewing the call for the previous question.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - If the position of the gentleman from Jefferson is correct, that is, that the State shall pass no ex post facto law interfering with existing contracts, then his amendment is wholly unnecessary. What field has it to operate in. It says you shall take into consideration the existing indebtedness. The only effect it will have will be to prevent a county from contracting one dollar of liability if the existing indebtedness has already reached an extent to equal five per cent. Now, the purpose of that provision by the committee was this: We do not wish to be placed in the attitude of repudiating honest debts which had been contracted by counties issuing their bonds putting them on the market and selling them for a valuable consideration. We thought it right and proper where counties had contracted these debts and had issued bonds and had received value received for them that those counties should be allowed to pay those debts. Otherwise you would be committing a fraud upon bona fide purchasers of bonds because in the absence of this provision, and heretofore there has been no limit upon the power of a county to contract a debt, it could issue bonds ad libitum as mentioned by the delegate from Colbert. The provision is simply one in the interest of honesty and the performance of bona fide contracts. But we wish to put creditors upon notice hereafter when you buy bonds from counties of this State you must do so with the understanding that the county has no authority to issue an indebtedness beyond a certain amount. That is fair dealing with the public and that is the reason that provision is put there.

MR. KIRK - Can I ask the gentleman a question.

MR. COLEMAN - Yes, sir.

MR. KIRK - In order that I may bring out more fully the point made by my amendment this says that no county shall become indebted to an amount greater than five per cent of the


1492

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

property. Colbert having created a greater debt could not create any other debt for any purpose.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - I will answer you when you get through.

MR. KIRK - Another section reported, but not adopted provides that a county may levy a special tax of not more than onefourth of one per cent. to provide for certain expenses for county buildings. If Colbert could create a further debt by this levy of one - fourth of one per cent. she could pay it off in four or five years.

MR. COLEMAN - Do you say that Section 5 has not been adopted ?

MR. KIRK - No, sir; that is not yet adopted. It was passed.

MR. COLEMAN - Then as it has not yet been passed, I will make no further argument other than to say it would require time and study to answer the question, and I do not feel like giving an impromptu answer as to whether the provision for a special tax would be controlled by the general provision. I am inclined to think the special tax would stand as against the general law, but as to that, I would not undertake to inform the Convention. But, as I have said, the counties have issued bonds when there was no limit upon their power to contract indebtedness, and they have sold those bonds in the market, and certainly to insure fair dealing with their creditors this provision should stand and let the counties have the power to pay the debts they have contracted, but give warning to the creditors hereafter that they must take notice when they buy bonds issued by counties that the county has no authority to create indebtedness beyond a certain limit, to - wit, 5 per cent.

MR. FOSTER - It seems to me that the objection raised by the gentleman from Colbert might be met and at the same time have this provision intact. As I understand the intention of that section is to prevent any bonded indebtedness in excess of 5 per cent, and that might be met by providing that it shall not apply to debts which mature within twelve months after their creation. In that way the counties might meet these temporary debts by a special tax which no doubt will be provided for by this Convention. I intended to offer an amendment to that effect, but understand it would not be in order now, and I merely wish to call the attention of the Convention to that way out of the difficulty, as it seems to me the county of Colbert might, instead of issuing bonds, issue its warrants maturing within twelve months, which could be extended at the end of that time, and make payments of that by special tax, which, no doubt, the Convention will provide for.


1493

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

A vote being taken, the amendment of the delegate from Jefferson was lost.

MR. SANDERS - I desire to offer a substitute for the whole section.

The substitute was read as follows:

No county shall become indebted in an amount greater than 5 per centum of the taxable value of the property thereof; provided, this limit shall not apply to any existing indebtedness in excess of such 5 per centum which has already been created or authorized by now existing law to be created.

MR. COLEMAN - So far as I am concerned. I have no objection to that. The only difference is the insertion of the word "limitation" instead of "section."

MR. SANDERS - It changes some other provisions.

MR. COLEMAN - But the meaning is the same.

MR. HARRISON - I rise to a point of order. If I understand that correctly, that very provision was voted down yesterday.

MR. WADDELL - It was 3 per cent and not 5 that was voted down.

THE PRESIDENT - The point of order is not well taken.

MR. HARRISON - It was more of an inquiry than of a point of order.

MR. WHITE - Under that provision, is it possible to create a debt, considering past and future obligations that would amount to more than 5 per cent?

MR. SANDERS - The meaning of the substitute is simply this, if a county is already indebted in excess of 5 per cent. it cannot create any further debt, but if it is not indebted to that extent, the indebtedness may be increased to 5 per cent hereafter.

MR. WHITE - Including the past indebtedness?

MR. SANDERS - Yes.

MR. WHITE - Could Colbert County create any other debt?

MR. SANDERS - If they are up to 5 per cent they can't.

MR. O'NEAL - You do not mean to say they can create 5 per cent in addition to the indebtedness they now owe?

MR. SANDERS - No, sir; the total indebtedness can only go up to 5 per cent.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. HARRISON - I am opposed to that amendment, because I think there should be a different amount fixed as the limit. I have no particular objection to the phraseology of this over the other proposition; it is tweedledum and tweedledee. But I do hope the delegates will not consent to that 5 per cent. The motion to strike out that proposition and insert three only failed by a majority of two. I hope the Convention will not go over 3 per cent. Vote this proposition down, and we have prepared an amendment fixing it at 3 1 - 2. I think that is not only reasonable, but it is as much as any county in Alabama or any other State ought to want to incur.

A vote being taken on a division, the substitute was lost by 32 ayes and 63 noes.

MR. HARRISON - I offer an amendment.

The amendment was about to be read.

MR. HARRISON - Just wait a second. Some gentlemen seem to prefer the form of this substitute and I will change my amendment.

The amendment was changed and read as follows:

No county shall become indebted in any amount greater than 3 1 - 2 per cent of the taxable value of the property thereof; provided, this limitation shall not apply to any existing indebtedness in excess of such three 1 - 2 per centum which has already been created or authorized by now existing law to be created.

MR. O'NEAL - I move to amend by striking out 3 1 - 2 and substituting four.

The amendment was declared out of order.

MR. WATTS - I want to ask the gentleman from Lee a question. I want to know what he means by the expression "now existing law."

MR. COLEMAN - Some bonds have been authorized, but not issued, and this would cover that.

MR. WATTS - I am satisfied.

MR. O'NEAL - I move to table the substitute.

The ayes and noes were called for and sustained and the roll resulted as follows:

AYES.

Beddow,

Brooks,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Barefield,

Burnett,

Carnathon,

Bethune,

Cardon,

Cobb,

Blackwell,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Coleman, of Greene,


1495

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Cornwall,

Howze,

Norman,

Cunningham,

Inge,

O'Neal (Lauderdale)

deGraffenreid,

Jones, of Bibb,

O'Neill (Jefferson),

Eyster,

Kirk,

Opp,

Ferguson,

Kirkland,

Parker (Cullman),

Foshee,

Knight,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Foster,

Ledbetter,

Selheimer,

Glover,

Leigh,

Sentell,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Lomax,

Sloan,

Grant,

Long (Walker),

Waddell,

Grayson,

Lowe (Jefferson),

Walker,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Lowe (Lawrence),

Watts,

Haley,

Macdonald,

White,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Martin,

Willet,

Henderson,

Moody,

Hodges,

NeSmith,

Total - 54.

NOES.

Messrs. President,

Jackson,

Reynolds (Chilton),

Ashcraft,

Jenkins,

Reynolds (Henry),

Banks,

Jones, of Hale,

Robinson,

Bartlett,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Rogers (Sumter),

Bulger,

Kyle,

Sanders,

Burns,

Locklin,

Sanford,

Browne,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Searcy,

Byars,

Malone,

Smith (Mobile),

Chapman,

Maxwell,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Cofer,

Merrill,

Sorrell,

Craig,

Miller (Marengo),

Spears,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Miller (Wilcox),

Spragins,

Davis, of Etowah,

Mulkey,

Stewart,

Dent,

Murphree,

Studdard,

Duke,

Norwood,

Tayloe,

Eley,

Oates,

Weakley,

Espy,

O'Rear,

Weatherly,

Fletcher,

Palmer,

Whiteside,

Gilmore,

Parker (Elmore),

Williams (Barbour),

Greer, of Perry,

Pettus,

Williams (Marengo),

Harrison,

Phillips,

Wilson (Clarke),

Heflin, of Chambers,

Pillans,

Winn,

Hinson,

Porter,

Hood,

Proctor,

Total - 27.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.

Almon,

Boone,

Fitts,

Altman,

Case,

Freeman,

Beavers,

Coleman, of Walker,

Graham, of Talladega,


1496

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Handley,

Morrisette,

Smith, Mac. A.,

Howell,

Pearce,

Sollie,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Pitts,

Thompson,

King,

Reese,

Vaughan,

Long, (Butler),

Renfro,

Williams (Elmore),

McMillan (Baldwin),

Samford,

Wilson (Washington),

During the roll call:—

 MR. OATES - When Mr. Morrisette left I was paired with him, but I don't know how he would vote, and I, therefore, vote no myself.

MR. REESE - I am paired with Mr. Fitts of Tuscaloosa. I suppose he would vote no. I would vote aye.

So the motion to table was lost.

MR. FOSTER - I offer an amendment.

MR. HARRISON - I rise to a point of order. The amendment is not in order.

THE PRESIDENT - The point is well taken. The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Lee.

A vote being taken on a division the amendment was adopted, 72 ayes and 51 noes.

MR. FOSTER - I desire to offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows: Amend by inserting between the words "amount" and "greater" in the first line "not including debts which mature within twelve months after the creation of the same."

MR. FOSTER - Just a few words to explain that. The idea has occurred to me from conditions that frequently exist in my county though we are not up to the tax limit I can readily conceive that counties which are up to the limit can be put in a bad condition. We have a great many streams that are frequently swollen and bridges that are washed away and our court of county commissioners have frequently to make temporary loans and levy special taxes to provide for these matters. This is the purpose of my amendment.

MR. KIRK - Can that amendment be voted on until the first amendment is disposed of?

MR. FOSTER - I offer it as an amendment of the gentleman from Colbert.

MR. LOMAX - As a matter of parliamentary procedure, with the original proposition pending the amendment of the gentleman from Colbert, and the amendment of the gentleman from


1497

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Tuscaloosa to his amendment, can I offer this as a substitute for the section, and the amendments?

THE PRESIDENT - It is called to the attention of the Chair that the substitute of the gentleman from Lee was offered as a substitute to Section 9 and the pending amendment. An amendment should be directed now to the substitute.

MR. LOMAX - My substitute would be in order at this time then ?

THE PRESIDENT - It seems to the Chair with the amendment of the gentleman from Tuscaloosa pending, we would have two amendments pending. A further amendment, (and a substitute would be an amendment), would not be in order at this time, until the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa is disposed of.

MR. LOMAX - I am inclined to the opinion that the friends of a measure have a right to perfect it by amendment before a substitute is in order, and that I believe is the ruling of the Chair.

THE PRESIDENT - If that point had been made before the substitute was acted upon, but the substitute of the gentleman from Lee has been acted upon and adopted.

MR. LOMAX - And the Chair holds then that my substitute would not be in order until after action on the amendment now pending.

THE PRESIDENT - Yes, sir.

Upon a vote being taken, the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa (Mr. Foster) was lost.

MR. LOMAX - I offer a substitute for the original section as amended and for the pending amendment, if there be one pending.

The substitute was read as follows: "No county in this State having an assessed valuation exceeding twenty million dollars of taxable property, shall become indebted in an amount exceeding five per cent of its assessed valuation, and counties having an assessed valuation of less than twenty million shall not incur a debt exceeding four per cent of its assessed valuation, provided this limitation shall not apply to debts created for the construction of court houses and jails. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the issue of renewal bonds or bonds to fund the floating indebtedness of such county, now existing."

MR. HARRISON - I rise to a point of order on that amendment, because it is undertaking indirectly to undo what this Convention has acted upon and adopted, and is a substitute for the whole section, and it is contrary to its provisions, particularly


1498

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

the substitution of four or five per cent for three and one - half, is an effort in an indirect way, without reconsidering it, to change the action of this Convention.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I call attention to the fact that the proposed substitute of the gentleman from Lee was in fact an amendment. He offered it is an amendment as I understood it, and offered to amend by striking out from the original section the word five, and inserting three and one - half.

THE PRESIDENT - The substitute of the gentleman from Lee was offered as a substitute to the pending amendment and was adopted. The Chair will hear from the gentleman from Montgomery upon the point of order.

