FORTY ‑ THIRD DAY
Friday, July 12, 1901.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, was called to order by the President, and the proceedings opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Dix, as follows:
Our Heavenly Father, still the recipients of Thy mercy, we come before Thee with thanksgiving. Still conscious that we have not loved Thee, our Lord and God, with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds, and all our strength, and that we have not loved our neighbor as ourself, we come before Thee with confession. Seeking forgiveness and still conscious of our weakness, and of our need of help, we come to Thee with supplication and petition. We pray that Thy blessing may today rest upon this Convention. We pray that they may be enabled to comprehend the deep significance of their work, and may they have that wide view of their relations to that work which becomes not only those who act for a sovereign State, but those who act for a State standing in relation to sister States, under the administration of a government of their own establishment. We pray that all these relations may enter into account, and that this body of men may be enabled to frame an instrument which shall embody the principles of civil and religious liberty, of government administered by States. We pray, our Father, in behalf of the personal interests of these men. May they and their families be blessed of Thee. May they be enabled to discharge their duties to their fellow men, under an approving conscience, and with wisdom of Thine own dictation, but may they also understand that whatever may be the blessings of Thy providence bestowed upon a common country, and upon a beloved State, and upon communities and persons, the crowning of excellence of divine blessing is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Confer this blessing, we pray Thee upon us, Thy servants, and bless them according to the measure of Thy love, we ask through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.
Upon the call of the roll 120 delegates responded to their names.
Mr. Eyster here took the chair.
Leaves of absence were granted as follows: Mr. Tayloe for today; Mr. Kirkland for today and Saturday; Mr. Reynolds of Henry for today and tomorrow; Mr. Bethune for today; Mr. Kyle for Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday; Mr. Burnett for today, tomorrow; Mr. Foshee for today and tomorrow; Mr. Searcy of Tuscaloosa for today and tomorrow; Assistant Door-keeper Fain for tomorrow; Mr. Sollie for tomorrow; Mr. Williams (El-
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more) for tomorrow; Mr. Craig for Monday; indefinite leave for Mr. Duke (Chambers) and Mr. Wilson (Clarke) on account of sickness.
MR. MALONE – On yesterday I introduced a petition and had it referred While it was a short one, it had quite a number of signatures to it. Mr. McGauley hunted me up in the evening and said he had looked for me in the morning to ask leave to print that petition with only one name, and as he could not find me he had already taken the liberty to do so. I insisted upon him putting several more names to it. I find now that the petition is not confined to my particular place, and that quite a number of names from adjoining localities will be left out, and I now ask that inasmuch as the names were left out for the convenience of Mr. McGauley, on account of the printing to be done, that he print the petition today as a whole.
There being no objection, the petition in full is as follows:
Dothan, Ala., July 5, 1901.
To Hons. M. Sollie, George H. Malone, T. M. Espy and R. J. Reynolds:
As our delegates we respectfully petition the Constitutional Convention, through you, to provide in the new Constitution for the election of the Alabama Railroad Commission by the people, and for the payment of their salaries by the State, and that their powers to enforce their rulings and orders be increased:
J. M. Byrd, Dothan Cge. Co., W. W. Barnard, C. B. Farmer, B. F. Reed, Malone Sons, H. L. Solomon, J. W. Burkett, O. P. Green, H. M. Young, A. B. Kelly, P. O. Singleton, W. W. Reenes, A. J. Beverett, T. W. Shechan, I. Boxhorn, Dothan Jewelry Co., Joe Lurie, W. O. Griffith, P. R. Stokes, E. M. Teague, C. S. Lee, E. E. Hammond, J. Harnow, W. H. McNeal, John R. M. Lindon, R. L. Pitcher, S. S. Forrester, J. Buck, R. J. Carlisle, R. W. Clayton, First National Bank, C. Z. Saunders, D. V. Paul, Dothan Ice Factory, J. W. Chambers, Q. T. Howell, D. T. Thomas, C. C. Bush, Geo. Connon, J. J. Snell, W. F. Henns, M. F. Domon, R. H. Walker, W. C. Feine, L. M. Frey, C. S. Burns, W. H. Grant, A. E. Pace, B. Faulk, J. L. Acree, J. R. G. Howell, W. L. Brown, J. G. Sanders, W. R. McKenzie, Sol. Lune, W. L. Lee, Dothan Hdw. Co., D. W. Ingram, C. C. Hughes, D. W. Bakn, A. W. Hauke, A. C. Coe, B. R. Pitcher, L. Granburg, W. F. Gregory, W. Z. Batson, L. D. Welch, E. J. Bentin, Malone Fur Co., W. D. Hutchinson, E. R. Porter, W. Harvey, Adam Grant, R. W. Holmes, H. G. Forrester, Abe Adams, M. Scott, C. C. Hughes, A. E. Cunnibil, J. R. Crawford, J. M. Meyrovitz, A. Payne, R. F. A. Millikin, J. Silvers, J. R. Young, J. F. Dawsey, O. R. Morson, G. W. Pitcher, W. B. Tate, C. W. Lewis, J. E. Wise (rate on ice to Abbeville from Do-
than exceeds rate from Montgomery to Abbeville); S. P. Kirkland, J. D. Howell, W. H. King, E. Blumberg, J. N. Cureton, Wm. Passmore, H. E. Petham, W. A. Jelless, H. S. Gilmore, F. E. Sanders, E. E. Vance, C. A. Ralline, J. T. Keyton, Louis Beaum, G. A. Hammond, G. P. Crawford, Robert Boyd, J. M. Payner, J. N. Singletary & Co., J. W. Campbell, J. D. Panist, W. F. Newton, D. D. Holmes, A. K. Peacock, B. A. Jester, Frank Jordon, J. J. Rogers, A. T. Williams, J. W. Sanders, W. M. Hunter, J. L. Carroll, D. D. Strickland, Sam Cherry, E. A. Pearce, J. W. Jones, Tom Kelly, T. J. Walden, R. C. Williams, E. F. Bate, Sr., W. C. Pilcher, James Clark, A. E. Gesner, J. L. Ellis, Wm. S. Rutledge, J. E. Hand, S. W. Robbins, O. E. Williams, E. H. Hall, W. F. Hay, Z. T. Pridgen, W. R. Watson, W. T. Hall, The Siftings, J. R. Turner, Dothan Drug Co., H. Watford, W. H. Williams, Saxon & Heard, J. R. McCarty, R. L. Mayes, J. T. Helms, Home Journal, J. E. McCants, Wm. Wheatley, T. E. Shalgett, C. L. Pitman, M. Cherry, Batchelor Bros., J. M. Calloway, W. N. Burs, E. O. Trawick, I. A. White, Will Griffin, G. E. Roland, D. E. Young, C. J. Morris, A. Mathis, Logan & Co., J. W. Payne, B. W. Clendin & Co., Strickland Bro., C. W. Rallins, J. A. May, C. R. Wiggins, John J. Crary, J. L. Crawford, J. R. Keyton, Arthur Vesse, W. R. Grubbs, M. Cody, Ed Nix, Quin Nix, H. J. Gresham, Louis Wilk & Co., I. L. Reeves, Culver & Williams, J. A. Peterman, A. Kirkland, T. J. Forrester, Jr.
MR. SMITH (Mobile) – I rise to a question of personal privilege.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.– The gentleman will state the question of privilege.
MR. SMITH (Mobile) – On yesterday, after the debate between the gentleman from Lauderdale and myself, the gentleman from Lauderdale rose to a question of personal privilege. Owing to the location of my seat, I was unable to hear what the gentleman was saying, and called his attention to that fact. The official report omits any note of the fact that I did call the gentleman’s attention to the fact that I was not hearing what was being said. I concluded to wait, however, until I could see the official report of the debates between the gentleman and myself, and also his remarks upon the question of personal privilege. I have this morning gone over the record in that respect, and I beg to say that the debates between the gentleman from Lauderdale, as it appears in the record is not substantially what I understood him to say upon the floor of the Convention on yesterday. I desire further to say that if I had understood the remarks of the gentleman to contain only the substance of what the official report contains, there is much that was said by myself that I should have been glad to omit. I thought, however, upon reading those remarks, that probably the things criticised by myself, arose from
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the suddenness and passion of the debate, and was not inclined to call any attention to the errors in the record, until reading the gentleman's remarks under personal privilege, I find that they were all based upon the proposition that there was nothing in the debate said by myself calling for the criticism. As the gentleman placed his statement of personal privilege upon that basis, I regret exceedingly that the stenographers should have left out the substance of the matters criticised by myself, and I feel that the omission of those remarks, followed by the remarks of the gentleman upon personal privilege, do me a great injustice. I think a true report of the gentleman should have been made to the Convention.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) ‑ I rise to a question of personal privilege. The report of the stenographer contains the substance, word for word, what I said, but there were some remarks made yesterday by the gentleman from Mobile which I did not catch at the time, and which I am unwilling to let pass unchallenged.
MR. SMITH ‑ May I ask the gentleman if he did not materially change in the revision much of his remarks?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I did not make a single change. I desire to say this, and regret to intrude upon this Convention, or to undertake to renew the unpleasant episode of yesterday, but I find in the gentleman's remarks the following language:
"But the gentleman on the contrary, although he here declares that it is wrong in principle to take dispensary money and apply it to the common schools, gets up in this Convention and makes an open bid for an alliance with gentlemen in arraying the dispensary interest against the city of Mobile. He gets up and declares that if they will help him in his attack on my county and city that he will put almost anything in his article to protect the dispensary law. Judge, then, gentlemen of the Convention, between us as to who it is that is willing to trade away the safeguards of the people in order to accomplish his purpose ‑ my purpose being the protection of my people, his purpose being the protection of personal pride as the author of an article that he offers to this Constitution."
I think it proper that I should state, Mr. President, that I announced to the Convention on yesterday that it had been, from the outset, the purpose of the Committee, which I had the honor to represent, to insert no provision in the article in reference to Local Legislation which would abridge the power of the General Assembly to enact such laws in reference to the sale of intoxicating liquors as they might deem proper. I made that statement repeatedly during my argument, and announced that I was willing to incorporate a section in my article to that effect. Now the gentleman says that I made that proposition, in order to secure an
alliance with the dispensary element to strike down the interests of the city of Mobile. I suppose that statement of mine in reference to my willingness to incorporate such a provision in reference to the sale of liquor was the basis of that statement. I desire to say the charge the gentleman makes does me gross injustice, and is unwarranted, and I do believe that the gentleman would have made it except in temper.
I desire to say, furthermore, Mr. President, that the gentleman undertook to refer yesterday, with contempt, to my intellectual powers, and to characterize me as the great chairman of the Committee who arrogated to himself all the wisdom of this Convention. I desire to say whatever intellectual powers I may possess are from my Creator, and I am only responsible for their use. I have never used them for any other purpose, except to promote the interests of the people of my State. I do not expect, nor do I suppose any other delegate in this Convention ever expects to reach the high and lofty pinnacle of greatness upon which the distinguished delegate from Mobile sits, enthroned in solitary and cold grandeur. We common mortals, like myself, can only gaze from afar, in fear and trembling, as one who looks upon some mighty volcano, belching forth fire and smoke.
Now, sir, in reference to any threat on my part to attack the vested interest, of the city of Mobile, I desire to say that this controversy is not of my seeking. I desire to say in justice to the other delegates from the city of Mobile, who are my personal friends, and from whom I have only received courtesy and kindly treatment, that I did not come to this Convention with any feeling of hostility to the interests of the great city of Mobile, but with only a earnest desire to promote her prosperity and to advance the interest of every other community in our great Commonwealth. I desire to say that if at any time, the question as to the justice of the city of Mobile retaining part of the general funds of the State, and appropriating it to her own purposes, should be raised in this Convention, I shall then undertake to decide the controversy as becomes a delegate upon this floor, according to my conscience and my judgment, unterrified and uninfluenced by the threats, or by the invective and ridicule of the mighty Ajax from the Gulf City.
MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ The gentleman’s last remarks, intended as an oratorical display, have no part in the controversy between the gentleman and myself. As stated a few moments ago, either the record of the gentleman's remarks is in error, or I certainly very much misunderstood his debate. If he said nothing more than is contained in that record, as I said in the commencement, I am sorry to have criticised him to the extent that I did, but if he said what I understood him to say, I would today, without one particle of passion, without one feeling of unfriendliness
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to the gentleman repeat each and every word that I said in that debate. Coolly and calmly, without anger, without personality, reading it as the production of a stranger, as applied to the argument that I understood the gentleman to make, I believe it to be just and merited, every word and every syllable. There can, now, be but one method of determining whether I was right, or went too far in criticising the gentleman, and that is for me to get from the stenographer a copy of the gentleman's speech as he understood it and took it down. That I propose to do. I f , as I said before, the gentleman did not say more than is reported in the official report, theta I shall say to the gentleman, gladly, that I am sorry that I criticised him as I did ; but, if the gentleman's remark; were as I understood and wrote them down on a piece of paper at the time that they were uttered, and have the paper in my room, then neither anger nor passion can make that which was justly said improperly spoken.
