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FORTIETH  DAY

MONTGOMERY, ALA., Tuesday, July 9, 1901.

The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, was called to order by the President, and opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. A. T. Dix as follows:

O, Lord God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who yet careth for the children of men and hath invited them to approach unto Thee, and unto Thee we come this morning for Thou art the source of our lives, and Thou has said if any man lacked wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth unto all men liberally and upbraideth not. We do indeed lack wisdom in the many problems that come before us in life that we may reach even solution which is satisfactory to ourselves and to our fellow man, and much more that shall be pleasing in Thy sight. We come before Thee this morning confident that Thou wilt hear and that Thou wilt confer Divine guidance, for Thou halt taught us that we may trust in Thy mercy, which is over all Thy work.

We pray Thee to forgive our sins; we pray Thee permit us to have the right view of Him who is our advocate, in whose excellency we may approach Thee, and thus coming, we pray that Thou wilt give unto this body here assembled the blessings which they need ; that in considering the interests of the people which


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they represent, true humanitarian principles may underlie their action and may the love of man and fear of God dwell in their hearts, and may they be so enabled to enact the fundamental law that the generations to come of the children of man may approve, and Thy divine approbation may rest upon their work. And now, Our Father, do Thou bless the members of this Convention as individuals. Give unto them that experience in Thy grace which is indeed that they may be acceptable to Thee. Bless their families. Bless their communities, and in so doing may Divine benediction rest upon our beloved State.  May all of our interest be subserved, according to Thy love and for Thine own glory. We ask for Thy name's sake. Amen.

Upon the call of the roll 110 delegates  responded.

Leaves of absence were granted as follows:

Mr. Henderson and Mr. Moody for today. Indefinite leave for Mr. Taylor. on account of sickness.

The roll of delegates was called for the introduction of ordinances, resolutions, etc.

MR. SANFORD ‑ I rise to a question of personal privilege.

THE PRESIDENT - The gentleman will state the question.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) – In the remarks that I made on yesterday afternoon in support of the amendment to add the word “naturalized” before the “foreigners,” in the official report I am made to say, the amount of real property that is owned in the United States is astounding.  I said the amount of property that is owned by foreigners in the United States is astounding.

And it says in Texas, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Tennessee the amount of property is estimated at 27,000,000 of acres, and it says nearly two-thirds, when I said it was not more than two-thirds of the area in the State of Alabama.  As the report is printed it makes it appear as if I had asserted that two-thirds of Alabama is owned by foreigners.  Therefore I ask that the correction be made.

In the closing line it says for this reason I move that the word "naturalized'' be placed before the word "foreigner" in the report. In the report it is naturalized citizens that I am asking to be added and the word "citizen" ought to be stricken out.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The official stenographer will be requested to make this correction.

MR. BROOKS ‑ I rise to a question of personal privilege.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state the question of personal privilege.


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MR. BROOKS ‑ The stenographic report of the proceedings of yesterday in five lines reports me to have stated as much nonsense as would be possible in that space. It says "the conversation to reject merely because they overturn precedent and custom handicaps progress, and if we will apply to well settled precedents and customs and test existing conditions, we may promote development."

As a matter of fact what I did say was this: "The conservatism that rejects changes merely because they overthrow precedents and customs, handicaps progress, but if we will apply to well settled principles and customs the test of existing conditions we may promote development."

In the second to the last paragraph in the column the report reads "but leaving out the question of corporations" when I said "but leaving out the question of corruption."

Report of the Committee on Journal was read, stating that the Journal for the thirty ‑ ninth day of the Convention had been examined and that the same is correct, and the same was adopted.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ Owing to the force of this discussion of the convict question on yesterday, I believe, Mr. Samford of Pike, and myself have concluded to offer an ordinance looking to the improvement of the convict system in the State of Alabama.

The ordinance was read as follows:

Ordinance No. 416, by Mr. Beddow:

A proposition to be entitled an ordinance to prohibit the hiring or leasing of convicts in this State.

Be it ordained by the people of Alabama. in Convention assembled.

That after the first day of January, 1904, the labor of convicts shall not be let out by contract to any person, co ‑ partnership, company or corporation, and the Legislature shall by law provide for the working of convicts for the benefit of the State and the several counties thereof.

Referred to Committee on Legislative Department.

MR. BOONE ‑ I have several petitions that I desire to be read.

Upon motion the petitions were read as follows:

To the Honorable President and Members of the Constitutional Convention, assembled at Montgomery:


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Gentlemen– The undersigned residents and citizens of the State of Alabama, and members of the Working Men’s Organizations, known as the Mobile Division No. 310, Order Railway Conductors, having read and considered the matter of the memorial and petition of Mobile Typographical Union No. 27, hereto append,

Respectfully show to your honorable body that they favor that prayer of said memorial and petition that said matter be given your consideration and that if consistent your favorable action.

And is it duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

John J. Dunn, President, N. K. Ludlow, Recording Secretary, James H. Kopf, Financial Secretary,

Office of Mobile Typographical Union No. 27.

To the Honorable President and Members of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama:

Gentlemen ‑ Your petitions, whose names are appended to this memorial would respectfully show:

That they are each residents in, and citizens of the State of Alabama.

That they favor such change and amendment in the organic law of the State as will remove the menace of a suffrage tainted with ignorance, and open to corrupt practices, which the present Constitution fails to prevent.

That they  are members of an organization of artisan workingmen, known as the International Typographical Union, the objects of which organization are declared to be "the encouragement of skilled representatives of their membership, the care of their sick and superannuated members, the burial of deceased members; the maintenance of cordial relations between employing and employed printers, and the establishment of a rate of wages with the mutual consent of employers and employes that shall be deemed just and fair by both parties to the wages contract.”

That the purposes of the organization as outlined above have been carried out, we would respectfully show to your honorable body that the membership of the International Typographical Union in the United States and Territories, and in Canada and British North America numbers over 50,000; that the publisher of nine ‑ tenths of the newspapers, and more than nine ‑ tenths of


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the job printing and book printing offices in these countries employ the labor of this large membership; that the relationships existing between the Typographical Union and said employing printers are most friendly. The American Newspaper Publishers Association which comprises more than 200 of the daily newspapers of the United States and employs more than twenty thousand printers, of whom more than 60 per cent are members of the Typographical Union, and the members of said Typographical Union have this year entered in a convention which provides that in the event of any dispute or disagreement arising between employers and employed where these two parties are concern, such troubles shall be settled without recourse to strike or lockout on the part of either, by mutual agreement or by arbitration;

That the organization provides for its sick, indigent and distressed members in such manner that none become a charge upon the tax payers you represent, in almshouses, poorhouses or public hospitals.

These premises stated your petitioners respectfully pray:

That your Honorable body give such encouragement to productive workers resident in and citizens of Alabama as may be secured by a constitutional limitation that the public printing of the Legislative and Executive Departments of Alabama shall be done only in the State of Alabama.

That the Constitutional Convention now in session give such recognition to organized labor as may be implied by the appearance of the trade mark or the organized printers known as the Union Label, upon the printing needed for your Honorable body.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners pray.

Signed, Dave McBride, and others.

A similar petition was read from the Cigar Makers’  International Union of America ‑ Local 219 and 433 ; from the Marine Engineers Benefit Association No. 84 of Mobile, Ala.; from the Central Trade Council, and from the Working Men's Timber and Cotton Benevolent Association, each petition having a number of names signed thereto.

The petitions were referred to the Committee on Stationery, Printing and Incidental Expenses.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ On yesterday my colleague, Mr. Lomax, who is now absent was requested to present a memorial of the Montgomery Printers Protective Fraternity. Mr. Lomax is absent today, and I ask leave to have it read and to explain that Mr. Lomax did not have an opportunity to present it on yesterday.


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A MEMORIAL

To the Officers and Members of the Constitutional Convention:

Whereas, a resolution has been introduced in the Constitutional Convention instructing the Committee on Schedule, Printing and Incidental Expenses to have the union label placed on all printed matter of said Convention, which work shall be done by members of a typographical union, therefore be it

Resolved, That Montgomery Printers' Protective Fraternity opposes said resolution and hereby memorializes the Constitutional Convention to reject said resolution on the following grounds:

First ‑ The proposition to limit the right to engage in labor on public jobs to one class of citizens, and thus forbidding other classes from participating in the benefits conferred by the public to the industrial and commercial activity in the State, is infamous and abhorrent to all sense of justice, a prostitution of every idea of government by all and for all, utterly un ‑ American in principle, a most monstrous instance of the practice of monopoly, trust and combine, and only effective in working disaster to honest labor.

Second ‑ Resolutions and labor laws which, when put into effect operate to prohibit all non ‑ union men from securing employment at work performed for the State are illegal, and, when put to the test, must necessarily be declared invalid.

Third ‑ To require that all printing done for the Constitutional Convention shall bear the union label would, in effect, be a boycott on all nonunion printing establishments and would place Alabama in the preposterous position of exacting taxes from non ‑ union printers to defray the expenses of a boycott prosecuted against them by the State.

Fourth ‑ Where did the right come from to discriminate in this way between citizens? Can a Presbyterian, a Methodist or a Catholic come here and say that he must have all public favors and the others none? If one class is to be granted special favors, that class should possess special claims. Has union labor any special claim not possessed by non ‑ union labor? Has some particular class of citizens developed great enterprises, monuments of honor, usefulness and helpfulness to themselves and the public at large, and are they asking for a monopoly by ordinance of trade and labor? Is anybody seeking special favors at your hands who contribute to the State something of great value? Is the existence of the State and its prosperity due to the brains, the genius, the enterprise and labors of any now asking that they be given a monopoly by legal enactment?

Fifth ‑ Do members of the Typographical Union pay all the taxes that they should have exclusive rights? They do not. Do they go to war and do all the fighting? No. Their warlike services are after the manner of the Chicago strike, requiring troops and marshals to prevent them from destroying property and interfering with the rights of others. Do they


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perform all of the charitable and benevolent work of the State? Certainly not; fraternal orders, made up of all elements of people, look after the distressed and afflicted.

Sixth ‑ In every instance where union label ordinances have reached the Supreme Court, the illegality and injustice of such class legislation has been thoroughly established and the acts declared null and void. The Supreme Court of New Jersey, in the case of The Paterson Chronicle against the City of Paterson, February 26, 1901, set aside, as illegal, a  resolution of the Common Council of that city instructing the Printing and Stationery Committee to confine all orders for printing and advertising to offices and newspapers employing members of the Typographical Union.

Seventh ‑ The State Printers of Montgomery do not recognize the Typographical Union as an organization, but employ members of the Montgomery Printers' Protective Fraternity, No. 47, and non ‑ union men, and do not use any label.

Eighth ‑ The larger job printing establishments of Birmingham have contracts extending over several years with Birmingham Printers' Protective Fraternity, No. 55, and do not use the union label.

Ninth ‑ These concerns have paid the State for the privilege of transacting business and are entitled to State protection when labor organizations conspire to injure and destroy their business.

Tenth ‑ The Typographical Union does not control a single office in the State capable of doing the State work, and all of the union printers in Montgomery County could not set and print the report of one day's proceedings of the Constitutional Convention in the required time.

Eleventh ‑ All contracts for work for the State should be let to the lowest responsible bidder and no citizen of Alabama should be excluded from participating in a contest for work or enjoying benefits derived from taxation.

Twelfth ‑ The changed industrial condition of the past year or so has been the result of the most serious thought and considerate judgment of a class of men who conceive and extend trade, whose every aim has been to hold up the style of American living; men kindly and patriotically inclined, and not to the vicious persecution of irresponsible bodies called trades councils or industrial assemblies.

W. E. Phillips, M. E. Ford, F. H. Huston,

State Legislative Committee. Adopted July 7, 1901. F. H. Huston, President. C. Baber, Secretary.


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Referred to Committee on Stationery, Printing and Incidental Expenses.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The next order will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on Local Legislation.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) ‑ The Committee on Local Legislation beg leave to add to their report a section which by inadvertence on the part of the committee was left out. We ask that it be added to the report and be considered in connection with it.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ An additional section or amendatory of some section?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ An additional section.

The clerk here read the article reported by the Committee on Local Legislation as follows:

An ordinance concerning local legislation.

Be it ordained by the people of Alabama, in Convention assembled, that the following articles on local legislation be inserted in the Constitution:

Article ‑ Local Legislation:

Section 1. The General Assembly shall not pass a special, private or local law in any of the following cases:

1st. Granting a divorce.

2d. Relieving any minor of the disabilities of non ‑ age.

3d. Changing the name of any corporation, association or individual.

4th. Providing for the adoption or legitimizing of any child.

MR. OATES ‑ I have not written an amendment, but I suggest changing a word instead of "legitimizing" use the word legitimate. I have looked in the World's dictionary, which is the latest, and legitimizing is not to be found there.

MR. WATTS ‑ It is correct; we took care to get it right, and got it out of the dictionary.

MR. OATES ‑ I have not seen it.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Montgomery will suspend until the secretary reads the entire section.

The reading was continued.

5th. Incorporating a town, city or village.

6th. Granting a charter to any corporation, association or individual.

7th. Establishing rules of descent or distribution.


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8th. Regulating the time within which a civil or criminal action may be begun.

9th. Exempting any person, corporation, county, township, municipality or association from the operation of any general law.

10th. Providing for the sale of the property of any individual or estate.

11th. Changing or locating a county seat.

12th. Providing for a change of venue in any case.

13th. Regulating the rate of interest.

14th. Granting any exclusive or special privilege, immunity or franchise whatever.

15th. Fixing the punishment of crime or misdemeanors.

16th. Providing for or regulating either the assessment or collection of taxes.

17th. Giving effect to invalid will, death or other instrument.

18th. Legalizing the invalid act of any officer.

19th. Authorizing any township, city, town or village to issue bonds or other securities.

20th. Amending, confirming or extending the charter of any corporation or remitting the forfeiture thereof.

21st. Creating, extending or impairing any lien.

22d. Chartering or licensing any ferry, road or bridge.

23d. Regulating the jurisdiction and fees of justices of the peace or the fees of constables.

24th. Establishing separate school districts.

25th. Establishing separate stock districts.

26th. Creating, increasing or decreasing fees, percentage or allowances of public officers. No special, private or local law, except a law fixing the time of holding courts. shall be enacted in any case, which is provided for by a general law, or when the relief sought can be given by any court of this State, and the courts and not the General Assembly shall judge as to whether the matter of said law is provided for by a general law and as to whether the relief sought can be given by any court; nor shall the General Assembly indirectly enact any such special, private or local law by the partial repeal of a general law. The General Assembly shall pass general laws for the cases enumerated in this section.

Sec. 2. ‑ No special, private or local law shall be passed on any subject not enumerated in Section 1 of this article, except in reference to fixing the time of holding courts, unless notice of the intention to apply therefor


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shall have been published, without cost to the State, in the county or counties where the matter or thing to be effected may be situated, which notice shall state the substance of the proposed law, and be published at least once a week, for four consecutive weeks in some newspaper, or if there is no newspaper published in the county, by posting the said notice for four consecutive weeks at five different public places in the county or counties prior to the introduction to the bill; and the evidence that said notice has been given shall be exhibited to each house of the General Assembly, and the fact of said notice spread upon the Journal.  The courts shall pronounce void every local law which the Journals do not affirmatively show was passed in accordance with the provisions of this Section.

Sec. 3. The General Assembly may repeal any special, private or local law upon notice being given and shown as provided in the last preceding section.

Sec. 4. The operation of no general law shall be suspended for the benefit of any individual, corporation, association, town, city, county or township nor shall any individual, corporation, association, town, city, county or township be exempted from the operation of any general law.

Sec. 5. The general Assembly may be general law confer upon Courts of County Commissioners, Boards of Revenue or other courts, such power of local legislation and administration, touching all matters and things not provided for by general law, and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution as the General Assembly may from time to time deem expedient.

Sec. 6. A general law within the meaning of this Article is a law which applies to the whole State; a local law is a law which applies to any political sub-division or sub-divisions of the State less than the whole– a special or private law within the meaning of this Article which applies to an individual, association or corporation.

MR. MACDONALD ‑ I desire to offer an amendment.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I raise the point of order, an amendment is not now in order until the whole report is read, and the supplement report is to be considered with this.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The rule requires it to be considered section by section.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I understand. but it is to be considered at the same time.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does it relate to Section 1?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Do you desire the supplemental report read, or included in the report of the Committee.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ We do not care to have it read particularly. It will have to be considered in connection  with this report, it was agreed at the time that the report of the Committee on Local Legislation should be considered at the same time.  I suggest that they read that.


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MR. CHAPMAN ‑ I suggest that it is necessarily follows here, the regular report ends at Section 26, and the report of the Legislative Department begins at Section 27 following on.

The Clerk here read the supplemental report from the Committee on Legislative Department as follows:

27.

Exemption of property from taxation or from levy or sale.

28.

Exempting any person from jury, road, or other civil duty.

29.

Laying out, opening, altering, or working roads or highways.

30.

Providing for the management or support of any common or private school, incorporating the same or granting such school and privileges.

31.

Granting any land owned by or under control of the State to any person or corporation.

32.

Remitting fines, penalties or forfeitures.

33.

Providing for the conduct of elections, or designating places of voting, or changing the boundaries of wards, precinct, or districts, except on the organization of new counties.

34. 

Restoring the right to vote to  persons convicted of infamous crimes or involving moral turpitude.

Refunding money legally paid into the State Treasury.

Your committee do not concur in Section 5 of said article as reported by the Committee on Local Legislation, and recommends as a substitute therefor Section 25 of Article IV of the present Constitution.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ On behalf of the Committee on Local Legislation we accept that as a part of our report except so far as it may already be covered by the report of the Committee on Local Legislation, except the last clause commencing with line fifteen which the committee does not consent to.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) ‑ Will the gentleman allow an interruption? Several of us have been trying to find out where we are at. We do not understand the two reports and ask that you explain the situation.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) ‑ Mr. President ‑ An eminent authority has stated that three periods may be distinguished in the development of State Governments as set forth in their constitutions, each period marked by an increase in the length and minuteness of those instruments. The first period includes the constitutions of the original thirteen States as well as Kentucky,


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Vermont, Tennessee and Ohio. Most of these early constitutions gave expression to the impressions of the Revolutionary War. They manifested a dread of executive and military power, together with a disposition to leave everything to the legislative authority, which more directly represented the people. Hence most of these early constitutions contained but little except an elaborate bill of rights, a simple outline of a frame of government, with a few executive officers and courts of justice. The second period as shown by the same authority covers the first half of the nineteenth century, down to the time when the agitation over slavery arrested the natural processes of State development. This period was characterized by the fact that the absolute powers of the Legislature began to be questioned, and a tendency to regard them as mere agents of the people exercising delegated powers, and whose powers could only be increased by resort to the sovereign, the people, by constitutional amendments. The third period began about the date of the Civil War, and was marked by a tendency to strengthen the Executive and Judicial Departments. The most marked and noticeable change during this period, however, was the tendency to narrow the power and competence of the Legislature, and to fetter its action by absolute prohibition. The English theory of government that a community must act through a ruling legislature had been adopted by the States after the revolution. This conception of government had prevailed till about the period of the Civil War, at which time it began to be abandoned by the States in framing new charters of government. It was not a step towards a pure democracy as might at first appear. The withdrawal of power from the Legislature, gave it back to the people, but as the people could only act in direct legislation after long delay and by complicated methods, such provisions limiting the competency of the Legislature are really conservative in their tendency, and is really a check imposed by the people on themselves. This brief review of the three periods of the growth and development of State constitutions, is necessary to show that the modern tendency to limit and narrow the powers of the Legislative Department of the government is the result of evolution, the slow, gradual outgrowth of actual experience, by all the States, in the administration of State Governments. The demand in this State for additional and more stringent limitations upon the power and competence of the legislature has gradually grown from actual knowledge that the remedies heretofore adopted have proved unavailing. There is no reform in the constitution we are now framing more important than a check upon the evils of local and special legislation. In every public utterance upon the stump, the advocates of a Constitutional Convention pledged the people of Alabama, that next in importance to a reform of our suffrage, the purity of the ballot and the removal of the causes which had forced our people to resort to questionable methods to maintain good government, was the pressing


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need of legislative reform. The growing evils of special, private or local legislation had long been recognized in Alabama. The framers of the Constitution of 1875 had undertaken to check and as they supposed had prevented this class of legislation. They had provided that the General Assembly should pass no local or special law on a subject which could be provided for by a general law, but the decision of our Supreme Court that the question of whether a local or special law could be provided for by a general law was purely the subject of legislative discretion rendered their efforts in this direction fruitless. Since that time States which have framed new constitutions have sought to overcome this danger by enumerating specifically certain subjects as to which the legislature was absolutely prohibited from passing local, special or private laws. This method was adopted because experience had demonstrated that the usual requirements that the legislature should pass no local, or private laws on subjects which could be provided for by a general law, had utterly failed to arrest the flood of local laws which with ever increasing volume had been pouring from every legislative body. Hence we find that the latest and best considered constitutions contain long lists of enumerated cases as to which the legislature is expressly prohibited from passing local, special or private laws. The fullness and minuteness with which in many constitutions this long and ever increasing catalogue of local or special laws is presented, demonstrates that the mischiefs and evils arising from improvident and corrupt legislation of this class had grown alarming. That these constitutional prohibitions lessen or check the evil is shown by, the States where this method has been adopted.