MR. LOMAX - I understand the Chair to rule that a substitute is nothing but an amendment. Then the effect of the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lee was simply to amend the original section, by striking out and inserting. That was what it amounted to. It was nothing more than an amendment. Now, when an original proposition is pending, and an amendment is pending to that proposition, and an amendment to that amendment, a substitute cannot be offered, and under the rules of the Fiftieth Congress, (I have not a later rule), the rule was that a substitute was not in order until after the friends of the measure had perfected an amendment. In other words when a proposition was pending, and an amendment was offered, and an amendment to that amendment, a substitute was not in order until the friends of the measure had had the chance to perfect the amendment.

Now if it be true that a substitute is nothing but an amendment, then after the adoption of the substitute of the gentleman from Lee, the original proposition stood before this House simply as amended, and nothing more. Standing in that position, then, it was subject to amendment again, as the Chair has held here, by entertaining the amendment of the gentleman froth Tuscaloosa and other gentlemen upon the floor of the Convention, and if it is subject to amendment, then it is subject to substitute, because a substitute is an amendment, and I submit that my proposition is in order under that view of the law.

THE PRESIDENT - The point made by the gentleman from Lee is that the rate of 5 per cent. was stricken out by a vote of the Convention and 3 1 - 2 inserted in lieu of 5, and that the effect of your amendment, without reconsidering the vote whereby the Convention struck out the 5 per cent. and inserted the 3 1 - 2, is to reinsert the 5 per cent.

MR. LOMAX - But my amendment does not go to that length. There is no better established rule in parliamentary law than this: that you can move to strike out and insert certain


1499

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

words, and after that motion has been adopted, then you can move to strike out certain words preceding those which were inserted, or certain words which followed those inserted, and that motion would be in order, although the Convention had already adopted the motion to strike out and insert. So in that view of the case the amendment would be in order. Now another proposition is this: If my amendment—

THE PRESIDENT - The point is that 5 per cent. was in the section,—

MR. LOMAX - Yes, I am coming to that now.

THE PRESIDENT - And the gentleman from Lee moves to strike out 5 per cent and insert 3 1 - 2, and that amendment was adopted. Now you propose to strike out 3 1 - 2 and insert 5-

MR. LOMAX - Not entirely.

THE PRESIDENT - And is that not practically a reconsideration of the question?

MR. LOMAX - I was coming to that identical point when the Chair interrupted.

MR. DENT - The gentleman from Montgomery wants to insert 4.

MR. LOMAX - Five in one place and 4 in another. If my proposition had been to strike out the 3 1 - 2, after it had been adopted by this Convention in lieu of the 5, and insert 5, then the point of order would be well taken against my amendment, because it was simply to undo a thing without reconsideration; but my proposition goes further than that. It proposes as to certain counties in the State, 5 per cent. shall be fixed as the limit; as to certain other counties 4 per cent. shall be fixed and the 4 and 5 per cent. shall not apply to court houses or jails, or to the funding of the debt of a county.

Now coming to that point, and going further than the proposition, not attempting to reconsider it, but offering more. I submit the proposition is in order, but that it would not have been in order if it merely sought to go back. It is entirely a new proposition. "No county in the State having an assessed valuation exceeding $20,000,000 of taxable property. shall become indebted in an amount exceeding 5 per cent. of its assessed valuation, and counties having an assessed valuation of less than $20,000,000 shall not incur a debt exceeding 4 per cent. of its assessed valuation, provided this shall not apply to debts created for the construction of court houses and jails. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the issue of renewal bond or bonds to fund the floating indebtedness of such county now existing."


1500

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. SANFORD - I offer an amendment to that amendment.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will overrule the point of order. It seems to the Chair that there is sufficient change in the proposition of the gentleman from Montgomery to save it from the objection that it is a mere proposition to reconsider.

MR. HARRISON - The Chair has not heard from me-

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will hear froth the gentleman if he desires to discuss it.

MR. HARRISON - I will make a suggestion, Mr. President. The substitute offered by the gentleman from Montgomery, it occurs to me, is very largely the amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Colbert, with a little change in the phraseology, and mine was adopted, being a substitute for that, as well as for the original Section. The fact that he has merely varied it by putting in 4 in one place and 5 in another, instead of the 3 1 - 2, I submit cannot change the rule. If a legislative body can strike out 5 and insert 3 1 - 2, and be permitted again to have a vote of the Convention and strike out 3 1 - 2 and insert 4 and 5. what becomes of the action of the Convention in fixing any definite amount? It occurs to me that there would be no end to it, and if the Chair holds that it is in order, I only want to say that the Convention can probably settle it, and I move to lay the substitute on the table.

MR. SANFORD - I offer this-

THE PRESIDENT - The chair thinks the proposition to fix the 5 per cent. rate for the whole State is not the same as to fix 5 per cent. for a part of the State and 4 per cent. for another part.

MR. HARRISON - It originally fixed it at 3 1 - 2 for the whole State. The substitute fixed the entire State at 3 1 - 2.

THE PRESIDENT - The substitute fixes it at 3 1 - 2 for the entire State, and the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Montgomery is to fix it at 5 per cent. for a part of the state, and at 4 per cent. for another part.

MR. HARRISON - His amendment would not allow 3 1 - 2 to apply anywhere.

THE PRESIDENT - That is the reason he wants to offer the amendment.

MR. HARRISON - It changes the action of the Convention entirely.

THE PRESIDENT - But speaking to the point of order, and that was the question, the point of order was whether it was merely a question of reconsideration. The Chair is of the opinion that the point of order is not well taken.


1501

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. HARRISON - Then I move to lay the substitute on the table.

MR. LOMAX - And on that I call for the ayes and noes.

The call for the ayes and noes was sustained.

THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the substitute offered by the gentleman from Montgomery to the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lee, and the gentleman from Lee moves to lay the substitute offered by the gentleman from Montgomery on the table. The ayes and noes are called for and have been ordered. Those in favor of the motion to table will say aye, and those opposed no, as your names are called.

During the call of the roll.

MR. REESE - I am paired with the gentleman from Tuscaloosa, Mr. Fitts; if he were here he would vote aye and I would vote no.

Upon the call of the roll, the vote resulted as follows:

AYES

Messrs. President,

Harrison,

Porter,

Ashcraft,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Proctor,

Banks,

Hinson,

Reynolds, of Chilton,

Bartlett,

Hood,

Reynolds (Henry),

Beavers,

Inge,

Robinson,

Brooks,

Jackson,

Rogers, of Sumter,

Browne,

Jones, of Hale,

Sanders,

Bulger,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Sanford,

Byars,

Kirkland,

Searcy,

Carnathon,

Kyle,

Sloan,

Chapman,

Leigh,

Smith, of Mobile,

Cobb,

Locklin,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Cofer,

McMillan, of Wilcox,

Sorrell,

Coleman, of Greene,

Malone,

Spears,

Craig,

Martin,

Spragins,

Cunningham,

Maxwell,

Stewart,

Travis, of DeKalb,

Merrill,

Studdard.

Davis, of Etowah,

Miller, of Marengo,

Tayloe,

Dent,

Miller, of Wilcox,

Waddell,

Duke,

Mulkey,

Walker.

Eley,

Murphree,

Weatherly,

Espy,

Oates,

Whiteside,

Fletcher,

O'Rear,

Williams, of Barbour,

Foshee,

Palmer,

Williams, of Marengo.

Foster,

Parker, of Elmore,

Wilson, of Clarke,

Gilmore

Pettus,

Winn.

Greer. of Calhoun,

Pillans,

Greer, of Perry,

Phillips,

 Total - 82.


1502

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

NOES

Barefield,

Grant,

Mac Donald,

Beddow,

Grayson,

Moody,

Bethune,

Haley,

NeSmith,

Blackwell,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Norman,

Burnett,

Henderson,

Norwood,

Burns,

Hodges,

O'Neal, of Lauderdale,

Cardon,

Howze,

O'Neil (Jefferson),

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Jenkins,

Opp,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Jones, of Bibb,

Parker, of Cullman,

Cornwall,

Kirk,

Rogers, of Lowndes,

deGraffenreid,

Knight,

Selheimer,

Eyster,

Ledbetter,

Sentell,

Ferguson,

Lomax,

Watts,

Glover,

Lowe, of Jefferson,

Weakley,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

White,

Total - 45.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Almon,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Samford,

Altman,

King,

Smith, Mac A.,

Boone,

Long, of Butler,

Sollie,

Case,

Long, of Walker,

Thompson,

Coleman, of Walker,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Vaughan,

Fitts,

Morrisette,

Willet,

Freeman,

Pearce,

Williams, of Elmore,

Graham, of Talladega,

Pitts,

Wilson, of Washington.

Handley,

Reese,

Howell,

Renfro,

By a vote of 82 ayes and 45 noes, the motion to table prevailed.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - I offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

"Provided, that any county which is already indebted in an amount which equals, or exceeds the debt limit herein provided, may for the erection of the necessary public buildings, borrow in addition to said 3 1 - 2 per cent, a sum not greater than 1 1 - 2 per cent. of the assessed valuation of the taxable property of said county."

MR. HARRISON - I move the previous question on the Section, the amendment adopted, and the pending amendment.

The main question was ordered.

THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colbert.


1503

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

A vote was taken, viva voce, and the Chair stated that he was in doubt.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - Have I not the right to make some remarks on this amendment, being the mover of the amendment?

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair is of the opinion that the gentleman is entitled to discuss the matter. The Chair failed to discover that the gentleman desired to be heard.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - I would like for the amendment to be read, Mr. President.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - A point of order.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the point of order.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - Did not I understand the Chair to rule the other day that the Chairman of the Committee had the right to close, under such conditions, and not the gentleman offering the amendment?

THE PRESIDENT - That is true, where the previous question has been ordered, unless the gentleman yields to the gentleman from Colbert.

MR. BROWNE - I will yield half of my time to the gentleman from Colbert, and the other half to the gentleman from Lee, if the Chairman is entitled to it.

The amendment was again read.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will state that the gentleman from Colbert will have five minutes, and the gentleman from Lee five minutes. The gentleman will proceed-

MR. KIRKLAND - I rise to a point of order. The vote has already been taken on this question and a division called for. It is too late to discuss it.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair overlooked the fact that the gentleman from Colbert desired to debate the question.

MR. KIRKLAND - I insist upon the point of order.

MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the Chair has not announced the vote.

MR. BULGER - I desire to make the point of order that the gentleman from Colbert had no right to debate the subject after the previous question was ordered, and it was only conceded to him by the Chairman of the Committee, after that was done.


1504

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order that the Chair was only in the act of taking the vote. The vote had not been taken and announced.

THE PRESIDENT - The vote had not been announced, and the Chair submitted the question to the Convention prematurely. The Chair should have paused to discover whether the Chairman of the Committee desired to discuss the question. The Chair will therefore overrule the point of order and recognize the gentleman from Colbert.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - I venture the assertion that the County of Colbert has taken up as little of the time of this Convention as any county in the State, and we would not be here now except for the purpose of appealing to this Convention to allow us to take care of ourselves. Now, unfortunately, it is true; we have become indebted in a much greater amount than perhaps we ought, in the sum of $200,000.

MR. OATES - Will my friend allow a suggestion?

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - Yes, sir.

MR. OATES - Why did you not frame your amendment for Colbert County and submit it?

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - I would suggest that the amendment does not reach any county in the State except Colbert. It does not now, and cannot possibly reach any county in the State except Colbert County-

MR. SANFORD - Put Colbert in there, then.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - We would suggest to the gentlemen from Montgomery that we would like to avoid the naming of our county in the Constitution in that connection; and Mr. President, I would ask the gentlemen before they vote against this amendment, to read it carefully, and if they do so, it will be seen that it does not apply to any county in the State except Colbert. It specifically says that provided that any county which has already contracted an indebtedness exceeding the limit, which is 3 1 - 2 per cent now, that they may, for the purpose of building court houses and jails, and for the ordinary expenses of the county, contract an additional indebtedness of 1 1 - 2 per cent. Now that only makes five. If the gentlemen will read that amendment, they will see that it cannot possibly apply to any other county in the State except the county of Colbert, and we appeal to this Convention to allow us to contract an indebtedness for these purposes, should it become necessary to do so.

THE PRESIDENT - The time of the gentleman has expired.

MR. HARRISON - Mr. President, it is with some diffidence that I oppose the request contained in that amendment but it is in


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the nature of a general law. If the delegate from Colbert had confined it to his county, while perhaps it would have looked badly in the Constitution, I am afraid, for Colbert County, yet we merely have his assertion that it only applies to Colbert County. If it does, why does he object to naming it?

I have further objection to this amendment, and that is because it is at least waiving in part the very principles that we are contending here for I do not think that Colbert, or any other county, if it is so badly in debt that it is unable to pay the interest upon its public debt, until it adjust that indebtedness, ought to be permitted to incur any more, and I feel the convention in placing the limit in the Constitution, should call a halt on the county.