MR. O’NEAL ‑ Will the gentleman please state what it was that I said that is not in the report.
MR. SMITH ‑ I cannot by heart, Mr. O'Neal, I am bound to say.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ In substance then.
MR. BURNS (Dallas) ‑ I move that this Convention proceed with its business.
MR. SMITH ‑ I understood the gentleman, in one of his sentences. to say that I was making under a pretense of morality to take funds from the State treasury for the benefit of the corporation of the city of Mobile.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I did not make that statement. Will the gentleman permit me to say what I did say.
MR. CUNNINGHAM (Jefferson) ‑ I rise to a point of order that the matter of colloquy between the gentlemen is not a matter of privilege, and I think it is out of order.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I simply desire to state what I did say, what I know I said–
MR. HOWZE ‑ I call for the regular order, Mr. President:
MR. SMITH ‑ I desire to say one thing further. I did not say anything yesterday in passion. Not at all. The gentleman I have every reason to feel friendliness for from what I know of him, and I certainly have no feeling of prejudice against the gentleman. There was nothing between us, until the speech he made, and if I misunderstood him, I am sorry that I criticised him.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The chair will state he cannot help but believe that the difference of opinion between the: gentlemen results from a misunderstanding of the facts.
MR. DENT ‑ I want to find out whether the record of the stenographic report of yesterday's proceedings are identical with the Journal. If so, some correction should be made in the Journal.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The gentleman will suggest the point.
MR. DENT ‑ I find that the section which was amended in the stenographic report purports to read as follows : The operation of no general law shall be suspended for the benefit of any individual, private corporation or association, nor shall any individual, private corporation or association." I would like to know how it is in the record.
THE, PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The clerk informs the chair that the Journal is correct, according to the gentleman's recollection.
MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ Yesterday's report of the proceedings of the Convention, under the head of the minority report of the Committee on Impeachment, as it is reported. says it was signed by Mr. Thompson and Mr. Robinson. There were five of us that signed the minority report, and I desire that the correction be made. Mr. Haley, Mr. MacA. Smith and thyself were the names left off, and I desire that the correction be made in the minority report.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The Journal is correct. That was a typographical error of the stenographic report, which will be corrected.
The report of the Committee on the Journal was read, stating that the Journal for the forty ‑ second day ‑ of the Convention had been examined and found to be correct, and the same was adopted.
Upon the call of the roll of delegates for the introduction of resolutions, ordinances, etc.‑
Ordinance No. 418, by Mr. Carmichael (Coffee):
Ordinance relating to tax rate of the State:
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama. in Convention assembled:
That Section 4 of Article XI be amended so as to read as follows:
Sec. 4. ‑ The General Assembly shall not have the power to levy, in any one year, a greater rate of taxation than fifty ‑ five onehundredths of I per centum on the value of the taxable property within this State; provided, that for the support of the public schools of the State and for the purpose of providing pensions for ex ‑ Confederate soldiers and sailors, their widows and orphans, or
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for either of these purposes, an additional rate not exceeding twenty one ‑ hundredths of 1 per centum may be levied.
Referred to the Committee on Taxation.
MR. GRAYSON ‑ I have a petition signed by a large number of persons which I move to be read.
The petition was read as follows:
We, the undersigned business men and citizens of the city of Huntsville, Madison county, most respectfully petition our delegation to the Constitutional Convention, Hons. R. E. Spragins, R. H. Walker, A. S. Fletcher and J. W. Grayson, and the members of the Constitutional Convention not to enact any law in our Constitution for the collection of a privilege tax, we believing that such a tax is unjust.
The President here resumed the chair.
Ordinance No. 419, by Mr. Jones of Walker:
An ordinance to provide for the issuance of bonds, in the event of the annexation of any foreign territory to this State by purchase.
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama, in Convention assembled, that in the event of the annexation of any foreign territory to this State by purchase, that the General Assembly with the approval of the Governor shall be authorized to provide for the issuance of State bonds to pay for the purchase of such foreign territory, anything in this Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.
Referred to the Committee on Legislative Department.
MR. JONES (Wilcox) ‑ There is a remote possibility that the State, before the adoption of another Constitution, may acquire foreign territory by purchase. There is no provision made in the report of the Committee on Legislative Department authorizing the issuance by the State of the necessary bonds to pay the purchase money for such territory. Section 49 of the report reads as follows: "In the event of the annexation of any foreign territory to this State, the Legislature shall enact laws extending to the inhabitants of the acquired territory, all the rights and privileges which may be required by the terms of the acquisition, anything in this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.
The section is a copy of section 51 of the Article on Local Legislation in the Constitution of 1875. In fact it is in the Constitutions of 1819, 1861, 1868 and 1875, but in neither of these constitutions is there any provision made to pay for the purchase of such foreign territory. The ordinance offered by me, is for the purpose of calling the attention of the Committee on Legislative
Department to the omission of such provision in their report. It may be that it should be added to their report as a separate section. In my opinion, however, it could be added to Section 49, as an amendment, but I leave that to the better wisdom of the Committee.
MR. VAUGHN ‑ I rise to a question of privilege.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state the question of privilege.
MR. VAUGHN ‑ On yesterday I offered a substitute to Section 5 of the report of the Committee on Local Legislation, and the report has me as saying that under the Constitution of Mississippi, the Legislature can pass laws whereby towns may enact their local laws. I said whereby counties could do so.
Just beneath that, it has me as saying that under the substitute offered by myself, the legislature would not have the authority to delegate that court, or any other body in the county, the authority to enact these local laws. I asked Mr. Pettus the question, and that question was this, under the substitute as offered by myself, would not the Legislature have authority to delegate to the Commissioners Court, or any other body, in the county, the authority to enact these local laws. I would like for the reporters to make the correction.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The stenographers will be requested to note the correction.
MR. SANDERS ‑ I ask leave to introduce a very short resolution.
The consent was given.
Resolution No. 240 by Mr. Sanders:
Resolved. That the Sergeant ‑ at ‑ Arms be instructed to place at least four more fans in this hall.
MR. SANDERS ‑ For the purpose of putting that resolution upon its immediate passage, I move the suspension of the rules.
Upon a vote being taken, the rules were suspended.
Upon a further vote the resolution was adopted.
On the call for reports of Committees the clerk read the following report, submitted by Mr. Foster
Your Committee on amending the Constitution respectfully report back Ordinance 412 by Mr. Merrill of Barbour, with the recommendation that it be adopted by this Convention.
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Ordinance No. 412, by Mr. Merrill:
An ordinance relating; to the bonded indebtedness of the State–
Be it ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled.
That an act of the General Assembly of Alabama, entitled “An act to consolidate and adjust the bonded debt of the State of Alabama." approved February 18, 1895, and an act amendatory thereto, entitled "An act to amend Section 6 of an act to consolidate and adjust the bonded debt of the State of Alabama," approved February 16, 1895, which said last named act was approved February 16. 1899. Be and the same are hereby made valid. The Governor is authorized and empowered to act under the same and carry cut all the provisions thereof.
Upon the call of the standing; committees, the Committee on Education submitted the following report:
Report of the Committee on Education.
The Committee on Education directs me to submit an ordinance to be incorporated in the new Constitution as Article— Education.
A few brief explanations and introductory remarks are necessary to the proper understanding of the work and purposes of the Committee.
Section 1. This section has been changed by striking out the word "equal" as a basis of apportionment and substituting in substance and fact the provision for a free school term of equal length as the basis of division of the school fund in the respective townships and districts; but leaves the apportionment to the several counties according to the number of school children therein. The latter plan is not a change.
Sections 2 and 3 remain unchanged.
Section 4 presents a change in detail, but not in effect. It provides that all poll taxes shall be applied to the public schools in the counties where levied and collected, but leaves the regulation thereof as to amount and those subject to such tax to the Article on Taxation and Suffrage.
Section 5 presents apparently the greatest change, yet in fact is largely a change in method only.
The object of the Committee was and is merely to guarantee as nearly as possible the present State school fund as the minimum constitutional fund.
The Sixteenth Section interest, and the surplus revenue funds are trust funds and must remain unchanged ; hence the first part of the old Section 5 remains unchanged.
The present State appropriation proper is $550,000 and to this is added the special 1 mill tax, which for the year 1900 has yielded to this date $256,117.50 as shown by the Auditor's books; and a reliable estimate from this office show; that, notwithstanding the total assessment of $266,893,288 for the year 1900, the 1 mill tax will not exceed $257,000. 'This being true, the total fund available for the scholastic year ending next September, exclusive of poll tax and trust fund interest will be $550,000 plus 1 mill tax. $ 257,000 or $807,000.
In lieu of this annual appropriation and 1 mill tax, the Committee has substituted an annual 3 mill tax, or 30 cents on each hundred dollars. A 3 mill tax on the assessed valuation of last year would yield $771,000 as in annual fund, which would be $36,000 less than the fund for the present year. If the State should prosper and the assessment for 1901 should reach $280,000,000, a 3 mill tax would yield $806,400 as a school fund, because only about 96 per cent of the total is collected. It will therefore, he readily observed that, the 3 mill plan would approximately furnish the same revenue year in and year out, that we now have from the general appropriation, and the 1 mill tax. The superior merit of this plan is that it fixes the school fund permanently and does not leave it to the general assembly as a matter of contention at every session. It is a sliding scale. If the State prospers and assessments increase, the schools get a larger fund. If values decrease, then the schools share as they should, the adverse conditions.
The present system of general biennial appropriations, supplemented by the 1 mill special tax, gives rise to endless trouble in bookkeeping and estimates of the fund, and to efforts and alarm upon the part of true friends of education less the appropriation may be decreased and the school term shortened.
The Auditor in his report for 1899 recommends that the plan of this Committee be adopted, though at a different rate.
Section 6 remains unchanged.
Section 7 remains unchanged except that the terms of office and mode of election are left out for the reason that the Fxectltive Article has already provided for these things.
Section 8 and 9 remain unchanged.
Section 10 remain unchanged except that the Institutions for the Deaf and Blind at Talladega and the Alabama Girls' Industrial School at Montevallo are State Educational Institutions that should properly be included therein, and it is so done.
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Section 11 is a new section which provides for taking a school census not oftener than once in two years, and throwing proper safe guards around the same. This it seems would readily comviand the appreciation and approval of the Convention.
Section 12. This is a new section which is a modification of an amendment offered to the Article on Taxation by the Chairman of the Committee. It provides for a 1 mill local tax, with the county as a unit, to be voted in the respective counties by 60 per cent of the qualified electors voting at such election. This provision has been favorably reported because of its merits and in view of the reduction of the State limit of taxation to 65 cents. Under it, the State and county rate combined can never exceed $1.25 per hundred, and it is local self ‑ government in behalf of better schools.
Section 13 is Section 11 of the present Constitution and is incorporated herein without change.
There are some minority views which will either be attached to this report, or expressed upon the floor of the Convention at the proper time, the gentlemen in the minority having reserved this privilege.
All ordinances and resolutions are herewith returned, the same having had careful consideration by the Committee. They are of the opinion that any further matters than those reported in this Article should be left to the General Assembly.
Joseph B. Graham, Chairman.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall establish, organize and maintain a liberal system of public schools throughout the State for the benefit of the children thereof between the ages of 7 and 21 years. The public school fund shall be apportioned to the several counties in proportion to the number of school children of school age therein, and shall be so apportioned to the schools in the districts or townships in the county as to provide, as nearly as practicable, school terms of equal duration in such school districts or townships. Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.
Sec. 2. The principal of all funds arising from the sale or other disposition of lands or other property, which has been or may hereafter be granted or entrusted to this State or given by the United States for educational purposes, shall lie preserved inviolate and undiminished; and the income arising therefrom shall be faithfully applied to the specific object of the original grants or appropriations.
Sec. 3. All lands or other property given by individuals, or appropriated by the State for educational purposes, and all estate of deceased persons, who die without leaving a will or heir, shall be faithfully applied to the maintenance of the public schools.
Sec. 4. All poll taxes levied and collected in this State shall be applied to the support of the public schools in the respective counties where levied and collected.
Sec. 5. The income arising from the Sixteenth Section Trust Fund, the Surplus Revenue Fund, until it is called for by the United States Government, and the funds enumerated in Sections 3 and 4 of this Article, together with the special annual tax of 30 cents on each one hundred dollars of taxable property in this State, shall be applied to the support and maintenance of the public schools, and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to increase, from time to time, the public school fund as the necessity therefor and the condition of the treasury and the resources of the State may justify. Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to authorize the General Assembly to levy in any one year a greater rate of taxation than 65 cents on each one hundred dollars’ worth of taxable property.
Sec. 6. Not more than 4 per cent of all moneys raised, or which may hereafter be appropriated for the support of public schools, shall be used or expended otherwise than for the payment of teachers employed in such schools; provided, that the General Assembly may, by a vote of two ‑ thirds of each House, suspend the operation of this section.
Sec. 7. The supervision of the public schools shall be vested in a Superintendent of Education, whose powers, duties and compensation shall be fixed by law.
See. 8. No money raised for the support of the public schools of the State shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian or denominational schools.