Illinois for instance soon after the adoption of her constitution, reduced her sessional statutes to about three hundred pages, Iowa to about 200 pages, whereas Wisconsin statutes for 1885 reached two thousand pages there being in that State very little restriction on legislative action. In Alabama there has been a gradual but rapid increase in the number of local or special laws. The size of the volume has been increasing annually until the last local acts were so volumenous they were unwieldly and could not be incorporated in one volume.

Mr. President, the question may be asked what is the cause of this widespread opposition to this class of legislation. Local, special or private bills are condemned because they destroy the harmony of the law, consume the time of the legislature, obscure in the eyes of members of the General Assembly the importance of general laws, furnish opportunity for perpetrating jobs, inflict injustice on individuals or localities in the interest of a favored few. It has been truly declared that they are one of the scandals of the country. They have been in the past and will continue to be in the future the prolific sources of corruption. Such bills are most frequently presented and promoted by corporations or individuals


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proposing to form corporations in order to secure some valuable franchise, privilege or other pecuniary advantage which cannot be obtained under general laws. To procure the passage of such laws all the methods of intrigue, lobbying, and log rolling are used and some time lavish expenditures of money. The history of legislative bodies shows that in the great States of the Union the promoters and authors of such bills have not hesitated to buy those who could be bought, or win support for their schemes by methods however questionable. The bribery and flagrant corruption which has disgraced the Legislature of some of the States of the Union can all be traced to the effort to secure the passage of local or private bills, conferring some special or valuable privilege, franchise or pecuniary advantage on the promoters or syndicate interested in the proposed legislation. In States like New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania, and some of the new Western States, offering promising fields for pecuniary investment, the possibility of making money out of a seat in the Legislature, has furnished the opportunity to reap golden harvests for a certain class who regard money as of more value than character or self ‑ respect. It is to the credit of our institutions that only a few of the great States of the Union has this open and shameless bribery been attempted. So far the money power has directed its attacks against the Legislatures of only a few of our States, and while our State has so far been exempted from such scandals and the personnel of our Legislature has been pure and above reproach, the effect of such legislation has been felt in other ways. It has created a spirit of localism and has obscured in the eyes of the members of the Legislature the importance of general laws. A member of the Legislature is no longer under the system which these local laws have established, a representative of the State. He is the member from Buzzard's Roost, or Limekiln, and his whole time and talents are directed towards securing the passage of some local legislation which will increase his local influence, secure an appropriation for some local institution, or the obtaining of some special privilege or franchise for some local corporation or individual. The higher and more important functions of general legislation are completely overlooked. The pressing demands of reforms in the administration of justice, the proper enforcement of the laws or the revenue system of the State are ignored, and to our States may be applied the famous dictum "too many laws corrupt a republic." The spirit of localism is all pervading and all controlling. It dominates our Legislature and has established customs and usages as inexorable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, by which the local member is clothed with absolute and undisputed power to control all legislation affecting his locality or county. Under this tyranical rule or custom every member feels bound to sustain and support any local bill the member from the county to which the local law applies, may introduce. The experience of every one who has essayed the hope‑


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less task of opposing the passage of a local law which has the support of the local member confirms this statement.

It matters not how vicious such a bill may be, how much the members may oppose the principles it may declare, or how shamefully it may violate individual rights, or the interests of the State, if it has the support of the local members its passage is generally secure. It is vain to point out to other members that such a bill is unwise, that it has the bitter opposition of the people of the locality affected or that it tramples under foot every principle of local self government, imposes burdens on the citizens and vests in individuals or corporations valuable franchises or privileges, which could not be obtained under general laws, you will be met with the response that while they sympathize with your views and oppose the principles on which the bill is based, that the courtesy and usage of the House or Senate leave them no alternative but to support any measure which has the endorsement and sanction of the local member. You may appear before the committee to which the bill is referred, you may oppose its passage with arguments which are unanswerable, you may present the testimony of leading citizens in the community to which the local law applies, and when you have finished the Committee will blandly ask the local member what his wishes are in the matter, and you will be told that however much the committee may appreciate your argument and feel convinced of the justice of your position, that they are compelled to heed and obey the views of the immediate representative of the people. The inevitable result is that the uniformity anti harmony of the law is destroyed, and the community that may be outraged and wronged by such legislation has no redress but to await in patience the next election and retire the member to the shades of private life. If any member, recognizing the danger and mischief which follows the observance of such a courtesy or custom, refuses to give his approval, he will soon find himself without influence, unable to secure the passage of any local bill, however meritorious or unobjectionable. It follows, therefore, that local special or private legislation, embodies not the concurrent wisdom and approval of a majority of the Legislature, but is simply the expression of the desire of the local representative, who, by this courtesy, is made the sole and absolute arbiter of all legislation which may affect his particular locality. Nor do such bills ever receive the same careful scrutiny and examination by the Executive or Legislature which is given lays of a general character. It has been argued in opposition to this limitation of the power of the Legislature to pass local laws that if they are deprived of this prolific source of legislation that they will give too much attention to general laws and upset too many statutes of a general nature or pass too many general laws. Such has not been the experience of States where local legislation has been prohibited. Subjects of a general nature will provoke more debate, will be


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considered with more care, will be examined with more critical scrutiny and with the result that only general laws of a pressing character, and the necessity of which is apparent, will be enacted. The British Parliament which legislates for a nation whose empire is so extensive that it girdles the globe passes only a few hundred laws. The general laws passed by Congress are comparatively few in number and hence this fear is not warranted by the history and experience of legislative bodies. Another result will be that it will elevate the tone and character of the Legislature. Men who are now unwilling to spend weeks securing the passage of some local law, the granting of some franchise to some corporation, will more readily consent to seek a seat in a body engaged in general legislation.

Each member will feel that he is the representative of the people of Alabama, engaged in legislating for the State and reforming its laws, and increasing the efficiency of the adminstration. The blighting spirit of localism which has so long degraded the tone of our Legislature will be overcome, and our respect and confidence in the law ‑ making body of the State will be increased. If there be danger of reckless or extravagant appropriation of the public money this can easily, be obviated by incorporating in our fundamental law provisions now found in nearly all the recent State Constitutions by which a majority of the members elected to the General Assembly are required to pass any bill carrying an appropriation of public money.

Another one of the chief evils of local legislation is to be found in the constant intermeddling with the government of our municipalities. Thoughtful students of our system of government have declared that in the government of our cities and towns is to be found the weakest features of American institutions. This is largely due to the fact that the average citizen is too much engrossed in his private affairs to give much attention to the misgovernment, corruption or reckless extravagance that may exist in municipal government. It is only when corruption becomes so unblushing or an aroused public sentiment is created by flagrant abuse of power, or danger of bankruptcy that the forces of reform are awakened and organized. All authorities on this subject, however, agree that the inefficiency of municipal government is chiefly due to the constant intermeddling and tampering with local affairs by the legislature. The local laws of the last session of our General Assembly show that a majority of the local bills passed were in reference to municipal corporations.

A distinguished statesman of the old world speaking on this subject said "one form of this special legislation is peculiarly attractive and pernicious. It is the power of dealing by statute with the municipal constitutions and actual management of cities. Cities grow so fast that all undertakings connected with them are


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peculiarly tempting to speculators. City revenues are so large as to offer rich plunder to those who can seize the control of them. The vote which a city casts is so heavy as to throw great power into the hand of those who control it, and enable them to drive a good bargain with the wirepullers of a legislative chamber. Hence, the control exercised by the legislature over city government is a most important branch of legislative business, a means of power to scheming politicians, of enrichment to greedy ones, and if not of praise to evil doers, yet certainly of terror to them that do well."

No city can be well governed whose affairs are directed by the legislature. The local member of the legislature has not the time or the requisite knowledge of details to direct the affairs of municipalities. Such intervention involves a disregard of one of the fundamental principles of government, the right of local selfgovernment. No two cities in the State have the same laws. Although vast interests may be involved no one but a skilled lawyer can wade through the numerous statutes and charters applying to each town or city in the State or keep advised of the numerous changes in municipal laws.  The uncertainties arising from such multiplied and conflicting legislation lead, as has been truthfully stated by an eminent judge, to incessant litigation with all its expensive burdens, public and private.

The Commissioners appointed by the State of New York in 1876 speak thus truthfully about this evil. They say: "It may be true that the first attempt to secure legislative intervention in the local affairs of our principal cities were made by good citizens in the supposed interest of reform and good government, and to counteract the schemes of corrupt officials. The notion that legislative control was the remedy was a serious mistake. The corrupt cliques and rings thus sought to be baffled were quick to perceive that in the business; of procuring special laws concerning local affairs they could easily outmatch the fitful and clumsy labors of disinterested citizens. The transfer of the control of the localities to the State Capitol had no other effect than to cause the transfer of the methods and arts of corruption, and to make the fortunes of our principal cities the traffic of the lobbies.

"Municipal corruption, previously confined to within territorial limit, thenceforth escaped every bound and spread to all parts of the State. Cities were compelled by legislation to buy lands for parks, and places because the owners wished to sell them, compelled to grade, pave and sewer streets without inhabitants, and for no other purpose than to award corrupt contracts for the work. Cities were compelled to purchase at the public expense and at extravagant prices, the property necessary for streets and avenues, useless for other purposes than to make a market for the adjoining property thus improved. Laws were enacted abolishing one office and creating another with the same duties in order to


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transfer official emoluments from one man to another, and laws to change the functions of officers with a view only to a new distribution of patronage, and to lengthen the terms of office for no other purpose than to retain in place officers who could not otherwise be elected or appointed."

The picture so elaborately drawn of the dangers of this class of local legislation has fortunately not been realized in this State. We cannot, however, doubt that with the growth and development of municipal corporations in this State, the same evils in the future will arise unless we now remove the cause of this danger to honest government. Although the corruption portrayed has not yet developed in Alabama, we can not fail to recognize the fact that this constant tinkering by the legislature with municipal affairs, and local self ‑ government, has already increased to an alarming extent in this State and has become a serious evil. The Committee has given this subject special attention and are led to believe that the adoption of their report will remove the danger of evils froth this class of legislation in Alabama. They have sought to prevent the legislation from interfering with municipal governments or the conduct of municipal affairs.

Mr. President, your Committee recognized that one of the most frequent modes in which the legislature adopted special laws was by amending a general law by excepting from its operation certain counties and cities in this State. Another plan was to pass what purported to be a general law but which was in fact a special law. This we have expressly prohibited.

Mr. President, the danger in private or special bills became so manifest in England over fifty years ago as to lead to the adoption of a quasi judicial board for their consideration. Such bills are brought into the British Parliament by petition and three months' notice by advertisement must be given before a Parliament meet and a copy of the bill must be filed some weeks before the opening of the session. After the second reading instead of being considered in the committee of the whole, the bill is referred to a special committee of four who exercise a kind of judicial function. They take evidence in regard to the bill from promoters and opponents, hear argument of counsel and make their report. It would be regarded as improper to attempt to influence the decision of this Committee as it would with us to influence the decision of our Supreme Court. With us, however, such bills are treated as public bills. They are referred to the appropriate committee and if supported by the local member are generally reported favorably and passed without question. In England instead of the lobby there is a trained body of men who represent parties promoting such bills, known as Parliamentary agents. These agents are controlled by a code of ethics as binding as the code of ethics that govern attorneys at law. No improper or questionable methods to secure


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the passage of local or private bills is tolerated. Mr. President, the forces of evil have grown too strong to yield without a struggle. The experience of States which have attempted to lessen the mischief of local or special legislation, show that even the most stringent provisions do not prevent evasions. We can not hope that our effort, will prove completely successful in removing from our legislation this danger, but we do believe that we have profited by the experience of our own and other States and that by the provisions of the article we have reported, local or special legislation will be largely eliminated and its evil minimized.

We all realize the truth of Mr. Jefferson's declaration that too much legislation is one of the greatest dangers of a Republic. The growth of the paternal idea of government in recent years has become alarming.  Men who desire reform for some fancied ill of society immediately seek a legislative enactment and the result is that the statute books are teeming with penal laws or restrictive legislation on almost every conceivable subject. Individual enterprise and the pride of personal freedom are sacrificed and the citizen is being taught that he must not look to the press, public sentiment or education and the precepts of religion and morality for relief from the evils of social life, but to the Legislature. We forget that that community is best governed which is least governed ; that personal freedom is being destroyed and the citizen hedged in with innumerable statutes, relief from which he only secures by their non ‑ enforcement.

Sumptuary laws, that vex and oppress are being poured out by every session of the Legislature in a confusing mass and today we are the most governed people in the world. We submit to restraints on our personal freedom which in almost any other civilized country would provoke revolution.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) ‑ I rise to a parliamentary inquiry.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state his parliamentary inquiry.

MR. CARMICHAEL ‑ I would like to inquire how long the gentleman has been speaking.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman's time has almost expired.

MR. O’NEAL (Lauderdale) ‑ Mr. President, by prohibiting local legislation we do not seek to impair the power and usefulness of the Legislature. Under our system it will continue to be one of the great departments of government and we are only endeavoring to elevate its tone and enlarge its field of usefulness. We would have it to be as it was intended, a body engaged in legislation for the State, and not an assembly whose time was devoted


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almost exclusively to petty matters of purely local concern. Stop the great and alarming evils of local legislation and you will have taken a most commendable step towards removing popular prejudice against the Legislature, elevating the character of its membership, widening its field of usefulness, and making this great department what it was in the earlier and better days of the republic – a body composed of the most distinguished men of the State, no longer living in the breath of public opinion, swayed by every dominant impulse or passion among the people, swift to fulfill popular behests almost before they are uttered, engaged in extravagant expenditures of public money, or struggling to secure some franchise or advantage to some individual or corporation, but a deliberate assembly, conservative in its character, engaged in the serious concerns of State and seeking to reform unwise laws and to promote the prosperity of all the people.

MR. OATES ‑ Mr. President, since the very able and elaborate discussion of this subject by the learned delegate from Lauderdale. I do not propose to consume but little time of the Convention upon it. The Convention of 1875 knew, as the country did, that prior thereto, the evils of local legislation had developed so that they called the attention of the country to it, and the question of that Convention was how to properly limit and restrict it. I had the honor, Sir, to offer a proposition which is shown on the journal, embracing, as I recollect, seventeen classes of cases in which no local bills should be passed, and that everything named might be provided for under general laws. It occurred to me that that was the only way to properly limit and restrict this growing evil, but in the Convention it was thought that that was rather too radical. I recollect well the remarks of my old friend, Mr. Lyon the delegate from Marengo. He stated that that would curtail local legislation greatly, but he thought it would be too radical. He offered a proposition which was adopted and incorporated in the present Constitution requiring that wherever any one desired the passage of a local bill that he should prior thereto, advertise its purpose and the kind of bill, the object of it, in a newspaper published in the county where the bill would operate when passed. I did not believe then that that would remedy the evil, and it so proved. The first case that was carried to the Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of it for a non ‑ compliance with its requirements, the Supreme Court very properly decided that it presumed everything to have been done which the Constitution required to have been done. There was no requirement that this advertisement should be affirmatively shown upon the record, and the court presumed it was else the Legislature would not have passed the act. That opened the doors to the flood of local legislation which we have since seen, and it is a growing evil. Every Legislature that convenes passes a greater number. Now the members are not to blame for it. Their constituents apply to them to have those


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measures passed, and their representative is anxious, of course, to represent his people in a manner acceptable to them. It has grown to such an extent that it consumes the whole time allowed by the Constitution for the Legislature to do its work, and the general laws are neglected, woefully neglected, and a proper amount of attention not given to them at all. Now, sir, take the Legislature before the last, and I took the pains to count up and see what that had been. The general laws are contained in a little volume about the size of Webster's Spelling Book, and it contained including the appropriation acts, forty ‑ eight so ‑ called general laws, the volume of local acts contained 949. Then to see something of the evils of it, I inquired of the Secretary of State about the cost to the State of the passage of many of these acts. You take, for instance, the acts chartering towns and villages, which might well have been done before the Probate Court at the expense of a dollar, but he informs me as to several and the expense of passing them was from $50 to $150 for the clerical work, printing, etc. Now when you count up the whole amount of it, it is a large expense, and is wholly unnecessary and improperly saddled upon the general tax payers of the State. To say nothing of the other evils that result from it, these are enough to call upon this Convention to abate that evil. I t cannot be done, as experience has shown in other States and in our own, by declaring that no local act shall be passed which can be provided for by general law. That is not obeyed. Then the committee over which I had the honor to preside, the Legislative Department, have had several ordinances referred to it on this subject, and went to work and prepared a schedule of the cases in which the committee did not believe any local laws should be passed. Then it transpired that the importance of this thing had grown to much upon the country that the President of the Convention thought it best, and with the advice of his Committee on Rules, had a special committee, a separate committee, to deal with this question. Then it was that on conference with the Chairman of the Committee on Local Legislation, all of the work of the committee upon general legislation to which this class of work had belonged theretofore, was turned over to that committee, but as they did not adopt all of the recommendations of the Committee on Legislative Department, the supplemental report which you have proposing several additions was made by that committee. That is the reason there are two reports here. I have heard some delegates say that they would like to have some explanations of it. That is the best explanation I can give. There is no conflict between the committees as I understand it at all, all desiring the same object, the same purpose ‑ to restrict the Legislature ,from passing local laws on a good many subjects, and the only question, it seems to me for this body to consider is whether we have gone too far or not far enough, and as to each one of these paragraphs to consider whether it is proper to restrict them, to prevent the Legislature from passing any local law upon that subject. I pre‑


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sume there will be not much difference of opinion. There may be some difference a little later on as to some of the provisions herein, but in the general discussion, I will consume no more of your time, feeling that these were points which my friend, the Chairman of the Committee on Local Legislation, had not touched upon particularly, but had given a most excellent and full explanation of the general purposes.

Mr. Foster here took the chair.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) ‑ I ask unanimous consent to introduce a resolution.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) ‑ Will the gentleman yield to me for a suggestion?

MR. WILLIAMS ‑ Certainly.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ The first section embraces all the catalogue of subjects as to which the Legislature is prohibited from passing local laws. I believe it will expedite matters to take up each one of the subjects such as granting divorces, etc.. take up each one in the order in which they appear. The rule is we take up each section and consider each article section by section. If that rule was enforced we would have to consider the whole catalogue of subjects in this one section. I ask unanimous consent that it be taken up that way.

MR. OATES ‑ I presume that he means to read each one of the paragraphs and pass them one by one.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. (Mr. Foster.) ‑ The gentleman asks unanimous consent that the first sub ‑ division be taken up.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I ask the passage of the first sub ‑ division granting divorces.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) ‑ I have a short resolution that I wish to introduce.

To which objection was made.

MR. OATES ‑ I want to make a suggestion to the chairman of the committee with reference to the mode of procedure. I do not desire to interfere with the resolution proposed to be offered by the gentleman from Marengo, but I will suggest that you can go on with the reading of this section, slowly reading each subdivision and if no objection is raised, it will be considered as passed, and that will save time, rather than taking a vote on each subdivision.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) ‑ I accept the suggestion of the gentleman and it will probably save time.


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MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) – I hope the objection will be withdrawn to the resolution offered by the gentleman from Marengo.  The purpose of the resolution is to extend the privileges of the floor to Mr. Bernard Harwood.