MR. deGRAFFENREID - Suppose the court house were to burn down?

MR. HARRISON - Let them go, as they would have to do, in my opinion - if they could not issue bonds or borrow any money - and levy the tax to rebuild it, and, by levying that tax, perhaps their own banks and people, if the tax were levied and a warrant drawn on it, would aid them ; but I think if they are in that unfortunate condition, they will have to pay cash until they adjust their indebtedness.

MR. CARMICHAEL, (Colbert) - I would like to ask if it would be possible for Colbert County to contract any indebtedness at all under your substitute?

MR. HARRISON - Nor do I believe you can do without it.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert)  - Would not you be willing to allow us the opportunity to try, should it become necessary?

MR. HARRISON - If you will confine it to Colbert County, I would not object to it, but you are putting a general provision in there, which I do not think will do you any good. I sympathize with the delegate from Colbert, but I do not see why, if he is the only county in that condition, he does not name it. I think you will have remedy enough in Section 5, when you come to consider it. You will see you have authority to levy a tax for these purposes you desire to include in your amendment. You will have to levy a tax upon the property, without incurring a debt for these improvements.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - Does not Section 5 provide for the levy of the tax, but does not this section provide for a prohibition upon any increase of the debt of the county?

MR. HARRISON - Yes; but if you pay cash for it, it would not be a debt. There is no inhibition on your raising money and going and building it.


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MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) - I suggest to the gentleman that the taxes would not furnish the relief we might need.

MR. HARRISON - I think it would, Mr. President; and I have only five minutes, which I believe is about out-

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Is not this limit of 3 1 - 2 lower than that fixed in any Constitution of any State in the Union?

MR. HARRISON - I have not examined as to that. If there is any other State of the Union that has any lower limit, it does not affect Alabama. I know it is enough for any county in Alabama, and if you exceed that, you will default on your public debt.

THE PRESIDENT - The question is on the adoption of the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Colbert. A division is called for. As many as favor the adoption of the amendment will rise and remain standing until counted.

And, by a vote of 66 ayes and 44 noes, the amendment was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT - The question recurs upon the substitute. As many as favor the adoption of the substitute proposed by the gentleman from Lee, as amended, will say aye.

And the substitute was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT - The question recurs upon the adoption of the section as amended.

And the section as amended was thereupon adopted.

MR. BROWNE - I desire to offer an amendment to the article reported by the Committee.

MR. LONG (Walker) - I ask unanimous consent to offer a resolution to have it referred. It is short.

MR. BROWNE - Not now. I offer an amendment to the Article as reported, which amendment is a separate section, and I ask for the reading of the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT - What section?

MR. BROWNE - It has no number, but it will be numbered when the whole article is complete.

MR. LONG (Walker) - It is in order to read the original section as reported.

MR. BROWNE - I can explain it, if it needs explanation.

THE PRESIDENT - What is the proposition of the gentleman from Talladega?


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MR. BROWNE - The proposition is an amendment to the article reported by the Committee, by incorporating a section in the article as reported. It has no number.

MR. OATES - Is that in order to offer a section, until the article is completed? Then it seems to me would be appropriate time and place to offer the additional section. After it is completed, it would be in order to offer an amendment to the article.

MR. BROWNE - That is all brought about by a ruling of the Chair when the Committee on Executive Department was reporting. I then offered an amendment to the whole article, to take the place of a section, that was laid upon the table, and the chair held that that could not be done as that section was laid upon the table. But I now offer a new section and there is no rule which requires one to wait until every section reported by the Committee has been considered before you can offer an amendment by adding another section.

MR. LONG (Walker) - I make the point of order that no amendment can be offered before the House until the next section is reached.

MR. BROWNE - The whole article is before the House.

MR. LONG - It is being considered section by section. I make the further point of order that this section has never been read, so he cannot offer an amendment to it.

MR. BROWNE - In reply to the point of order if the gentleman is correct, then I never could offer it because after the last section has been considered and acted upon, the gentleman could say with equal force that there was no section before the House.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Talladega does not state the ruling of the Chair, as the chair recollects it. The Chair did not rule so far as the recollection of the Chair now goes, that upon the completion of an article that it could not be amended by adding additional sections. On the contrary, the recollection of the Chair is that the ruling was that additional sections might be added, and they were added to the report of the Committee on Executive Department. Now the question is made that the Convention has under consideration the report of the Committee on Taxation, and that it is considering it section by section, and that nine sections have been disposed of, and the next order would be the consideration of section 10, and the gentleman from Talladega moves to amend the article by adding an additional section.

MR. BROWNE - I did not move to amend by adding. By incorporating a section in the article as reported, but not by adding it; by incorporating a different section in it.


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THE PRESIDENT - What number does the gentleman desire-

MR. BROWNE - I have not given it any number. I will just mark it—

THE PRESIDENT - Nine and a half?

MR. BROWNE- Mark it nine and a half, and let the Committee on "Harmonies" fix the number, or mark it ten.

MR. PETTUS- I rise to a point of order. Under the rule adopted, the regular procedure is the consideration of the report of the Committee on Taxation section by section; until that order is completed, an amendment to the whole article, by incorporating a new section, is not in order, without a suspension of the rules.

MR. BROWNE - I make the point of order, and there are a great many gentlemen here who have sat in different legislative bodies and they all know it is correct, that in considering any ordinance or act by section, it is competent to offer to amend the whole act by incorporating in the act an additional section, at any point when you have concluded the consideration of a section.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair is in doubt upon the ruling and will reserve the ruling and announce it at the afternoon session. The Chair is unable at present to decide what ruling should be made. Does the gentleman from Montgomery desire to discuss the question?

MR. OATES - I merely wish to remark in reply that the rule is that a report of a Committee, when taken up, must be considered section by section, and that not having been done, it is not completed, and it is not in order to go back into the body of the article and offer a new section, probably for one that has been knocked out. I don't know about that, but it is going back, and until the ordinance is completed, the rule is not complied with. Then it would be competent to offer an amendment by way of a new section, that may come in any part of the article, but not until the report of the Committee is completed.

THE PRESIDENT - That is the inclination of the Chair but it is now near adjourning time, and the chair will reserve the ruling upon the point.

MR. BROWNE - I will withdraw it rather than take up so much time about it. I am perfectly confident I am right about it though.

THE PRESIDENT - The Clerk will read the next section.

Section 10 was read as follows:


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Sec. 10. No city, town or other municipal corporation shall become indebted in an amount exceeding 5 per centum of the taxable values of the property thereof; provided that for the erection or purchase of water works, gas or electric plants, or sanitary sewerage an additional indebtedness not to exceed 3 per centum may be created; provided, further, that this section shall not apply to indebtedness in excess of such 5 per centum already created or authorized by law to be created.

MR. BROWNE - I desire to offer an amendment.

MR. LONG (Walker) - Will not the gentleman suspend until I can offer a resolution. We cannot get through with the section any way, and I desire the resolution to be referred to the proper committee.

MR. BROWNE - This is a little amendment simply to correct a defect-

MR. LONG (Walker) - Will not the gentleman yield-

MR. BROWNE - I will not.

The amendment was read as follows:

Amend Section 10 by inserting the words "the excess of" after the words "not applied to" on line five, and strike in "in excess of" in line five, and insert in lieu thereof the word "over" and insert after the words "authorized by" in line six, the word "now existing."

MR. BROWNE - That amendment is simply to make it conform to the changed phraseology in the section we have just adopted, so as to relieve it of ambiguity.

Mr. Long (Walker) sought recognition when the clock struck one.

MR. KIRKLAND - I rise to a point of order.

The Convention thereupon adjourned until 3:30 o'clock p. m.

          ____________

AFTERNOON SESSION.

The Convention was called to order by the President and a call of the roll showed the presence of 115 delegates.

MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) - I am authorized by the Mayor of my town and other authorities to inform the Convention that there will be a grand free barbecue at our city tomorrow and to extend to the members of the Convention, officers and pages an invitation to be present.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE PRESIDENT - On behalf of the Convention the Chair returns thanks to the people of Chilton for the kind invitation.

MR. BROWNE - I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment proposed by me immediately before adjournment in order that I may offer another amendment to meet the same object, but better expressed.

MR. BEDDOW - I ask unanimous consent to introduce a short resolution.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman asks unanimous consent to introduce a short resolution. Is there objection?  The Chair hears none.

MR. PILLANS - I objected.

MR. O'NEAL - The objection was not made until after the Chair announced there was no objection.

MR. PILLANS - I objected twice before the Chair announced and I heard other delegates object.

MR. deGRAFFENREID - In order to settle the matter I move that the rules be suspended and that the delegate from Birmingham be allowed to introduce his resolution at this time.

A vote being taken the motion to suspend was carried and the resolution was offered and was read as follows:

Resolution No. 219, by Mr. Beddow of Jefferson:

Whereas, various resolutions have been adopted throughout the State requesting that this Convention patronize union labor by having its printing done by members of the Typographical Union, and that the union label be printed thereon, and

Whereas the union labor should be encouraged by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled.

Therefore be it,

Resolved, That the Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses be and they are hereby instructed to patronize the printing establishments having in their employment union labor and have the union label printed thereon.

Referred to Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses.

The amendment offered by the delegate from Talladega, Mr. Browne, was read as follows: Amend Section 10 by striking out all the said Section after the word created in the fourth line and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "Provided further, that the limitation of five per cent mentioned in this section shall not


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apply to any existing indebtedness exceeding such five per centum which has already been created or which has been authorized by row existing law to be created.

MR. BROWNE - I desire to state in regard to that amendment that it is simply done to relieve a possible ambiguity in the proviso. It does not change the sense of the section at all.

The unanimous consent was not given.

MR. WEAKLEY - I offer a substitute for Section 10 and pending amendments.

The substitute was read as follows:

Section 10. That no city, town or village shall hereafter become indebted for any purpose or in any manner to an amount which including existing indebtedness shall exceed seven per centum of the assessed valuation of the real and personal property within said city, town or village subject to taxation as shown by the last preceding assessment for State and county purposes, provided, however, that in determining the limitation of the power of such city, town or village to incur indebtedness there shall not be included the following class of indebtedness, to wit:

(a) Notes, certificates of indebtedness or revenue bonds issued in anticipation of the collection of taxes, unless the same be not paid within two years from the date of such issue and all such notes, certificates of indebtedness and revenue bonds shall be provided for, and made payable from the taxes levied for the year in which they are issued, and shall never exceed the amount of such taxes.

(b) Bonds issued for the purpose of purchasing or otherwise providing for a supply of water or for the construction or installation of sanitary sewers or for the extension of either of the same.

(c) Obligations incurred and bonds issued to procure means to pay for street or sidewalk improvements or storm water sewers, the cost of which is to be assessed against the property abutting or drained by such sewers.

(d) Debts created for the preservation of the public health.

(e) Debts existing on the 6th day of December, 1875, or any obligation issued to renew or refund the same.

MR. WEAKLEY - The substitute which has just been read-

MR. LONG (Walker) - Will the gentleman please allow me to offer a short resolution for reference to a committee.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Walker asks unanimous consent to introduce a resolution. Is there objection?


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

There was no objection.

MR. LONG (Walker) - I move a suspension of the rules that I may offer this resolution.

A vote being taken the rules were suspended and the resolution was offered and read as follows:

Resolution No. 220, by Mr. Long (Walker):

Whereas, This Convention passed a resolution today allowing no absent member per diem, unless excused on account of sickness, and whereas, the members of this Convention have great respect for the truth and veracity, and good wishes for the public health, and whereas, the adoption of said resolution will have a tendency to make all absent members feel badly and the effect of making all future leaves of absence be requested on account of sickness of members of their families.

Therefore, for the public good, in the interest of truth, and as a preventive of an epidemic of sickness among members of this Convention and their families, one or both, be it resolved, by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, that the said resolution No. 184, which offers a premium of $4 per day for sickness, be and the same is hereby repealed.

Referred to Committee on Rules.

MR. WEAKLEY - The substitute for Section 10, which has been read to the Convention, is Section 8 of the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations.

The question of fixing a proper debt limit for the cities of Alabama is a very difficult proposition. The people who have investigated the financial condition of the various municipalities are convinced that there should be placed some restrictions upon the power of municipalities to incur debts. At the same time we must remember that under the Constitution under which we have been living for the last twenty - five years there has been a limited power on the part of cities to raise money by taxation and an unlimited power to increase debts. A great many of the cities of Alabama, in fact nearly all have incurred tremendous amounts of debt, far in excess of that which ought to be incurred by any city, the affairs of which are prudently conducted. For the purpose of ascertaining how a debt limit placed in this Constitution would affect the various cities of Alabama, I have instituted an inquiry and I will present to the Convention the substance of that so far as the same relates to a few of the leading cities of Alabama.