Sec. 9. The State University and the Agricultural and Mechanical College (now called the Alabama Polytechnic Institute), shall each be under the management and control of a Board of Trustees. The Board for the University shall consist of two members from the Congressional district in which the University is located, and one from each of the other Congressional districts in the State. The Board for the Agricultural and Mechanical College shall consist of two members from the Congressional district in which the college is located and one from each of the other Congressional districts in the State; said trustees shall be appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold office for a term of six years and until their
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successors shall be appointed and qualified. After the first appointment each Board shall be divided into three classes, as nearly equal as may be. The seats of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of two years, and those of the second class in four year, and those of the third class at the end of six years from the date of appointment, so that one ‑ third many be chosen biennially. No trustee shall receive any pay or emolument other than his actual expenses incurred in the discharge of his duties as such. The Governor shall be ex officio President, and the Superintendent of Education ex officio as a member of each of said Boards of Trustees.
Sec. 10. The General Assembly shall have no power to change the location of the State University or the Agricultural and Mechanical College, or the Institutions for Deaf and Blind, or the Alabama Girls' Industrial School, as now established by law, except upon a vote of two ‑ thirds of the General Assembly, taken by yeas and nays and entered upon the journals.
Sec. 11. The General Assembly shall provide for taking a school census by townships and districts throughout the State not oftener than once in two years, and shall provide for the punishment of all persons or officers making false and fraudulent enumerations and returns ; provided, the State Superintendent may order and supervise the making of a new census in any township, district or county, whenever he may have reasonable cause to believe that false or fraudulent returns have been made.
Sec. 12. The several counties in this State shall have power to levy and collect a special tax, not exceeding 10 cents on each hundred of taxable property in such counties, for the support of public schools ; provided, that the rate of such tax, the time it is to continue, and the purpose thereof, shall have been first submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of the county and voted for by three ‑ fifths of those voting at such elections ; but the rate of such special tax shall not increase the rate of taxation, State and county combined, in any year, niore than $1.25 on each hundred dollars of taxable property; excluding, however, all special county taxes for public buildings, roads, bridges and payment of debts existing at the ratification of the Constitution of 1875: provided, that such funds so raised shall be so apportioned and paid through the proper school officials to the several schools in the townships and districts in said county. that the school terms of the respective school shall be extended by such supplement as nearly the same length of time as practicable.
The General Assembly shall provide for carrying the provisions of this section into effect.
Sec. 13. The provisions of this Article and of any act of the General Assembly passed in pursuance thereof to establish, organize and maintain a system of public schools throughout the
State, shall apply to Mobile County only so far as to authorize and require the authorities designated by law to draw the portions of the funds to which said county shall be entitled for school purposes, and to make reports to the Superintendent of Education as may be prescribed by law. And all special incomes and powers of taxation, as now authorized by law for the benefit of public schools in said county shall remain undisturbed until otherwise provided by the General Assembly; provided, that separate schools for each race shall always be maintained by said school authorities.
Minority report of the Committee on Education:
Mr. President, the undersigned minority of your Committee on Education, does not concur in that part of the report embraced in Section 9 in reference to the University of Alabama.
While this institution has done great service for the State under existing conditions, it is the opinion of the minority that the usefulness of the University will be enhanced by providing that the Governor shall not be a member of the Board of Trustees. and that the said board be authorized to elect its own presiding officer. It seems in line with a true and broad policy that the appointing power should not be a member, nor ex officio president, of the board appointed.
No recommendation is made by this minority in regard to other State institutions for the reason that they have expressly petitioned that no change be made in their management.
Your minority does not think that the fact that other institutions are satisfied with the existing conditions should deter the University from taking a progressive step. The State University is in a class by itself, and the fact that the Governor is ex officio a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute or of the Board of Trustees of certain agricultural colleges is no reason why he should be a member of the Board of Trustees for the University.
Therefore, the undersigned minority of your Committee on Education recommends that the words "each of said boards of trustees" at the end of Section 9 of the report be stricken out, and that there shall be added in lieu thereof the words "the Board of Trustees of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute. The Superintendent of Education shall be ex officio a member of the Board of Trustees of the University; and the said Board shall elect its own President."
(Signed) Erle Pettus, John T. Ashcraft, P. W. Hodges, John A. Rogers, D. S. Bethune, Jere N. Williams, Henry Opp, Minority of the Committee on Education.
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Mr. President, the undersigned, members of the Committee on Education, regret that they are unable to agree with the majority on the provisions of Section 12 of the article on Education, and beg leave to submit a minority report proposing a substitute for said Section 12.
This section as reported by the majority of the committee provides for the levy by the county of a one mill tax for schools. The majority claim this is local self ‑ government in behalf of better schools. The leading educators of this state agree that the cause of education would be greatly accentuated by a wise plan of local assessments for schools because of the local initiative and pride produced by a direct contribution by a community to its schools. Local assessments contribute to the interest in the schools as well as to its funds. Educators recognize the former as the more valuable contribution. The plan proposed by the committee has none of the advantages of local assessments.
The minority believe that both local and race initiative should be encouraged. The plan proposed by them has these two ends in view. They are aware that some persons have urged constitutional objections against the right of each race to contribute something to its own schools independently of the other race, but they do not believe these objections are well taken. In the Cummings law (175 U. S. p 528), the Supreme Court said "while all admit that the benefits and burdens of public taxation must be shared by citizens without discrimination against any class on account of race, the education of the people maintained by State taxation is a matter belonging to the respective States, and any interference on the part of Federal authority with the management of such schools can not be justified except in the case of a clear and unmistakable disregard of the rights secured by the supreme law of the land."
The court was considering an application for "an injunction that would only impair the efficiency of the High school, provided for the white children, or compel the board to close it." The court said: "If that were done, the result would only be to take from white children educational privileges enjoyed by their without giving to colored children additional opportunities for the education furnished in High schools." The colored school children of the county would not be advanced in the matter of their education by a decree compelling the defendant board to cease giving support to a High school for white children," and the injunction was denied.
In the Owensboro case (1 Federal Reporter, 297), the court held that the city of Owensboro did not have the right to impose taxes upon all the citizens of the city of Owensboro "without re‑
ward to their willingness or unwillingness to be taxed," and then distribute the proceeds between the races on an unfair and unequal classification or basis." Here the governmental agency was exercising its power to tax all persons alike and its power to distribute one way for the white people and another way for the colored people. The court held that this did not give to all persons within the jurisdiction of the city of Owensboro the equal protection of the laws and was violative of the Fourteenth amendment.
In the Puitt case (94 N. C. 709), the court held that the Statutes of the State of North Carolina, which provided that white voters in a township might vote to levy a special assessment upon property belonging to white persons for school purposes was violative of two provisions of the Constitution of that State. One providing that all tat should be uniform and the other providing that there should be no discrimination in favor of or to the prejudice of either race. The court refused to inquire into the consistency of the statute with the recent amendment, to the Constitution of the United States, but the court added: "It is not every distinction dependent upon race, or color, that comes in conflict with the Federal Constitution, but only when it produces inequality of rights or interests; and when this is the result the State legislation from which it flows is rendered inoperative. When the case essential privileges are secured to all, such legislation is valid and rests in the sound discretion and views of public policy of those who make the laws." One of the justices declined to admit that the plan of local assessment referred to was violative, even of the strong provisions of the State constitution. He says: "I am of opinion, that the statute authorizes in effect a local assessment and does not prescribe a public tax, in the sense of the Constitution, and that local assessments are not necessarily confined to particular real property to be affected by them favorably in contemplation of law.
It is universally conceded that the State may by its Constitution provide for separate schools for white and colored children without violating the Federal Constitution. If separate schools may, be maintained certainly separate districts may be organized for the patronage of such schools.
The section proposed by the minority proposes that white school districts may be laid out to the greatest advantage of the white people and that colored school districts may be laid out to the greatest advantage of the colored people.
It is provided by Section 1 of the article that the general school funds shall be so apportioned as to maintain equal school terms in these districts. So far it will be admitted that all receive the equal protection of the laws. The substitute further proposes to permit each school district to impose upon itself a local assessment the better to carry out the purpose for which the district
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was organized. In this right the colored districts and the white districts are equally protected. Each district is guaranteed from the general school funds reasonable school terms. If the members of one district see fit to impose on themselves a special assessment how can it be said that the other, which has the same right, is denied the equal protection of the laws. It is said that one district owns more property than another, the same may be said about the different counties under the plan proposed by the majority. The white race being given an opportunity to do something for itself as a race will no longer be irritated by the disproportionate share which they contribute to and receive from the general fund. The negro being given the opportunity to do something as a race will no longer be in the position of an absolute mendicant, and will have the opportunity of showing himself worthy of the large share he receives from the general fund. He will leave the opportunity of cultivating self ‑ respect and self ‑ reliance. Race pride and race fraternity will take the place of that suspicious envy which now manifests itself in the commission of those crimes which shock humanity.
The primary purpose of this Convention was to establish a more just relation between the two races and the State, and so to insure domestic tranquility and prosperity.
The divorcement of the white and colored school systems stand side by side in importance with the proper suffrage regulation.
John T. Ashcraft,
P. W. Hodges,
Substitute proposed by minority for Section 12 of majority report of the Committee on Education.
12. It shall be the duty of the County Superintendent of Education, or other school officer in each county by and with the advice and consent of the Court of County Commissioners, or body of like jurisdiction, to organize the white people of the county into white school districts, according to their respective needs and advantages without reference to each other as to territorial boundaries. Provided no incorporated town or city maintaining a system of public schools as provided by law, shall be separated into districts without the consent of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of such town or city.
For the purpose of building, enlarging, improving or furnishing school houses in any district, or for the purpose of supplementing the general school funds received from Federal, State, county,
municipal and other sources, the Court of County Commissioners, or body of like jurisdiction shall, as hereafter provided, levy a special assessment of not more than one ‑ fourth of one per centum in any one year upon the property of the white persons situated in a white district, or, upon the property of colored persons situated in a colored district; provided, no such levy shall be made except upon the request of three ‑ fifths of the voters voting at an election held for that purpose and residing in the district. At such election in a white school district only qualified white electors shall be permitted to vote, and in colored districts only qualified colored electors shall be permitted to vote. It shall be the duty of the Probate Judge to order such election in any district upon the petition of not less than one ‑ fourth of the voters who will be entitled to vote at such election. The order for such election shall state the purpose for which it is proposed to make the assessment, the rate of the proposed assessment and the number of years during which such assessment is proposed to be made. Notice of such election shall be given and the election held in such manner as may be provided by law for such special elections. No proposition shall be made at any such election to levy such special assessment during a period of more than four years.
When any property belonging to a corporation is situated in a white school district where a special assessment is to be made as herein provided such assessment shall be levied upon such proportion of the value of such property as the number of white children of school age in the county bears to the whole number of children of school age in the county. When such property is situated in a colored school district where such assessment is made, it shall be levied upon such proportion of the value thereof as the number of colored children of school age in the county bears to the whole number of children of school age in the county.
John T. Ashcraft,
B. W. Hodges,
PRESIDENT PRO TEM (Rogers) ‑ The report of the Committee on Education will be printed and taken up in regular order unless otherwise directed by the Convention.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) ‑ I move that the report be printed and lay upon the table and be taken up in the order in which it has been reported and be considered by the Convention.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ Such will be the order.
MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ In reading the article the word "dollars" in the 12th Section of the Article was omitted, if it is not in there it ought to be corrected.
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The clerk read the section again and the word dollars did not appear.
MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I ask unanimous consent to have it corrected by inserting the word "dollars."
Unanimous consent was accorded and the correction made.
MR. JACKSON (Lee) ‑ I rise to a question of personal inquiry. I would like to, know if the minority are offering their amendments now
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The minority is offering a substitute for Section 12 of the report which has just been read.
MR. JACKSON ‑ I would like to know if they have a right to do that now on the first reading.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The minority report is connected with the majority report as is always the case.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The report will take its regular course unless the Convention orders otherwise.
The Convention then proceeded with the regular order of business, and after the conclusion of the call of Committees:
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The next order is unfinished business. The question is can the amendment to Section 5 of the report of the Committee on Local Legislation.
MR. HINSON ‑ I wish to offer an amendment.
THE CHAIR ‑ There is an amendment pending.
MR. HINSON ‑ I offer my amendment to that amendment.
MR. FOSTER ‑ The amendment, I think was withdrawn.
MR. HINSON ‑ There was an amendment by the Chairman of the Committee on Legislation, and there was an amendment to that amendment by the gentleman from Dallas, and the gentleman froth Dallas by unanimous consent withdrew his amendment.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I have a substitute for the entire section.
MR. OATES ‑ The gentleman is quite correct. I had, for the Committee on Legislative Department, submitted the Section found in the present Constitution and on yesterday afternoon explained it, and the gentleman froth Lauderdale had the floor speaking against it, and at the time of adjournment I had been recognized for the purpose of propounding a question to him, but the clock struck the hour of adjournment and we quit at just that point. I did not get the opportunity to propound the question.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair so understands.
MR. HINSON ‑ My amendment has already been sent up. I have been recognized by the Chair, and the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale is out of order.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ I will state to the gentleman that the substitute has not been accepted, it has not been read or announced.