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo)– I have a short resolution to introduce, and I ask for a suspension of the rules.

The resolution was read as follows:

Resolution No. 232, by Mr. Williams, Marengo.

Whereas, this Convention is in session by virtue of an act of the last General Assembly commonly called and known as “The Harwood Bill,” so-called from the name of the author of the bill, the Hon. Bernard Harwood, the distinguished member of said Assembly form the county of Greene, and whereas, this member of the Assembly is at present in Montgomery.

Now be it resolved, that the privilege of the floor of this Convention be and is extended to the Hon. Bernard Harwood of Greene.

A vote being taken the rules were suspended and a further vote being taken the resolution was put upon its immediate passage.

MR. O’NEAL– I now suggest that we proceed with the consideration of this section.

MR. WEATHERLY– Before that is done, I would like to rise to a question of personal privilege.  Following the suggestion of the gentleman from Walker, I have taken occasion to read my speech that I made yesterday.  I find that the reporter has made one error that I cannot allow to go overlooked.  He has me stating that “jury trials protect those who are unpopular in the community, who would otherwise be oppressed under the laws of God.”  I don’t want to be put in the attitude of going down in history as making that charge (and I say it with all reverence) against the Lord God Almighty; because I believe we are always under His protection and loving care.  What I said was: “Who are unpopular in the community and who would be oppressed otherwise; but under the Providence of God there is always one man, at least, can be found who will stand up for the right.  I would like for that correction to be made.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The stenographer will make the correction, under the rule.

MR. HOWELL (Cleburne) ‑ Before we proceed further with the consideration of this question of local legislation, I would like to ask the Chairman of the Committee on that subject a question, being a legal gentleman. This State is all covered with local acts


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from the mountains to the Gulf. In case this Article is adopted and goes into the Constitution and the Constitution is ratified, will the Legislature be authorized to repeal local acts now in force, many of which are vicious?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ The Section expressly provides for that.

The Clerk then proceeded to read the Ordinance Concerning Local Legislation by sections, as follows:

AN ORDINANCE

Concerning Local Legislation.

Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That the following article op Local Legislation be inserted in the Constitution:

Article— .

     Local Legislation.

Section 1. The General Assembly shall not pass a special, private or local law in any of the following cases:

First ‑ Granting a divorce.

Second ‑ Relieving any minor of the disabilities of non ‑ age;

Third ‑ Changing the name of any corporation, association or individual;

Fourth ‑ Providing for the adoption or legitimizing of any child;

Fifth ‑ Incorporating a town, city or village;

Sixth ‑ Granting a charter to any corporation, association or individual.

Seventh ‑ Establishing rules of descent or distribution.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I do not understand just how we are proceeding. I thought the entire Section was just now read, and that we were to pass upon this Section paragraph by paragraph.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The rule requires that the whole Section be passed upon. This Section is divided into subdivisions. The rule adopted by unanimous consent a few minutes ago was that each subdivision was to be read slowly and unless objection was made, or amendment offered, to proceed with the reading until the end of the Section was reached. Then the question would be upon the adoption of the Section as a whole.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ When the reading is concluded, amendments will not be in order then?


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THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ I think not.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I rise to make an inquiry: Amendments would be in order to add to the Section, but not change what has been passed?

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The Chair would hold that an amendment to the entire Section would be in order.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I did not so understand. I desire to offer an amendment to the Fourth Section by striking out the word legitimizing and inserting in lieu thereof the word legitimation.

The clerk then read the amendment offered by Mr. Ashcraft as follows:

Amend subdivision 4 of Section 1 by striking out "legitimzing" and inserting in lieu thereof "legitimation."

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is on the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale.

.MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ By an examination of the derivation of these words, it will be seen that "legitimizing" really has no etymological history. "Legitimation" is the word which has been sanctioned by legal usage, as will be shown by reference to the dictionary. We have a word here which has been given a meaning by custom rather than by good usage.

MR. JONES ‑ Will the gentleman permit an interruption? Can't the  Committee on Harmonics settle this discord between our two distinguished friends without taking up so much time of the Convention?

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I don't think the words "adoption or legitimizing" in the Article should be associated as they are. It is a rare usage of the word, and the fact that it is not good grammar, are both reasons why I think the Committee ought to accept the amendment.

MR. WATTS ‑ The objection of the gentleman from Lauderdale to the language used is simply hypercritical. The dictionary which I produced here a few moments ago says that legitimizing is correct. It is not the only one but it is so stated in Worcester and it is also stated in Webster; and this Committee put these words in there advisedly; I don's see any necessity of taking up the time of this Convention by simply substituting another word which means identically the same thing, and I move to lay the amendment on the table.

And upon a vote being taken the motion was carried.

The Clerk then read Subdivision 8 as follows:

Eighth ‑ Regulating the time within which a civil or criminal action may be begun.


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MR. JENKINS – I wish to offer an amendment.

The amendment was read by the Clerk as follows:

"To amend by striking out Subdivision 8."

MR. JENKINS ‑ The reason I offer that amendment is there are a great many courts of law and equity in this State and the practice and procedure in a great many of those courts is not the same as in other courts and there might be desired changes to be made that would not suit all the courts in this State. They might want to change the City Court, the County Court or the Circuit Court. We do not know that the Judiciary Court will report as to that.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ This is merely a statute of limitations. I think the gentleman misunderstands this Section, to regulate the time in which civil and criminal actions may be begun. You can not pass any limitation for any county different from the limitations which apply to the whole State. It has no reference to the regular procedure in court. It is the exact language in which you find in the Code, regulating the time in which action may be begun.

By unanimous consent the amendment offered by Mr. Jenkins to Section 8 was withdrawn.

Ninth.–Exempting any person, corporation. county, township, municipality or association from the operation of any general law.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I desire to offer an amendment to that subdivision.

The Clerk then read the amendment as follows:

Amend Subdivision 9, Section 1, Article on Local Legislation. Add at the end of said subdivision the following words: "Provided, that this section shall not apply to the regulation of the same as spirituous, vinous or malt liquors.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ It appears to me that prohibits the regulation of the sale of spirituous, vinous, and malt liquors, by high license, dispensary, prohibition or otherwise. The general law of the State provides how whiskey, spiritous, vinous and malt liquors can be sold. If a community asked for the establishment of a dispensary, under the provision of this subdivision, it cannot be granted. If they ask for the high license. Now, I do not want to oppose leaving this matter with the communities by popular vote, in the event they want to pass upon this great question; and I am unwilling to allow the adoption of that provision without my humble protest, in the Constitution we are now framing, that will estop the Legislature in the protection and reformation of some of this great evil I for one believe the communities have the right to pass upon these great questions.


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MR. SANDERS ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman if he has read line 39 of this first section, which provides that "The General Assembly shall pass general laws for the cases enumerated in this section ?" There was no attempt, in reporting this subdivision, on the part of the committee, to interfere with any dispensary system or license system whatever in Alabama. I will state that I, for one, am a firm believer in the dispensary. I believe very much in the importance of that system for the small communities in certain counties in the State, and I certainly would not have consented to any subdivision, which, in my opinion, would attack the dispensary system in Alabama. We provided at the foot of this section that it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass general laws providing for all the platters enumerated in this section. In other words, no dispensary now established shall be affected by this subdivision; and hereafter if any municipality or county desires to establish a dispensary system, the Legislature shall provide a general law by which all persons who desire to come within that system, by complying with the requirements, may be able to do so.

MR. CUNNINGHAM – Suppose the General Assembly fails to do that, what would be the course of the community that may want a dispensary or a high license or prohibition?  I am not a lawyer and I am free to confess that I don’t know exactly what this 9th provision expresses; but when you authorize a municipality to deal exclusively in the sale of spirituous, vinous and malt liquors, you are conferring upon that municipality a special privilege.  There is no doubt about it. I do not want to submit at this time to the people of Alabama a great question such as this, without their having an opportunity of realizing the fact that in the future they shall have the same privileges as in the past in regulating this question.

I am perfectly willing to yield to the opinion of the distinguished lawyers on this floor as to what this 9th section means ; but to the unsophisticated element, like myself, it strikes me that it knocks in the head all these great questions : and I and unwilling to sit by and allow it to be done without protesting. If I am wrong in my assumption I don't insist on the amendment ; but if I am right I do insist upon it; and I say this Convention should not go before the people of Alabama with any masked designs upon the moral reformers of this State.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ Whether you are right or wrong, the amendment makes it plain.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ It occurs to me that it does.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ And it cannot do any harm if you are wrong.


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MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ In any event it expresses it pretty plainly and I introduce the amendment for discussion with the hope that you will leave this thing open so the communities in this State can settle this question.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ You don't think this would interfere with a dispensary now established by law?

MR. CUNNINGHAM– Certainly not. I want to say if the people of this State approve of this as a method of reforming the liquor traffic, and it is a good one, it should not stop where it is now, but should be permitted to extend its beneficent effects over every community in the State of Alabama ; and the time will come when it would be a good thing to apply it to the whole State from the Tennessee River to the Gulf. I don't want anything in the Constitution that prohibits any community from passing upon this great question; and therefore I shall insist upon the amendment.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I rose for the purpose of offering the same amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Jefferson except with a different idea in view. I reside in a community where the sale of liquor is prohibited by law, where we don't have a dispensary and don't want it even sold there by a dispensary; and there are a great many sections of Alabama in the same condition. In fact, it is very doubtful whether the sale of liquor is a good thing in any town that is not able to afford police protection to its inhabitants. I know it is not a good thing in any Black Belt town. Now it seems to me that if this section is passed without the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson the probability is that the Legislature will be inhibited from exempting towns, from the operation of the general law of the State, which permits the sale of liquor upon a license issued for that purpose. For that reason I am heartily in favor of the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. MALONE ‑ I want to say a few words in behalf of this amendment front a defensive standpoint. I hate to say anything, but as most of these gentlemen know, I come from the first place that established a dispensary in Alabama, where it has been a most wonderful success. I have studied the question carefully and I am thoroughly convinced and I think it is one question that ought to be regulated entirely locally. In the first place, it ought not to be put on a community that does not want it. I also question its success when forced on a community that does not want it in any way. I recognize that it does not interfere with the general proposition. But the main reason is this: that the general law brings it into local politics; and I think I can appeal to any man on this floor who is familiar with it and he will say that under the general law it is almost impossible to keep that question out of politics. Under the local law, if any community wants it, you can establish


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it. It is a fact that a great many of the dispensaries, which were established under the general law, have changed to a local law. A local law can be o framed so as to practically keep it out of your other matters. Personally, I started the dispensary question in our community. I have studied it from a business standpoint and I am willing to stand upon the reputation and success of ours; and from my intercourse with it, I do not believe it is a success or ever will be a success if adopted by the State and county or anything else except purely under local option in the hands of those people right there, whether they want it or whether they do not. There is a certain amount of interest that is absolutely necessary to take in it; and you can not arrive at it in any other way, except by having this personal interest in it and any proposition that will take it out of local hands and put it into politics.  I think, in my opinion, will be a curse upon the country; and I hope from that standpoint the amendment will be adopted.

MR. WILSON (Clarke) ‑ I offer a substitute for the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Jefferson.

The President here resumed the chair.

The substitute was read as follows : “Amend by striking out sub ‑ division 9.”

THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the substitute for the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. WILSON (Clarke) ‑ There are two phases to this proposition. It seems to me to illustrate the unwisdom. if I may use that word, of putting that subdivision in the Constitution. It has been called to the attention of the Convention that it would not be wise to put such a clause in the Constitution which would operate against whiskey laws. That. Mr. President. is only one subject of legislation I believe it would be unwise to force upon the whole State and every community in the State alike. I believe there are other subjects of legislation which cannot he framed under a general law to operate on every community, every person, every township, and every county in this State alike. This subdivision, it seems to me, if allowed to stand, would prevent you from exempting from any general law on any subject, any community in this State. Now it seems to me, with the great diversity of interests which exist in the different sections of the State, the Pine Belt, the Black Belt, and the mineral district, in the larger cities, and in the thinly settled counties it would be unwise to say that whatever general law is passed must operate upon every community in this State alike, and cannot be repealed for any community in this State, and no community in this State can be exempted from it.

The argument against including in this subdivision whiskey laws illustrates just one branch of legislation that should not be


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hampered in this way. It strikes me that quarantine is another subject that might be added, and no doubt there are many others which may be added, which should be exempted from this proposition, and I believe the safest plan is to strike out this subdivision, which forces you to make a general law apply to every community alike and prevents any community from getting out from under the influence of it.  It seems to me we would sufficiently restrict local legislation when we name the many subjects we propose to name in here, about which there shall be no local legislation.  Now, why say that every general law must apply to every community alike?

MR. DENT – I have an amendment which I propose to offer, but I am perfectly willing to vote for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Clarke.  If that amendment is adopted I am satisfied, but even then I would like to have the privilege of offering an amendment to the section.  It seems to me, Mr. President, that the reasons given by the gentleman from Clarke are potent. This system of procrustian legislation is not wise, and it is not desirable.  We cannot make a suit to fit everybody, on every occasion and under all circumstances, and there should be some exceptions.  The debate upon this floor in reference to the question of taxation of cities, and their rights, demonstrated that, and I beg the Convention not to be hasty in adopting this class of legislation.  We sometimes get a little too democratic, we want everybody to be the same size, to wear the same size clothes, and sleep in the same length bed.  It is not a wise thing to do , and I hope that the amendment of the gentleman from Clarke will prevail.

MR. O’NEAL – I do not think this subdivision is susceptible of the construction which has been given to it.  It certainly was not the intention of the Committee to interfere with the laws in reference to dispensaries or the liquor traffic.  Suppose this is stricken out, we know that one of the ways by which local laws are passed by the General Assembly, is the passing of the general law and then exempting from its operation all cities or towns or counties, where the members do not wish the law to apply. The General Assembly passes the general law and the gentleman from Jefferson or some other county will rise and move to except that county, and so county after county is excepted, and there you have a local law under the guise of a general law.  The purpose of this is to prohibit legislation of that kind.

MR. VAUGHAN ‑ I want to ask if the adoption of this section would refer to the bird law?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It would have to be provided for by a general law, and provide some mode by which it will operate in the different counties as their necessities may require.


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MR. VAUGHAN ‑ Could Dallas County have a different bird law from the State bird law?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ There was all effort made to incorporate in the report of the Committee some provision about game laws and it was defeated in the Committee upon the grounds stated.

MR. VAUGHAN ‑ Then would the State law apply to all of the counties alike?

MR. O’NEAL ‑ If there is a State game law it must be a general law.

Now the exemption of any person, corporation, county, township, municipality or association from the operation of any general law is prohibited.  Argument was made before the Committee that this might interfere with the sale of liquor in the counties, local option and so on.  That was not the purpose of this subdivision. The Legislature can pass a law about local option by which local influence can adopt it by an election of the people.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– Suppose the Legislature were to refuse to do that, what would be the status of the community that wanted it, the Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding?

MR. O’NEAL– If the Legislature refused to pass a general law, the people would defeat the Legislature, if they did not respond to their wishes.  Of course, we cannot guarantee that the Legislature will carry out the wishes of the people on all subjects.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– I desire to ask one more question. Suppose a bill is introduced as has been done, for a State dispensary law.  Under this subdivision, if I happened to represent the county of Jefferson, I could not move to strike it out of the bill.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, you could not

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ Then that takes away from communities the right of local self ‑ government on this question or any other question ?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, the result would be that no general law would be passed except  in this way. The general law might be passed on the subject of dispensaries which would provide that any county which desired to avail itself of tile dispensary might do so by submitting the question to a vote of the people. That could be done under a general law and that is the proper way in which it should be done. I do not think it was the intention that this subdivision should apply to dispensaries, but even assuming that it does have reference to the dispensary, as the gentleman from Jefferson has assumed, the Legislature could then pass a general dispensary law by which any county in the State could adopt the provisions of that law by a vote of its people. You


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could pass a general law to that effect in reference to local option, instead of coming down here and fighting before the committees in the Legislature to get a dispensary in your county, a general law would be passed and you could go back to your people, and if your people wanted it dispensary, they could secure it by an election.

MR. BOONE – This Section reads “Exempting any person, corporation, county, township, municipality or association from the operation of any general law.”  Would that prohibit the General Assembly from regulating the courts of the State in a special way?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That is especially excepted.  If the gentleman will turn to Section 26 he will see that it reads “no special, private or local law, except a law fixing the time of holding courts, shall be enacted in any case,” that is therefore, expressly excepted.

MR. BOONE– But the exception covers only the time of holding court and would not cover any special court in any county where the needs of the people might require a special court, but the courts of the whole State would have to be the same.

MR. O’NEAL – You mean as to the rules of procedure?

MR. BOONE ‑ As to the organization of the courts in the several counties.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That would not have any effect on that.  This says “excepting any county from the operation of any general law.” The purpose of that Section as I stated, was to prevent the Legislature, under the guise of a general law, from passing a local law. That has been the way in which the prohibition against local laws has been evaded in nearly all of the States of the Union.  A member introduces a general law, and then exception after exception is made, until you have nothing but a local law.

It seems that the argument of the gentleman from Jefferson is unsound, even giving it the construction which he claims may be placed upon it.

MR. PILLANS ‑ I would ask if, in the case of the passage of the law, introduced as a general law, and one county or a number of counties were excepted, would that not make it a local law so as to fall within the prohibition. For example: Suppose a game or bird law, such as the one that was introduced two sessions back, were passed, with the exception of Montgomery County, would not that be a local law tinder the provisions of your Section, and haven't you got ample provisions in your Section to reach that case of a bill originally framed as a general law, becoming a local law by the taking out of one or more counties?


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MR. O'NEAL ‑ That was incorporated in there because numerous decisions of the courts of the States have held that where a general law is introduced and the exception of town after town or city after city has been made, that it still remains a general law within the meaning of a Section like the one in the present Constitution, and out of abundant caution we have incorporated this provision into this Article.

MR. PILLANS ‑ May I ask another question?  Do you not think that the same result that you desire to reach could be better attained by a clause which would distinctly show that it was levelled at that particular sort of evil and not a Section so broad as this.

MR. O’NEAL– I do not think this is too broad, Mr. President. As I was going to say, the argument was made in the Committee that the reason why there was objection to local option laws and prohibition, was because frequently the counties could get relief before the Legislature that they could not get before the people. That if the matter was left to the people the local option law would probably be defeated, and that the Legislature would sometimes grant local option when the people would defeat it. That did not appeal to my sense of right, because I think that where the people of a county will not vote for local option, the Legislature should not foist such a law upon them. I believe all these dispensary laws and local option laws ought to be left to the people of the particular community which is affected. I say if you give this Section the construction given it by the gentleman from Jefferson even, the Legislature can pass a general law providing that any county in Alabama can, by a submission of the question to the vote of its people, take advantage of the benefit of a dispensary, or the local option law, and there is absolutely nothing in the Section to prevent it.

MR. CORNWELL ‑ In Section 5 of this Article don't you think that you have provided for all the objections that have been raised?

MR. O’NEAL ‑ I think so. If the Legislature should do that. I think it will answer most of these objections.

MR. SANDERS ‑ I desire to ask the gentleman a question. If the Legislature should refuse to pass a general law for the subjects enumerated in this Section, would not the members thereof thereby violate their oath to support the Constitution?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Yes sir.

MR. SANDERS ‑ It is not optional with them, but is it not a command for them to pass a general law?


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MR. O'NEAL ‑ In answer to the gentleman from Limestone, by reading the whole section it will be seen that it is made the absolute duty of the General Assembly to pass general laws on every subject as to which they are prohibited from passing local laws. You take up this whole list and while the Legislature is forbidden to pass local laws on these subjects, they are required if this section is adopted to pass a general law covering the subjects. They would violate their oaths if they did not do so.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) – I would like to hear your opinion in regard to the privilege taxes in the different municipalities throughout the State.  Do you want to pass a general law fixing the rate of privilege taxing power of the cities and towns in the State of Alabama?

MR. O’NEAL – You might classify the cities and pass such laws.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene)‑ You might. Every town and city in the State have different privilege tax laws.  How would you make a general law cover these cases?