The city of Birmingham has an assessment valuation of $15,000,000. Its debt is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000,000, to other words, about 15 per cent.


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The city of Bridgeport, North Alabama, has a bonded debt of 31 per cent. of its assessed valuation.

Decatur has an assessed valuation of $675,000, and a 10 per cent. debt.

Dothan has an assessed valuation of $450,000 and an 8 per cent. debt.

The city of Eufaula has a valuation of $2,700,000 and a 7 1/2 per cent. debt.

Gadsden has a debt of 11 1 - 2 per cent.

Huntsville has an assessed valuation of $2,840,000 has a debt of 6 per cent.

Mobile with an assessed valuation of $15,880,000 has a total debt of $3,100,000, or about 20 per cent.

Montgomery with an assessed valuation of $12,500,000 has a debt of 16 per cent.

Selma with a valuation of $4,692,000, has $324,000 debt, or 7 2 - 10 per cent.

Tuscaloosa with an assessed valuation of $1,576,000, has a debt of 8 per cent.

Bessemer has a 4 per cent debt, Florence a 7 per cent. debt and Ozark 4 1 - 2 per cent.

So the gentlemen of the Convention will see it is a difficult proposition to find the exact limit which should be placed on the powers of a city to create a debt that will not create some hardship or prevent cities from carrying on some necessary and much needed improvements.

The Committee on Municipal Corporations after a full discussion and consideration of this matter reached the conclusion that in the first place there should be no limit fixed upon the power of the cities to create a debt for the purpose of purchasing water works or acquiring a system of water works or system of sewerage. These two items of public utility are so necessary to the public health and the public good that it ought under all circumstances to remain within the power of the people to build waterworks and a sewerage system. Apart from the fact that considerations of health and public safety require the construction of waterworks and sewerage, it is also an admitted fact that no enterprise which produces a revenue to the city should be regarded in fixing the debt limit of the city. I wish to take up the time of the Convention long enough to read a short item from a paper prepared by the Honorable Bird S. Coler, Comptroller of New York City, who is a high authority upon all questions pertaining to municipal indebtedness. He says:

"I wish to state clearly my appreciation of, and adherence to, the wisdom of constitutional restrictions on the indebtedness


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of cities. These restrictions are to be found in the Constitutions of nearly all our States, and have been upheld both in letter and in spirit by the decisions of our courts. They have undoubtedly served to prevent the financial ruin of many small cities, which in the hands of unscrupulous political adventurers would otherwise have undergone disastrous experiences. Yet this constitutional limitation has itself its limitations. It should not be made a fetish to be worshiped blindly at the expense of really necessary progress.

If the competition which exists today between nations and cities, as well as between individuals, to stand still means to retrograde, and if it should happen that a choice must be made between stopping the modernization of New York and amending the Constitution, I am in favor of the latter course, provided no real danger to the city's credit and solvency be thereby threatened.

I believe the clause in the Constitution limiting municipal indebtedness - wholly admirable at the time it was written - is not altogether adapted to modern requirements, in that it does not discriminate sufficiently between two classes of city debts of a wholly different character.

A city issues bonds only for permanent improvements, the benefits of which inure to posterity. But there are two classes of these improvements, easily distinguishable from one another, and between which a sharp distinction should be drawn.

In one of these classes are improvements which, while adding to the attractiveness, beauty, and healthfulness of a city, to its economical administration, or to the better conduct of its governmental functions, bring in no direct financial returns. This is by the erection of public buildings, including schools, the acquisition of parks, and the repaving of streets. No matter how great the material benefits may be that are derived from such improvements, the expense incurred is unquestionably a financial burden upon the taxpayers. In regard to such expenditures there can be no doubt as to the wisdom of establishing an arbitrary constitutional limit, since otherwise the burdens that might be thrown upon succeeding generations by excessive issues of bonds would become intolerable.

There is another class of improvements, however, far less common, which either result in casting no burdens whatever upon the taxpayers or else bring in an actual profit to the municipality. In such cases it may be permissible to ask wherein there lies any rational excuse for limiting the governmental activities of a city by constitutional restrictions. A dim recognition of this truth seems already to have found expression in the Constitution of New York, which partially excepts from the operation of the debt limitation bonds issued to provide for the supply of water, and


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requires only that a special sinking fund be established for their ultimate redemption. Why this exception? Because pure water is a prime necessity for the health of a community? Scarcely, for there are many other public necessities paid for by the issue of bonds which are hardly less imperatively needed by the people, and as to such the Constitution is silent. The reason must be found in the fact that for the past century, by a universal custom which has the force of unquestioned law, it has been the practice of cities owning water - works to charge consumers for the water supplied, and that the rentals received from the operation of this natural monopoly have almost invariably shown a profit over the expense of maintenance and operation. In other words, bonds issued to provide for the supply of water are not a real burden upon the taxpayers, since the water refits received pay the interest on these bonds, amortize the principal, and still yield a profit to the city."

Summing up the result of this article, the author says:

"Our constitutions should be amended so as to except from the limitation on the indebtedness of cities bonds issued to provide for improvements - which, while governmental in their character are, nevertheless, essentially business enterprises - and from the operation of which profits can be derived sufficient to provide a speedy payment of the indebtedness temporarily incurred."

I am aware, Mr. President, that the tendency of this argument to a certain extent is to municipal ownership of all classes of public service industries. I wish to state here and now, in my opinion a city should own its water - works, its sewerage system, and its lighting plant. Beyond that, I am not yet prepared to go. It seems to me that the proposition just stated was sufficient reason why the Committee on Municipal Corporations should seek to exclude from any debt limit the debts created by a city for the purpose of supplying its inhabitants with water. Consequently we have so reported.

MR. O'NEAL - Why do you except electric light and gas plants from that provision?

MR. WEAKLEY - The theory of the committee in not including light plants is because the maintenance of a light plant is a drain upon the general revenue of a city, unless the city goes farther and furnishes not only lights for the streets, but commercial lights as well. I am aware of the fact that in many of the cities of the country this is done and the receipts from commercial lighting go to a considerable extent in paying for the expense of lighting the streets. I do not, however, regard that as an entirely safe proposition.

THE PRESIDENT - The time of the gentleman has expired.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. deGRAFFENREID - I move that the rules be suspended and that the gentleman be permitted to continue his remarks.

THE PRESIDENT - What time does the gentleman indicate?

MR. deGRAFFENREID - Until the gentleman gets through.

A vote being taken the motion to suspend the rules was carried.

THE PRESIDENT - The motion is that the gentleman's time be extended indefinitely.

A vote being taken a division was called for.

MR. HEFLIN - I would like to amend by making it fifteen minutes. The gentleman says he can get through in that time.

MR. deGRAFFENREID - We were taking a vote and a division was called for and an amendment is not in order.

The taking of the vote was completed and the time of the delegate from Lauderdale was extended indefinitely.

MR. WEAKLEY - The question was just propounded by the delegate from Lauderdale asking why the Committee on Corporations did not exclude from the debt limit bonds for the purpose of construction or acquiring electric light plants. I believe, gentlemen, as stated before, that every city ought to own its own lighting plant. It has been demonstrated by actual experiment not only in small cities such as Athens, Ala.,, but also in Chicago, which has the largest municipal lighting plant in the world that a city can furnish light for its streets from 40 to 50 per cent. cheaper than any corporation will furnish it for them. But notwithstanding that fact, we believe the expense of lighting the streets of a city is a charge upon the general revenues of a city and that this expense, therefore, ought to be included in the debt limit.

The Committee on Municipal Corporations have further recommended that debts created for the purpose of constructing sewers be not included in the debt limit and the reasons for that are that the public health sometimes demands the building of sewers and that they should be constructed in any event. Another reason for that recommendation lies in the fact that in a number - I started to say the majority of cases - sewers are constructed and paid for by abutting property owners or property situated in the district drained by the sewers. In other words, we have adopted the rule that where any debt has been created which is not a charge upon the general revenues of the city, that debt should not be included in the limit. Section C of the substitute which I offer excludes from the debt limit bonds issued or obligations incurred to procure means to pay for streets or sidewalk improvements or storm water sewers, the cost of which is to be assessed against the property or the district drained by such sewers.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

The same principle that leads us to exclude debts created for sewers also leads us to recommend to exclude debts created for public improvements which are created in the majority of cases at the request of the property owners who are benefited by those improvements and constitute no charge against the city but are charges against the property abutting the improvements, the property benefited by the improvements.

Section D, in the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations, also excludes debts created for the preservation of the public health. This provision was inserted in view of the fact that, frame the debt limit in the way you will, there will still be a number of cities above the limit and in the event of the outbreak of disease or epidemic, they would be absolutely powerless to protect the public health. Section E of the report of the Committee excludes debts existing on the 6th day of September, 1875.  In framing this Section no good reason could be found for inserting the provision therein except that otherwise the city of Mobile and the city of Montgomery would be debarred from raising any more money for public improvements.

MR. MACDONALD - Will the gentleman permit me a question ?

MR. WEAKLEY - Yes.

MR. MACDONALD - I would like to inquire whether it was the intention in framing subdivision C to permit the entire cost of improvements to be assessed against contiguous property owners?

MR. WEAKLEY - That does not contemplate any such thing.

MR. MACDONALD - Does it not say so?

MR. WEAKLEY - No, sir. It says that no debt for obligations incurred or bonds issued to procure means to pay for street or sidewalk improvements or storm sewers, the cost of which is to be assessed against the property abutting or drained by such sewers, shall be included in the debt limit.

MR. MACDONALD - Does not that necessarily imply the authority of the municipality to assess the entire cost of an improvement against an abutting property holder.

MR. WEAKLEY - I think not.

Nearly all of the members are aware of the fact that the city of Mobile has a very large debt and it was feared by the delegates from that county that without this provision the city of Mobile would be absolutely helpless, and the city of Montgomery might also be seriously affected.


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I understand that this exception as to debts existing on the 6th day of December, 1875, will probably affect but three cities of the State, Selma, Montgomery and Mobile. Now, gentlemen, I desire to say if the report of the Committee on Taxation is adopted and the power of a city to incur a debt be limited to 5 per cent., and only to be increased to 8 per cent. for the purpose of constructing water works and sewerage it will absolutely tie the hands of every municipality in the State of Alabama. In addition to that, if a city has a debt of 5 per cent. and is only allowed a further margin of 3 per cent. for the construction of water works and sewers, no city can build a system of water works or sewers for such an amount of money. By way of illustration, take Eufaula, which has an assessed valuation of over $2,000,000. Three per cent. for the purpose of a system of water works and sewers would make $60,000, and I do not see how it would be possible for that city to build these utilities for that sum.

The Convention this morning adopted a provision fixing the debt limit of counties at 3 1 - 2 per cent., which under certain conditions might be increased to 5 per cent. It occurs to me with a debt limit of 3 1 - 2 for counties, a debt limit of 7 per cent. for cities, making the entire debt limit of city and county a total of 10 per cent., might be a reasonably safe proposition.

Upon this point I desire to say that I have prepared a statement showing the debt limit of every State in the United States that has a limit and for the information of the Convention, and not to detain them, I will read a few of these figures.

Arizona, 4 per cent; Georgia, 7 per cent; Illinois, 5 per cent; Indiana, 2 per cent; Iowa, 5 per cent; Kentucky has a varying limit ranging from 2 per cent for counties up to 10 per cent for cities; Maine, 5 per cent; Minnesota, 5 per cent; Missouri, the same; Montana, 3 per cent, which may be increased for the purpose of erecting water - works and sewers; New York, 10 per cent, with an exception in favor of debts created for constructing water - works; North Dakota, 5 per cent; Pennsylvania, 7 per cent; South Carolina, 8 per cent; South Dakota, 5 per cent; Utah, 4 per cent; Virginia, 20 per cent; West Virginia, 5 per cent; Wyoming, 4 per cent; Washington, 10 per cent; Wisconsin, 5 per cent. I believe, gentlemen, this is all the information I desire to bring to the attention of the Convention, except to further state that the Committee on Municipal Corporations endeavored as far as possible to protect the various cities in the State of Alabama in fixing the debt limit, and at the same time having in view the fact that some limitation was absolutely necessary.

MR. BROOKS - I would ask the gentleman if the substitute he proposes is not Section 8 in the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations?


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WEAKLEY - It is.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - I would like to ask the gentleman a question. What class of municipal indebtedness can he think of that would be covered under the 7 per cent clause?

MR. WEAKLEY - Debts created for school buildings, city halls, fire stations, street improvements, parks.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) - Street improvements you have in the substitute ?

MR. WEAKLEY - Yes.

MR. MACDONALD - I am entirely opposed to the very dangerous suggestion made in the substitute. I asked the gentleman during the course of his argument whether the true understanding of subdivision C of his substitute was to permit municipalities to impose on abutting property owners the entire cost of sidewalks and street improvements and sanitary and other sewers. The gentleman did not directly answer that question, but it is obvious, and will be plain, to every lawyer in this Convention that that is a direct permission or a full permission to put such burdens on the taxpayers of the city.