MR. HINSON ‑ I had the floor for the purpose of introducing my amendment, and claim it is in order to read by amendment.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The point of order is not well taken.
MR. O’NEAL – I had the floor at the time of adjournment.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The Chair will state that he has recognized the gentleman from Lauderdale, that is why he decided the gentleman from Lowndes was out of order.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I desire to have the substitute read for Section 5 and pending amendments.
The Secretary read the substitute as follows: “The General Assembly may by general law confer upon courts of County Commissioners, Boards of Revenue or other courts, or upon such other tribunals in each county, as may be created by the General Assembly, such powers of local legislation and administration touching such matters and things which are not provided by general law, and are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, as the General Assembly may from time to time deem expedient.”
MR. O’NEAL– Mr. President, the purpose of that amendment, or substitute, was not to confine the legislature to vesting legislative powers entirely in Courts of County Commissioners, Boards of Revenue or other courts of like jurisdiction. It authorizes the legislature to create in any county in the State such a tribunal as the necessities in that county may require, upon which can be vested such legislative powers as may be expedient. Now there may be counties in this State that are unwilling to confer upon the Commissioner’s Court any such legislative powers. The purpose of that substitute is to authorize–
MR. FOSTER ‑ I would like to hear that substitute read.
The Clerk again read the substitute.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I desire to state that the only change made in the original section is by adding the words "or such other tribunals in each county as the General Assembly may create," and changing the other words in the Section which say : "Touching all such matters and thins not provided by general law." The idea being not to require the legislature to confer upon such tribunal legislative power as to all matters not provided for by general
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law but such matters not provided by general law as they might deem proper.
MR. COBB– Is it necessary to put that in the Constitution in order to give the legislature that power Haven’t they that power without this in the Constitution?
MR. O’NEAL– I do not think so under the authorities which I read yesterday evening Cooley on Constitutional Limitation, and other decisions, that the legislature could confer power upon any other tribunal, without a provision in the fundamental law to that effect. The doctrine laid down in Cooley on Constitutional Limitations was that the legislature could not vest its legislative power in any other tribunal, and the legislature of New York, realizing that difficulty did provide in their Constitution a provision similar to this. Now we are not wedded especially to the idea of conferring this power upon the courts of County Commissioners. There is force in the argument that in some counties it might be dangerous on account of the character of the courts, hence we provide that the legislature can, whenever necessity arises, create in any county in the State, a special tribunal in which they might vest any matters of local legislation– that they think expedient. This don’t require the legislature to do it, but simply gives them a power if in the future a contingency of that sort should arise. In my judgment a General Assembly can provide by general law for most of these matters, still we cannot foresee what the future may bring forth, what we want to do is to provide for a contingency that may arise.
MR. WEATHERLY (Jefferson) - I desire to ask if the substitute uses the words “or other courts?”
MR. O’NEAL – It does.
MR. WEATHERLY – I think it might read better, since you have put in the word “tribunal” to strike out those words “or other courts” and let the word “tribunal” stand.
MR. O’NEAL – The reason that was left there was it might be expedient to give it to the Probate Judges in some counties.
MR. WEATHERLY– But really the Boards of Revenue and County Commissioners are only quasi courts, it is a legislative tribunal.
MR. O’NEAL – I believe the suggestion of the gentleman from Jefferson is wise, and I ask unanimous consent to strike out the words “or other courts” in the substitute.
There being no objection the words there stricken from the substitute.
MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I have been requested by Judge Coleman of Greene, who is now absent, to offer an amendment to the amendment to the Section.
MR. PETTUS ‑ I rise to a point of order. There are two amendments and a substitute pending and the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile is not in order at this time.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The understanding of the Chair is that the amendment is in order, or the amendment to the substitute. This is the substitute offered by the Committee to its report and there being but one substitute the amendment of the gentleman from Mobile is in order.
MR. PETTUS ‑ There is a misapprehension about the number of amendments pending if the Chair has stated the number of amendments correctly.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The Chair is informed by the Clerk that there are two amendments, therefore the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile is not in order.
MR. SENTELL ‑ I believe the question before the Convention is the amendment offered by the gentleman froth Lauderdale, is it not ?
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ That is the question before the House, the substitute for the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale.
MR. SENTELL ‑ I rise to discuss the question. It seems to me that the question of local legislation as viewed in the report of the Committee is not exactly the proper thing. I think it would be very unwise. If it is the purpose to confer upon Commissioner's Courts or other courts of like jurisdiction the power to legislate, I think it would be unwise. It seems to me that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery, that is substantially the same as in the present Constitution, covers the question, and is all that we need on this line. Now then, if the purpose of that is simply to permit Commissioners' Courts and other courts of like jurisdiction to put into effect general laws already passed on the subject, why then it might be all right. Now we know that under the law as it is at present in this State, any town may incorporate itself under a general law by making application to the Probate Court, and in many counties any district or section tray provide for a stock law district by making proper application to the Commissioners' Court, and it seems to me, Mr. President, that all that we want is to have a general law that provides for the proper courts to put into effect, this general law whenever it is desirable, and it seems to me that a general law might be passed that would cover every Section of local legislation that is presented by this Article. For instance, if it is desired to provide a separate school district a
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general law may provide that the Commissioners' Court may lay off separate school districts under limitations and restrictions that would be perfectly satisfactory, and the same would be true of every other section or a kind of local legislation that is prohibited by Legislature, but I think it would be very unwise and very unsafe if the purpose of this Section is to give to Commissioners' Courts power to legislate, because I do not think they ought to have that power. Now I think the amendment of the gentleman from Montgomery on yesterday evening covers the subject entirely, and is sufficient to give to the courts all the power that is necessary, and I shall oppose the report offered and the substitute offered by the Committee, using the words "the power to legislate" because I think that is a dangerous power to give to these minor tribunals. Now we know as a matter of fact that many Commissioner's Courts are very wise, and are good, conservative men, but it often happens that they are the contrary and do not know anything about legislation, and it would create a good deal of disturbance in the county and be the cause of a good deal of dissatisfaction if such a thing were adopted.
MR. PETTUS ‑ I desire to ask the gentleman a question: He says he does not believe the Commissioners' Courts ought to legislate. Does he not know that it has been held by the Supreme Court that the Commissioners' Courts are quasi legislative bodies, and don't they legislate in levying taxes, appropriating money, opening roads and other local questions?
MR. SENTELL ‑ I do not think that is legislation. They only do these things under the provisions of a general law that restricts and limits them, as I think is proper.
MR. PETTUS ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman further in respect if the legislature delegates powers of local legislation as proposed under this substitute would not they come then under the general law to restrict and keep them in proper limits?
MR. SENTELL ‑ If such were the case it would be all right, but I think it very unwise to put the word in there to delegate to them the power to legislate.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The question is upon the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale, is the Convention ready for the question?
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I would like to hear the reading of the substitute.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I ask unanimous consent to add a proviso to the substitute to be considered as a part of the substitute:
MR. BULGER ‑ We would like to hear the proviso before we give the consent.
The Clerk read the proviso as follows : "Provided, such courts or tribunals shall not be authorized to exercise such powers of local legislation except during a term thereof held exclusively for that purpose, and that such term shall not be extended beyond thirty days, and shall not be held more than once in two years, but special terms of such court for such purpose of not more than three days duration may be authorized to be called at any time by the Judge of Probate when necessary to consider one or more special subjects of local legislation ; and provided further, that the General Assembly may abolish such courts or other tribunals, and establish other courts or bodies with like and other powers in lieu thereof, when in the discretion of the General Assembly it may be deemed to be for the best interest of any county."
MR. deGRAFFENREID– I ask that the substitute itself be read.
The Clerk again read the substitute.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM– Unanimous consent is asked to add this proviso to the substitute of the gentleman from Lauderdale. The Chair hears no objection and the proviso will be added.
MR. OATES – I desire to consume a few minutes in opposition to the proposed substitute. It is in brief, this: Not only to confer upon the legislature power to provide for the doing–
PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The house will please be in order.
MR. OATES– In conferring or attempting to confer by this substitute power upon Boards of County Commissioners and others, powers of legislation, it proceeds to direct them how they can exercise these powers, and then the proviso is that if the scheme which it adopts does not work well that the legislature may change it and try another way. Now gentlemen of this Convention, there is no use of launching out into that kind of speculation and it has no proper place in the Constitution of the State. It is untried, it is entirely speculative, and there is no necessity for it. Then isn’t it safer and wiser to follow the beaten path in which we have moved and our legislature acted in the past than to launch out upon a new scheme of this kind. Why, sir, it may be said, and doubtless will be thought by some of the delegates, that the legislature under this amendment which I offer and which is found in the present Constitution have not enacted general laws for the doing of all these things which by the 30 or 31 provisions they cannot do after this Constitution is adopted, for the reason, not of the incapacity of the legislature to provide, but because these inhibitions have not existed hitherto, if they had, who has any doubt that our legislative bodies would have been equal to the task. Every delegate here knows that bills of this character would go to the Committee on Judiciary of the two Houses, composed
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in the main of lawyers, as able as the lawyers who largely compose this body. Shall we assume that they are incapable? What right have we to do so? They are such men as have been sent here by the people, and I presume that they are capable of enacting general laws. So far, sir, if we examine into the code and subsequent acts, we find that they have already provided several general laws for the doing of these things, which the legislature under the present Constitution had abstained from enacting in special statutes. The probate judge or probate court has jurisdiction of many, the court of chancery has jurisdiction, the circuit court has jurisdiction in some cases. Will you undertake to say by your action that the Committee on Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate are incapable of extending those laws and providing ably and wisely for all these things which cannot be accomplished by direct local legislation to be done. Why, it is not wise to confer such extensive powers upon the Commissioners' Court, composed in the main of good men, but men as a rule not experienced at all in the matters of that kind, and we get up more confusion, more trouble, infinitely more than results now from local legislation. Now, sir, the legislature or General Assembly, whichever it may be called, I prefer to call it legislature because it is one word, and everybody nearly uses it, it is common sense– the legislature is capable of dealing with the question. They can provide general laws under which all these things can be done and should they fail to do so– they may not act the first session ; some things may be overlooked; they may fail to agree on some, but the other provisions which have been adopted, and which I presume will be, do not deprive the people entitled to special relief from local legislation, where no general law has been passed. It should not, and there is nothing we cannot argue from any standpoint in reason that the Legislature is incapable of dealing with it. Now the amendment that I offer is plain and simple, no complication about it. Whenever you launch out and undertake to say how they shall do this, deal with this or that thing, unless you specify everything which the foregoing provision that has been passed on and adopted, prohibiting and denying the Legislature the right to do it, you get up inextricable confusion. room for doubt, litigation and trouble. Now listen carefully at this: "The Legislature shall pass general laws," not that they may, but that they shall pass general laws, under which local and private interests shall be provided for and protected. What farther do you want to go? You give them ample power and leave it to them to do it, but gentlemen supporting this proposition put in as a substitute for the section and pending amendment, not only undertake to confer the power, but they have undertaken to tell the Legislature how to do it, and with another provision if it don't work they can undo it and try another scheme. That should have no place in the Constitution. Here is a simple declaration that confers all the power you wish to give the Legislature or General Assembly, which ever you may call it,
and every gentleman can feel a guarantee that it will be properly attended to just as much and effectually as that body attends to other matters committed to it, and I hope the substitute will be voted down and this simple proposition adopted.
MR. BULGER– It seems to me that this Convention is going as far wrong with their limitation on the legislative power of this State, as the Legislatures in the past have gone wrong in enacting local laws. Now the proposition in Section 5 is to transfer from the representatives of the people in the General Assembly, from all parts of the State, the power to legislate, back to the separate counties by their Commissioners’ Courts or Boards of Revenue. Now, I understand they purpose of the committee in reporting this section is to simplify the local laws in this State and to make the laws easier to find and easier to understand, and to curtail the expenses upon the people of enacting local laws and to make the laws better and more wholesome to the people of the State. I submit, sir, this section, if adopted, will do neither; but will have quite a contrary effect in this State. It will not make the laws evidently any better or safer, because no gentleman on this floor will contend that his Commissioners’ Court at home is more capable of legislating for the people of his county than the General Assembly of Alabama, composed of 100 select men. In addition to that, they have a check upon them of thirty-three men in the Senate; and, in addition to that, they have the great safeguard of the veto power of the Executive of this State. I am one that does not believe the Commissioner’s Court is more capable of making laws for a county than this legislative body in Alabama. Therefor, I cannot believe that the laws would be better made. Now, Mr. President, will they be easier to find or easier to understand? I submit if the laws are put into one book, though it be as large as the largest book written, they are easier found and easier understood than if they are enacted in all the counties in Alabama and scattered all over the State, so no man might find them, and the wisest lawyer in Alabama cannot understand the laws, because they are scattered from one end of the State to the other, and they are put in sixty-six books instead of in one. I say as to that proposition, it falls to the ground. As to the expense of making these laws, I submit it will cost the people of Alabama largely more money to have their local laws enacted under this proposed section of the Constitution than it will for the Legislature to do it. We put in this Constitution a limitation on the time which the Legislature shall remain in session– fifty days. I have never known a Legislature in Alabama or in any other State to adjourn before its time expired by limitation. Now, if you take this work from the Alabama Legislature, they will give their whole time to as many general laws for local purposes as possible, and then to the general laws of the State. Fifty days is long enough to pass all the local laws necessary for the people of Alabama; and is long enough to
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pass all the general laws for our State. Now if these Commissioners in the different counties in Alabama are to be called together and organized into a legislative body, without limitation of time, as it appears from this ordinance, who can tell what the cost will be to the people of Alabama, though it comes out of the different counties of the State?