MR. O’NEAL – That will be provided for when the Legislature passes a general law fixing the powers of each city in the State of the different classes.  The cities in the State will be classed and there will be a charter passed providing for the needs of each city and town in the State and giving them their rights and defining their powers, and there will be a general law.  Such a law would give them power to levy license taxes on any subject.  I will ask the gentleman from Greene why could that not be done, and would it not be done?

MR. COLEMAN – You would have a general law that would allow any city or town to pass any license law that they saw proper?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ You might limit it to such subjects that the general law might provide for.

MR. WALKER – Why would not it be competent for the Legislature to pass general laws under which the local authorities could make different regulations upon the subjects that have been mentioned here, in reference to the sale or use of intoxicating liquors, in reference to bird laws, and in reference to privilege taxes?  It would not require at all, that the same regulations should prevail all over the State, but a general law would provide for the regulation of those matters by the local authorities.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I am obliged to the gentleman for the suggestion. That was the idea of the committee, that it would be the duty of the Legislature to pass general laws giving the local authorities authority to pass such laws as the demands and necessi‑


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ties of the particular community might require, so that every community could have its local laws, without applying to the General Assembly for them.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The time of the gentleman from Lauderdale has expired.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ The question which has been raised in connection with this clause as to the regulation of the liquor traffic is one of great importance. We are told that the Legislature may pass general laws, whereby particular localities may enact such liquor laws as will suit their own ideas. Now, sir, if this law shall be enacted into the Constitution, and at the next Legislature a bill should be introduced authorizing every county, municipality or district to take a vote in that particular community, as to whether or not prohibition should be put into effect the result would be that the large cities and towns in this State, where it is exceedingly difficult to regulate the liquor traffic, would be opposed to giving the people of other communities the opportunity they desired. The liquor traffic, if it is ever regulated in this State, must be regulated first in the small communities, and as the general idea of temperance grows, to reach the larger ones gradually.  When you propose this general law giving every community the right for vote for or against prohibition, you will at once have arrayed against that general law the strong whiskey interests in the State, and the result would be that no such general law could be passed notwithstanding that a multitude of small communities might like to have the privilege and opportunity of voting upon the question themselves.

MR. WALKER ‑ Is it not a fact that in States in which provisions such as this prevail, that there is a successful regulation of the liquor traffic by the communities, under the general laws?

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I am not prepared to answer that question. I understand that so far, in human experience, no successful regulation has ever been made of the liquor traffic. I understand however, we are growing in that direction, and I believe. Mr. President, that the enactment of this clause will cut off for many years to come the growth that we are making in this direction, because it will deprive the smaller communities of the opportunity of exercising the privilege that they have of securing from the Legislature local option.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I desire to ask the gentleman a question. Does he think that the Legislature ought to grant to any community local option or a dispensary contrary to the wishes of a majority of the people in that community?

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ No, sir ; I do not think that the Legislature ought to grant any particular community any privilege contrary to the wishes of a majority in that community, but I do think that


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the Legislature ought to grant to a community privileges that they may desire, but which may be against the wishes of a majority of the whole State to have applied to their localities, and the proposition here is that before we can do anything in any particular locality, we must get the consent of the whole State to have a general law passed giving the same right in every locality. That is the point that I am making, Mr. President.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ If the gentleman will allow a suggestion, I desire to say that if he will read this section he will see that we absolutely require the Legislature to pass general laws on every subject enumerated in this section. Then if the section would have the effect which the gentleman claims, to prevent a county from having a dispensary unless there was general law on the subject, it would be the duty of the Legislature, under their oaths to pass a general law by which the county could secure the benefit of a dispensary. and by the same law the Legislature could provide for its adoption by a vote of the people or in some other manner. Certainly that is the matter which may be left to the Legislature. It was not the purpose to prevent any county or any community from having a local option law or a dispensary, or to have the control of the liquor traffic in any mode or manner that the people might wish.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I did not say, when I yielded, that I would allow the gentleman to make a speech in my time. Mr. President, the conflicting interests between the large cities and the small cities, and the country communities, would be so great that no general law could ever be passed that would provide for the different localities in this State, and for taking such action as suited the particular localities, because the action taken in the locality must be adjusted to the state of the public sentiment in that locality.

MR. WEATHERLY ‑ Would an amendment of this kind answer any of the objections you have offered. Amend sub-division 9, Section 1, by adding immediately after the words "general law" the following: "Hereinafter enacted, provided that the Legislature may enact such special laws, provided for the exemption of any county, township, or municipality, from the operation of any general law, by submitting any such special law to the vote of the people to be affected thereby, for ratification or rejection, under proper regulations, as may be prescribed by law."

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I do not think that would meet the objection. There are so many other questions besides the question of local option. I mentioned that as one particular instance, but there are a multitude of objections. And the regulation of the particular needs of villages and small towns, and of various localities, can never be provided for under a general law. It could never be provided that they could express their choice in regard to certain


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things, or lay out for themselves certain plans, without laying open that same privilege to certain other large and controlling communities which would always prevent action by the smaller communities..

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ If the gentleman will allow a suggestion, would not the operation of this prevent the Legislature from granting any license to Confederate soldiers, or anyone else?

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I cannot answer the question.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Not at all.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) ‑ I wish to make the suggestion that this discussion upon the striking out of the ninth subdivision has degenerated into a question of local option, or antilocal option, dispensary or anti ‑ dispensary. If you strike that out, this committee on Local Legislation was constituted in vain. You might strike out every one of the twenty ‑ six sub ‑ divisions there where you say the Legislature cannot act, because you can exempt every one of them on the ground that it is merely a local question. I suggest that the motion of the gentleman from Clarke be laid upon the table. It strikes out the whole object of the Committee on Local Legislation. I withdraw the motion if Mr. Watts wishes to make any, remarks.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ So far as I am concerned, I hardly know what the limitations of this provision are. I have not given it any very great consideration, but it seems to me that there are quite a number of questions that will arise and create a difficulty which we will not be able to obviate. Take, for instance, the question of arranging the judiciary of this State. If this section stands, I do not see how it is going to be arranged so as to meet the views of at least twenty ‑ five different portions of the State, nor do I know about the other seventy ‑ five portions. Certainly, on the Committee on Judiciary the lawyers from seventy ‑ five different portions of the state seem to want different arrangements in regard to the judiciary, and if those seventy ‑ five portions of the State of Alabama cannot in any possibility be exempted from a general statute, it seems to me that according to the sad stories I have heard, we will be in a deplorable condition in that respect at any rate.

Take, for instance, the passage of a general law dividing the State into as many judicial circuits, and providing that each such circuit shall contain a definite number of counties, and then leave this section in, that no county can be exempted from that law, and one of two conditions will exist ; either you will have Circuit Courts and Chancery Courts in certain counties that have no use for them and which are fully provided for by these inferior courts, or else you would have to abandon a system which seems to have grown in favor, that of having separate and special courts in certain


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counties which are sufficiently large and have sufficient population to maintain such separate courts.  Now, as I understand the experience of the bar in this State, it has been that these special courts for such counties as are able to maintain them, have become a great convenience, and these counties would not do without them under any circumstances, yet with this provision, we will either fasten for all time upon these counties a double judiciary, which is entirely unnecessary, or strike down this special system that has obtained such favor among the people.  The same condition of affairs exists as to the Chancery Court. Then ,I take it, there is a feeling in this Convention that there ought to be some elasticity about the system, so that common law jurisdiction in some cases could be conferred upon the Chancellor, and chancery jurisdiction upon the common law judges.  That, however, could only be done in a certain number of counties.  It would be practicable only where some special arrangement was made with regard to that particular territory.  Under this provision, as I understand it, no such arrangements could be made.  And from what I have heard, the Justice of the Peace, who has been a subject of much anguish and tribulation among the fraternity in this Convention, some unwilling to do any hardship to those gentlemen who occupy that exhalted position, while others are willing to consign their names to perdition.  There will necessarily have to be some special provision in regard to that matter in one portion of the State, and another portion of the State.  That, as I understand it, under this section, could not be done.  Then, again, the quarantine law has been suggested —

MR. O’NEAL – If the gentleman will allow an interruption, suppose an amendment striking out the words “county, township, municipality,” is offered, would not that meet your objections?

MR. SMITH (Mobile) – It will never meet every objection that I have.

MR. O'NEAL– And insert the word “private” before “corporation.”

MR. WEATHERLY ‑ That is the effect of my amendment.

MR. HARRISON ‑ With the gentleman's permission, I would like to suggest to him along that line of striking out the word “person” and inserting the word “individual,” and striking out the words “county, township and municipality.” and we would have the same provision that is in the present Constitution, in Section 23 of Article 4.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ Of course I do not know what is the sense of the Convention in regard to that matter. If an amendment to that effect is adopted, I shall certainly have no objection to the provision, but if it stands as it is without going into the


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details, I will call attention to the fact that the quarantine law cannot be uniform.  If you were to undertake to fasten upon Mobile only such quarantine laws or provisions as are necessary for other portions of the State, neither ourselves nor the balance of the State would be protected.  We must have something beyond the general provision.  If, on the contrary, you should fasten on the whole State the provisions which are necessary in order to guard the entrance, why you would have the whole State subject to unnecessary hardships and restrictions.  The question of dispensary has been discussed by other.  Then there is the question of the jury law.  In the County of Mobile we have a special jury law, one that has worked to very much greater satisfaction, than the general laws of the State.  Whether it could be operated in other counties, I doubt.  Our own courts have not been in favor of enforcing the special jury laws that prevail in Mobile County, knowing that the other counties are not situated as that county is.  I should certainly feel it a great calamity to strike down such laws as those which I have mentioned.  The jury law has protected us from professional jurors, and from a number of evils that are incidental to the general system.  Therefore as the subdivision now stands I am very much opposed to it, but amended according to the suggestions which have been made, I would have on opposition to it.

MR. WATTS– I will address myself, first to the objection of the gentleman from Mobile, Mr. Smith, as to the organization of the Circuit and Chancery Courts. It is well known to every lawyer that when an instrument is considered it is taken altogether. The Constitution of 1875 had a provision in it "Nor shall the operation of any general law be suspended by the General Assembly for the benefit of any individual, corporation or association." Now if we put into the Constitution the 9th subdivision which we have in this report, prohibiting the exemption of any person, corporation, county, township, municipality or association, from the operation of any general law, and we afterwards put into this Constitution the matters which the gentleman suggests about circuit and chancery courts and the legislature establishing inferior courts, or other sort of courts, when the court takes this whole instrument up for construction, it will say that this means that the legislature shall not exempt any municipality, county or corporation from the operation of any general law, except in the particular matters, which this Constitution points out in other parts of it can be done. In other words, the whole matter will be considered inpari materia, and make it harmonize as one whole, and not make it operate in the manner which the gentleman has suggested.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman if his experience in the law justifies hiln in feeling such a great confidence in his prophecy as to what the Supreme Court will decide in the next thirty or forty years, and I will further ask the gentleman whether or not he considers it wise to put conflicting


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provisions in the Constitution because he knows what the Supreme Court will do in untangling them.

MR. WATTS ‑ I will answer both of the questions. Judge Rice on one occasion when he was asked whether or not courts were presumed to know the law said that they were, but sometimes it was a very violent presumption. Therefore, I cannot say what the courts will decide, except I believe that they will decide what is right.

As to the other proposition, I do not think this at all conflicts in the manner in which the gentleman contends.

It is a well known fact, Mr. President, that in a General Assembly, there are frequently introduced laws which are intended to be of general operation, and immediately there is a jumping up here and there throughout the House of Representatives, or the Senate, as the case may be, and there is an exception of this county or that, or the other county from the operation of the general law, and the result is that no man, be he as old as Methusalah or a:: wise as Solomon, can ever tell what the law is in any particular part of the State, unless he has made a particular study of it.

MR. PILLANS ‑ Your sixth section declares what a local law is does it not ?

MR. WATTS ‑ Yes, sir.

MR. PILLANS ‑ Can that not be so framed as to make it perfectly plain, that if a law is passed which calls itself a general law, but contains the exception of some part of the State, that it will fall within the inhibition as a local law.

MR. WATTS ‑ I have no doubt that some amendment of this question can be made which will be satisfactory to this Convention.

MR. PILLANS ‑ And reach that difficulty?

MR. WATTS ‑ Yes, sir. We have plenty of illustrations of the operation of this particular ninth subdivision. We have got a general law on our statute books now, preventing the relieving of minors of the disabilities of non ‑ age; we have got a general law providing for the organization of different kinds of corporations; we have got a general law providing for the corporation of cities and towns; we used to have a general law to relieve married women of the disabilities of coveture, and we have a general law in reference to divorce and alimony. The object of this provision is for the legislature to make some general provision which applies to the whole State in reference to particular matters and not to have the acts of the legislature covered with laws affecting Montgomery County, or Mobile County, or Lee County and the various


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other counties of the State. We have got two other provisions in here, where we say that the General Assembly shall pass a general law covering the matters which we have prevented them making the subjects of local legislation, and then further in Section 5 of this report, we provide, that the General Assembly may, by general law, confer upon the courts of county commissioners, Boards of Revenue or other courts, such power of local legislation and administration touching all matters and things not provided for by general law, and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, as the General Assembly may from time to time deem expedient. That means that the legislature may pass a general law by which they may provide for all such subjects as they cannot cover by a general law, such as the provision of my friend from Jefferson in relation to liquor. They can provide that the courts of county commissioners or the board of revenue in the respective counties, or some other court, shall have the right to determine in their particular community, what shall prevail, local option or otherwise.

Now we are not striking at the dispensary, and we are not striking at the sale of liquor, any more than we are striking at anything else, but all of you know that about one ‑ half of the time of the General Assembly for twenty ‑ five years past has been taken up in passing local laws of some sort, kind or character, and a great deal of the valuable time of the State of Alabama has been expended in determining whether or not liquor should be sold within two or three miles of the Black Jack Stop on Jim Jones's plantation, or some other such foolishness.

Now the intention of this Convention, we took it, when the Committee on Local Legislation was appointed, was to put some safeguard around this matter which would prevent a waste of the people's money. If you are going to strike down this subdivision, and if you are going to say that the legislature may still continue to except from the operation of the general law, any locality, any individual, any corporation or any association, why then what is the use of having a Committee on Local Legislation at all. Why not turn the doors wide open and tell them to go ahead as they have done in the past, making the general laws about the size of Webster's spelling book, and the local laws about twenty times their size. As shown the other day by my distinguished friend from Montgomery, Governor Oates, when he exhibited the general laws, you saw they were about as thick as my finger while the local laws were about six inches thick. The object of this Committee is to break down this practice of passing local laws and wasting the people's money and to direct the legislature to something that is important to the whole State instead of providing some measure to please some particular locality.


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MR. FITTS ‑ I move the previous question upon the subdivision and both of the amendments.

MR. WILSON (Clarke) ‑ I hope the gentleman will withdraw the motion as I want to ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment and offer this. It seems to meet the views of certain members.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I ask unanimous consent to read an amendment which I think will cover the objections made and which will be acceptable to the entire Convention.

The amendment of Mr. Wilson of Clarke, was read as follows:

Strike out the word "person" and insert in lieu thereof the word "individual; strike out the words "county, township, municipality." where they occur in subdivision 9, and insert the word "private" before the word "corporation."

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That is exactly the amendment which I desired to offer.

MR. WILSON (Clarke) ‑ I ask unanimous leave to withdraw my substitute heretofore offered.

MR. FITTS ‑ Now I renew the motion for the previous question.

MR. BANKS ‑ I hope the gentleman will withdraw that a moment. As a member of the Committee, I want to say a word or two.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Clarke asks unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment offered by him and insert in lieu thereof, the amendment which has just been read. Is there objection?

MR. HOWZE ‑ I object, because I would rather have it stricken out than to have it amended.

MR. BROOKS ‑ I now move under rule 24, that the gentleman from Clarke be allowed to withdraw his amendment.

Upon a vote being taken the motion was carried.

MR. WILSON (Clarke) ‑ Now I offer the substitute which has just been read.

MR. BANKS ‑ I do not propose to detain you with anything like a speech. I only want to make an explanation. I want to say in behalf of certain members of the Committee that they do not agree to this subdivision. There was a difference of opinion in the committee. This question was discussed before the committee, and I think it was the consensus of opinion that the effect of the adoption of this sub ‑ division would be just as has been stated by those who have opposed it upon the floor; that it would


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have the effect to restrain any further local legislation on the subject of whiskey, and on all other subjects that would have to be provided for by general law. It vas the opinion of the committee that there was a general law providing for the sale of whiskey.

MR. O’NEAL– Will the gentleman allow an interruption?

MR. BANKS ‑ Yes, sir.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I desire to call attention to the fact that the particular section under discussion was read to the committee and adopted without objection.

MR. BANKS ‑ I hope that the chairman will remember that I voted against it to the very last.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ I rise to a point of order. Matters which were before the committee are not proper to be stated before this house.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The point of order is well taken.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I rise to a point of order. I understood the gentleman to make a statement that the committee had never adopted it, and I did not want to let the statement pass unnoticed that the committee had reported a provision which has not been adopted.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman stated that the committee was not entirely unanimous.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Then I misunderstood the gentleman and withdraw what I said.

MR. BANKS ‑ It was understood by the committee that the effect the provision would have would be just as stated to the Convention, and there were members of the committee that objected to it on that account. It is urged by those who advocated the adoption of this sub ‑ division that these questions are provided against in Sub ‑ division 39. As has been said upon the floor of this Convention, this is only advisory. It does not compel the General Assembly to adopt laws at all, and it is with the General Assembly as to whether it does that or not. In Section 5 of this report, it says that the General Assembly may, by general law, confer upon the courts of County Commissioners, Boards of Revenue and other courts. It grants to the General Assembly the power to do that thing, but it does not impose the absolute duty and requirement that they shall do it. I am opposed to the subdivision as it stands. I would be in favor of it with the amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Jefferson. That is all that I wish to say.

MR. HOWZE ‑ It strikes me that this is one of the most important sections in this whole Article. I think without this, the


1810

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

work of this committee will have been in vain, as my friend from Montgomery has said. I see no reason in the world why any county, any municipality or any individual should be exempted from a good general law. I do not think any general law ought to be passed unless it is a good one, and unless it is necessary, and I do not think any community or any county should be exempted from it. Suppose, for instance that a general law should be passed on any matter, why should any county or municipality be exempted from the operation of the law. A general law is passed against gambling, why should any county be exempted from the operation of that law? Therefore, why could not a general law be framed so as to meet the requirement of every community in the State?

I do not think that this sub ‑ division affects the platter of liquor traffic. If it did, I should certainly oppose it, but as I conceive it means simply this, that a general law may be passed upon this subject. For instance, if the Court of County Commissioners, or other authorities of the county, may, on a request of a majority of the people of the county, have prohibition, have a dispensary, or local option, but it ought to be a general law all over the State, covering the whole State, and there should be no reason why any county should be exempted from the operation of such a law. It is not the working of the law, but it is the manner of creating the law that you desire to reach, and that you desire to make uniform throughout the State.

As to this matter of quarantine, why should not the general quarantine law be established in such a way that it will operate properly in every county in this State? Why should there be any county or municipality from the operation of the law. As I said in the beginning, no general law should be passed that is not for the good of the whole State. We cannot guarantee, of course, that the general law shall be passed, but we make it the duty of the Legislature to pass general laws upon all questions that may arise in the State, and we require that those general laws shall be uniform throughout the State. My friend has mentioned the matter of the bird law. It should not operate to affect that in the slightest, because a general law can be passed so as to provide for a bird law to be established in any community, or in any county or district in the State; but that law should be uniform. The only thing that I have heard against this provision which casts a doubt upon my mind at all, is the matter of the judiciary, but as my friend from Montgomery has suggested, that is arranged for by a subsequent section of the article. Therefore I cannot see, to save my life, why this provision which is intended to remedy such a great evil should be condemned by this Convention. As my friend from Montgomery said, wherever a general law, even though it is a good one, is offered in the General Assembly, it is a constant thing to see members rise up and exempt


1811

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

their counties from it. The result is a confusion of the law, and no lawyer in the State knows what the law in the different counties is in which he goes to practice. He has to learn it before he goes there. We have a confusion of the law by reason of the fact that the different counties have different laws all over the State. I think it is highly important that this subdivision of the article should be allowed to remain as it is, and I hope that this Convention will vote down the substitute and the amendment.