MR. BROOKS - Would not that be obviated by inserting after the words "the cost of which is to be assessed," the words, "in whole or in part."

MR. MACDONALD - No, sir. If it is put "in whole or in part" that will still give the municipality the opportunity to put the full charge for the improvement on the abutting land owners.

In this city we have had a painful experience in regard to the action of municipalities in imposing such burdens upon the people. We have seen the property of the poor confiscated. We have seen them compelled to sell their homes for the purpose of paying such assessments as these. I can state case after case which has occurred in Montgomery within the last two or three years where people have been absolutely deprived of their property by this character of improvement, and this suggestion carries it further than was ever contemplated in Montgomery or any other city. That was a bad day for Alabama and for the inhabitants of .the cities of Alabama when the Supreme Court departed from the rule in Dargan vs. the Mayor, when they held such assessments were invalid and when they rendered the opinion in the Kearns case. Why, gentlemen, the municipalities of this and other cities select what character of pavements they want and what character of sewers and they assess the cost of one - half of the cost up to this time, and this amendment suggests they can put it all upon the adjoining property owners, and they have gone on making such character of streets and sidewalks until it seems that they


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are trying to rival the streets of New Jerusalem in the cost of the streets they are putting down here.  I could cite you many hard instances from personal experience of my own clients, and here we have a proposition not only endorsing what these municipalities have done before, but proposing to tell the cities of Alabama that they may go ahead and put down any character of sidewalks, pavement, sanitary and other sewerage and issue bonds and compel the people to pay such bonds.

We have some instances of that kind in the city of Montgomery.  We have what is known as the baby bond, where in direct opposition to the wishes of the property owners and over their protest, the municipality of Montgomery has undertaken to pave with brick certain streets and assess the entire cost against the abutting property owners. The injustice of that is apparent to everyone.  Here is a man who owns fifty feet, and under the baby bonds he is compelled to pay something in the neighborhood of $500 for alleged improvements to his property.  It would be something fair and just if the owner of the abutting property was assessed for these improvements the actual increase in value that his property made by reason of such improvements, but it is gross injustice and oppression to say that he should pay the full price of the improvement which is for the benefit of the entire municipality when, as a matter of fact, where he goes upon the improvement once, the rest of the inhabitants go a thousand times. Then the proposition is suggested that the entire cost of the sanitary sewerage or sewer which may drain any property owned by other citizens should be assessed and collected against the citizen and not from the municipality.

I say no such proposition can meet the approval of a man who is opposed to oppression and for the people.

MR. WATTS - My distinguished friend from Montgomery totally misapprehends the resolution of the gentleman from Lauderdale. There is no proposition in that resolution which fixes the cost of any pavement or any street improvement upon anybody. It simply says that any debt which the city may owe for street improvements or for water - works or for sanitary sewerage, shall not be included in the 7 per cent. The gentleman has not read the substitute, or I am satisfied that he would agree with me readily that it does not effect the purpose he speaks about.

MR. MACDONALD - The gentleman is mistaken; I have read it.

MR. WATTS - The proposition of the gentleman from Lauderdale is simply that the limit of city taxes shall not be exceeding 7 per cent, and when you count the 7 per cent, you are not to count bonds issued for water - works, for sanitary sewerage and for paving as a part of the 7 per cent. He does not propose in


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that ordinance to authorize the cities to charge either the whole or a part of any improvement upon the property owners. It simply says it shall not include in the seven per cent debts for these purposes.

Now, I desire to state to the Convention in addition to what my friend from Lauderdale has stated, about the ownership by the city of these utilities: A striking example is the city of Montgomery. The city of Montgomery paid $600,000 for her water works.  She issued bonds to pay for that.  Those water works can be sold today at a cash profit of $200,000 and those water works bring in an income to the city of Montgomery after furnishing, free water for all the purpose of the city, which more than pays the income on the $600,000 of bonds.  Therefore, it seems to me that is not a bad investment on the part of the city of Montgomery.  I simply speak of this because I saw my friend from Montgomery (Mr. Macdonald) had misunderstood the proposition of the gentleman from Lauderdale and I simply ask him to get it and read it to see that I am right.

MR. SOLLIE - I shall not attempt to speak at length this time. I wish to second the first of the two gentlemen from Montgomery who spoke against subdivision C in these exceptions. I agree with the last gentleman who has just taken his seat that this provision is not an express conferring upon the municipalities of the power to assess adjacent or abutting property for street and sewerage improvements; but it recites, at least suggests, that such improvements, followed by such charges, are in contemplation, of the Constitution. So, if it does not expressly confer, most assuredly it does not prohibit, that power; and there are lawyers enough in this Convention that I need not urge the recent decisions of the courts of higher resort to the effect that abutting property owners may now see their property entirely confiscated by pavements and other improvements of that kind. And I insist that of all the positions taken by courts in recent times, that position is least tenable and least just and ought most of all to be stricken down by legislative bodies or Constitutional Conventions. Is it right, Mr. President, because forsooth I have a piece of property lying down here on Dexter Avenue which happens to immediately abut the street that my property shall be confiscated, the entire corpus taken from me, and a man only fifty feet away from me shall have his property enhanced in value fifteen, twenty or fifty per cent, by such improvements without paying anything therefor. There is no justice in such a law and this Constitutional Convention while dealing with the proposition of municipal corporations should rise up and place a restraining hand upon the power of municipal corporations to bring about such a condition. Suppose the Federal Courts do so decide, they have not the power to control us in State matters and we can put in the Constitution a veto on the right of any municipality to confiscate the property


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of abutting property owners under the guise of paying for these improvements.

MR. O'NEAL - Is the town in which you live interested in street and sidewalk improvements?

MR. SOLLIE - No; but I am not alone representing that town. I am representing the State at large, the best interests of all the towns. I come from a small inland town where we do not have paying admit, but who knows but that some of these days I may be where they have pavements. We are disposed to hope - my imagination looks forward to the time when my little city shall awake and move up to a point of sufficient size to be the possessor of such improvements.

MR. WEAKLEY - Don't you know it to be a fact that the Supreme Courts in every State in the United States except in the State of South Carolina have sustained sidewalk assessments?

MR. SOLLIE - That is precisely the proposition to which I am directing my argument. The courts for some reason to me unknown have taken the most ridiculous position that a municipal government can absolutely confiscate the property of its citizen to make these improvements.

MR. O'NEAL - Don't the property receive benefit?

MR. SOLLIE - Yes; and so long as the court stood by the doctrine that the adjacent property might be assessed to the extent of the improvements or enhancement of the value of the property. I was willing to admit the decision was correct. Even in that case, I insist that it is unjust that the adjacent property should bear the whole expense of the improvements up to the enhancement of the value of the property that does not abut, pays nothing, and yet that property is enhanced in value.

MR. MACDONALD - Is it not easily conceivable that such improvement instead of enhancing may decrease the value, for instance that the property might be left on a hill above the street or away down below the street, and is it not a fact that the Supreme Court has held in such case that the municipality instead of collecting the cost of making the improvement may be compelled to pay damages?

MR. SOLLIE - Yes, sir. But taking it in any aspect, whether increasing or decreasing the value of the property, I take the broad position that he who happens to live nearest the street ought not to have to pay the cost of the improvement for the whole city and I say here and now while we are dealing with the proposition, while we are making a Constitution, while we are continuing to give to the municipalities the power to make streets and regulate the assessments to pay therefor, it is our duty to put a limitation on the power of confiscation by city government.


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MR. FERGUSON - I desire to ask the gentleman this question: Some of the people have already been assessed to pay for this character of improvements. If we stop it now, won't it be a discrimination against a man who has already paid?

MR. SOLLIE - Perhaps it would be, but it is better to do right late than never.

MR. FERGUSON - In the city of Birmingham and Montgomery and other cities the citizens have paid this unjust tax and I ask upon the principle of stare decisis ought we not to let the matter stand? If some of the property owners in certain cities in this State have paid this unjust tax, would it not be better to let those who have not paid bear their burden?

MR. MACDONALD - Will the gentleman from Dale allow me to make a suggestion right there? Neither the city of Birmingham nor the city of Montgomery has ever assessed the entire cost against the abutting property owners.

MR. FERGUSON - I will ask the gentleman from Montgomery a question.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman is out of order. The gentleman from Montgomery has not the floor.

MR. FERGUSON - Then I will ask it of the gentleman from Dale. Have you any city in your county which has paid this tax?

MR. SOLLIE - We have not. We happen to be a rural people in our county.

THE PRESIDENT - The time of the gentleman has expired.

MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - I yield my time to the gentleman from Dale.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman don't seem to have any time to yield. Gentlemen are at liberty to yield or not to interrupt, but the Chair cannot take the interruptions out of their time.

MR. SOLLIE - I shall take lesson by my experience.

MR. CHAPMAN (Sumter) - If I heard correctly the clause now under consideration, the Chairman of the Committee on Municipal Corporations says that his proposed amendment is an exact copy of Section 8 of his report. Am I correct in that?

MR. WEAKLEY - Yes.

MR. CHAPMAN - Then, if that be the case, Mr. Chairman, I see absolutely no limit to the power of corporations to tax the people. There is absolutely none if I correctly read this Section. It says that "no city, town or village shall hereafter become in-


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debted for any purpose or in any manner, to an amount which including existing indebtedness, shall exceed 7 per cent. of the assessed valuation of the real and personal property within such city, town or village subject to taxation as shown by the last assessment for State and county purposes." Now, Mr. President, that sounds very much like there is some limitation on the part of taxation and of creating indebtedness. But when we read further and include the proviso which says: "Provided however, that in determining the limitation of the State, city, town or village to incur indebtedness, there shall not be included the following class of indebtedness, to wit : Now, none of the classes enumerated here below are included in that 7 per cent. and the town, city or village may go on and create indebtedness into the millions of dollars and yet  not be precluded or prohibited by the first part of that clause.

Request was made that the speaker read the Section.

MR. CHAPMAN - The first Section is not to be included in that 7 per cent. limit. "No certificate of indebtedness or revenue bonds issued in anticipation of the collection of taxes unless the same be not paid within two years from the date of such issue, and all such notes, certificates of indebtedness and revenue bonds shall be provided for and be made payable from the taxes levied for the year in which they are issued, and shall not exceed the amount of such taxes." Now it don't make any difference how far you go in making that exception. You may have a million dollars of notes out, and it don't limit the issue of notes and bonds to any past time, but at the same time you are levying a tax of 7 per cent. you may be issuing notes and certificates of indebtedness under Class A. Now, here is Class B:

(b) Bonds issued for the purpose of purchasing or otherwise providing for a supply of water or for the construction or installation of sanitary sewers, or for the extension of either of the same.

Now, until a proper construction of the language used, it appears to me that while that 7 per cent is levied for some other purpose, the town might go on and issue bonds to an indefinite amount, and this Class C obligation, bonds issued to procure means to pay for streets or sidewalk improvements or storm water sewers, the cost of which is to be assessed against the property abutting or drained by such sewers. As the gentleman from Montgomery, Mr. Macdonald, properly says, it would be an absolute tax imposed upon the abutting owners of property and that would not be covered in the 7 per cent it is true, but you are taxing the individual who happens to own an abutting piece of property for sewer or sidewalks, and that is not limited by the 7 per cent, because the town may place side walks and sewers.


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along the whole street and yet not pay one dime of it under this clause, under the tax levied under that 7 per cent limit. So with debts created for the preservation of the public health. That is exempt. The town may deem it proper to create a debt of $50,000, during the same time it is levying the tax of 7 per cent, and yet it is not limited or covered by the 7 per cent. Debts existing on the 6th day of December, 1875. That is an indefinite quantity, it may be great or may be small, they may have been renewed up to the present time with accruing interest, so it seems to me that this clause as it stand; now is absolute death to a people or corporation, and they may be absolutely ruined if it is adopted into this Constitution.

MR. EYSTER - I move the previous question.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - I wish you would withdraw that motion for a moment.