MR. O’NEAL– Will the gentleman allow me to interrupt him ?
MR. BULGER ‑ Certainly.
MR. O’NEAL– The substitute does limit their sessions. It limits their sessions to not over thirty days in two years; and to three days called meetings on each special subject; and not over three days when called especially to consider one or snore subjects of local legislation.
MR. BULGIER ‑ You multiply the number of counties in this State by the thirty days limit, and you will have more dollars to pay the Commissioners in Alabama than you have for the Alabama Legislature to do the same work. It makes no difference with the tax ‑ payer whether he pays his taxes to support a county institution or whether he pays it to support it State institution. It is a burden on him and it makes no difference into what treasury his mite may go. I submit that the cost of this legislation is not less than it will be under our present plan. I believe this Convention has already adopted an ordinance here by which they go too far in restricting the Alabama Legislature in enacting local laws; and I believe that we have committed it great mistake when we provided that the Legislature should enact a law and the Legislature should not be the judge of whether it was a local or general law, but that the courts should be the judge. I can see where many a hardship will come to parties who have vested rights under existing laws and afterwards those laws are declared unconstitutional by the courts of the country. I think one of the wisest decisions in Alabama is when the Supreme Court said that the Alabama Legislature was the judge as to whether its law was a local law or a general law.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ I rise to advocate the adoption of the substitute offered by the Chairman of the Committee on Local Legislation. It seems to me that this Convention in suppressing local laws have made a mistake that we are trying to do away with local legislation. If so, that is an error. The local laws of the State of Alabama are of far more importance to the citizens of Alabama than the general laws, upon the same principle that we are more interested in our Probate Judges than we are in the President of the United States. These large provisions, which every man recognizes, don't bear so directly upon the citizens. It has been asserted by the gentleman from Tallapoosa that it is
safer to trust the making of local laws to a hundred men of the Legislature and thirty ‑ three men in the Senate, than it is to the local county board. Now, Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Convention, you all know that is not the question. You all know that under what they call Senatorial courtesy to please a member of the General Assembly, one man comes here, not 100 nor 133, but one man comes here representing his county, sitting in the Senate over yonder, and can absolutely put through or block any legislation. affecting his county in the House. I speak from personal experience; and no argument can be made upon this question disputing the ability of local county boards to enact good legislation for a county, that does not reflect upon the people of that county. Who elects the members of the Legislature? The people of the county. Who elects the Board of County Revenues? The people of the County. I assert that the people of Alabama use more diligence in the selection of this Board than they do in selecting members coming to the Legislature of Alabama. Why? Because they have the vested rights of the county in their hands and they pass upon all matters that go before them; and in the expenditure of the peoples' money they are very careful. I know how it is with us, and I presume it is so everywhere else. When you have this local board in your county accessible to all the people of the county, you will never have any Columbiana or Calera business coming up before the Convention. That will stop hereafter and nothing of the kind will be possible. No secret sessions, no midnight passage of bills, no slipping bills through which are questionable because this board sits there confronting all the people, whether it be the Board of County Revenue or a board created by the Legislature of Alabama. Now, Mr. President, it seems to me that every argument is in favor of creating a local County Board rather than against it. Some gentleman has said it is the purpose to make laws easy to find. He imagines, I suppose, as a great many of them do, that we are making the laws of this State for the benefit of the lawyers of the State of Alabama. We are trying to pass laws for the benefit of the people of Alabama and I assert that in all counties the local laws are on record in books kept in the Probate office, just exactly like they are kept in the Capitol of the State of Alabama, and are as easy to find, whether passed by a local County Board or by the Legislature of Alabama.
MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) – Wouldn’t it be the same almost to require deeds to be registered in Montgomery?
MR. ROGERS (Sumter)– The same proposition. Now, Mr. President, I don't know that I can add anything more to the argument in favor of this section. It seems to me that this section is absolutely essential. You know that you cannot pass any general law, with our great diversed interests in the State of Alabama which would work equitably upon all portions of the State.
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MR. BULGER ‑ Do you believe that the Legislature can pass laws covering every local question that could arise in the State?
MR. ROGERS ‑ I am satisfied they could pass laws covering all local questions in the State; but whether it would be such a cover as would keep them warm in winter and cool in the summer, is something that I do not know, but I do know that laws in Walker County do not fit Sumter, and I know the people of Walker County know what they want better than the Legislature. And when these Boards are confronted with the people of their county, there will be no danger of such thing happening as took place before the General Assembly in reference to the Shelby County matter. And you will never have such an occurrence again as that in Alabama, if you will give to the local County Board the right to pass laws for the people. Of course, under the limitation of the Constitution of Alabama or under the limitations as suggested by my distinguished friend from Montgomery (Sanford) of the general laws of the State of Alabama. There can be no sensible argument urged against this proposition. Any man who would oppose it would oppose it upon the ground that his people have not got sense enough to select a wise Board to pass upon their matters, and that is the sum and substance of it. I would like to know if there are men sitting here in this Convention who think that their people have exhausted their senses in sending them here. Don't you suppose that they have got enough sense left to select men as good as you are? Why is it that these people can select such fine representatives to the Legislature and yet it is feared that they won't be able to select satisfactory County Boards to handle these matters?
MR. HARRISON (Lee) ‑ I desire to move the suspension of the rules to introduce a short resolution.
The resolution was read as follows:
Resolution No. 241, by Mr. Harrison:
Resolved, That the privileges of the floor of this Convention be and the same are hereby extended to Hon. John D. Little, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, and the Hon. B. S. Miller, a member of the House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, during their stay in the Capital of Alabama.
MR. SORRELL ‑ I desire to discuss the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale, and to say that I cannot agree to that amendment, because of the fact among the same reasons that we are going out into an untried field. On yesterday we took from the Legislature of Alabama the power to enact local laws. We are brought today, having done that, face to face with the proposition as to what now is our remedy for the enactment of those local laws. I thought at the time that Section 1 was adopted that we were
making a mistake, in that we were going too far along the line of prohibiting local legislation. Have we forgotten the fact that although sir, that right may have been abused, although measures may have been passed for the benefit of individuals, and although the Shelby Court House may have been established, notwithstanding this fact, sir, shall we neglect to remember that under the law as it has existed, under the law that permitted local legislation to be enacted, that Alabama has grown and developed. We have invited capital into our fields that has found a safe and profitable investment. On yesterday we struck down the right of the Legislature to create local laws, and today find ourselves seeking a remedy and a forum in which to seek and obtain a local legislation. I submit, gentlemen of the Convention, that the proposition as submitted by the gentleman from Lauderdale is not the safeguard that they call it. Talk to me about holding out of this Convention that local boards in each county can create laws. It is not because of any reflection I would cast on the Board of County Commissioners or Board of Revenues, but i submit, sir, that it is the history of the hill counties in Alabama that the Boards of Revenues and County Commissioners are not made up of men that the people of the county look to create their laws. Sir, it is an experiment that is untried and I believe would be unwise. Whenever you delegate the authority of law-making power to a few men selected in a county, I submit that it is unwise, it is untried and the results cannot be foreseen. I respectfully submit that the proposition as presented by the gentleman from Montgomery is fair and more preferable than the one presented by the Committee. One special objection that I have to the amendment as offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale, is the fact that they provide in there that the Legislature may absolutely suspend the Board of County Commissioners, oust them and create officers of their own, the very thing that such a howl went up in Alabama four years ago along the line that the authority and the right of the Legislature to take from office men elected to these places and place it in the hands of politicians to appoint them. I submit that the provisions appended to that ordinance offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale are unwise and unsafe to be adopted by this Convention. Unsafe because you provide in it that the General Assembly may suspend these boards and create any board of equal jurisdiction, or a board with equal and other jurisdiction, leaving it absolutely to the Legislature to abolish these boards and abolish this law-making power that they have created and placing it into the hands of their friends and fellow politicians. I submit when you go out into these untried fields, having , as I said before, taken from the Legislature the power to create local laws, we now find ourselves wandering around to find a forum in which to make our local laws covering each county in the State. I am not here to criticise especially the action of this Convention on yesterday, be
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cause it is spoken by the majority vote and I humbly yield to that majority, but I do say to you that today in seeking a remedy to establish these local laws that it is one of the most important questions that this Convention has faced, and the proposition as reported by the Committee, and as advocated by the gentleman from Lauderdale, I submit, gentlemen of the Convention, is unsafe and will not be for the best interest of Alabama to adopt it and let us find some remedy. Let us find some other way that would meet the universal approval of the State of Alabama, that we might enact our local laws, or go back into the hands of the men that from the day Alabama went into Statehood has enacted her local laws and had the pleasure of standing and seeing our State grow and prosper and if nothing better can be found go back to the old beaten paths and leave the question under the protection of the Legislature as we have one and all enjoyed it and hope again to receive the fruits that will come to Alabama in her prosperity and in her greatness.
MR. BLACKWELL– Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Convention: I am in sympathy, hearty sympathy, with the section offered by the Committee on Local Legislation. The gentleman who has just preceded me seems to have overlooked the great trouble we have had with local legislation and the necessity that exists for preventing, the General Assembly from legislating on many local matter. He seems further, to have overlooked the fact that if you take away from the General Assembly this power, there must be some body located somewhere that can attend to some local legislation for the counties. Now, Mr. President, I think it was in 1896 or 1898 that I examined and counted the laws and there are 946 local laws, and 48 general laws. In other words, nineteentwentieths of those laws are local in their nature.
Now, a legislative assembly costs the State of Alabama, as I am informed, about $50,000 a session and the nineteen ‑ twentieths taken by local legislation would cost $47,500. So the local laws cost the State of Alabama anywhere from fifty to two hundred and fifty dollars each. We have said by these thirty ‑ five excepted things that the legislature shall not hereafter enact laws on these subjects and who are we going to have to enact laws that the legislature cannot pass on ? How would you provide general laws that would cover the necessities of each individual county of the sixtysix counties in Alabama? This seems to be to be a carefully guarded section. It provides that the local legislative power shall be vested in the court of county commissioners or in a board of revenue or solve other tribunal established by the legislature of Alabama. Then, as a matter of fact, these are the parties who would know letter what are the local needs of the county than any others, and it would be less expensive to have them enacted there than anywhere else. Now, let me illustrate. A number of the last acts were to declare who should be liners between counties.
Now take such a bill. It is introduced. It is read three times and you have made the people of Alabama pay out about $300 for declaring that man a liner. Suppose you confer that on the Board of County Commissioners, that they shall say who is a liner. Then the party who desires to be declared a liner goes before the Board of County Commissioners and they, having to pass on it only once, can act on it immediately and with little cost, and, if necessary, it could be fixed so that the man himself would have to pay the expense.
MR. OATES– Cannot the Commissioner’s Court do that under existing law?
MR. BLACKWELL – It is not resorted to and I don’t think it can be done. It has never been resorted to between the counties. It has between beats, but not between counties.
MR. DENT – Would not that be administration and not legislation?
MR. BLACKWELL– It confers upon them powers, if they define that power now, and it is the power that is legislated upon now and that is called legislation when acted upon by the General Assembly, and there is no objection to calling its legislation, when acted upon by the Board of County Commissioners.
MR. DENT– I think that is the trouble. I would like to know what particular field of legislation you are going to confer on these courts. All of these matters referred to are matters of administration. The legislature provides the routine and they carry it into effect. And I want to know what particular field of legislation you want to confer upon these courts?
MR. BLACKWELL– Part of the duties generally acted on by the legislature and heretofore declared as special legislation, call it by what name you please, such as saying who are liners, and similar matters that have been referred to, stock law matters, matters pertaining to separate school districts and many questions of that character that you cannot legislate on now.
MR. SAMFORD– Would not the General Assembly, in passing general laws for the government of the whole State, with reference to these local matters, of necessity, place it in the hands of the courts of county commissioners or other courts as an administrative court rather than as a legislative court?
MR. BLACKWELL– I do not care what sort of a court you call it, whether administrative or legislative, and I have no objection to the legislature saying the character of subjects they shall take charge of. The legislature has had charge of these subjects and the courts have not exercised them. If they will designate these courts as courts to exercise authority over the sub-
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ject in the general law, I have no objection. But we have taken it out of the hands of the General Assembly and I want to locate it in a proper court in the counties and it seems to the every argument is in favor of it. The saving of expense and as to many thing, now legislated for in a local way, it might be provided that the parties who Obtain the local legislation should pay for it themselves. It may be that the matter is not in proper shape here exactly and that there should be some amendment fixing the number of days the court shall sit and the right of the probate court to call them in special session as the Governor has the right to call the legislature, and to fix the term that it shall remain in session and suggesting that they shall only pass on what is mentioned in the call, but with these safeguards I think that will be a proper tribunal to refer these subjects to.