Mr. Jones secured recognition.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ I will yield to the gentleman from Lauderdale to make a statement.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I stated just now that the committee would accept the amendment offered by the gentleman from Clarke, but on a conference with the committee, I find that they are opposed to it. I desire to say, however, that the committee is willing to accept the amendment suggested by the gentleman from Jefferson, Dr. Cunningham.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ I move to lay upon the table the original subdivision, the substitute and all of the amendments, my reason for that is that the debate shows that we do not know what we are doing in respect to this matter‑

MR. WATTS ‑ I make the point of order that the gentleman cannot discuss a motion to table.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ I will make the statement and then I will make my motion afterwards.

A DELEGATE ‑ Move to recommit the subdivision.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ No, I won't, I am going to make the motion that I got up to make. It is very evident that we are shooting in the woods and do not know who we are going to hit and the apprehension among intelligent lawyers and intelligent business men as to what this thing means is a sufficient reason why this Convention should go slow. Now I move to table the subdivision, the substitute and all of the amendments.

MR. WATTS ‑ I call for the ayes and noes on that, and a division of the question.

MR. WHITESIDE ‑ I make the point of order that you cannot lay a part of a section on the table. This is only a subdivision of the section.

MR. FITTS ‑ In response to that I make the point of order that before the section was started into, at the request of the committee it was by unanimous consent agreed that each subdivision should be treated as a section, and so disposed of.


1812

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. WHITESIDE ‑ Not voted on as a section.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ But considered as a section.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The present occupant of the Chair was not in the Chair when that agreement was arrived at but it seems in view of the agreement that the point of order would not be well taken.

MR. REESE ‑ I desire to make an inquiry. Suppose the amendments offered are not laid upon the table, and yet the original subdivision is laid upon the table. You have got an amendment hung up in the air with the section gone.

THE PRESIDENT – A division of the question has been called for and the Chair will submit the questions in their order.

MR. REESE ‑ That was the point I desired information on. Suppose the Convention refuses to table the amendment and yet they table the original subdivision?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ That is a complicated state of affairs that the Chair will deal with when it arises and not anticipate it. The ayes and noes are demanded, the question is, is the call for the ayes and noes sustained?

The requisite number arising the call was sustained.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will submit first the question on the motion to table the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke. As many as favor laying the substitute on the table will say aye and those opposed no as your names are called. AYES

Bartlett,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Porter,

Blackwell,

Hinson,

Reynolds (Henry),

Byars,

Howze,

Robinson,

Case,

Inge,

Rogers, of Sumter,

Chapman,

Jenkins,

Sanders,

Cofer,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Sanford,

Cornwall,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Sentell,

Craig,

Kirkland,

Smith, Mac

Davis, of Etowah,

Kyle,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Duke,

Long, of Butler,

Sollie,

Espy,

MacDonald,

Spears,

Foshee,

Malone,

Waddell,

Gilmore,

Martin,

Walker,

Glover,

Oates,

Watts,

Greer, of Calhoun,

O'Neal, of Lauderdale

Whiteside,

Haley,

Phillips,

Wilson. of Washington,

TOTAL ‑ 48

NOES

Ashcraft,

Barefield,

Beddow,

Banks,

Beavers,

Bethune,


1813

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Boone,

Hodges,

Pearce,

Brooks,

Hood,

Pettus,

Browne,

Howell,

Pillans,

Bulger,

Jackson,

Pitts,

Burns,

Jones, of Bibb,

Reese,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Jones, of Hale,

Renfro,

Carnathon,

Kirk,

Reynolds, of Chilton,

Cobb,

Knight,

Rogers, of Lowndes,

Coleman, of Greene,

Ledbetter,

Samford,

Cunningham,

Leigh,

Searcy,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Long, of Walker,

Selheimer,

Dent,

Lowe, of Jefferson,

Sloan,

deGraffenreid,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

Smith, of Mobile,

Eley,

McMillan, of Wilcox,

Sorrell,

Eyster,

Maxwell,

Spragins,

Ferguson,

Merrill,

Stewart,

Fitts,

Miller, of Wilcox,

Thompson,

Fletcher,

Murphree,

Vaughan,

Foster,

NeSmith,

Weatherly,

Freeman,

Norman,

Williams, of Barbour

Grayson,

Norwood,

Williams, of Marengo

Greer, of Perry,

Palmer,

Wilson, of Clarke,

Harrison,

Parker, of Cullman,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Parker, of Elmore,

TOTAL – 76

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Messrs. President,

Henderson,

O’Rear,

Almon,

King,

Proctor,

Altman,

Locklin,

Studdard,

Burnett,

Lomax,

Tayloe,

Cardon,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Weakley,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Miller, of Marengo,

White,

Coleman, of Walker,

Moody,

Willet,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Morrisette,

Williams, of Elmore,

Graham, of Talladega,

Mulkey,

Winn.

Grant,

O’Neill (Jefferson),

Handley,

Opp,

 So the motion to table was lost.

MR. JONES – For the purpose of simplifying matters, I ask unanimous leave to withdraw the motion to table the original subdivision and the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.

To which objection was made.

MR. O’NEAL – I move that the rules be suspended and the leave be given the gentleman to withdraw his motion.


1814       

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ It will simplify matters and save time.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It is moved that the gentleman be permitted to withdraw his motion to table the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson, and the original subdivision.

Upon a vote being taken the consent was given.

MR. REESE ‑ I move the previous question on the pending substitute and the original Section and amendment.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ I make the point of order that the gentleman from Dallas is out of order, because we have not disposed of the motion to lay on the table at this time.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The motion to table with withdrawn by consent of the Convention.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ That applied to the amendment but not to the original proposition.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It applied to the motion to table the original Subdivision 9 and the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson. The other part of it the Convention has refused to lay upon the table.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ The purpose for which the amendment offered by myself having been accomplished in the amendment offered by the gentleman from Clarke, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment offered by me.

MR. PETTUS ‑ I rise to a parliamentary inquiry.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state the question of inquiry?

MR. PETTUS ‑ Was not the amendment proposed lay the gentleman from Clarke offered as a substitute for that offered by the gentleman from Jefferson, and would not the adoption of the substitute get rid of the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Jefferson?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the Chair it would have that effect.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ Before the motion for the previous question is put I desire to ask the gentleman from Dallas to withdraw one moment that I may ask one question of the Chairman of the Committee.

MR. REESE ‑ You will renew the motion when you conclude?


1815

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ Yes, I will. The amendment now pending, offered by the gentleman from Clarke, includes the word "association." Does not that mean benevolent associations, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Honor, United Order of Red Men, and the various other sort of folks, Woodmen of the World, Odd Fellows, whose express purpose is one of benevolence. Will not that mean that they shall not be exempted from taxation and other privileges and immunities that are now granted by the general law of this State. I would like to have an answer to that question.

MR. O’NEAL– It is not my understanding that it has any such meaning. Of course, you could not pass any law giving the Knights of Pythias of Lauderdale County privileges which you did not confer on them in Jefferson County. You would have to pass a general law giving the Knights of Pythias privileges in the State, and could not pass local laws for particular lodges in particular localities, but you could pass a general law covering the State, and there is no reason why a general law would not cover every subject that is now covered by law.

MR. REESE ‑ I desire to ask the Chairman of the Committee if that is not a matter that is provided for in the Article on Taxation. Are these associations not already exempted from taxation in the Article on Taxation

MR. O'NEAL ‑ They are exempted under the Article on Taxation.

MR. REESE ‑ I move the previous question.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I beg the gentleman's pardon. I had forgotten.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is shall the main question be now put?

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ I move to lay Subdivision 9 of Section 1 on the table.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I rise to a point of order, that the question now. is upon the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke. That is the matter pending before the House.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ I move to lay the amendment to the subdivision, and the original subdivision on the table.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That is out of order. We have just passed on that.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Convention has just refused to table the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke. The question is shall the main question be put.


1816

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

The main question was ordered, and upon a further vote being taken the substitute of the gentleman from Clarke was adopted.

MR. WATTS ‑ I move to lay on the table Subdivision 9 as amended, because it is of no value whatever with the amendment in it.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson as amended by the amendment of the gentleman from Clarke.

A reading of the amendments was called for.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ There is some confusion as to the question before the House. I ask the Chair to state it again.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair understood the gentleman from Jefferson to offer an amendment, and the gentleman from Clarke to offer a substitute to that amendment; the question now is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson. as modified by the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I rise to a point of order. I understood the gentleman from Jefferson to state that the substitute covered his amendment, and hence his amendment was no longer before the House.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It does not change the necessity of submitting the question to the Convention.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ A point of order. I moved to lay on the table awhile ago, and the Chair ruled the question ,vas on the amendment of the gentleman from Clarke, and we took a vote and adopted that amendment. The gentleman from Jefferson withdrew his amendment and therefore the question is not on the adoption of an amendment at all.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman is mistaken, the gentleman from Jefferson has not withdrawn his amendment. The Chair will remind the gentleman from Walker that the gentleman from Jefferson stated that he would withdraw the amendment and asked leave to do so, but it was suggested that the adoption of the substitute would cover the ground, and he withdrew his request to withdraw the amendment. The question now is upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson as amended by the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke. As many as favor the motion to adopt the amendment as amended will say aye.

And the motion was carried.


1817

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Do I understand the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson is adopted by this vote, or this substitute is in lieu of his amendment?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson is adopted as modified by the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke. The question now is upon Subdivision 9 as amended.

MR. WATTS ‑ I move to lay it on the table.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ A motion to table is not in order after the previous question has been ordered.

MR. WATTS ‑ Then I call for the ayes and noes.

The call for the ayes and noes was not sustained, and upon a vote being taken. Subdivision 9 as amended was adopted.

MR. DENT ‑ I rise to a parliamentary inquiry. I understand that the Convention had just voted to adopt the substitute offered by the gentleman from Clarke not encumbered by the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson. I would like to understand just exactly what the record shows. That was my understanding and I think the understanding of the majority of the Convention, that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson was not a part of the Section, and I would like to know what the record shows upon that question.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Jefferson offered his amendment to Subdivision 9, thereupon the gentleman from Clarke offered his substitute. The substitute struck out certain words, but the Chair does not remember whether it struck out the identical words included in the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson or not. If it did, then the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson is disposed of, otherwise it has been adopted.

MR. WILSON (Clarke) ‑ I would like to ask the President if the substitute offered by myself was adopted, if the substitute did not then become the amendment?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The substitute of the gentleman from Clarke was adopted in lieu of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. DENT ‑ And the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson is not a part of this subdivision?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It is not.

MR. DENT ‑ All right.

Subdivision 10 was read as follows:


1818

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Tenth ‑ Providing for the sale of property of any individual estate.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is on the adoption of Subdivision 10—

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ You were not in the Chair this morning when the House suspended the rules under a motion, by which it was agreed that each subdivision should be read, and unless there was objection or amendment offered to the subdivision, it should be taken as passed by the House without a vote.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will continue the same method that the House agreed upon this morning.

Subdivision 11 was read as follows:

Eleventh ‑ Changing or locating a county seat.

MR. PILLANS ‑ I move to strike out Subdivision 11.

Mr. Pillans amendment was read as follows:

Amend Section 1 of Article on Local Legislation by striking out Subdivision 11.

MR. PILLANS ‑ This amendment contains no criticism of the Committee. The object they seek to obtain, however, will probably be better secured by the adoption of some such Section as the Committee on State and County Boundaries has reported, which will provide that a change of county seats shall only be made after an election by the people. If that plan is adopted of changing county seats only after an election, with either a majority or a two ‑ thirds majority of the people assenting thereto, there will be no occasion for putting this clause in the Constitution, making this restriction on local legislation, for the reason that the clauses which has heretofore existed would no longer exist. Moreover, if you undertake to provide by general law for changing of county boundaries by the Court of County Commissioners it will invite a struggle in every county in the State of Alabama. I take it if you pass a general law inviting the counties to pass on the question of changing the court houses, you would cause a great deal of dissention, whereas, if you leave it out of this part of the Constitution and leave it in the other as my friend says it will be productive of good results. Then whenever a court is desired to have a county seat changed, or suppose that such a thing was desired in the county, the Legislature will act upon the bill which the local member offers, pass it, and then leave the matter to the people of the county, and those people will either defeat it or ratify it as they please. That is my reason for striking it out here.


1819

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I move to lay the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile on the table.

Upon a vote being taken a division was called for and by a vote of 54 ayes and 32 noes the amendment was tabled.

MR. BAREFIELD ‑ I offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows: By striking out the word "seat" and adding the word "site."

MR. WATTS ‑ I move to lay the amendment on the table.

MR. COBB ‑ I desire to call the attention of the Convention to the fact that the Committee on County Boundaries has dealt with this whole question and this section is not at all necessary.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ Does it conflict with their report?

MR. COBB ‑ I do not know that it does, but it may.

MR. WADDELL ‑ I ask the gentleman from Macon does not this really give it more force and effect?

MR. COBB ‑ I do not know that if does, without having the report of the Committee on County Boundaries before me, but if it is in order, I move to defer the further consideration of this subdivision until the Committee on County Boundaries reports.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I want to say that it is impossible for any member of this Convention to forecast what a committee is going to report or what action the Convention is going to take in reference thereto. There can be absolutely no objection to this provision. It is simply prohibiting the Legislature from passing a law changing the county site of any particular county. They can do it by general law, because we require here that on all these subjects as to which we prohibit the Legislature from passing local laws, that it is their duty to pass general laws. We want to prevent another Shelby County case.

MR. WEATHERLY ‑ I rise to a point of order. There is nothing before the Convention.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ There is a motion before the Convention to indefinitely postpone the consideration of this subdivision.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will overrule the point of order.

MR. COBB ‑ Will the gentleman from Lauderdale allow me just a moment? There is a conflict here between these sections‑

MR. O'NEAL ‑ We have a committee here for the purpose of reconciling these conflicts.


1820

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. COBB ‑ That committee cannot strike out where this House has adopted. Where they conflict, they will have to come back to this Convention to have a reconciliation. They are invested with no such power as I understand it, and what I want to suggest to my friends

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Lauderdale has the floor.

MR. COBB ‑ By his consent I simply desire to say in this report from the Committee on County Boundaries it is provided it may be submitted to a vote of the people in the county, the question of changing a county site.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That is absolutely not in conflict. We say to the Legislature you must not pass any local law. You can pass a general law by which you submit to the people of any county in the State the question of whether they desire to move their local court house. That is no conflict at all.

MR. OATES ‑ The gentleman from Lauderdale has made the point that I was about to suggest. The two are not in conflict. This simply provides against the Legislature changing a county seat. The other provision from the County Boundaries Committee provides the method by which it may be changed by a vote of the people.

MR. JENKINS ‑ I would like to make a suggestion. My recollection of the report of the Committee on County Boundaries, is that the representative of each county must first introduce a bill referring this matter to a vote of the people. Now this says there shall be no special act changing a county seat.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Would that be a special act?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Would not there be a conflict if the representative introduced a special act?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Not at all. Let me ask the gentleman this question. Suppose the Legislature should pass the general statute that no county seat shall be removed unless such question of removal is first submitted to the people of that county, would not that be a general law. Of course that would be and there would absolutely be no conflict between that section and this when we say they must provide a general law for that matter.

MR. JENKINS ‑ But they must put the procedure in force by a special act in each county?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Oh, no; we simply here say to the Legislature that you shall not pass a law by which the county of Lauderdale, or any other county in the State, can change its county site.


1821

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

You trust pass a general law by which that question can be submitted to a vote of the people.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Now I renew my motion to lay on the table, the motion to defer the consideration of this subdivision.

MR. REESE ‑ I hope that the gentleman don't want to gag this Convention.

MR. O’NEAL – I will withdraw in favor of the gentleman from Dallas.

MR. COBB ‑ I desire to ask the gentleman a question. Under the statement that has just been made what becomes of Section 6 where you define a general and local law. You say a general law  within the meaning of this act shall be a law which applies to the whole State and a local law is a law which applies to any political subdivision or subdivisions less than the whole. Now, is not a county less than the whole?

MR. O’NEAL ‑ Certainly, but let me put this proposition to you. Suppose the general Assembly should pass a law that hereafter before any county site can be removed in this State, the matter must be submitted to a vote of the people within the county and providing the machinery for the election. Is not that a general law?

MR. COBB ‑ No, sir.

MR. O’ NEAL ‑ Why isn't it?

THE PRESIDENT – Will some of the gentlemen who are occupying the floor please be seated.  The gentlemen from Lauderdale has the floor.

MR. COBB ‑ I am up with his permission. You were asking me a question.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Would not that be a general law?

MR. COBB ‑ I think not, because it is the law affecting only a subdivision of the State of Alabama.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It affects the whole State.

MR. COBB ‑ How can the removal of–

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It affects the whole State.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ The gentleman don't gather the idea I am trying to convey. You provide by a general law that hereafter when the people of a county desire to remove a county seat it shall be done by submitting the question to a vote of the people of that particular county, and you can provide the mode by which the election machinery can be carried out.


1822

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR  HEFLIN (Chambers) ‑ Under the rule the house stands adjourned.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It is not 1 o'clock yet.

MR  REESE ‑ I rise to a question of personal privilege.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state the question of privilege.

MR. REESE ‑ I requested the gentleman from Lauderdale to withdraw his motion to table, and I have stood on niy feet since that time, and the gentleman was in his chair.

The clock struck one.

MR. HEFLIN (Randolph) ‑ I renew the point, that the House stands adjourned.

Thereupon the Convention adjourned until 3:30 o'clock p. m.

__________

AFTERNOON SESSION

The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, there being 100 delegates present upon the call of the roll.

Leave of absence was granted to Mr. Burns for today on account of sickness.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ I rise for the purpose of introducing a resolution.

There being no objection, the resolution was read by the clerk as follows:

Resolution No. 233, by Mr. Long of Walker:

Resolved, That in order to save some of the precious time of this Convention, and at the same time afford opportunity to the parliamentary tacticians of the Convention to display their talents with typewritten speeches, Monday in each week, without pay to speakers, be and it is hereby set apart and consecrated to the exclusive use of the said parliamentary tacticians.

Resolved, further, That on said day all delegates except the tacticians, be and they are hereby excused from attendance; and that no deduction from their pay shall be made on account of their absence.

Resolved, further, That the day set apart to the tacticians shall not be deducted from the total number of working days for adopting ordinances and other incidental business of the Convention.


1823

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Referred to the Committee on Rules.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The pending question is the motion of the gentleman from Macon to postpone consideration of Subdivision 11 until the Committee on State and County Boundaries takes up the consideration of the report of that committee.

MR. COBB (Macon) ‑ I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the motion to postpone.

There being no objection, the motion to postpone was withdrawn.

MR. REESE ‑ I think the more this provision is understood the more it will recommend itself to this Convention. As a member of the Committee on State and County Boundaries, I have given this matter some consideration and thought. The purpose is the withdrawal of this matter from the Legislature and placing it back with the people. The argument that was urged before the Committee on State and County Boundaries was the question of the removal of the court house which so frequently enters into politics. The selection of members of the Legislature was made with a view as to whether the court house should car should not be removed. To remove that condition, Mr. President, the committee reported Section 6 of an Article that no county site shall be removed except by a two ‑ thirds vote of the qualified voters of the county, and it prescribes that there shall be an election—

MR. BOONE ‑ I rise to a point of order.

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

MR. BOONE ‑ The point of order is this, that there was an amendment offered to this section which was voted down. Judge Cobb then made a motion to indefinitely postpone, and that, by unanimous consent, was withdrawn. There is no opposition to it, and by the agreement of this morning where there is opposition or amendment to a section of this ordinance, we pass on to another one, and that is the attitude now as I take it, no objection appearing.

MR. REESE ‑ If there is no objection, I do not desire to speak.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems there is no objection. The Secretary will read the next section.

MR. JENKINS ‑ I desire to offer an amendment.

The clerk read the amendment as follows: Amend Subdivision 11, "except upon a two ‑ thirds vote of the people of the county to be effective."


1824

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. JENKINS ‑ The reason I offer this amendment is this: There might be a general law passed upon the subject of  removing a county seat, leaving it to the Board of Revenue, as I understand, to order this vote. I believe that it would be unwise to leave that question to the Board of Revenue, but leave it to the respective counties of the State.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ Will the gentleman permit a question?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Allow me to make a statement first.