The motion for the previous question was withdrawn.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - Mr. President and delegates of the Convention, it seems to me that there has not been a more dangerous proposition submitted to the delegates of this Convention than that submitted by the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale. The Section as proposed by the Committee on Taxation makes ample provision, as I conceive, for all existing indebtedness, and simply provides a limitation as to future indebtedness. A good deal has been said in regard to rural towns. I wish to state to this Convention a fact which I did not intend to mention, as I live in a rural town, and which came very near being ruined by existing laws. We have a population of about 800 only, and assessable property at $200,000, and we are today laboring under a debt of $1,800 per year for thirty years, amounting to $54,000. With what to pay for it?  An assessment upon $200,000. Some gentleman has asked : "Have you sidewalks?" I say we have not, we have not the means of raising the money for sidewalks, it all goes for the purpose of water works and electric lights, and as long as the system prevails that a delegate from a county can come up to this legislature without limitation on him and get a bill through affecting his county without respect or regard to the wishes of the people, just so long will every county be in danger, so long as there is no limitation upon the power of taxation. That is not all. Following upon this contract was an application made to the legislature for that little town to issue $45,000 of bonds to buy water works, in excess of what it was prior to its being passed. That is the protection that the people of this country desire, and that is what they must have. We know nothing about the cities and towns that speak of their $200,000, their $2,000,000 and their $5,000,000, perhaps they are able to stand it, but let there be some limitation, or else the little country towns where much of your wealth and taxes


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come from, will be left in a most deplorable condition. What objection can there be to Section 10 as amended by the Chairman of the Committee? "Section 10. No city, town or other municipal corporation shall become indebted in an amount exceeding five per centum of the taxable value of the property thereof." Make any estimate, take any town you see proper - say one of $200,000, 5 per cent is $10,000. Isn't that enough for a town of that size to go, or one of a million dollars in the same proportion. "Provided, that for the erection or purchase of water works, gas or electric plants, or sanitary sewerage, an additional indebtedness not to exceed 3 per cent may be created; provided, further that this Section shall not apply to indebtedness in excess of such 5 per cent already created or authorized by law to be created." Nobody can be hurt, all previous creditors are provided for, and you protect the town against future indebtedness.

MR. HARRISON - I heartily indorse what has been said by the delegate from Greene. I admit my astonishment that an amendment should come from the gentleman from Lauderdale allowing cities and towns to incur an indebtedness of 7 per cent. and he himself introduced a resolution limiting the counties to 3 per cent which must necessarily contain within their borders all the cities and towns of the State. I had the pleasure, Mr. President, of introducing an ordinance on this section limiting this very tax to 3 per cent. I did it after careful examination and deliberation and after consulting financiers in the State, and after making the figures, and I ask the delegates here, whether their towns be large or small, take for instance a town with $1,000,000 worth of property, we limit them in the present Constitution, and we are pledged, as Democrats, not to raise that limit to one - half of one per cent. A million dollars worth of property would raise $500 at 1 - 2 of 1 per cent, if I make no mistake in my calculation.

A DELEGATE- $5,000.

MR. HARRISON- That is it; you raise $5,000. Now, at 7 per cent you can issue $70,000 worth of bonds. If you can get it for 5 per cent. the interest on these bonds alone will be $3,000. Now, I ask you, where is the city or town that can live and run its municipal government, police force and other expenses, on less then 1 - 2 of 1 per cent. You will default in the first instance, to say nothing of the exceptions pointed out by the gentleman who preceded me - notes, certificates, etc., to cover all the debts of a city. In other words, it is letting the bars down so completely, or so nearly so, I apprehend we will have more bankrupt cities and towns - a great many more than we have now. I look at the report on Municipal Corporations, and I find they are undertaking to exempt certain cities and towns. That may be all right when we come to it. I understand that perhaps the very city that the distinguished gentleman comes from, of which he is the Mayor,


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is itself badly in debt. I know there are other cities in debt.

MR. WEAKLEY (Lauderdale) - Will the gentleman permit an interruption?

MR. HARRISON - I like to be polite - if they don't limit me, or take it out of my time.

MR. WEAKLY - The city of Florence has a bonded debt upon which it has paid the interest. It does not owe a dollar in the world, and has $5,000 in the treasury.

MR. HARRISON - If you are that well off, I don't think you will need go out and levy the extraordinary expense. I heard the gentleman before the Committee on Taxation; we heard his argument, and it was considered by the Committee on Taxation before this very section was adopted. I appeal to the members to look at the tax lists of their towns and see where they will be. I know my own town, if it made it 5 per cent, it could not pay and it would be in default and repudiation.

If there is a city or town in this condition, it is but a stronger reason why the Convention should apply the brakes now and protect others. Cities and towns, like individuals, should be made to live within their income. This extravagance of beautifying, ornamentation, etc., is all right, and we love to see it, but I submit we are pledged here to the people of Alabama in this Convention that we shall not raise the rate of taxation, and we ought to be honest. We cannot raise it. I have no idea that the delegates on this Municipal Corporation Committee will ask us to raise the limit on cities and towns beyond half of one per cent. If one - half of one per cent will not allow them to pay more than 5 per cent I regard that as the maximum - I yielded to it simply to have unanimity on that report. I believe it is possible we may go to 5, but I believe 3 is safe and conservative, and the city - smaller and with less property than the county - ought at least be brought down to the limit of 3 1 - 2 per cent, which the Convention has passed after a long discussion and test vote; we should not allow the cities and towns greater taxes, a greater rate than the county. We fixed that after examination of figures; the Convention itself fixed it at 3 1 - 2 per cent. Certainly, the ability of the county is greater than that of the town. Why should we adopt this amendment when the mover of this resolution himself stood by us in reducing from 5, to 3 1 - 2, and he now undertakes to tax the people or authorize indebtedness against the people of the cities and towns up to 7 per cent, with a dozen or more exceptions, which, to my mind, seem to be indefinite. So far as these exceptions are concerned, I would rather have no limit at all, because it is as much as to say to these people that we, as delegates in Convention assembled, have considered the matter and fixed the rate to which it can go with safety, but I do not believe the average city or


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town would dare undertake to do this, and we are doing ourselves injustice, we are doing wrong to the cities and towns to even say for one moment, you can Incur the extent of indebtedness authorized by the substitute. I therefore hope, Mr. President and delegates of the Convention, that you will look into it. As has been well said by my distinguished friend front Greene, to my mind, it is the most dangerous ordinance or attempt to amend an ordinance, made in this Convention since we have convened. I appeal to you, look into it. Apply it to your own municipalities. Look at your tax lists and see if it does not mean danger of repudiation whenever we come near the 7 per cent mark. It is a continuation of that spirit which is going over the cities and towns of Alabama and taxing every man, woman and child in business. Why, the very spirit, if not the letter of the Constitution, is being violated. It is our duty to stop it, and prevent them from incurring this indebtedness that will inflict such taxation not only upon property, but upon business and occupations in the country. I feel it is our duty to put it in the fundamental law of the land, that if there is any city has gone beyond it, let them come up like Colbert and we will make exceptions as to them, but for those who have not reached that far, I appeal to the delegates of the Convention to come up with a strong arm and say : "thus far shalt thou go, but no farther."

MR. GRAHAM (Montgomery-) - I wish to state, Mr. President, in order that the members of the Convention may not misunderstand the position I propose to take upon this floor that I favor a limit on municipal taxation. We are here assembled in a sovereign capacity for the purpose of framing a Constitution which is to wisely govern the entire people of the great State of Alabama, and yet in the very beginning of those deliberations, distinguished gentlemen upon this floor have their hands upon the throats of municipalities of the State attempting to choke the very life out of them. Distinguished gentlemen are here for the purpose of deliberating and framing fundamental laws for the government of all the good people of the State of Alabama and not to retard the prosperity of any. Why, sir, a mad bull is made madder by flaunting a red flag in his face, and the gentleman, my colleague (Mr. Macdonald) could not be made madder upon any question than by flaunting in his face the red flag of increased taxes in municipalities, as administered by the municipal authorities of this city. It is his nature, I don't blame him for the position he takes. He has been litigating at every point, not only before the Supreme Court of Alabama, but before the Supreme Court of the United States, and they have in recent decisions delivered, absolutely trampled the position assumed by him, under foot, and yet after all these decisions, he comes up smiling and says he will look and see what the Supreme Court of Alabama will again say upon the subject and he is now before the Supreme


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Court of Alabama, testing a question, though the decision of the highest court in the land is against him. The case of village of Norwood vs. Baker, decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, was seized upon by the gentleman and others interested in this class of litigation to cry "Confiscation! confiscation!!" and yet the very first time the Supreme Court of the United States has an opportunity to pass upon, compare and distinguish this case with that of Parsons vs. the District of Columbia, they made the distinction so clear that the yell raised by the gentleman and others, that it was confiscation, sank so far in the minds of all reasonable men, that he does not dare raise it again. The case of Birdsong vs. city of Montgomery was a notable one and was decided against him. The Supreme Court of the United States has since that time also decided the proposition against him. In the city of Montgomery we have an indebtedness of about two million dollars. Five hundred thousand of it we have been laboring under for many, many years. It was appropriated by a Republican administration to the building of a railroad under certain conditions which were never complied with, but the bonds were used for the purpose of building the railroad. Six hundred thousand dollars of our indebtedness was caused by the purchase of our water works, and I defy any man on the floor of this Convention to take the report made by the Water Company and compare it with the report made by the city of Montgomery, and not say it was a blessing that the water works are owned by the city.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) - The waterworks add a revenue to the town, nobody objects to that.

MR. GRAHAM (Montgomery) - I have heard my friend before, for whom I have great respect and almost affection. I have heard him before, there is more bluster in him than anything else. We have a condition existing in this State, Mr. President, in respect to our municipal corporations and this Convention ought to meet it like brave men and not like cowards, they ought to settle this matter in a way that will bring the "greatest good to the greatest number" of people that live in these cities, and if they fail to do it, they will fail to discharge one of the greatest duties enjoined upon them when called upon to assemble in this Convention and legislate for the people. There is a condition existing here which we are bound to meet even though the limitation is put down to 5 per cent. In the language of the gentleman from Lee, municipal corporations, cities and towns, extending from the boundaries of Tennessee to the Gulf of Mexico will go down into the depths of bankruptcy. That condition exists. Is it our duty to jump on those that are down and trample the last particle of life out of them, or is it our duty to go to them with a helping hand and ask if we can render them assistance? and, if answered in the affirmative, to render them the assistance which we ought to render?


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MR. HARRISON - Render assistance, but don't bring all the others down.

MR. GRAHAM - Yes, render assistance - I understand the motive of the gentleman who makes this argument -- my distinguished friend, whom I helped in this House in 1882 to save his county from a condition of utter helplessness.

MR. HARRISON - A burnt child dreads the fire.

MR. GRAHAM - Yes, when you get a fellow well burnt, the least little flame that comes around runs him crazy. That's the condition of my friend from Lee. The exception that is made here is in the interest of these municipalities. The city of Montgomery, as I stated before, owes in the neighborhood of two millions and unless relieved by legislation in this Constitution we will go to the wall.

MR. COLEMAN - Does not this meet your case: "Provided, this limitation shall not apply to indebtedness already existing or authorized to be created?"

MR. GRAHAM - No, it will not, Mr. President, every man that comes to the city of Montgomery, the capital of the great State of Alabama, admires its condition. If our streets were in the condition they were twenty years ago, there would be fifty men on this floor who would get up and ask to have the Capitol removed to Birmingham, or some other city in Alabama.

MR. COLEMAN - Do you propose, then, for all the towns of the State to be taxed in order that the Capitol be kept here in Montgomery?

MR. GRAHAM - No, sir; but if that law is passed, the very life of every municipality in this State will be choked out of it-

MR. MACDONALD - Do I understand you as advocating that the total cost of sidewalks, street paving and sewers should be taxed upon the abutting owner?

MR. GRAHAM - No, sir, and the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale does not say anything of the kind. I say that the city at large ought to, bear a proportion of the expense of paving, that it ought to do its share. All of us are living on the streets and ought to bear our proportion. I appeal to the delegates of this Convention after the manner of my distinguished friend from Lee, to save the municipalities of the State from destruction which is threatened here by the position taken by distinguished gentlemen on this floor.

MR. CHAPMAN -- Would it serve your purpose to have Montgomery excepted from the general law?

MR. GRAHAM - I don't want to play the dog in the manger.


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MR. CHAPMAN - You don't want to put all the other dogs in, do you?

MR. GRAHAM - No, sir.

MR. SANFORD -- I did not expect this discussion upon Montgomery affairs would be precipitated so early in the session of this Convention, and I would hardly have spoken this afternoon but for the very unkind remark of my friend who loves me so well that he speaks of me as being "full of noise" and having "heard me before." I have heard him before the people and generally the people have endorsed the opposition to him. You cannot find an ex - Alderman or an ex - Mayor or an ex - City Attorney who is not for all these exactions in favor of municipalities and against the people.