MR. HOWZE ‑ I and satisfied the Convention is tired of speech ‑ making, but I ask indulgence for a few words only on this subject. It seems to me that the original section as reported by the committee is preferable to the substitute offered by the gentleman this morning. I was at first inclined to favor the amendment offered by the gentleman from Greene, Judge Coleman, but upon reflection. I do not think it advisable for this Convention to adopt the suggestion of that amendment, in other words, I do not think it advisable for the Convention to put the Commissioner's Court so completely in the attitude of a legislature. Now, my view is that many of the things that are enacted into local laws from these different counties are matters and things which can be obtained from the different courts of the State as courts, under the general laws even as they now, exist or as they could hereafter be framed, and that is not necessary for us as a Convention to lay so much stress upon the idea that we want the Commissioner's Court to act as the legislature, so I think it would be unwise for us to place into this Constitution a measure of that character particularly because many of these things that are asked for by the people of the counties should be paid for by the counties, asking them as individuals or as corporations and not be a tax upon the people of the general county. If it is obtained in the commissioner's court, you call say how persons applying for these things should be required to pay for them, as they apply for them. If you put it in the nature of a legislative act, why then no county can possibly be called upon to pay the expenses of it, where the individual alone should be required to pay. I think the amendment would suggest to the commissioner's courts that they are a legislature or a branch of the legislature and that they are called upon to sit for thirty days every two years, and there is no necessity for that. Many of these things are matters which would require but a few moments time to pass upon and enact. The present laws of the State provide ample time for the sitting of the Commissioners' Courts, not only for the things they are called upon to perform, but for what they will have to perform under
this Constitution if adopted. I do not think we should dignify the Commissioner’s Courts with the title of the Legislature to the extent we would go in the amendment tacked on to the substitute, and I do not think the substitute ought to be adopted, because the original section is ample. The original section says:
Sec. 5. The General Assembly may, by general law, confer upon Courts of County Commissioners, Boards of Revenue or other counts, 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.
I would much prefer that the word “legislation” should be stricken out, but it may have a good purpose.
MR. WEATHERLY– Why is it that the amendment of the gentleman from Montgomery which gives the Legislature a free hand to provide for these matters would not be better than the original proposition of the committee?
MR. HOWZE– My answer to that is this: I think it more a matter of expediency than anything else. In this Article we have stricken out many things that cannot now be added under local legislation, and I think the Article as presented here will let the people see the fact that a provision is plainly set forth by which remedies can be had.
MR. WEATHERLY– Directory merely.
MR. HOWZE– Yes, but it is something that the people can see and will inform them that there is some provision by which they can get relief for what has been taken away from them. I do not think there is much difference between the two propositions. One is as good as the other. But I believe the people of the State when they see this in the Constitution will see that the convention has attempted to put before them plainly where they may go to get relief fro what they may consider themselves deprived of by taking away local legislation.
MR. OATES– Do you want any further information to the people than this: “The General Assembly shall itself, under general law, provide how local and private interest shall be provided for and protected?”
MR. HOWZE ‑ I just answered that question virtually. I think they can get it there, and we point them in this Article directly where they may go, and we are instructing the Legislature now to authorize the tribunal, to give the relief they want. That is a difference, though I don't think it amounts to a great deal, but I do insist it will be better for us to adopt the course suggested in my remarks, and I hope neither the substitute nor the
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amendment will prevail, but that the Convention will adopt the section as originally reported by the committee.
MR. OATES ‑ It seems to me this matter has been debated enough, and without any intention of cutting off anybody, I move the previous question on the section and all pending amendments.
A vote being taken, the plain question was ordered.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is on the substitute of the gentleman from Lauderdale for the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Montgomery to the section as reported.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I ask unanimous consent to make an amendment to my substitute, simply changing grammar.
No objection was made, and the amendment was read as follows:
"Insert after the words ‘Judge of Probate’ the following: ‘Upon such notice as may be prescribed by the Legislature.’ Also strike out the words ‘and other’ after the words ‘with like’ and the list proviso of the substitute."
MR. O'NEAL ‑ The purpose of that amendment is to require notice to be given in the event the Probate Judge should call a session of the Board of Commissioners or the Board of Revenue or such other tribunal as may be created for the purpose of enacting special laws.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The question is on the adoption of the substitute offered by the gentleman from Lauderdale.
MR. O’NEAL– I want to make a few remarks.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The previous question has been ordered.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ But I have a right to conclude the argument.
MR. DENT ‑ I want to ask the gentleman a question. I have not heard any speaker who has advocated the clause under consideration draw the distinction I asked the gentleman from Morgan, that is, I and perfectly willing, speaking for myself, to confer upon the courts the power of administration over things upon which they have not acted heretofore, but I want to know exactly the field in which you are going to allow them to legislate. I suppose you have thought on that, and I want to know about it.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I will discuss that in my remarks.
Mr. President, there seems to be a general impression that the enactment of these provisions prohibiting the Legislature from
passing local laws upon certain subjects, strikes down the power to create local laws. That is not the purpose at all. The General Assembly still has the rights to pass local laws on all subjects, but it must not pass a local law on it subject which can be provided for by general law. The gentleman who was speaking a moment ago said that we have struck down the power of the Legislature to pass local laws. He has totally misapprehended the section. The gentleman from Tallapoosa said we will create sixtyfive local Legislatures in the State. Don't we now create in every town in Alabama a Legislature. Is not the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in every town in Alabama vested with legislative powers? There is it charter from the Legislature limiting and defining their powers, and who can say that any great evil has arisen in Alabama from conferring upon Boards of Aldermen the power of local legislation? Then, if no evil has arisen in the city or town, why should evil arise in the county in conferring upon some other tribunal of like character power to legislate on small matters of local concern? The Commissioners’ Courts ought to have some of those powers. The Supreme Court has decided that it is a court of quasi legislative powers. It is a court of raods and revenues, and all we ask is that you allow this court to exercise such powers of administration or legislation touching these small matters of local concern as the Legislature in its wisdom deems proper to vest in them.
Now it is not the purpose to give them any general powers of legislation. We have to put some confidence in the Legislature, and we have to assume that the Legislature is not going to abrogate its own powers and make Commissioners’ Courts in every County.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ Will these sub-Legislatures, or Commissioners’ Courts, be bound by the limitations we put on the General Assembly?
MR. O’NEAL– Not at all.
MR. ROBINSON– They can legislate on any of these subjects ?
MR. O’NEAL– They would be just like the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of a city. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen passes an ordinance–
MR. ROBINSON ‑ We have provided that the General Assembly cannot pass any special law and certain other enumerated matters. Now can the Commissioners' Courts pass laws on those subjects ?
MR. O’NEAL– If the Legislature vests them with the power.
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MR. ROBINSON ‑ Could they change the fees of Justices of the Peace in each beat?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, sir.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ Why not?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Because we enumerate a long list of matters in reference to which we forbid the Legislature from passing local laws.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ And a stock law is one of them.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ And we say in reference to those matters, they must pass general laws.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ But the General Assembly is not bound by that.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Yes it is.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ And would the courts take judicial notice of those acts of those county legislatures?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Let me finish answering one question before you ask another.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ If you object to it, all right.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ You will find this provision: "The General Assembly may by general law confer upon Courts of County Commissioners, Boards of Revenue or other courts, such powers of local legislation and administration, touching all matters and things not provided fur by general law." Now the Legislature is required by general law as to all matters or things that they are prohibited from passing local legislation concerning. Therefore, the Commissioners' Court could not exercise any legislative power in any of those subjects. I hope the Convention understands that. Hence it could not confer on the Commissioners' Court power to deal with the fees of Justices of the Peace or stock districts, etc.
MR. SMITH, M. M. ‑ Would it be necessary for each county to have an Attorney General to define what the law is for them?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ We have Solicitors in every county already; and the same argument might be made against conferring on Boards of Aldermen any power of legislation. You may say that you are conferring on the Board of Aldermen of Decatur or Florence powers to legislate. Who is to determine their power? It is to be determined by their charter. The Supreme Court says here is your power, you can legislate on the subjects enumerated .in this charter, and when you go beyond that charter, you violate the law, you have no power to do it and your legislation is void.
MR. WHITE ‑ These local legislatures are restricted as I understand except on the subjects which are covered by general laws. Is that correct?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, sir; I don't think you understand my position.
MR. WHITE– Won’t the local legislatures have the whole field except where it is covered by general law?
MR. O’NEAL – Not at all. How is that question? I don’t understand it.
MR. WHITE– Would not the local legislatures have entire control of all the field of legislation except that which is covered by a general law?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Certainly.
MR. WHITE ‑ Then they have everything that is not covered by general law.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Here is what I want to say in reply to that. The act which creates these tribunals or the act which vests legislative power in these courts, defines the subjects on which they can legislate. Hence the Commissioners' Courts could not go beyond those subjects. Just like the charter of a municipal corporation defines the subjects upon which the Board of Aldermen can legislate, and when the Board of Aldermen goes beyond the power conferred or that might be inferred from the grant or specific powers, the action is not valid. Now this Article on Local Legislation enumerates a long list of local matters as to which the Legislature is prohibited from legislating and as to which the Legislature is required to pass general laws, and if the Legislature carries out the mandate of this article and prepares general laws on all these enumerated subjects, as to which they are prohibited from passing local laws, they could not confer upon Commissioners' Courts or courts of like jurisdiction, power to legislate on any matter enumerated herein, but in all other matters they could.
MR. WHITE ‑ There will be sixty ‑ six of these Legislatures?
MR. O’NEAL ‑ Yes sir.
MR. WHITE ‑ Five members in each House?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Yes, sir.
MR. WHITE ‑ That would make 330 members.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ They have them now.
MR. WHITE ‑ We only have 100.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ But you have the Commissioners' Courts now.
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MR. WHITE ‑ 'Then you give thirty ‑ three days for legislative purposes which would make up an expenditure of $35,000, besides the local bodies?
MR. O’NEAL ‑ I have never made the calculation. But suppose it does cost $50,000. My information is that every local act in these volumes cost from $50 to $150 each. I get that information from the Secretary of State.
MR. PETTUS ‑ I want to ask a question which the gentleman from Lauderdale has partly answered. This Section is not self ‑ executing. I want to ask if the Commissioners' Courts have authority to pass any local legislation except on matters especially delegated to them by the General Assembly?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Of course not. The General Assembly in vesting the bodies with legislative power; will define especially the extent of their powers and the subjects over which they can legislate.
The time of the gentleman here expired.
MR. CUNNINGHAM– Can I have unanimous consent to ask a question?
The consent was given.
MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I would like to ask the Chairman of the Committee if this Section now pending is adopted, could the General Assembly authorize the Commissioners' Courts or such other tribunal as may be created to grant divorces or relieve any minor of the disabilities of non ‑ age, or change the name of any corporation or corporate town ?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, sir; That is provided by general law or the relief sought can be given in a court. The last part of the Section says: The General Assembly shall pass general laws as to the cases enumerated in this section.
MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ The point I want to arrive at is this : could the General Assembly, in passing a general law, delegate to the Commissioners' Courts the power to Legislate upon these thirty ‑ five exceptions or on any of them?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ On none of them, because on all enumerated subjects the General Assembly is required to provide general laws.
MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ But suppose one of those general laws were to delegate it to the Commissioners' Courts to pass on the granting of divorces or removing the disabilities of non ‑ age.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Granting of divorces is already inhibited there and the removal of the disabilities of non ‑ age.
MR. CUNNINGHAM– But what I want to know is, if we are transferring the authority from the General Assembly to legislate upon the questions here inhibited to the little sub-Legislatures created in the counties?
MR. O’NEAL– That is not the meaning of this provision, and if it is susceptible of such meaning, I am willing to amend it.
MR. CUNNINGHAM– Then I am willing to vote with you.
THE PRESIDENT– The question is upon the adoption of the substitute offered by the delegate from Lauderdale for Section 5, as reported by the committee.
A reading was called for, and the clerk read the substitute as follows:
The General Assembly may, by general law, confer upon courts of County commissioners, Boards of Revenue or upon such other tribunal in each county as may be created by the General Assembly, such powers of local legislation and administration touching such matters and things which are not provided for by general law, and are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, as the General Assembly may, from time to time, deem expedient. Provided, such courts or tribunals shall not be authorized to exercise such powers of local legislation except during a term thereof held exclusively for that purpose, and that such term shall not extend beyond thirty days and shall not be held more than once in two years. But special terms of such courts for such purposes of not more than three days’ duration may be authorized to be called at any time by the Judge of Probate upon such notice as may be prescribed by the Legislature necessary to consider one or more special subjects of local legislation, and, provided, further, that the General Assembly may abolish such boards or other tribunals and establish other courts or bodies with like powers in lieu thereof, when, in the discretion of the General Assembly it may be deemed to be for the best interests of any county.