MR. SAMFORD – I htink if you will answer my question. I would offer a suggestion, and the Section would read this way with your amendment: “The General Assembly shall not pass a special, private or local law for the purpose of changing or locating a county seat except upon a vote of two-thirds of the voters of the county.

MR. JENKINS ‑ To be effective.

MR. SAMF0RD ‑ I will ask the gentleman how the legislature is to know about two ‑ thirds of them voting. This is to prohibit them from passing any sort of a law for removing the county court house.

MR. JENKINS ‑ It could be put in the bill.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ 'This is as I understand it only a local law.

MR. JENKINS– Let me make my statement. If this law passes like it is there can be no special act changing a county seat passed by the legislature. It is to be done by a general act all over the State of Alabama something like this: that whenever a majority of the citizens of a county petition the legislature or board of revenue, that there shall be a vote upon the question in the respective counties. A great many counties do not want to be put under a general provision, they do not desire any change of county seat, and they would only be put in a position of inviting a vote upon the question. I want to fix it so that any one county can authorize a special act authorizing the removal of a County seat, but I want it provided so that that act is not valid unless the act says upon a two ‑ thirds vote in compliance with this Constitution. If you leave it like it is, they cannot have that special act starting this movement for a vote for each county that desires it, you will have to pass a general law all over the State of Alabama inviting a question of the removal of the county seat in every county in the State, and there will be confusion and a discord in every county over the question.

MR. REESE ‑ Will the gentleman allow me to ask him a question ?


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Will the gentleman permit an interruption?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Certainly.

MR. REESE ‑ What would be the objection to passing a general law providing that no election for this purpose shall be held in a county unless a certain proportion of the qualified voters of that county sign a petition to the court of county commissioners, say two ‑ thirds or whatever proportion you desire to fix?

MR. JENKINS ‑ That is my objection, it would invite a vote in every county.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Permit me to ask a question.

MR. JENKINS ‑ Certainly.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Do you favor the legislature having the power to pass any law they please changing or locating a county site in any county in the State?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Yes, upon a two ‑ thirds vote of the people of the County to be effective.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That is a different proposition entirelythat is a matter for general legislation.

MR. JENKINS ‑ If this amendment goes through it will force them to put that in the law.

MR. GREER (Calhoun) ‑ Don't you think it would be wise to prevent any more Shelby County cases coming up in the future ?

MR. JENKINS ‑ I would rather not pass on that right now. It is a very serious proposition and when it comes up we will give it careful consideration.

MR. PILLANS ‑ Will there be a Shelby County case, or any controversy like that, under that amendment if adopted, where it is submitted to the vote of the people?

MR. JENKINS ‑ No, there can be no Shelby County case because the man that comes to the legislature knows that when he passes a bill changing the county seat it has to go back to the people and be voted upon by a two ‑ thirds vote, and he is not going to introduce a bill calling for the removal of the county seat unless he knows there is an overwhelming sentiment in the county for it, it would be suicide and political death to him to do it.

MR. FOSTER ‑ Permit me to ask a question. Would not that be the effect of the adoption of this Section and the Section in the report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries?


1826

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Would it not have the same effect, that is a general law providing that the county seat should not be changed without a vote of twothirds of the qualified votes of the county?

MR. JENKINS ‑ I will answer the gentleman this way; that report does not say how the two ‑ thirds shall be obtained.

MR. FOSTER ‑ Could it be in any other way than by an election?

MR. JENKINS ‑ They might leave it to a general law to determine it, but I insist that it is the intent of that report for it to come through the Legislature. Why?  Because along with it is this proposition, that no new county seat can be created except upon a two ‑ thirds vote of the people, but before they can pass on it, the Legislature must pass an Act authorizing a vote in the counties– by inference, though not in so many words, to apply to the county seats, the beginning of the movement should come from the Legislature.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ May I ask a question?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Certainly.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Are you in favor of refusing to a majority of the qualified voters of a county the right to change the county seat ?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Well, I had the amendment originally drafted for the majority of the voters, but the Committee on State and County Boundaries fixed a two ‑ thirds vote, and, in order to be in harmony with it, I changed that and made it a two ‑ thirds vote, to be in harmony with the majority report.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Are you in favor of the majority of the qualified electors, if they see proper, to change their county seat?

MR. JENKINS ‑ Yes, I would favor that.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Then I do not see how you can ask for this amendment.

MR. JENKINS ‑ I yielded to the majority, of the committee and voted for the two ‑ thirds rule.

MR. DAVIS (DeKalb) ‑ I move to lay the amendment on the table.

A vote being taken, the amendment was laid upon the table.

The clerk read Sub ‑ divisions 12, 13 and 14 as follows:

Twelfth ‑ Providing for a change of venue in any case.

Thirteenth ‑ Regulating the rate of interest.


1827

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Fourteenth ‑ Granting any exclusive or special privilege, imniunity or franchise whatever.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I desire to offer an amendment: Amend Paragraph 14 by inserting after the word "granting" the following words: "to any individuals, private corporations or associations."

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

Motion to lay on the table was withdrawn on request.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ That amendment is offered so as to make it harmonize with the same principle that is involved in Paragraph 9 which has been adopted. They struck out the words “county, township, municipality” for certain reasons which were well made out before the Convention, and now down here is: “Granting any exclusive or special privilege, immunity or franchise whatever.”  Certainly, the Legislature ought not to be prevented from granting to the counties or the municipalities the right to regulate the liquor traffic. The whole value of our work under Section 9 would be lost if we allowed Section 14 to be adopted in its present form. There never could be another dispensary established, of course, because that is granting to the municipality a special privilege or immunity or franchise. For that reason, I think it is important that the amendment should be allowed, otherwise it would shut off all possibility of municipalities regulating the liquor traffic along lines that are being now tried in this State.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I desire to offer a substitute.

The clerk read the substitute as follows : "Amend Sub-division 14 of Section 1 by adding after the word "whatever" the provisions of the sub ‑ division "shall not apply to any township, municipality or benevolent association."

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I agree heartily with the gentleman from Lauderdale in his statement that under Sub ‑ division 14 it is absolutely impossible to ever establish in the State of Alabama another dispensary to be operated exclusively by any county, township or municipality, or any other political sub ‑ division of the State. It absolutely prohibits any further dispensaries, there is no question about that. The amendment offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale, or that offered by myself would obviate that inhibition.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Would the gentleman permit me to call attention to Section 23 of the Declaration of Rights: "that no ex post facto law, or any law, impairing the obligations of contracts, or making any irrevocable or exclusive grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed by the General Assembly."


1828

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. CUNNINGHAM— I understand that cities and towns have not any bill of rights. If I am not mistaken as to what a bill of rights means, it has reference to the people, and not to any organization for the government of the people?

MR. FOSTER ‑ May I ask a question?  Do you know of any instance in which an exclusive franchise has been granted to towns or municipal corporations?

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑‑ Every towns in the State of Alabama if it is operating a dispensary today is operating under an exclusive franchise.

MR. FOSTER ‑ Is that a franchise, or delegation of power to the government itself

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ If I understand it, that is what it is.

MR. FOSTER ‑ It is a delegation of police power and not a franchise.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– I believe that the amendment offered by myself, or that offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale, will obviate the mystery that is clouded in Subdivision 14.  If there is any negro in the wood pile for which of course the committee is not responsible, why this kills the negro– that is all I am after.  I disclaim any responsibility on the part of the committee for it.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I hope the Convention will not adopt the amendment. As I stated, in the Bill of Rights, we have practically the same provision that the Legislature shall never grant "any irrevocable or exclusive grant or special privileges or immunities." The only word we add is "franchise." Every gentleman knows that the right of a city or a county to sell liquor is a police power, a police power granted by the Legislature to that subdivision of the State. It is not a franchise. This provision has been in the Bill of Rights ever since Alabama was a State, and now we are asked to strike out one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution, a Bill of Rights which has existed here from the time to which the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, simply because it might interfere with a local liquor law.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ If already in the Bill of Rights why do you want to repeat it?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ We do not want the Legislature to pass any local law.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ If they are prohibited by the Bill of Rights from granting any special privileges, then why should we put it in here again that they should not be allowed to grant any special privileges?


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Because the Bill of Rights did not use the word "franchise" that is the reason we added this provision.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ Then strike it out.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ We do not want any special franchise.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ Will you consent to have the words special immunities and privileges stricken out?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ No. sir.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ Then, why put it in the Constitution twice?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ So that the Legislature shall not pass any local law granting any special franchise or immunity whatever, and the word "franchise" is added to it.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I desire to ask a question.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Certainly.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ The right granted by the Legislature to a municipality to conduct a dispensary is a special privilege granted by the Legislature to the municipality, is it not?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, I think not, it is a part of the police power of the government which is delegated to a subdivision of the State government. I think where the Legislature grants to a town or a county the right to sell liquor, it is granting a part of the police power.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I wish to call attention to an error in the statement as to what is contained in the Bill of Rights which reads "an exclusive grant of special privileges or immunities." In this paragraph it reads "granting any exclusive or special privilege."

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Granting any franchise or special privilege in this provision.

MR. SMITH ‑ That's a different thing in your article the word "or" takes the place of the word "of."

MR. O'NEAL‑"Exclusive grants of special privileges or immunities" and this says "Granting any exclusive or special privilege immunity or franchise whatever," I cannot see any difference in the two, except that we add "franchise." I move to lay the amendment and the substitute upon the table.

A vote being taken, the amendment and substitute were laid on the table by a vote of 53 ayes to 47 noes on a division.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I move the adoption of that subdivision. and on that I call for the previous question.


1830

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair had recognized the gentleman from Hale.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I move to lay Section 14 on the table.

MR. BLACKWELL ‑ On that I call for the ayes and noes.

On the motion to table, the call for the ayes and noes was sustained.

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

AYES

Ashcraft,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Norman,

Banks,

Greer, of Perry,

Norwood,

Beavers,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Parker (Elmore),

Bethune,

Hodges,

Pearce,

Blackwell,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Pillans,

Boone,

Kirkland,

Robinson,

Brooks,

Knight,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Kyle,

Rogers (Sumter),

Cunningham,

Ledbetter,

Samford,

Dent,

Long (Walker),

Smith (Mobile),

deGraffenreid,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Smith, Morgan M.,

Duke,

Malone,

Stewart,

Eley,

Merrill,

Thompson,

Eyster,

Murphree,

Wilson (Clarke),

Foshee,

TOTAL– 43 NOES

Messrs. President,

Fletcher,

Jones, of Hale,

Almon,

Foster,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Barefield,

Freeman,

Leigh,

Bartlett,

Glover,

Long ( Butler).

Beddow,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Lowe (Jefferson),

Browne,

Grant,

Lowe (Lawrence),

Bulger,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Macdonald,

Burns,

Haley,

Martin,

Byars,

Harrison,

Maxwell,

Carnathon,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Miller (Wilcox),

Chapman,

Hinson,

Oates,

Cobb,

Hood,

O'Neal (Lauderdale).

Cofer,

Howell,

Palmer,

Cornwall,

Howze,

Parker (Cullman),

Craig,

Inge,

Pettus,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Jackson,

Pitts,

Davis, of Etowah,

Jenkins,

Porter,

Espy,

Jones, of Bibb,

Renfro,


1831

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Reynolds (Henry),

Smith, Mac. A.,

Weatherly,

Sanders,

Spears,

White,

Sanford,

Spragins,

Whiteside,

Searcy,

Vaughan,

Williams (Barbour),

Selheimer,

Waddell,

Williams (Elmore ).

Sentell,

Walker,

Sloan,

Watts.

TOTAL ‑ 73

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Altman,

Kirk,

Reese,

Burnett,

Locklin,

Reynolds (Chilton),

Cardon,

Lomax,

Sollie,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Sorrell,

Case,

Miller (Marengo),

Sorrell,

Coleman, of Greene,

Moody,

Studdard,

Coleman, of Walker,

Morrisette,

Tayloe,

Ferguson,

Mulkey,

Weakley,

Fitts,

NeSmith,

Willet,

Gilmore,

O’Neill (Jefferson)

Williams (Marengo),

Grayson,

Opp,

Wilson (Washington),

Handler,

O'Rear,

Winn,

Henderson,

Phillips,

King,

Proctor,

MR. O'NEAL ‑ There seems to be some confusion as to the rule which we adopted this morning. The agreement was that we read each of these sub ‑ divisions, and unless objection was made they were considered as passed. To obviate any further discussion on this, I move the previous question on the adoption of this subdivision. I call for the previous question now, it seems to me that is the only plan.

MR. PETTUS ‑ I would ask if the gentleman objects to accepting an amendment : Provided, it shall not apply to any municipalities.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ We have already voted that down, therefore I move the adoption of this subdivision, and upon that I call the adoption of this subdivision.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair does not understand the rule under which we are pursuing. Are we adopting each of the subdivisions as we come to them? The whole Section will be submitted and we have not taken any vote on the other subdivision.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I move, then, that we pass to the next subdivision.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ Do I understand the ruling of the Chair is that Subdivision 14 is to be considered adopted without a vote on it,  when objections has been made to it?


1832

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The present occupant of the Chair was out when the consideration of the matter was entered upon. The understanding of the Chair was that the Convention would pass from one to another of these subdivisions, and when the Section was completed there would be a motion to adopt the Section.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ My understanding of the agreement was that where there was no objection or amendment to a subdivision when read, that it would be considered as adopted, and whenever there was an objection or amendment that a vote would be taken on the subdivision and that these subdivisions for the purpose of passing them are being treated as Sections of this Article.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ We cannot adopt a Constitution by an understanding; there must be a vote of the Convention.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ I understood it was unanimous consent.

MR. REESE ‑ I rise to a point of inquiry.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state the point of inquiry?

MR. REESE ‑ Do I understand our rules are suspended Then, by what sort of vote can we get back to our system of voting? I move that we resume the rule of this Convention.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ As I understand it, I still have the floor, I have not yielded to anybody.

MR. FOSTER ‑ Will the gentleman allow me to interrupt?

MR. SAMFORD ‑ Certainly.

MR. FOSTER ‑ I desire to state to the President that my understanding was as the gentleman from Pike says, that when the subdivision was read and there was no objection nor amendment offered, it was considered adopted until the end of the Section was reached, and then the whole Section was to be voted on.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ I desire to offer an amendment.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I rise to a point of order.

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

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I have called for the previous question on the adoption of that Section.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ The call has not been sustained.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It has not been put to a vote of the House— before the gentleman took the floor. I had made the motion. The


1833

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

agreement made this morning was, if no objection was made to a subdivision when read, it was considered adopted, and in event objection was made the same rules as applied to a Section would apply to this.

I made a call for the previous question, and I insist on that call.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ I insist on holding the floor. My understanding was that the gentleman called for the previous question and that the call was not sustained, and that the floor was yielded and I got the recognition of the President, and as long as I have the floor I have a right to offer an amendment to the Section. as I understand the rules of the Convention.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Let me call attention to the fact that he rose to a point of order to demand the yeas and nays.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It is exceedingly difficult for the Chair to enforce a rule made in his absence, and the limits of which are not yet clear to the Chair.

MR. OATES ‑ The delegate front Tuscaloosa stated it correctly. I move that that be considered the rule in the consideration of these subdivisions. He stated it with perfect correctness, everything that was read passed, but wherever objection was made or amendments offered a vote will be taken on that.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ That a special vote might be taken on that ?

MR. OATES ‑ Yes.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I move the previous question. The gentleman from Pike rose to a point of order before the Chair had an opportunity of putting my motion. When the Chair disposed of his point of order, the question recurred upon my motion denianding the previous question.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The understanding is as stated by the gentleman from Montgomery, that wherever there was objection, that a separate vote should be taken on that subdivision. Then it seems to the Chair that the gentleman from Lauderdale was in order in moving the previous question on this subdivision, and it would be the duty of the Chair to put that motion. The gentleman from Pike arose and the Chair inquired for what purpose? The Chair's recollection was to make a point of order.

MR. GREER (Calhoun) ‑ He arose to demand an aye and no vote, that was the purpose of his rising.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ At that time I rose to demand an aye and nay vote and gained the recognition of the Chair.


1834

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair would rule that the question would be upon the motion of the gentleman from Lauderdale. The question is, shall the plain question be put, and upon that the gentleman demands the ayes and nays.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ I do not care to demand the ayes and noes upon that, but I trust the Convention will not sustain the call for the previous question, so that an amendment may be offered to this Section.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is, shall the main question be now put?

MR. BROOKS ‑ I would like to know whether the demand for the previous question is on the entire Section or subdivision?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The previous question on the subdivision.

A vote being taken, there were forty ‑ six ayes and fifty ‑ eight noes and the call for the previous question was not sustained.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Pike is recognized.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ I desire to Offer an amendment : Amend by adding after the word "whatever" the following : Provided. however, the legislature shall not be prohibited from authorizing any municipality or county from conducting a dispensary."

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I rise to a point of order.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ State the point of order.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ The Convention has already passed  upon the same proposition made by the gentleman from Calhoun.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It appears to the Chair the point of order is not well taken.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I call for the reading of the amendment of the gentleman from Calhoun ‑ I may have misunderstood it.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will state to the gentleman from Lauderdale that he is informed that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Calhoun is not in the Clerk's office.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ There is no member of this Convention who is so anxious or more anxious to limit local legislation than I am, but when the Committee on Local Legislation reports a clause or a Section that is susceptible of a construction that would limit the legislature of this State from moving along the lines of a great reform that has been started in this State within the last few years, I rise for the purpose of offering my protest, and whenever such provisions are offered by a committee, it occurs


1835

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

to me that it is at least due to the Convention, composed of sensible men, that amendments and discussions should not be cut off on the important questions that are presented to it. Now, if it is not the object of this Committee to forbid the Legislature of this State from delegating the authority for the operation of dispensaries in the different localities in this State, then where is the objection to the amendment that I offer? If it is not the intention of this Committee to estop the Legislature of this State from creating dispensaries in the different localities, then I say, gentlemen of the Convention, that this amendment offered by me should be adopted. It can do no harm, and it certainly may prevent the doing of a great deal of harm by the Section as offered by the Committee on Local Legislation. Mr. President, I hope the amendment will be adopted and I now move its adoption.

MR. WALKER ‑ It does not strike me that an amendment of this kind is at all necessary to accomplish the object of the gentlemen who have introduced amendments for this same purpose during the consideration of this article of Local Legislation. It is no more necessary, it seems to me, to reserve to the Legislature the right to pass local and special laws in reference to dispensary or any other method of dealing with the liquor traffic, than it is to reserve the right of establishing a stock business or a school business by general laws.

There are provisions in this Section, if you are looking to the establishment of local or special laws, that would not prevent the establishment of sock districts or school districts, but prevent their establishment by this particular means, local legislation.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ Will the gentleman permit an interruption?

MR. WALKER ‑ Yes sir.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ Whenever a dispensary is established in a county, is it not the usual custom or method of the Legislature to give it the exclusive right to sell and the exclusive privilege of selling whiskey of all kinds within the limits of the county and within the territory that it expects to supply with liquor?

MR. WALKER ‑ Yes, the usual method of doing it is by local or special laws.

MR. SAMFORD ‑ Won't this bar them from granting a special or local law?