What have we done here in Montgomery? I tell you gentlemen it has been confiscation. Men have left the city. Men have houses in Montgomery for which they can never pay owing to the debts on them for pavements and sidewalks and tesselated streets, and Belgian blocks, and there is starving inside of their houses. And they call that benefiting the property! Every tile takes that much bread from the mouth of some man who works day after day for his daily bread. Why, only the other day a citizen said to me, "Colonel, if they carry out their project of paving the streets as they are doing now, I will have to sell my house and move away because I will be unable to pay the cost of the benefits." You take away the shelter of the poor man who works day after day for his daily bread and that of his family, and you take away all the hopes of his life. When he has made a little money and put it in a homestead you come along and say "we will pave these streets with Belgian blocks and tesselated streets," and for what? Simply in order that some gentleman from Boston may walk the streets and say what a beautiful town Montgomery is." That don't feed the poor man.

How many white people have you in Montgomery? Thirteen thousand white people. Its population is supposed to be according to the census 30,346, but 17,000 of them are negroes. Of course they are not tax - payers. And of the thirteen thousand white people, how many are tax - payers? Five years ago an inquiry into that matter was had and there were seventeen hundred tax payers in the city of Montgomery. And all this great indebtedness is a burden upon those people. Now, I know whereof I speak. One of the finest establishments in Montgomery is today under a mortgage which the young men owning it are laboring day after day simply to pay the interest and it will finally be swept from them. Another young man has a house which he inherited from his father and he has said: "You can take my house for the pavements and the supposed benefit." These are facts. Your bankers have moved from Montgomery. Men who owned


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houses on the prominent streets have gone to the country, gentlemen of fortune, have built outside the city. I know that less than twelve months ago there was a meeting of the citizens to consider these matters, and there, sir, I know you heard my voice protesting that this taxation would amount to confiscation. These are facts about this thing and yet we have gentlemen who would tax you still more. What benefit are brick streets to a man who works day after day for his bread. How do brick streets benefit him? And yet you say to him "you must pay these taxes" when he can barely support those dependent on him. And these officers who have been paid by the municipalities are always shocked by the voices when they appeal for the people and against grasping municipalities. I am glad to say that if my voice is harsh the people have heard it. Today a man said to me, "For God's sake don't let them continue this system of government. We rely upon you and our other friends to prevent that."  And I stand here today protesting against any such proposition which has been so ably exposed by the gentleman from Greene and the gentleman from Lee and which was defended by my two colleagues from Montgomery, one an ex - alderman and the other an ex - city attorney and mayor. That carries out what I said that that class is always asking for power for municipalities against the people.

They say that we are choking municipalities to death. Who are the municipalities? Are they not the people? When we say the city of Montgomery, it has no existence apart from the people who compose it, John Sanford and George Macdonald and James Smith, and others. We are protecting the people against these grasping municipalities and you will hear our voices before this Convention adjourns in more forms than one.

Gentlemen of the Convention, I hope you will listen to the eloquent appeals of the gentleman from Lee, to the earliest and truthful argument of the gentleman from Greene and even to the voice, and nothing but voice, but with a great deal of heart and sincerity and earnestness for his people. I hope this amendment will be defeated by an overwhelming majority.

MR. PILLANS - I offer an amendment.

MR. HARRISON - Is not there already an amendment to an amendment?

THE PRESIDENT - Yes, the Chair will state to the gentleman from Mobile, that the gentleman from Talladega offered an amendment to the Section and the gentleman from Lauderdale offered an amendment.

MR. PILLANS - Then my amendment is not in order?

THE PRESIDENT - Not at this time.


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MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - The amendment of the gentleman from Talladega was simply a change in phraseology. It was really no amendment.

MR. BROWNE - When the gentleman from Lauderdale was offering his amendment, I begged the Convention to allow this little verbal amendment of mine to be gotten out of the way but it was declined. Now I ask unanimous consent that the amendment offered by the Committee be taken up and disposed of in order that the gentleman from Mobile can offer his amendment. The amendment of the Committee is only a formal amendment.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman asks unanimous consent on the part of the Committee to incorporate that amendment. Is there objection? The Chair hears none and the amendment will be made and the gentleman from Mobile can now send up his amendment.

The amendment was read as follows: Amend the substitute by striking out paragraphs A and D.

MR. PILLANS - I will ask that the clerk read paragraphs A and D of the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale.

The sections were read as follows:

(a) Notes, certificates of indebtedness or revenue bonds issued in anticipation of the collection of taxes, unless the same be not paid within two years from the date of such issue and all such notes, certificates of indebtedness and revenue bonds shall be provided for, and made payable from the taxes levied for the year in which they are issued, and shall never exceed the amount of such taxes.

(d) Debts created for the preservation of the public health.

MR. PILLANS - The object of this amendment is to make the substitute which is offered, and which contains a limitation upon the indebtedness which a municipal corporation can subject itself to, not applicable to the following extraordinary matters, to wit: (b) bonds issued for the purpose of purchasing or otherwise providing for a supply of water or for the construction or installation of sanitary sewers, or for the extension of either of the same, (c) obligations incurred and bonds issued to procure means to pay for street or sidewalk improvements or storm water sewers, the cost of which is to be assessed against the property abutting or drained by such sewers. (e) debts existing on the 6th day of December, 1875, or any obligation issued to renew or refund the same.

The purpose of the amendment therefore, is to make it plain


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that these extraordinary indebtednesses, above the limited indebtedness of 7 per cent shall be confined to these three subject matters, namely, the providing of water for the people, putting in sanitary sewers, and debts existing at the time of the adoption of the constitution of 1875, and obligations for street improvements or storm water sewers, which are assessable in whole or in part against abutting property owners.

MR. deGRAFFENREID - Why do you not put lights in there as well as the other?

MR. PILLANS - Well, because that is a part of the ordinary municipal expenditures, and I agree entirely with the Committee in not putting lights and so on in, and I will give the reason. The city I live in, which happens to be the largest in the State, notwithstanding that it is doubted by some of my friends here has been lighted for many years by electricity, and was lighted for a great many years, of course, by gas. It has never had a municipal electric lighting plant, except after electric lighting came into vogue we tried electric lighting I think once by municipal ownership, and we did not find that it paid at all, and today we have no thought or idea of putting in an expensive plant to be operated by politicians in competition with private parties. Now if in other places you find it will pay better for the city to own the lighting plant, let them have it, but all of that is a matter that ought to be paid out of the seven per cent limitation, or whatever limitation this body fixes as the limitation for the ordinary indebtedness of cities.

Now, to speak particularly to the matter of street improvement bonds. If there shall be a limitation put into this Constitution upon the power of cities to incur debts or five, seven or three. per cent., the cities of Alabama which have already incurred more than that amount of bonded indebtedness can never incur a debt to the extent of one penny. That is plain. Therefore, every one, of those cities will be unable to incur one dime's worth of debt for street improvement or pavement, or for water works, or any other thing, and particularly for street improvements, which while apparently an indebtedness of the city, and temporarily an indebtedness of the city, will be, in part at least, paid by the abutting property owners, and I am sure it will not be the policy of this Convention to cut off from the progressive cities of Alabama, large and small, the right and power to do what other cities in every portion of the United States do, and that is improve their streets, and pave their streets, as Montgomery has done, by assessing part of the cost of the pavement against the abutting property owner.

MR. HARRISON - Do you know of any city in the United States that has larger indebtedness than that proposed?


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MR. PILLANS - I can name the city of Mobile. It has a twenty per cent. indebtedness right there, and we are asking this Convention to enable us to pave our streets. The pavement we used to have, shells and cobble - stones, has been taken out, as it has become useless and we have got to repave, and we are now about to do it, and I speak from the standpoint of a property owner who will have to pay heavily and severely for this improvement.

MR. HARRISON - You have a right to double taxation now, an additional one - half.

MR. PILLANS - Oh, we pay three - quarters of one per cent to our old creditors and we have three - quarters of one per cent for the maintenance of the city, and the three - quarters of one per cent for the maintenance of the city will allow us to do no paving.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - What was your purpose in striking out (D) "debts created for the preservation of the public health?" I want to make this suggestion. Suppose an epidemic should occur in some city or town in the State, and it should be necessary to go beyond the seven per cent., don't you think the city ought to have that power, if necessary, to preserve the health or life of the people? Ought their hands to be tied in the event of a great emergency of that kind, so they cannot create a debt which might be necessary to save the lives of its people?

MR. PILLANS - I will answer the gentleman by saying that I perhaps occupy a unique position, not believing in a quarantine system that is the curse of this Southern land, and has done no good, but has nearly bankrupted some of the towns, I do not believe in a time of panic, when reason is dethroned and every charletan controls the people, and when shot gun quarantines are in effect, that it is wise to leave your municipalities with an unlimited power of expenditure and of creating indebtedness at such a time as that. That is the time of all times, when they need the restraining influence of this Constitution in the matter of their power to create debts. That was the reason I introduced that, though I will say I am perfectly indifferent personally as to that part of my amendment. The chief reason for offering the amendment was to make sure that we would not in this Constitution establish the principle that there could be no local assessments for local improvements hereafter in the State of Alabama, in cities to which these improvements are absolutely essential to the progress, health and the well being not only of every city, but every large town in the State.

THE PRESIDENT - The Chair will state that the gentleman from Jefferson has the floor and yielded to the gentleman from Mobile, the Chair understood temporarily.


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MR. PILLANS - I thank the gentleman.

MR. FERGUSON - Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention. I regard it as a most unfortunate day for the State of Alabama and any municipality within it, when any bonded indebtedness was incurred by the State or any part of the people of the State of Alabama. This, however, Mr. President, is a condition that has been forced upon us. It came upon us in the reconstruction days. It is a condition and we must confront it. We have met it by a provision in the Constitution that we are about to adopt, limiting the power of the State to contract debts by the issuance of bonds, to the extent of nine millions of dollars. I desire to say, gentlemen of the Convention that I am in favor of the lowest possible limitation on State, county and municipal indebtedness, consistent with the honor of the State, of the counties, and of the municipalities of the State.

There is a vital principle, however, involved in the question that is now before us, and I outlined that by the question that I put to the gentleman from Dale. That question is this: in the city of Birmingham, and I have no doubt the city of Montgomery, and in other large cities of the State, this abutting property tax that the Supreme Court has declared constitutional, has been fixed upon a majority of the property owners and the property of those cities. There is a standing decision of the courts that I think the Convention should stand by. I rise, Mr. President. to speak to the exception. In the amendment introduced by the gentleman from Lauderdale that this character of indebtedness that has already accrued within certain cities of this State shall be excepted from the general operation of the ordinances we are now about to adopt, is eminently fair, it is eminently just, and stands by the law that has been laid down by the Supreme Court of Alabama in this particular premises.

Now, gentlemen to show you how unfair it would be at this time to exempt those cities that have already paid that tax, I will ask you this simple question: If those that have not paid have not already gained the benefit of those that have paid this onerous and burdensome tax? I do not know what the figures are, and do not undertake to give figures, in the premises, either for the city of Birmingham, or any other city in the State, but I would say at a hazard, that in the city of Birmingham, perhaps twothirds of the citizenship within that city owning property have paid this tax, and that two - thirds in value have paid this tax. That would leave then one - third of the citizenship and one - third of the property that have not sustained the burdens of any of that tax. Those that have not paid it have gained the benefits arising from the payment of that tax by those that have paid it.

MR. KYLE - Do you hold that it is just because you have


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wronged two - thirds of your citizens, to wrong the other one - third to make them equal?

MR. FERGUSON - I say let the decisions of the State courts stand as they do on every other question involving property rights in this State. The time has not been within the history of English jurisprudence where the courts have not stood by the decisions of the courts where property rights intervened, or became involved, no matter how oppressive the measure may seem. Every lawyer on this floor knows that to lie the law, and I say identically the same principle should prevail in this sort of a tax.

MR. MACDONALD - Has it ever been decided by the Supreme Court of this State, that the simple cost for such improvement should be assessed against the abutting property owner?

MR. FERGUSON - I have not understood that the amendment in any way proposes anything of that sort. If the gentleman will show me anything in it that proposes anything of that kind, either by the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale, or the ordinance reported by the committee, I will abandon any position that I have taken in the premises.

MR. MACDONALD - Have you read the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale?

MR. FERGUSON - No ; but I have heard it read, and I do not understand that it proposes any such thing.

MR. MACDONALD - If my friends hill read it more carefully, he will see.

MR. FERGUSON - As I understand the amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale, it simply proposes to except from the provision of this ordinance those debts, and that bonded indebtedness, that is already accrued, by reason of the assessment of these damages against the abutting property. Am I correct in that?

MR. WEAKLEY - You are.

MR. FERGUSON - That is the way I understand it. Now, what I mean to say Mr. President, is that the only limitation whatever that I care about in the bonded indebtedness of a city, is that which will protect the honor of the city; that which will give it credit in the financial world; that which will not burden the citizens of the community, nor burden the property to that degree where it will amount to a confiscation of property.