A reading of the section for which the substitute was offered was called for and the minority report to Section 5 was read, being Section 5 of Article IV of the present Constitution.
THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the substitute of the gentleman from Lauderdale for Section 5 of the report of the Committee on Legislative Department, offered as an amendment to the report of the Committee on Local Legislation.
A vote being taken, the substitute was lost by a vote of 46 ayes to 70 noes on division.
THE PRESIDENT– The question recurs on the substitute of the Committee on Legislative Department for Section 5, reported by the Committee on Local Legislation.
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A vote being taken, the substitute was adopted by a vote of 91 ayes and 20 noes on division.
MR. ROBINSON ‑‑ I move the adoption of the section as amended.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The previous question has been ordered upon the section as reported and pending amendments, and the question is on the adoption of Section 5, as amended, and the ayes and noes have been called for, and the question is, is the call sustained?
The call was not sustained, and a vote being taken viva voce, the section was adopted.
Section 6 was read its follows:
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. O'NEAL ‑ In making the stenographic copy of the report, I left out two words which I ask unanimous consent to insert. Insert the words "is one" between the word "Article" and the word "which" in the fourth line.
By consent, the amendment was allowed.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I move the previous question of this sixth section.
MR. BOONE ‑ Will the gentleman allow me to offer an amendment at end. The amendment simply provides that the courts can take judicial notice of any municipal law.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Can they not do that now?
MR. BOONE ‑ No, they cannot; if those municipal laws are made private laws by this Constitution.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Would it be safe to allow the courts to take judicial notice of those municipal laws?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman yield for the amendment to be offered?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, sir; I don't believe I do.
A vote being taken, the previous question was ordered, and a further vote being taken, Section 6 was adopted.
MR. WATTS ‑ I want to offer an additional section.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ There is a Section 7 offered by the committee, which the clerk will read.
Section 7 was read as follows: The General Assembly shall pass general laws under which local and private interests shall be provided for and protected.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ That is just what we have adopted and we will withdraw that.
MR. HARRISON ‑ I move to lay that on the table.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ We ask leave to withdraw that section.
Unanimous leave was given and the section was withdrawn.
MR. BOONE ‑ Now I ask leave to offer an additional section.
The section was read as follows: Section 7. The courts can take judicial notice of any municipal charter.
MR. BOONE- I do not suppose that it was the purpose of this Convention in abolishing a law that has been in existence ever since the case of Albritton vs. City of Huntsville, 60 Ala., that the Supreme Courts and all inferior courts would take judicial knowledge of municipal charters. That decision was also announced in the case of Barnes vs. Birmingham, 89 Ala., and unless this amendment is adopted in every case against a municipal corporation you would have to go to the trouble and expense under Section 6 making municipal charters private laws, of proving them as the Supreme Court has again and again decided that a private law must be proved like any other evidence in a case.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Will the gentleman allow me to ask a question ?
MR. BOONE ‑ Yes, sir.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Could not the legislature in the absence of that provision pass a law making private laws evidence in court without further proof. Is not that purely a matter of legislative detail and ought that to be incorporated in the Constitution? Is it not simply a rule of evidence? You say that the private acts of a municipality shall be received in courts without further evidence?
MR. BOONE– Yes, sir.
MR. O'NEAL– That is a rule of evidence?
MR. BOONE– Yes, sir.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ Is not the power of the legislature to establish rules as to this matter unlimited?
MR. BOONE ‑ I do not know whether it would be under this subdivision or not. If you provide that it is a private law and
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thereby change the laws of evidence in this State, it seems to me that all those matters would have to be proved as any other matter of evidence. The minute this Constitution is put into effect it holds that it is a private law and being a private law it must be proved ; and from the time this Constitution is ratified and that law or rule of evidence is stricken down it would be a question whether the legislature could change it or not. But assuming it could change it, it could not be made effective until a meeting of the General Assembly to pass it. I ask the Chairman of the Committee to allow this to be put in and not abolish the salutary rule in the interest of people and cutting down expenses of municipal corporations in defending suits and also limiting the expenses of plaintiff's bringing suits against municipalities where it would be necessary to copy in, at expense, long charters. The charters of the city of Montgomery and of Mobile make hundreds of pages and I do not see any necessity for copying them in and I do not see why it should not be provided that the courts should take notice of such matter.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ The only objection I have is that the legislature can in their discretion provide any rules of evidence they may see proper. They can, by general law, provide that any private law passed by any municipality in the State shall be received in the courts without further proof. I am willing that this question be referred to the Judiciary Committee and if they say it cannot be provided for by the legislature. I am willing to let it come in here.
MR. BOONE ‑ No, I prefer to take a vote now.
MR. O'NEAL, ‑ Then I move to lay the additional section on the table.
A vote being taken the amendment was tabled.
MR. WATTS ‑ I offer an additional section.
The amendment was read as follows: Amend the report of the Committee on Local Legislation by adding an additional section, to be known as Section 7 as follows:
Sec. 7. No bill introduced as a general law into either House of the General Assembly shall be so amended in its passage as to become a special, private or local law.
MR. WATTS ‑ That, Mr. Chairman, is simply to provide for one omission in the Article on Local Legislation, to provide for amendments, so that a bill could not be introduced as a general law and then amended in its passage, so as to become a local law.
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ Have we not already adopted that.
MR. WATTS ‑ No, sir. I move the previous question.
MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ A point of order. That is an entirely different ordinance, and entirely different section and it has to be referred and read three times before it can be adopted. It is very dangerous to pass ordinances that have not been referred to a Committee, or printed, in direct violation of the rule. That is the point of order I make.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the chair that a Committee may amend its report, or any delegate may move to amend the report of the Committee, by changing any section, or to add additional sections, and the point of order will be overruled.
Upon a vote being taken, the main question was ordered.
MR. O'NEAL‑(Lauderdale) ‑ I move that the entire article on Local Legislation be engrossed, and ordered to a third reading.
MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) ‑ I have a little amendment, that I do not think the gentleman will object to. Just read it, and if he objects I will withdraw it.
The amendment was read: Amend by adding Section 8 to this article: nothing contained in this article shall effect dispensaries or schools now having rights.
MR. WATTS ‑ I move to lay it on the table.
MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) ‑ I ask unanimous leave to withdraw it, then.
The leave was granted.
MR. O'NEAL ‑ I now renew my motion that the article be engrossed and ordered to a third reading.
MR. VAUGHN ‑ Does that cut off the report from all further amendment?
MR. O'NEAL ‑ No, sir; after the Committee on Harmony reports you can amend it.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the chair after it is ordered to a third reading it is not open to amendment.
The next order will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries.
MR. WATTS ‑ I rise to a point of inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state the point of inquiry.
MR. WATTS ‑ Does it not require on this ordinance that the ayes and noes shall be called upon its passage?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ That will be necessary on the third reading.
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MR. COBB– It is now very nearly time for adjournment and before we go to another article, I move we adjourn.
MR. JENKINS– I ask the gentleman to withdraw that motion.
MR. COBB ‑ I will yield to the gentleman.
MR. JENKINS– I desire to ask leave to send up this petition, and to have it printed, in the official report.
Objection was made.
MR. JENKINS– I move that the rules be suspended, and that this petition be printed in the proceedings. It is from a respectable colored citizen of the State.
Upon a vote being taken the rules were suspended, and the petition is as follows:
Snow Hill, Ala., July 5, 1901.
To the Hon. John B. Knox, President, and Honorable Gentlemen of the
Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama:
Gentlemen ‑ Presuming that you have laid the report of the Suffrage Committee on the table for a few days in order that the citizenship of the State may have an opportunity to express an opinion on the subject, I beg you to lend an ear to the following, which is not intended so much as a discussion or opinion, as it is an humble petition:
Of the many grave and intricate questions which you are called upon to solve, perhaps none will engage more of your attention than that of the suffrage; certainly none is fraught with more difficulty, and danger of miscarriage. This is not strange in the light of history, for every nation known to history has had to deal rigidly with the question of suffrage at some time before it measured up to the world’s standard in political affairs. It is therefore, that the true citizen of Alabama finds himself in deep sympathy with the members of the Convention, many, perhaps all, of whom are sincerely trying to find a way out of the darkness created by unlimited suffrage, and a consequent appalling number of ignorant voters at every election, and the election too often, of unworthy, unscrupulous, and sometimes corrupt men to offices to which nothing but men of the highest integrity and the purest patriotism should be elected.
There is a public sentiment in the South today which decrees that the ignorant negro must be disfranchised, and however the young and intelligent negro may regret to see his ignorant father deprived of the right which came to him by virtue of the course of events, he must nevertheless recognize the necessity of some sort of reform which will tend to the purification of our politics. But he may be pardoned if he contend that whatever touches one element of our population ought to touch all under similar conditions. Not one of you will gainsay or even doubt the truth of the statement that
ignorance, immorality, and unworthiness should be taken out of the South's politics, whether it be the result of negro suffrage, Pole suffrage, or even white suffrage. One cannot read the report of your Suffrage Committee without sharing with them the great burden which they had to carry. Every word of it shows arduous labor on the part of the Committee. Nevertheless, it will not be strange if your honorable body do not accept the entire report as the panacea for all of Alabama's political ills and finally stamp it or any part of it with your disapproval. already some of the recognized leaders in our political affairs have published to the world their disapproval of the "grandfather clause," which allows young white men to vote because their fathers fought in certain wars and excludes negroes.
One can scarcely think that Alabama will, with a grandfather clause, follow the lead of other States which have not bettered themselves by the same. It will not be strange if intelligent men everywhere consider the grandfather clause unfair, unprogressive and a bar to the highest development of both races. If young white men throughout the State do not resent what would seem to place a premium upon ignorance for them and a premium upon intelligence for negroes, I am mistaken in my estimation of their race pride. If the poor and unfortunate class of white people do not resent the grandfather clause, and consider it a virtual acknowledgment of their inability to compete with the recently emancipated slaves, I am very much mistaken in their manhood.
Besides, gentlemen, if I may be permitted to ask a question, if the right to vote can come to any man by inheritance, can this right be confined alone to the battlefield? Must it be confined to the actual bearing of arms any more than to the other and higher duties, or as for that matter, the most menial task performed in time of war for the propagation of the same? Although Alexander Stephens and a thousand of his compatriots may never have fought a battle, or may not have borne arms in our civil war, what man of you would deprive the remotest of their descendants of the privilege of voting? Three millions of my race dug trenches, fed your mules, guarded your homes, and cultivated your lands that you might have subsistence while you struggled four long years with your brethren of the North; and though they did not actually bear arms, like many others who rendered valuable service to the Confederate cause, they did you a service without which you could not have waged the war so successfully for such a time: yet under the grandfather clause you leave them out while thousands of others with no better qualifications, who never fought nor supported those who did fight, will be enfranchised. But if we may leave the white man out of the account for a moment, and take the grandfather clause at its face value, I beg to advance the opinion that the Southern negroes who have advanced far enough in the arts of civilization to think for themselves, will learn to doubt your gratitude and to distrust your sense of justice if by this clause you permit six thousand negroes who enlisted in the Confederate cause, and their descendants, the privilege of suffrage while you exclude three million others who did not enlist, but who served you at your homes. and without whose service the war could not have been carried on.
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If you pass a law permitting the descendants of white school teachers to teach in the public schools regardless of other qualifications, and requiring all negroes whose fathers did not teach, to be examined rigidly for that privilege, verily it would not be more disastrous to the white race in the end than would the grandfather clause reported by your committee.
I sincerely believe that if you lay down a law which will operate in fabor of the white man because of his ancestry, and operate against the negro because of previous conditions over which he did not and could not have any control, it will be a great step backwards, for it seems to me that if we allow heredity to enter too largely into our politics we drift away from the basic principles of our institutions.
If Alabama incorporates in her organize law a grandfather clause, being a leading State as she is, some other less scrupulous State may take the matter further and by similar statues prevent the negro from operating certain machinery, and perchance deprive him finally of working at certain gainful occupations. If you establish this as a principle and follow it up there is not telling where we will find ourselves in the end. The South which has stood so long as the champion of the rights of the less fortunate people to labor at gainful trades and professions cannot afford to take any stop backward. Since th close of the Civil War Alabama has made great progress. It is left largely with you, gentleman, to say whether or not this progress shall continue. If you deal roughly with the negro in the matter of suffrage he may lose that sunshine which has for centuries characterized the race, and made him so valuable a counteraction for the austere white man, and become a disgruntled element in our population. On the other hand if you inaugurate laws that will operate with equal justice, he will learn to love you more than ever for your kindness, to respect you more than ever for your integrity, and will resolve to help you to push forward the interests of the grand State to which he forms a part. Any legislation which will tend to create a gulf between the races, to create the spirit of absolutism on the one hand and the spirit of distrust on the other, to disturb the tranquility of either race will be greatly detrimental to both.
Finally, gentlemen, we humbly beg you to remember that though we were forced here against our will, we have learned to love the land of our adoption; and if you of the dominant race will be generous in your dealings with us, generous in the matter of education, you will have at your door a people who will render you a service in the development of your State that cannot be rendered by any other people, a people who will not trouble your sleep with dynamite nor your waking hours with strikes. This is the people that appeal to you today to make a suffrage law (though the test be the severest that is consistent with reason) that will operate for all men alike. We could not ask less, but for this we contend as just and right.