MR. WALKER ‑ I will answer the gentleman's question in the course of my remarks. Now the object aimed at and the object these amendments, is not to tie the hands of the localities so that they can not dispose of these matters themselves. The operation of this article upon any county is not such as to prevent


1836

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

these objects from being carried out by special or local laws. Now it has been suggested that the custom heretofore has teen to carry out objects of this kind by special and local laws; but the people of Alabama have forgotten that such objects can be accomplished under a general law. Prohibition, such as provided in this Section in reference to local and special legislation has been in the Constitutions throughout the country. But at the same time there are found in the laws of various States provisions under which objects of this kind are as fully in the hands of the localities as they can possibly make them by local or special legislation. Alabama has been so accustomed to having each community to get its desires only through the avenue of local or special legislation, that it has forgotten and practically lost sight of the fact that these objects can be better accomplished under general legislation. Now the very object that has been mentioned here is that the liberty of the people should be preserved. I submit that it would be better accomplished by general legislation upon the subject. The object of securing localities the privilege of dealing with the liquor traffic in such a way as may suit the wishes of that locality, would be fully and completely accomplished under general legislation; and it is done, as a matter of fact, in other States of the country where they have prohibition against local or special legislation generally. It is not at all necessary. It is not at all necessary for the different communities of the State desiring different regulations in reference to the liquor traffic, or in reference to anything else, that their local desires shall not be accomplished by reason of the fact that local and special legislation is prohibited. All of these things can be provided for and all of them can be prescribed by the Legislature, under which the people, acting as a body, or through their constituted authority, can established such rules and regulations upon these subjects, as they see fit to establish, and it is not at all necessary to preserve the verdict of the people in reference to these matters, to tie the hands of the Legislature. Now I submit what has been the character of the legislation upon the matter of the dispensary, upon the matter of local districts in reference to prohibition, or the regulation of the sale of liquor. Why it has been the localities simply speaking through the Legislature as their mouthpiece. It has not been the action of the legislative body itself. It has been the locality speaking through its members, and the legislative body as a whole has practically nothing to do with it. It has been local regulation pure and simple. What is the wisdom of perpetuating a system of that kind. Of fixing it so that the localities cannot act themselves directly upon the subject matters that they wish to act in reference to, but they must go through one spokesman in the Legislature who simply registers the local decree. Is there any necessity for that? Can it possibly be said that all of these objects cannot be accomplished so as to


1837

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

leave complete freedom to the locality so as to disabuse their minds of the idea that to get relief in reference to these matters, they have got to go to the Legislature? It is not necessary at all, and whenever the Legislatures of Alabama are confronted with the situation that the different localities desire to make different regulation, each satisfactory to itself, provision will be made by general law for localities expressing their desires in some mode prescribed by a general law. That has been the course in other States. That will be the course in this State. Now the prohibition here of granting special privileges by means of local or State laws will not affect in any manner the sale or the prohibition of the sale of liquor in localities, but it will simply prohibit localities seeking to secure regulations that they desire for themselves, not among themselves, but through the Legislature. That is not at all necessary. Regulations can be made by which they can speak their minds, and make such regulations as they desire, and there can be no doubt but that the Legislature of Alabama will do as much as other States have uniformly done who make provision for the expression by localities, of their own desires in reference to these matters. Now that is the object that is sought to be accomplished by the amendments that have been made. Each one of them has suggested that you do not want to deprive any locality of its freedom of action in reference to these matters. The best way to do that is to provide by a general law for those localities expressing their desire in reference to these matters directly and not through one spokesman in the Legislature.

MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ If we say that no community shall have any exclusive privilege how could a general law reach it if you say in the Constitution that they could not have it. I want to know how the legislature could give an exclusive privilege if we say in the Constitution that they cannot have it.

MR. WALKER ‑ I do not see the object aimed at by these amendments, are in the nature of exclusive privileges at all. They are simply methods of local regulations of matters. Certainly the liberty to different localities to make regulations satisfactory to themselves upon the liquor question or upon the question of killing birds, or anything of that kind, is not a special privilege.

MR. HARRISON ‑ I will ask the gentleman if the first line of this section does not limit each of these subdivisions. It reads the General Assembly shall not pass a special or private, or local law in any of the following caes.

MR. WALKER ‑ Certainly it is simply the prohibition of private or local law. It is not in any respect a regulation upon prohibition of the Legislature to provide complete regulations to cover these matters.


1838

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. CUNNINGHAM– Suppose that some county, municipality or community were to ask for an immunity from the sale of liquor, that is to say, for prohibition, in a local community within a certain distance of a church or something of that kind.  Would not that be a special immunity to ask for that?

MR. WALKER – I think not.

MR. CUNNINGHAM – Would the Legislature have the right under that section to grant it within three miles of Bethel Church.

MR. WALKER – Certainly, but they would not have the right to grant it by means of a local or special law, but they might pass a general law by which all objects of that kind could be accomplished, such as is done everywhere else, by the passage of a general law under which the citizens of a particular locality can have their desires in reference to these matters completely effectuated without the necessity of going to the Legislature to do what the community itself ought to be allowed to do for itself.  I submit, gentlemen of the Convention, that you are losing sight of the fact that the prohibition here is not against any of these objects at all but is simply against a certain objectionable method of obtaining those objects.

MR. ASHCRAFT – When you undertake to pass any general liquor law by the Legislature, wouldn’t you be confronted with a powerful whiskey lobby which you would have to overcome to get any favorable local liquor legislation?

MR. WALKER – No more so than you would be confronted by a powerful liquor lobby in reference to exempting any particular locality in reference to a liquor law.

MR. ASHCRAFT – Would a lobby come here to defeat the enactment of a liquor law for Center Star in Lauderdale county for instance.

MR. WALKER – I suppose not.  Not for Center Star.

MR. ASHCRAFT – What we are trying to do is to protect those particular localities from the influence of whiskey lobbyists.

MR. WALKER – Well, cannot that be done?  Has the Legislature of Alabama become so paralyzed that they cannot adopt legislation which leaves to localities freedom of action in reference to these matters, so that they must perpetuate the system that has prevailed in this State, of localities not speaking directly upon these matters, but of getting relief only through the action of the local member of the Legislature, that is not necessary at all.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. OATES ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman a question. You were asked just now about exclusive privileges. That means exclusively for a person or a particular locality. It does not mean that a general law could not be passed by which they can reach the objects desired that would be called exclusive under a local law. That is not the fact.

MR. WALKER ‑ Certainly.

MR. MALONE- You said that there are localities operating under general laws. Is there any locality except South Carolina that is operating under a general law?

MR. WALKER ‑ On the dispensary question, you mean ?

MR. MALONE ‑ Yes, sir.

MR. WALKER ‑ I do not know of any State that has a dispensary system prevailing throughout the State except South Carolina, and I do not understand that it is the object of anybody here to establish in this Convention, or in the Legislature, a dispensary system to be operated throughout the State of Alabama. What I say is this, that under general legislation and under general laws provision can be made for the verdict of the action of each locality, to have a dispensary, or not to have it.

MR. MALONE ‑ The gentleman misapprehends the entire question. It is the management of the dispensary in a manner that brings it into local politics that we are trying to avoid. Don't you know that is the trouble in South Carolina and under the general State laws it builds up a great machine? Would not that be the same case as if a general provision regulating how these various people should be elected in the counties? Right then, that would bring it into politics. That is the point; how are you going to keep the election of the officers out of politics except by a local law?

MR. WALKER ‑ Well, under the method that has prevailed heretofore, the dispensary and other methods of dealing with the liquor question have been purely as a matter of fact questions of local regulation. No such system has ever prevailed when the locality did not demand it.

MR. MALONE ‑ It is the election of the officers we are trying to get at.

MR. WALKER ‑ The election of the officers and all of the details, everything, if you establish by an act of the Legislature in any county in Alabama. a dispensary, unless it is satisfactory to the county in which it is established they will, at the next session of the Legislature proceed to legislate upon it locally by electing a member of the Legislature who will come down here and pass a bill through disposing of it. It is practically nothing


1840

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

in the world but local legislation, and you cannot make it anything else. The mind of the Legislature does not come in contact with these questions so far as they effect localities, but it is left entirely in the hands of the local member. As it has been demonstrated, it has been purely and simply a local question, and the Legislature has been made simply the mouthpiece of the different localities, and this prohibition, special laws, with reference to this matter would simply relegate this matter to the community where it really belonged, and not leave the Legislature any longer the mouthpiece of the particular community. THE PRESIDENT ‑ The time of the gentleman has expired. MR. HARRISON ‑ I move that the time of the gentleman from Madison be extended.

MR. WALKER ‑ I thank the Convention, but I will be content with my ten minutes. I have about finished my remarks.

Mr. Boone offered an amendment as follows;

Amend the amendment by adding the following words: "nor to abrogate any special privilege now existing in any county, city or town by charter or statute."

MR. PETTUS ‑ I move to lay that amendment on the table.

MR. WATTS ‑ It has been explained two or three times that Section 4 of this report proposes to deal with these local matters in no other way than through the Legislature : and I simply call attention to that again that it may be noticed as we go along, and I move to lay the amendment of  the gentleman on the table.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ And on that I call for the ayes and noes.

On a vote being taken, the call was not sustained.

On the motion to table, a division was called for, which resulted in 54 ayes and 53 noes, and the motion to table was carried.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I move the previous question on the subdivision.

MR. REESE ‑ I move to table the subdivision.

MR. O'NEAL – You can't do that. I have moved the previous question. We have voted on that very proposition, and, by a vote of 73 to 38, it was defeated.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I make the point of order that intervening business has occurred since the motion to table.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ In the opinion of the chair, the point of order is well taken. The point of order is to table Sub ‑ division 14.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I call for the ayes and noes.

MR. HARRISON – I call the gentleman's attention to the fact that that same motion has been made and voted on.

MR. BROWNE ‑ I make the point of order that the point of order made that other business had intervened has no effect upon it, and does not apply to make a motion to lay anything upon the table the second time. That only applies to motions for adjournment.

MR. REESE ‑ I move that the section be indefinitely postponed.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ In the opinion of the chair, the motion to table will not now be in order. It was the first impression of the chair, when the gentleman made his point of order, that it was well taken; but upon consideration, it seems to the chair that it is not well taken; and the chair will overrule the point of order. The question will be upon the previous question, which has precedence over the motion to indefinitely postpone. The question is, shall the main question be put?

On a vote being taken, a division was called for.

THE PRESIDENT — Ayes, 60. and noes, 49 ; and the previous question is ordered. The question now is upon the adoption of the sub ‑ division.

MR. ROGERS ‑ And on that the ayes and noes are called for.

The call was sustained, and upon the call of the roll the vote resulted as follows:

AYES

Almon,

Grayson,

Macdonald,

Barefield,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Miller (Wilcox),

Bartlett,

Haley,

Oates,

Browne,

Harrison,

O'Neal (Lauderdale),

Byars,

Hinson,

Palmer,

Carnathon,

Hood,

Phillips,

Chapman,

Inge,

Porter,

Cofer

Jackson,

Renfro,

Cornwall,

Jenkins,

Reynolds, of Henry,

Craig,

Jones, of Bibb,

Robinson,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Jones, of Hale,

Sanders,

Davis, of Etowah,

Kyle,

Sanford,

Fletcher,

Leigh,

Searcy,

Glover,

Long, of Butler,

Selheimer,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Long, of Walker,

Sloan,

Grant,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

Smith, Mac. A.,


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Spragins,

Walker,

Whiteside,

Waddell,

Watts,

Williams (Marengo),

 TOTAL ‑ 54

NOES

Messrs. President,

Fitts,

Norwood,

Ashcraft,

Foshee,

Parker (Cullman),

Banks,

Graham, of Talladega,

Parker (Elmore),

Beavers,

Greer, of Perry,

Pearce,

Beddow,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Pettus,

Bethune,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Pillans,

Blackwell,

Howell,

Pitts,

Boone,

Howze,

Reese,

Brooks,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Bulger,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Rogers (Sumter),

Burns,

Kirk,

Samford,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Kirkland,

Sentell,

Case,

Knight,

Smith (Mobile),

Cobb,

Ledbetter,

Smith. Morgan M.,

Coleman, of Greene,

Lowe, of Jefferson,

Stewart,

Cunningham,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Thompson,

Dent,

Malone,

Vaughan,

deGraffenreid,

Martin,

White,

Duke,

Maxwell,

Williams (Barbour),

Eley,

Merrill,

Williams (Elmore),

Eyster,

Murphree,

Espy,

Norman,

 TOTAL ‑ 64

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

 

King,

Reynolds (Chilton ),

Altman,

Locklin,

Sollie,

Burnett,

Lomax,

Sorrell,

Cardon,

McMillan, of Baldwin,

Spears,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Miller (Marengo),

Stoddard,

Coleman, of Walker,

Moody,

Tayloe,

Ferguson,

Morrisette,

Weakley,

Foster,

Mulkey,

Weatherly,

Freeman,

NeSmith,

Willet,

Gilmore,

O'Neill, of Jefferson,

Wilson (Clarke),

Handley,

Opp,

Wilson (Washington),

Henderson,

O'Rear,

Winn..

Hodges,

Proctor,

The clerk then read sub ‑ division 15, as follows:

"Fifteenth ‑ Fixing the punishment of crime or misdemeanors."


1843

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WALKER- I offer an amendment to that sub ‑ division.

The clerk then read the amendment as follows:

“Amend by striking out the words ‘or misdemeanors.’”

MR. O’NEAL– I desire to state, on behalf of the Committee, that we accept the amendment offered by the gentleman from Madison (Mr. Walker).

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I want to ask the Committee for information. As I understand it, the Convention has indicated by a vote that it does not propose to interfere with the power of the General Assembly to pass local laws with reference to liquor, and if so, there will have to be penalties attached for the intraction of such laws.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Madison to strike out the words "or misdemeanors" at the end of the line. Upon a vote being taken the amendment was adopted.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) ‑ I now move to strike out subdivision 15.

Upon a vote being taken the motion was lost.

MR. O’NEAL– I move the adoption of the subdivision as amended.

And the same was adopted.

The clerk then read subdivision 16 as follows:

"16.      Providing for or regulating either the assessment or collection of taxes."

MR. SMITH ‑ I desire to offer an amendment to subdivision 16.

The Clerk read amendment to subdivision 16 as follows:

"Amend subdivision 16 of Section 1 of the report of that Committee on Local Legislation.

First, by substituting a comma at the end of the subdivision for the semi ‑ colon now there.

“Second by adding at the end of the subdivision the following, viz : ‘Except in connection with the readjustment, renewal or extension of existing municipal indebtedness created prior to the adoption of the Constitution of 1875.”

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I desire on behalf of the Committee to accept the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile (Mr. Smith).


1844

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I desire to state the purpose of the amendment. Prior to the Constitution of 1875 the city of Mobile was indebted in a very large strut of money, and for the purpose of compromising that indebtedness with her creditors, there was an adjustment act passed by which it was provided that three ‑ quarters of one percent special tax should be allowed to that city, and it was stipulated in that settlement and adjustment that three ‑ quarters of one per cent should be devoted exclusively to the payment of that indebtedness. The compromise was made upon that basis and there has been a special system for the collection of that particular tax since that time, and it goes into the hands, of the trustee for the benefit of the creditors of the city of Mobile. That indebtedness will mature in 1906. I believe, when it will have to be readjusted, and it may be, and probably will be, that in order to do this upon anything like an advantageous basis, it will be necessary to continue that special system, that the city is now under. For that reason I do not desire that that section should affect that particular indebtedness, or that particular systern for the collection of this tax. As it reads it says providing for or regulating either the assessment or collection of taxes. In the readjustment of that indebtedness it would be necessary for the new act to provide, as the old act, and as the contract  with the creditors provides, for a machinery whereby there may be a special system for the collection cut the tax different from any other in the State of Alabama. I do not know whether there were any other indebtednesses at that time applicable to other municipal corporations or not. But I think there ought to be an exception made to the city of Mobile.

MR. KIRK ‑ What is the scope and purpose of this subdivision ?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ The purpose has been stated clearly by Mr. Smith. If the gentleman had listened he would have known. It is to prevent interfering with debts which existed at the time of the ratification of the Constitution of 1875.

MR. KIRK ‑ What is the purpose of the subdivision as reported by your Committee?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It is to prevent passing a law for one particular section different from that of another. In other words, you cannot pass a law for Florence different from any other town or city. It prohibits the legislature from passing a law, special or private, which will apply to one particular locality different from other localities in reference to the collection and assessment of taxes.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ Are there any special laws now relating to the assessment and collection of taxes?


1845

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. O’NEAL – I don’t know of any special laws now; but we want to prevent them in the future.  If there are any special laws they are not affected by this provision.

MR. SAMFORD - I will state that there are some special laws and they ought to be repealed.

MR. O’NEAL– The idea is this: When a man wants to ascertain in regard to the assessment and collection of taxes the same law prevails throughout the State.  We don’t want to have a mass of confusing laws in every locality, one different from the other.

MR. FOSTER – Does this affect the regulation of the assessment or collection of any special tax authorized by the legislature?  I say does it prevent the legislature from authorizing the levy of any special tax?  For instance: Your town is authorized to levy three-quarters of 1 per cent., instead of one-half of 1 per cent.?

MR. O’NEAL – It don’t apply to cases of that kind.  It provides for the assessment and collection of taxes.  In other words, it must be uniform throughout the State.

The Chair here informed the gentleman that his time had expired.

MR. WALKER ( Cullman)–I move the previous question on the subdivision and the amendment.

MR. FOSTER – I hope the gentleman will withdraw that until I can offer a short amendment.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ While the gentleman is preparing his amendment, I desire to ask the Chairman of the Committee a question.

MR. O’NEAL ‑ Certainly.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I simply ask the question for information. I understand the time for assessing taxes for Jefferson County, shall be the same as for Winston County?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It is now.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ And limit it as to when it shall be completed?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, the General Assembly can pass a law allowing a time in which they can be assessed in all the towns and cities in the State and do do  it.

MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I was going to say that in the larger counties there would have to be more time, or there would be an assessment fee upon the people of 50 cents.


1846

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Different laws applicable to different towns and in larger cities.

The Clerk then read the amendment as follows:

“An amendment to an amendment by Mr. Foster to subdivision 16: Amending by striking out the words ‘providing for or.’”

MR. FOSTER ‑ That is to prevent any possibility of a construction of that subdivision which would prevent the Legislature from authorizing the collection of any special tax which might be authorized by this Constitution or by the laws of the Legislature.

THE CHAIR ‑ The question is on the amendment to an amendment offered by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa.

MR. REESE ‑ I hope the Convention will adopt the amendment offered by the gentleman froth Mobile (Mr. Smith.) That provides that the Legislature can pass a special law regulating the collection of taxes in certain cases of a debt made prior to 1875. The city that I represent has a debt of about $325,000 created prior to that time. There is a special act that regulates and guarantees the collection of taxes for the payment of interest upon these bonds and there is a sinking fund to redeem the bonds. When the time has expired ‑ when these bonds mature, it will be necessary, in order to refund these bonds at a fair price and under favorable conditions to our city, that there be such another law passed as the one under which the taxes are now being collected to pay this debt. I hope the Convention will embrace the few cities that will be exempted by the provisions of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile.

MR. KIRK ‑ I move to lay the subdivision and the amendments on the table.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I call for an aye and nay vote on that.

The call was not sustained. Upon a vote being taken upon the motion to table the amendments and sub ‑ division, a division was called for, and, by a vote of 33 ayes and 54 noes, the motion to table was lost.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I move the previous question on that subdivision, 16, and the amendments.

The main question was ordered, and a reading of the amendment called for.

The amendment by Mr. Foster was read. Upon a vote being taken, a division was called for, and, by a vote of 49 ayes and 38 noes, the amendment was adopted.


1847

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question recurs upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile, as amended by the amendment of the gentleman from Tuscaloosa.

Upon a  vote being taken, the amendment was adopted, and upon a further vote, Sub-division 16, as amended, was thereupon adopted.

Sub ‑ division 17 was read as follows:

Seventeenth ‑ Giving effect to invalid will, deed or other instrument.

MR. O’NEAL – I desire to amend that sub-division by adding the word “an” – giving effect to “an” invalid deed.

There being nor objection, the amendment was allowed, and, upon a vote being taken, the sub ‑ division was adopted.

Sub ‑ division 18 is read as follows:

Eighteenth—Legalizing  the invalid act of any officer.

MR. JONES ( Montgomery ) ‑ I have an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

Amend Section 1 by striking out the 18th sub ‑ division.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ Any reason for offering that is that there are cases where the Legislature ought to have the right to validate the invalid act of an officer, and not have to put it in the general law. I will recall one of two instances to illustrate the impropriety of that provision. In 1892 the Legislature spent about $15,000 more than the appropriations. The Treasurer and Auditor, however, realizing that it was an honest debt, and that the State would have to pay it, paid the debt, and afterwards the Legislature was asked to ratify that invalid act. Now it did that by what was called a special act. I recall another instance where a State Board of Assessors of Railroads, by some accident, met at the wrong time, and we got a special act legalizing the invalid act of those officers. Now you have a revenue law declared invalid now and then, there might be an assessment or some part of some act of some officer that was perfectly invalid and illegal in itself that the Legislature might want to make valid. Then another objection is that you do not want to pass general laws legalizing invalid acts. The Legislature wants to be the judge and jury of each particular case. It might put a premium upon the commission of illegal acts, if you pass a general law in advance, provided that those acts and all others like it may be validated, and that is the reason I think no useful purpose can be obtained by putting that in the Constitution. We do not have a great deal of that anyhow.