I believe as much in low taxes, Mr. President, as any man upon this floor, but as I understand the proposition of the gentleman from Montgomery, and the gentleman from Dale here, to strike out that part of the amendment offered by the gentleman


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from Lauderdale, it would have the effect of letting those people owning property in those cities who had not paid their taxes, to get the benefit of those who had already borne its burdens, and if that is the purpose of it, I am opposed to it.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - Will the gentleman permit a question. Does the gentleman hold that assessments made and contracts let under the present Constitution will be rendered void by the section of the committee's report relating to this question.

MR. FERGUSON - I am unable to answer the gentleman on that.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - In other words, would it go back; would it be retroactive?

MR. FERGUSON - I will answer the gentleman to this extent: If the money is already paid, why then they are concluded by it.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - The point is this: assessments that have been made and that have not been paid - would they be rendered void, or vitiated by this proposed provision in the Constitution? My understanding is that it could not be made retroactive.

MR. FERGUSON - Well, I expect under the Constitution of the United States, affecting the obligations of contracts that have been entered into, that is, if any man acting under the influence of those contracts had done any work, why the contract would still hold good. I believe that to be the law of the case.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Will the gentleman allow a question, which I propound for information. Many of us do not understand this question very fully. If this limitation as to bonds to procure the means for street and sidewalk improvement is stricken out, I desire to know whether or not cities like Birmingham, Huntsville, Florence, Montgomery, and other cities of that character, would be precluded from the improvement of their streets or sidewalks in the future on account of the fact that they would exceed the limitation of 7 per cent? Would it have that effect?

Now this provision prohibits any city contracting a debt in excess of 7 per cent. Now Birmingham already has a debt of 15 per cent. Would it prohibit cities of that kind, or would it prohibit most of the cities in the State, from continuing the present system of street improvement by assessing it against the property owners?

MR. FERGUSON - I candidly confess I am unable to answer the gentleman in that respect. I have not given enough consideration or thought to the subject.


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THE PRESIDENT - The time of the gentleman from Jefferson has expired.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - Mr. President, some allusion has been made by one of the distinguished gentlemen who has preceded me in debate to the fact that those who have been connected with municipalities in official positions were all one way upon the proposition that is now presented to this Convention. I assume that that will not be construed to weaken the force of the contention, when it appears to this Convention that those who have been honored by the people, among whom they live, by election to the office of Mayor, or Councilman, or City Attorney, and that all of those in fact, whose attention has been particularly called to these matters, should stand as one man upon this proposition, certainly ought not to a fair - minded man prejudice the proposition itself.

Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, I submit to you that to adopt Section 10, as reported by the Committee on Taxation, will stop the wheels of progress in the city that I come from. I believe, gentlemen of the Convention, that Section was prepared without consultation with those who had in their hands by virtue of the suffrage of the people of that community, the welfare and destiny of the community. I dare say that that provision was adopted with those who had expert and intimate acquaintance and knowledge with the methods, and result that are sought to be obtained in that community. Else they would not have submitted this report.

I say, and I say it deliberately, that the adoption of that provision as embraced in Section 10, even as amended, will stop the wheels of progress where they are in my city. We have as this Convention knows, in the lifetime of all of us who sit here, and within less than a generation, converted a city into a wilderness, and that is not done without the expenditure of money. (Laughter.)

A gentleman has corrected me; we have converted a wilderness into a city, and your grandchildren will not see that city converted into wilderness unless this Convention lays its ruthless hands upon her today. (Applause.)

This Convention, gentlemen, was brought here to deal with matters general. They are seeking to regulate matters special. They seem to have forgotten the time - honored Democratic doctrine of local self - government. They are unwilling, forsooth, because some of the gentlemen boastingly assert that they come from towns that do not have sidewalks and sewers, without consideration, or a study of the problem that my people are trying to solve, to say that Birmingham shall have sidewalks or sewers. Why, sir, it is a cruel proposition. We have now, after many


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years of struggling, arrived at a system of sidewalk and street improvement, and sewer improvement, by which the least hardship falls upon the people, and all of the people in that community, I might say almost without exception, are satisfied with it. Why I tell you that the Board of Aldermen receive censure because they cannot proceed fast enough with the improvements demanded by the property owners. The property owners in a section of the city will come and demand a sewer, and in order to build that sewer we have to issue bonds, and then the property owner, if he chooses, may pay in cash his assessment, or he may pay it in annual installments for ten years. The city seeing the danger, declined to proceed further until the bonds to be issued upon the work should be sold. Then they came in many instances guaranteeing themselves to take the bonds, in order that the work might not be retarded.

Now this provision would prevent all that. That bond is the indebtedness of the city, but it is secured to the city by a first lien upon the property improved by it.

Can a city grow without sewers? Can a city thrive without streets and without sidewalks? I say no. I say that the people in Birmingham who are bearing the burden have not uttered a cry of complaint. There has not been the suggestion of complaint from them. I tell you, gentlemen, they are not only satisfied,  they are more than pleased with the existing conditions and the laws under which those great works of public improvement are being carried on there.

Why, our county is now engaged in building a sanitary sewer that will cost over five hundred thousand dollars and may be three times as much, but then we are building a great community.

Gentlemen, this says "no city, town or other municipality shall become indebted in an amount exceeding five per centum of the taxable value of the property thereof." Birmingham is now exceeding it by ten per cent. Therefore you say to Birmingham, although our credit is still good, we are paving the interest on our bonds, we are maintaining our credit at home and abroad, and it becomes necessary sometimes in advance to discount incoming receipts from taxes in the course of current affairs, from day to day, or month to month, and we never have the slightest trouble.-

MR. WHITE - Is it not the fact that we have the means of paying that other cities have not, by the means of the amendment in the Constitution so as to allow us to levy a tax to pay it?

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - I answer the gentleman that we have the means of paying that no bankrupt city has. We have means of paying every dollar we owe, and we now have the means of going to the banks, when our accounts are falling due


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and the rates from taxes have not been received, and getting money at 4 and 6 per cent for sixty days, and ninety days, until the taxes come in. This would deny us that privilege. We would have to issue script from the minute that became a law if we fell behind or else we would have to hound the tax payers from the instant his taxes became due. Now, I am in favor of the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale. The fact that he is a mayor of a city, and the fact that he has become from the very nature of his business, as an honest and industrious man, and a faithful public servant, an expert in municipal matters, ought not to discredit his statement here. His proposition is acceptable to me. It will be acceptable to my community. The proposition reported by the Committee is destruction to the best interests of our community. It stops our streets where they are. It stops our sewers where they are, and our sidewalks-

MR. WEAKLEY - Will the gentleman allow a question?

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - Yes.

MR. WEAKLEY - Would not the report of the Committee on Taxation make it absolutely impossible under any circumstances for the city of Birmingham to own its water works system?

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - I am glad that the gentleman has suggested it. I was going to refer to it later. Our water works, Mr. President, are worth more than a million dollars. They, are 1vorth more than three per cent, we will say, of the taxable value of the property. This makes it utterly impracticable for Birmingham to ever own her water works, the matter that has been dear to the hearts of her people and under consideration for many years being the project for the purchase of the water works.

MR. WEATHERLY - I wish to know if it is absolutely clear that three per cent applies where the five per cent limit has been reached already?

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - I am not sure about that. I don't want to be technical about it. I want to take it in its broadest sense. I do not like to go into the details of figures in dealing with any broad constitutional question. This is no time for figuring on that seems to me.

Now, I say to the gentleman from Mobile, as to the amendment suggested by him. His amendment says certificates of indebtedness issued in anticipation of the collection of taxes, are to be included in the estimate of seven per cent. Why I say that would be ruin to Birmingham in a minute. We already owe fifteen per cent. We could not borrow a cent. We could not borrow a dollar to tide us from day to day. As it is now we can easily go to the banks and borrow from fifty to a hundred thou-


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sand dollars for thirty, sixty or ninety days, on minimum interest, and yet if that provision was put in there, we would either have to grind the tax payer, or we would have to fail to pay the city employes, or issue script; practically be in a state of bankruptcy. Mr. President, what Birmingham asks of this Convention is, largely, to be let alone. We have no objection to your putting the tax limit if you choose so that that limit is so liberal that it will never endanger the credit of one city, but this is a Constitution that is to guide us for half a century-

MR. HARRISON - If we except Birmingham, are you willing to accept it ?

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - No, sir; I will not desert those who have stood by Birmingham in this hour of her peril. The Convention may except Birmingham, but there are other towns in Alabama. Birmingham is merely typical. There is Florence, there is Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Anniston, Huntsville—

MR. JONES (Montgomery) - Montgomery.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - Montgomery and Mobile.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - Bridgeport and Decatur.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - There is every progressive town in Alabama, every town that feels the thrill of life within her being, is threatened by this legislation.

Legislation, Mr. Chairman, that was suggested by a Committee that did not call into consultation those most immediately concerned in the welfare of the communities with which they sought to deal. There is not a provision that is incorporated in section ten that is not disastrous to my community. It threatens every other town in Jefferson County. Why do you want to put shackels on the limbs of your growing young giant? Do you want to put your thriving cities in a straight jacket? Are you content to dwell in a wilderness, and drive through prairie mud to your court houses?

Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Convention, I agree with the distinguished gentleman from Greene that this is a serious question involved here. I tell you that I know my constituency, and they will rebel against the effort of this Convention, sent here to make a Constitution, undertaking to assume the functions of the General Assembly, and assume the functions of their immediate municipality boards, selected immediately by them and their neighbors, and instructed by them as to their will and their wishes. You must take your hands off of your growing cities. You must let them alone. This is no place for local legislation. You have limited local legislation by the General Assembly. The reports of your committees will prevent local legislation and rele-


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gate it to the local boards, and yet this Convention proposes to tell the General Assembly what to do, and you undertake to tell the representatives of the people not only to be assembled in the General Assembly, but the representatives to be assembled in the municipal boards what to do, and you provide for what they shall do within the next fifty years.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) - I move that the gentleman's time be extended ten minutes longer.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) - I am very grateful for the offer, but unless some gentleman desires to ask some questions, I should not care to consume the time of the Convention longer.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I desire to offer a resolution before I commence my remarks on this question.

The resolution was sent to the clerk's desk and read as follows:

"Whereas, The Fourth of July is sacred to all who appreciate republican institutions, and is in all portions of the Republic-

MR. REESE- I rise to a point of order. The consent of this House has not been obtained to read that resolution.

MR. O'NEAL - This is a privileged motion. A motion to adjourn.

The clerk continued the reading- "all portions of the Republic, wherever the flag waves,—

MR. ROGERS (Sumter) - I make the point of order that is a motion to adjourn and it is not debatable.

The reading continued- "a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving; and, whereas, the people of Alabama, in convention assembled, recognizing the glorious memories which this day awakens and appreciating that brotherly feeling which now exists between the States, and to which we owe our beautiful Federal system.

Therefore be it resolved, That in honor of Independence Day, the Convention adjourn at its usual hour until Friday morning."

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) - I have a substitute-

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - I have the floor.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Lauderdale has the floor.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) - On that resolution I move the previous question.

Mr. Burns of Dallas sought recognition.


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MR. REESE - I call for the ayes and noes on that resolution.

Cries of "no, no."

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman from Lauderdale has the floor, and moves the adoption of the resolution, and upon that demands the previous question.  The question is shall the main—

MR. REESE - I demand the ayes and noes.

MR. BURNS - He announced that he offered a motion to adjourn, and that is not debatable. I desire to offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

“Resolved, That the report of the Committee on the Declaration of Rights be set as a special order for tomorrow at 11 o'clock.”

THE PRESIDENT - The substitute is out of order.  The question is upon the adoption of the resolution.  As many as favor the motion —

MR. REESE - I demand the ayes and noes.

THE PRESIDENT - The ayes and noes are called for.

There were cries of yes and no, and a division was called for, and upon a division the vote resulted 79 ayes and 49 noes, so the resolution was adopted.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - I call for a verification of the vote.

MR. CUNNINGHAM - We demand a verification of that vote by the ayes and noes of this Convention.

Cries of "Too late."

MR. CUNNINGHAM - We demand it.  We make the point of order that we have a right to a verification of the vote.

Cries of "No, no."

MR. WHITE - I make the point of order that the demand comes too late.

MR. REESE - I have been on my feet demanding the ayes and noes ever since the resolution was offered.

THE PRESIDENT - There was so much confusion in the Convention that it was impossible for the Chair to hear what gentlemen were demanding.  It seems every one was on his feet clamoring for something, and it was difficult for the Chair to ascertain exactly what was demanded.

MR. REESE - If there is anything now before the House I 


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demand the ayes and noes on that. (Laughter.)

MR. O'NEAL, - I desire to continue my remarks on this resolution.

The clock struck 6, and the Convention was declared adjourned until Friday morning at 9 :30 o'clock.

_______

CORRECTION

In remarks of Mr. Weakley on Page 4, fourth column near the top, the sentence, "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," should have the word "taxing" omitted.