1848

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. MACDONALD ‑ It is not very often that I impose upon the patience of this Convention, but it occurs to me that the suggestion made by the delegate, Mr. Jones, is fraught with great danger. The duties of officers are pointed out in the law, and  it is their absolute duty to follow the path that the law prescribes.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ Does not the gentleman think it would be better, if it is done at all, that in each special case there should be a special act, rather than a general law upon the subject ?

MR. MACDONALD ‑ No, sir ; I do not. I do not think any officer should be allowed to violate the law with the idea that afterward the Legislature can come along and validate his acts. It holds out a reward to men to do that which is not in the line of their duty. It is a dangerous thing. It is fraught with very grave consequences, to say that an officer who does an unlawful act, may depart from his duty, and then go to the Legislature and appeal to them and to their sympathy, or upon any other ground, get them to ratify that act and put it in his power to again violate the law, and for others to violate the law with the hope of having their conduct ratified.

MR. REESE ‑ How many acts have the Legislature validated in the last twenty years?

MR. MACDONALD ‑ I have not the slightest idea. I am speaking about the principle.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ There are only ten or twelve that I know of.

MR. MACDONALD ‑ If it is only one it don't do.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ This provision requires you if you want to validate an act to do it by a general law instead of having a special law in each particular case where they want to do it.

MR. MACDONALD ‑ Yes, sir; and I question the wisdom of doing it. Either to do it by a general or a special law, but especially by a special law, because I say the man who violates his duty. and then afterwards appeals to the Legislature to validate that act, brings to bear upon the Legislature influences of sympathy, which is improper, and it seems to me that no better rule could be laid down for public officers than to strictly follow the path pointed out to them by the law, and not to permit them to speculate upon the idea that any Legislature could say whether or no they did wisely. They had better keep in the middle of the road than to have any such provision as that in the fundamental law of the State.


1849

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. COBB ‑ It must strike the mind of any fair ‑ minded individual that there are two propositions that ought to be considered in connection with this motion to strike out this section. One is that it is not prudent to pass a general law providing for the validating of illegal acts. To do that would be extending an invitation to officers to act illegally. That we do not wish to do. The other proposition is that it must be clear to the mind of the prudent thinking man that there are occasions which may happen, when it is right and proper to make valid the act of an officer which when it was committed was invalid.

I will not detain this Convention by attempting to illustrate the proposition. It will suggest itself to any thinking man. Now, as suggested by my friend from Dallas, this appeal to the Legislature rarely occurs. The Legislature of Alabama is never called upon to validate the illegal act of an officer, unless that illegal act was performed under circumstances which made it justifiable in a sense. Illegal it may be, technically, or under some extreme circumstances, when in the performance of a high duty, a duty to the public and to the State, he took the responsibility of violating the law or acting without the law. When that sort of condition is presented to the Legislature, why should not they, representing the majesty of the State, relieve him from the consequences of his act, when it is clearly shown that it was done out of the highest motives and for the purest interests of the public. I think the subdivisions ought to go out.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I do not think this Section should be stricken out. It seems to me, as the gentleman from Montgomery has just suggested, it would encourage officers to violate the law with the hope that they could apply to the Legislature, and through local influence, and other agencies which are generally brought to bear upon a local member, secure the authorization of an illegal act. Now this provision is found in the constitutions of nearly all of the States. Some States have an exception which I will call attention to “legalizing as except against the State, the unauthorized or invalid act of any officer” that exception might be incorporated, but the Section as a whole should not be stricken out because it works a good purpose. If an officer violates the law, he has done wrong to somebody. Why should the Legislature put a premium upon the officers violating the law in this State. Why should the Legislature say to an officer if you violate your duty, violate the plain laws of the land, come to us and we will give you the relief from your unauthorized and illegal acts. I can see no justice in such a proposition. In an exceptional case of course it can be provided by a general law, and it is proper to provide for it by a general law, because the minute you permit special and local laws on the subject you invite all the evils which special and local laws create. You make the local member the arbiter and not the General Assembly.


1850

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. WHITE- How could you by a general law provide for a particular act ?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ If it ought to be done, it can be provided for. If it ought not to be done by general law it ought not to be done by a special law.

MR. WHITE ‑ How can you do it by  a general law?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ The same as by a special law.

MR. WHITE ‑ For a particular act?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Yes, for a particular act. You can  apply a general law to all persons of a general class doing certain invalid acts. If a Treasurer, for instance, pays money by mistake, you can pass a law which provides that whenever the Treasurer does so and so—

MR. WHITE ‑ But suppose the Tax Assessor of one county were to make a wrong assessment, how could you provide by a general law for that?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Why, you can certainly pass a general law that whenever a Tax Assessor makes a wrong assessment that the money shall be refunded by the Probate Judge and that would be a general law.

MR. WHITE ‑ That encourages them more than the other, don't it ?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ That would leave it to the Legislature acting as a whole. With a general law, you get rid of the danger of the local influence. We know under that system now prevailing when a member goes to the Legislature and asks for the passage of a local bill validating the act of an officer, the Legislature as a whole accepts the wishes of the local member, but when you require the whole Legislature to pass upon the question they will scrutinize and examine it carefully and they won't give their sanction to the act unless it is such as appeals to their sense of justice sitting as legislators for the whole State.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman if this very Section, in the last line of the Section, don't provide that the Legislature can pass general laws covering all these cases?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Certainly it does, and I thank you for the suggestion, we simply say that these amendments are continually proposed, you destroy the very purpose of this Article. The Article is to prevent local legislation for certain enumerated subjects, and it directs and commands the Legislature to pass general laws on those subjects. You can pass general laws then to legalize such acts of an officer as are invalid in the judgment of the Legislature. and should be legalized.


1851

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

If this amendment is adopted striking out this Section, you may as well strike out the other sections of the Article. The whole argument here that has been made in favor of all these amendments, is on the ground that it might cause some hardship to some officer, county, or individual. That argument can be made for every local or special law, ever proposed in a Legislature. We answer that argument by saying that the Legislature can now provide by general law, and will provide by general law for these things, and this will present the corruption, the jobbery and logrolling, the intrigueing that exists in every General Assembly of this State, and will continue to exist as long as there is no restriction upon local and private legislation. We do not want to trust these matters to the local member. Now he is a Czar. He has dictatorial powers about every matter of legislation that effects his county. The Legislature of Alabama is the member from that one county, so far as local matters are concerned. Custom and usage make it so. We want to overcome that and we cannot overcome it unless we say to the Legislature on all these subjects you must pass general laws. Then you have the concurrent wisdom of the entire Legislature. All of their judgments, all of their views are brought to bear upon the particular subject, instead of the judgment and view of one particular man.

MR. WILLIAMS ‑ Do you propose to pass that general law before the act or after the act. Do you propose to make the law general, so as to apply to acts or mistakes which are to be made in the future, or after the mistake is made, do you then propose to pass a general law so as to apply in that case?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Why, of course, if occasion should arise in a Legislature, if a case should occur in which an officer had performed an invalid act, done it in good faith and no harm had come to the State, the Legislature in order to give him relief, instead of passing a special law, would pass a general law, which would embrace him and all others under like circumstances. Who can object to that. The distinguished gentleman from Montgomery said that you ought not to pass general laws. I say if you do not pass a general law in legalizing an invalid act, then you should not pass a special law. Is it to be contended that the Legislature ought to pass a law which is local and vicious in its nature, if they ought not to do that, as to a general law, they ought not to do it as to a local law. I submit whenever a case does occur, under this Article the Legislature has full power to provide a general law, for the circumstances of that particular case, and they can give the necessary and required relief.

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ I do not wish to detain the Convention. I do not think the Committee ought to take that position, because some of us differ with them as to particular sections, that we are destroying the whole report and trying to break down


1852

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

all the efforts at reform in matters of local legislation. That has not been the purpose I and sure of those of us who have differed with the Committee.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ If the gentleman will allow an interruption, I desire to state that I made that as a general remark and that it had no personal application, I am sure that the gentleman was actuated by the highest motives in what he did. I do not question it in the least.

MR. JONES ‑ I submit it is bad policy to lay down in advance where officers fail to do their duty, the method by which their act will be validated. It might he wise for the General Assembly to say to the Board of Railroad Assessment, you met at the wrong time last year, and you brought the facts before me and in that particular case I ratified your acts, but it is different for an officer to know that there is something laid down in advance which says that he can break the law, and that he does not act at his peril. I want to illustrate why a general law would not do any good. We had a revenue law which was declared unconstitutional some time ago. An officer of the law in the utmost good faith levied on certain property. The levy was all right under the statute as it was. The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. A client of mine wanted to sue for trespass and I said no, that is wrong, he is doing his duty. The Legislature is going to pay that thing back, but if there are many suits of this sort brought the Legislature will ratify the tax and make it go backwards.

MR. WATTS ‑ Did not the Tax Collector of Dallas county come up here and go to the Legislature two years ago to pass a law relieving him from a misappropriation of the public fund, and did not the Legislature pass a law giving him that relief, and the act was vetoed by Governor Johnson?

MR. REESE ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman the name of that tax collector?

MR. WATTS ‑ I am informed that the Tax Collector of Dallas county deposited certain State funds in the Commercial Bank which was, under a Supreme Court decision, a conversion, and that the Legislature passed an act relieving him from liability for it.

MR. REESE ‑ Was not that Wilcox county?

MR. WATTS ‑ I don't recollect, but I think it was Dallas.

MR. JONES ‑ I submit that I have the floor. There has been no great evil in this matter. I don't know of a case of that sort unless it had abundant merit in it, that was not buried overwhelmingly in the Legislature, either on the direct passage of the law, or on the Governor's veto, but the Legislature represents the sovereign power of a sovereign State and it ought to have some power


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to pass upon this question, and the whole question is if you are going to put a matter of this sort in its hands and say that it shall not act except by a general law.

The question being upon the adoption of the amendment, by a vote of 74 ayes to 26 noes the amendment was adopted.

Subdivision 19 was read.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I desire to offer an amendment.

The amendment was read.

Amend subdivision 19 of Section 1 of the report of the Committee on Local Legislation, the following, viz : “except in connection with the readjustment, renewal or extension of the existing municipal indebtedness, created prior to the Constitution of 1875.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I am instructed by the committee to say that we accept that amendment.

MR. MALONE– It looks to me like this whole question has been settled by the Committee on Taxation and Municipal Corporation and I therefore move that this subdivision be stricken out.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I want to state that the purpose is simply the same as my amendment to Section 16.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The pending question is the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile.

MR. MALONE ‑ My motion is to strike out the whole thing.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ You cannot strike out the amendment because it has not been adopted.

MR. MALONE ‑ Then I move to table it.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I hope the gentleman will give an opportunity to discuss this matter. It is one of the most important matters in the report.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) ‑ I rise to call attention to the fact that it will be practically impossible to dispose advantageously of municipal bonds without the sanction of the General Assembly in each specific case. It seems to me that that should not be a question of general legislation nor should it be a question of obnoxious special legislation. Municipal governments are part of the State government and it is the duty of the General Assembly to look after them. That is one of the highest duties of the General Assembly. We know that when we come to issue bonds, it is not only necessary to have the authority to issue them, but it is necessary to have the authority to do so in such a manner as to make them attractive to investors. Bond buyers in this country are a class, which always reserves the right to dictate the terms and


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conditions under which they will purchase. It is an advantage to a city that its securities be in such shape that they will bring the highest price upon the market. That is axiomatic. 1 believe that the General Assembly ought to be allowed the power specifically to authorize each and every issue of bonds by municipalities.  I believe it would increase the price at which the bonds could be sold. It will give additional security to require the sanction of the General Assembly in every particular case. The matter has already been safeguarded by the adoption of the report of the Committee on Taxation.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ Will you please state what that provision is. It has escaped my recollection.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) ‑ It is the limitation upon the power of municipalities to issue bonds at any rate. I believe that this provision will simply interfere with the sales of the bonds, and if that should be so there is no reason whatever why the General Assembly should not be allowed and required specifically to authorize the issue of bonds in each case. It seems to me that it would be extremely difficult to frame a general law to give that sanction and security which the purchasers and dealers in bonds of this character would naturally expect before they put their money into it.

It has consumed much of the time of the General Assembly, but they should not be permitted to issue any bonds at all except that it is by the sanction of the General Assembly for a specific purpose and I think that this section should be laid upon the table.

MR. ESPY ‑ One of the crying evils from which the people of Alabama were suffering before this Convention was called, was the excess of local legislation. It has been announced time and again upon this floor, that it was next to the suffrage question as one of the most important questions that could possibly come before this body, and yet when the report of the Committee on Local Legislation is here for adoption, it seems that a majority of the delegates here are determined that the privilege of local legislation shall not in any particular be cut off or reduced. This has furnished in the past the most prolific source of local legislation. Town after town desires to issue a new series of bonds. They come to the legislature and they make their application. Their cause is a just one and the result is that the entire session of the legislature, or nearly all of the session of the legislature is devoted to local legislation. Now what can be the possible objection to enacting a law for the State of Alabama authorizing every township, every city, every subdivision of the State, to issue bonds and that kind of a law would certainly make the bond as valid as if it were enacted by a special law, or by a special enactment of the General Assembly. It would be just as valid. The bond would sell just as readily. It would bring just as good a price as if they were issued


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under a special act. Another remarkable thing I find that gentlemen here who have been praising past legislatures and saying that they have all the virtues of the whole country embodied in them, are now afraid to risk the legislature for anything. Some gentlemen ask the question when the subdivisions are presented for adoption, suppose the legislature should not enact a general law. Certainly, Mr. President, legislatures of the future will be as good men and can be trusted as far as the legislatures in the past, and at the rate we are proceeding here we might just as well wipe out this report and not try to incorporate it into the Constitution at all, because everything here which has been a source of prolific legislation in the past, is stricken out by this Convention just as soon as then heard it read. I do hope that the Convention will not strike out this particular subdivision but that they will adopt it with proper amendment.

MR. WATTS ‑ The object of the including of this provision in this report is not on account of the issue of bonds by any town or city, but simply to keep the legislature from taking the public time in passing a special law in each particular case. The legislature of 1896 ‑ 7 passed eleven of those acts, and the legislature of 1898 ‑ 9 passed 43, and the last legislature, I am informed, passed about twice that many. We understand that the Committee on Municipay Corporations has presented a report here which requires the legislature to divide the cities and towns of this State into classes and to prescribe the powers of each class. Necessarily the legislature will prescribe what powers each class has to issue bonds and will provide that each class, if it has an indebtedness now can issue bond for the renewal law passed as recommended by the Committee on Municipal Corporations, will give any city or town in this State that has the right to issue bonds, or which may have a right in the future to issue bonds, or as great a right and as sacred a right to issue them as a special act could in each instance. Furthermore, this general law which would provide the issue of bonds by municipalities, might prescribe the time those bonds should run, in which amount they should be issued, what rate of interest they should bear, and what conditions they should have prescribed, generally, for the issue of bonds just as well as they could if each particular locality, and then each city and town in the State will know and every bond ‑ buyer will know the conditions which apply to the issue of bonds in our State and they will not be required to look into the provisions of the special acts passed for special cities.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) ‑ The gentleman says that generally the cities will derive the same benefit under a general law that they will under a special law. To illustrate the difficulties which are in the way I will ask the gentleman to state how he expects by such a law to regulate the rate of interest. One municipality may borrow money at a considerably lower rate of interest than another.


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MR. WATTS ‑ They can determine that by providing in the general law that the bonds issued by the municipalities at such a rate of interest as the local authorities may determine.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) ‑ You want to throw the whole responsibility, then, of issuing the bonds upon the local authorities, and you will not come to the General Assembly, but you want all of that authority to be stated in the general law?

MR. WHITE ‑ The general law will provide the machinery by which the bonds will be issued.

MR. LOWE ‑ You cannot designate the amount of the bond, you cannot provide whether it will be a gold bond or whether they shall issue a currency bond.

MR. WHITE ‑ The object of the Committee is to make all bonds issued by municipalities in the State upon practically the same terms and conditions.

MR. LOWE ‑ You want to fix the Constitution so that every municipality in the State of Alabama must issue bonds on the same conditions, under the same terms, regardless of what the purchaser wants, or what the city may design.

MR. WATTS ‑ No, but that they shall issue them in accordance with the general law enacted applying to the different localities.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ Is it not a fact that the school bonds in some localities had a mortgage upon the school building, in order that the bonds may be placed, therefore, would all school bonds in the State have to be issued on the same basis?

MR. WATTS ‑ I do not know of any city, that has been so unfortunate as to issue bonds that way.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ Is it not a fact that bond buyers usually want and nearly always want a special act passed, regulating the issue of a certain class of bonds?

MR. WATTS ‑ I do not think we are legislating especially for the bond buyers, but that we are legislating specially for the interests of the people of Alabama.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ Is not the interests of the people of Alabama in the best price that you can get for these bonds?

MR. WATTS ‑ Yes, I think so.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ Do you think that a little town out here can borrow money on bonds as cheap as the city of Montgomery?

MR. WATTS ‑ In proportion to its revenue, yes.


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MR. O’NEAL ‑ One of the greatest evils in Alabama has been the unlimited issue of bonds by the counties and municipalities of this State. If you take the record of the last few Legislatures you will find that over eight millions of indebtedness has been created. The result has been that the people of Alabama have demanded that the power of the Legislature to issue these bonds shall be curtailed. They have demanded that before any city or town in Alabama, or county, shall have the privilege of issuing bonds, that the question shall be submitted to a vote of that particular locality that may be affected. Then if a law of that kind is passed and it has been reported by the Committee on Municipal Corporations, a general law  will be passed on the subject, requiring every city, county and town in Alabama before they issue a bond, to submit the question to a vote of the people to the particular locality that will be affected.

The Legislature will pass a law prescribing the terms in the bonds. They can provide that the rate of interest at which the bonds shall be issued, shall be determined by an ordinance of the particular town or city affected. They can provide that when the bond issue is authorized, that fact can be certified to the Secretary of State by the Mayor or Probate Judge, and what more evidence would a bond buyer want than that certificate? You have that certificate to show the election of a Governor. You have it to show the election of every official in this State, and why should we go to the bondholder or to the bond ‑ buyer with more evidence than we give upon the election of the most important officials in this State ?

Now I say if you strike out this provision you leave it in the power of the Legislature to authorize the issuance of bonds, in any town, city or county in the State, absolutely without restriction or limitation. You allow the local member to come to Montgomery and without consulting his constituents, without seeking to know their wishes in regard to the issuance of bonds, he secures the issuance of bonds in any amount that may suit his pleasure and the people are without remedy.

MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ Is it not a fact that a limitation was placed upon the power of counties and municipalities to issue bonds in one of the other reports?

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It is not a fact, as I understand it. There was nothing in the report of the Committee on Taxation on this subject which has ever been adopted by this Convention. There is only a limitation in the report of the Committee on Taxation, that no city or town shall exceed 7 per cent of the assessed value of its property and there is a limitation upon the rate of taxation, but there has been no limitation upon the power otherwise.


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MR. BOONE– I read to you from the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporations.

Sec. 7. No county, city, town, village, district or other political subdivision of a county shall have authority or be authorized by the General Assembly after the ratification of this Constitution to issue bonds, unless such issue of bonds shall have first been approved by majority vote by ballot of the qualified voters of such county, city, town, village, district, or other political sub ‑ division of a county voting upon such proposition. In determining the result of any election held for this purpose, no vote shall be counted as an affirmative vote which does not show on its face that such vote was cast in approval of such issue of bonds.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It occurs to me if the gentleman had been giving proper attention to the proceeding, the gentleman would have known that that section had not been adopted.

MR. BOONE– I know that very well, sir. I think I have given as much attention to the proceedings as you have. I said that it had been reported by the Committee on Municipal Corporations for the favorable action of the Convention.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ I understood the gentleman to say that it had been adopted.

MR. BOONE ‑ I did not. I said that it had been introduced by the gentleman from Greene and reported by the committee.

MR. O'NEAL ‑ It seems to me if it has been reported by the committee, the gentleman is a very wise than to know that this Convention will adopt the report of the committee.

The clock here struck the hour of 6 and the Convention thereupon adjourned until tomorrow morning.