Yours very respectfully,
Wm. H. T. Holtzclaw.
Leaves of absence were granted Mr. Graham (Talladega) for Saturday and Monday; Mr. Fitts for today and tomorrow; Mr. Miller of Wilcox for tomorrow and Monday.
MR. OATES ‑ I rise to a parliamentary inquiry. I desire the date announced that the report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries was reported. What was the date on which it was reported ?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ June 25.
MR. OATES ‑ Does not the report of the Committee on Banks and Banking precede that; it is marked the 24th?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Committee on Banks and Banking reported before the Committee on State and County Boundaries but the report of that committee was not made a special order while the other report was.
MR. COBB ‑ I move we adjourn.
The motion was carried and the Convention adjourned until 3:30 p. m.
The Convention reconvened at 3:30 o'clock p.m. and upon the call of the roll 106 delegates responded to their names.
Leaves of absence were granted as follows: Mr. Harrison for tomorrow; Mr. Jackson of Lee, for Saturday and Monday; Mr. Renfroe for today and Saturday; Mr. Macdonald for this afternoon ; Mr. Sloan for Saturday and Monday, Mr. Weatherly for this afternoon; Mr. Morrisette indefinite leave of absence on account of sickness in his family.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The next order will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries.
MR. CORNWELL ‑ I have a substitute to that I desire to offer.
MR. PARKER (Cullman) ‑ The substitute would be out of order.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman desire to offer a substitute for the entire report?
MR. CORNWELL ‑ Yes sir.
MR. PARKER ‑ There are three minority reports. The Substitute would be out of order now.
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THE PRESIDENT ‑ As the Chair recollects the rule, it requires the consideration of these reports Section by Section, and the gentleman will be in order to offer his substitute to each Section as it is called.
MR. CORNWELL ‑ My substitute could not possibly come as a substitute to each Section. The difference is so radical that unless to the entire report it could not be offered as a substitute for each Section. I do not see anything in the rules bearing on that particular question.
TH E PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will examine the question and rule upon the point of order in a moment.
MR. BLACKWELL– Under the rule, reports were to be considered Section by Section, and amendments were only allowable when the Section was reached to which the amendments applied. The custom in the Congress of the United States is that a committee makes a report, and the minority reports are considered and disposed of before anybody else is allowed to offer an amendment or substitute, so the Committee might perfect its article.
MR. OATES– I think my friend, the gentleman from Morgan, stated the rule a little too broadly, that is true where they substitute a minority for a majority report, but where it applies to a Section, that does not apply.
THE PRESIDENT– The proposition that the Chair has under consideration is a motion by the gentleman from Jefferson to offer a substitute for the entire article prepared by the Committee.
MR. OATES– Replying merely to the statement of the delegate from Morgan, he said the fundamental rule in Congress whereever there is a minority report it must be disposed of before any other amendment is in order. That is entirely true where the minority report is substituted for the majority, but where it relates only to one Section, that is not in order until that Section is reached.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Montgomery is not speaking to the exact question. The question now under consideration upon which the Chair would be glad to be advised by members who are faniiliar with parliamentary practice is this: The Committee on State and County Boundaries has submitted a report which is up for consideration. The motion of the gentleman from Jefferson is to offer a substitute for the entire Article. We have a rule that these Articles are to be taken up and considered Section by Section.
MR. OATES ‑ I stand corrected. I did not hear the first part of it.
MR. HARRISON ‑ We have no rule on that subject, but in the first report brought in the Chairman of the Committee moved to consider that report Section by Section, and that course has been followed. I have no recollection, I suppose the Chair has examined, but I don't think we have any rule on the subject, but are governed by the action of the Chairman of the Committee in making the report to be considered Section by Section.
MR. OATES ‑ Unless there is a rule that directs otherwise, under the general parliamentary law, it is competent to offer a substitute for the whole report.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ Then what would become of the minority reports to amend a particular Section? There are minority reports here directed to particular paragraphs or sections of this majority report. Now Rule 51 reads: "When an ordinance or article is reported to the Convention and a minority report accompanies the majority report, the ordinance or article accompanying the minority report shall be considered an amendment, and the same shall be printed and the ordinance or article shall be read a second time; and said ordinance or article and minority report shall be placed on the Calendar and be considered on the third reading of the ordinance or article."
MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ It occur, to me in that connection that the same rule would apply to the whole report as would apply to any section that was being considered section by section. The committee proposed an entire report, the minority of the committee proposes an amendment to the majority report or the report of the committee, and the gentleman from Jefferson proposes a substitute for the entire report. That being the case, it would be proper, it seems to me, for the Convention to consider, first, the substitute, then the amendment, and then the report under our rules.
MR. HARRISON ‑ I submit in the absence of a rule, the general parliamentary law applies. There was a minority report. The majority have a right to perfect their report so the Convention could judge between that report perfected and the minority report.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ What would become of the substitute ?
MR. HARRISON ‑ After the original report has been acted upon, that will be acted upon.
MR. ROGERS ‑ If the majority report is perfected, as he says, there would be no necessity for a substitute.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The general parliamentary rule in that the friends of the measure have a right to perfect it by amendment before substitutes for the entire Article would be in order.
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MR. OATES ‑ I rise for the purpose of concurring in the statement of the gentleman from Lee with this exception, it is owing to the nature of the amendment pending by way of minority report. Suppose it is in hostility to the majority report; it could not be said a perfect measure, and it is only where it offers an amendment to a portion of it, to a part, and that is for the presiding officer to decide, whether it goes to the whole or not. If only to a portion of it, I concur with him ; if not, then a substitute for the whole thing would be in order.
MR. COBB ‑ It does seem to me that there is no possible difficulty in this matter. As stated by the chair, it is a universal proposition of parliamentary law that the friends of the measure have the right first to perfect it before anything is allowed to attack it– especially when that comes from the committee of the body. Now, in order to perfect this matter, you have to dispose of the original report and the amendments to that original report. All must be disposed of before the measure can be said to be perfected, and my friend from Montgomery is entirely wrong when he asserts the proposition that there is anything to the contrary. I do not care whether it goes to any part or not. It is a part of the report of the committee having this in hand. You first consider the majority report, then you take up the minority report and see what you will do with them, accept them or reject them, and whenever you have accepted or rejected them, then there is before this body a perfected report of this committee, and then it is open to attack by anybody, either in sections or as a whole. Until it is perfected, these other motions, whether addressed to sections or to the whole, are out of order.
MR. HOWELL– I rise to a question of parliamentary inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman will state his parliamentary inquiry.
MR. HOWELL ‑ Does a minority report of a committee to a majority report stand the same relation as an amendment to the main question?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ Minority reports are treated as amendments.
MR. HOWELL ‑ Is it not in order, if that be the case, to entertain the introduction of a substitute for both the main question and the amendment?
MR. PRESIDENT ‑ A minority reports relate to amendments to particular sections only. Does the gentleman from Jefferson desire to be heard further on the point of order?
MR. CORNWELL ‑ I don't see how this substitute I am offering can come in and be considered section by section when
we are considering the committee's report; we take the committee's report, and there are two of them, in fact, there are three, but one especially readopts the present Article of our Constitution. Suppose the Convention should adopt that, what do you suppose would be done with the majority report then? You have covered the entire ground that the committee is supposed to look after: then my substitute has no place in the Convention. It would be no good. On the other hand, to offer a substitute after the report has been adopted by this Committee, what grounds would I have then to introduce it? This minority report is entirely different from the majority report, because the minority report covers the entire article and there is nothing left, yet it is signed by two men recommending the adoption of the present article in the present Constitution. If you adopt the majority report, then what will become of this minority report recommendation, and if you adopt either one or the other, what becomes of the substitute? The Convention ought to have the right to consider that substitute, it strikes me, before either one, otherwise the substitute is of no force or effect.
MR. WHITE ‑ This thought occurs to me, not being a parliamentarian, but as suggested by some that the Committee has the right to go on and perfect its measure.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ That is undoubtedly the rule.
MR. WHITE ‑ If that is true, where is the reason for going on and perfecting a measure which may be displaced for a substitute ?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The substitute is offered because the party who offers it supposes the measure is imperfect and need improvement by the adoption of the substitute. The friends of the measure, before that question is tested, hate the right to perfect their measure by amendment.
MR. WHITE ‑ Then, when would the substitute be in order?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ As soon as the friends of the measure have perfected it by amendment.
MR. WHITE ‑ When will we know that?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ You will know that as soon as they cease to offer amendments.
MR. WHITE ‑ It seems to me that with this, like everything else, that the substitute ought to be considered first.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ Going upon the ground that the friends of the measure have the right to perfect their measure and adopt this report section by section, before any substitute can be offered, I think it would be necessary to reconsider it after that is done before you could get it in. It seems to me clear when the section is adopted you would have to move a reconsideration of
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the vote by which the section was adopted before you could offer a substitute. It would be necessary to take the steps backward one at a time and reconsider, and then every Section of the report would have to be re ‑ considered before you could offer a substitute for it. It seems to me that is clear.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ There is a minority report which covers the entire article, the gentleman says.
MR. PARKER (Cullman) ‑ The gentleman is incorrect in that statement. It does not cover the first section or the fifth or sixth section of the article.
MR. PRESIDENT ‑ The Chairman of the Committee states that the gentleman is mistaken in saying that the minority report covers the entire article as reported.
MR. BLACKWELL ‑ I rise to make a further point of order, that there is really nothing before the House to offer a substitute for. It was simply stated that the next thing in order was the consideration of the report and it has not been offered by the Chairman of the Committee, nor has the Chairman been heard.
THE PRESIDENT– In the opinion of the Chair, in view of the condition of this article, the fact that there is a minority report affecting most of the sections and that there is a substitute which the gentleman from Jefferson desires to offer to the entire report, it will be proper to take the article up section by section when it shall be open for amendment before the sections are adopted, as amended, and before the sections are adopted as amended, it will then be open to proposition of a substitute for the entire article, and no reconsideration will be necessary. The Secretary will read the first section.
MR. PARKER ‑ I believe the Chairman has the right to explain the article.
THE PRESIDENT– There is no rule that I have been able to find which requires an article to be taken section by section. The gentleman may make his statement to the Convention.
MR. PARKER– In presenting this article of the Constitution to the Convention, the Chairman has no speech to make. I will simply content myself by saying that the Committee has carefully and patiently discharged their obligation and duty in accordance with our best judgment; and the result of its labors, is now the property of this Convention to do with as to the Convention seems best. I now move that we take up this article section by section, and if there area any amendments to the sections, they can be made as the sections are considered.
MR. PROCTOR ‑ I make the point of order that is already the rule of the House.
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ That was the rule adopted under the suspension of the rules when we took up the report of the Committee on Executive Department.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The records do not seem to bear the gentleman out. That was confined to that particular article. The motion is that the Article be taken up Section by Section.
And a vote being taken, the motion was carried.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will state that the gentleman from Jefferson will not be cut off from offering his article as a substitute at the proper time and before the Article is adopted.
MR. CORNWELL ‑ I will attempt to get the proper changes by amending the Sections as they come up.
The Clerk then read the following:
An Ordinance to create and define the State and County Boundaries, and to regulate the location of county sites, and the formation of new counties.
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That Article II. of the Constitution be stricken out, and the following Article inserted in lieu thereof:
State and County Boundaries, County Sites and New Counties.
Section 1. The Boundaries of this State are established and declared to be as follows, that is to say: Beginning at the point where the 31st degree of North Latitude crosses the Perdido River; thence East, to the Western Boundary Line of the State of Georgia; thence along said line to the Southern boundary line of the State of Tennessee, thence west along the Southern boundary of the State of Tennessee, crossing the Tennessee River, and on to the second intersection of said river by said line, thence up said river to the mouth of Big Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of Washington County, in this State, as originally formed; thence southerly along the line of the State of Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, thence eastwardly, including all islands within six leagues of the shore to the Perdido River; thence up said river to the beginning; Provided, That the limits and jurisdiction of this State shall extend to and include any other land and territory now acquired, or hereafter acquired, by contract or agreement with other States or otherwise, although such land and territory are not included within the boundaries hereinbefore designated.
MR. PARKER ‑ The only change made in this Section is the proviso, "Provided, That the limits and jurisdiction of this State shall extend to and include any other land and territory now ac‑
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quired, or hereafter acquired, by contract or agreement with other States or otherwise, although such land and territory are not included within the boundaries hereinbefore designated." This was added for the purpose if there should be any addition from the State of Florida, such addition would be within the jurisdiction of this State. I move the adoption of the Section.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ Unless some amendment is offered, the Convention will pass to the next Section. The Chair does not think it proper to adopt the Section in view of the proposition to offer a substitute. The Convention is now considering this report for the purpose of hearing such amendments as may be offered.
MR. DENT ‑ I would like to suggest a verbal amendment. I Would say “now held” instead of “now acquired.”
MR. PARKER ‑ We don't know just when this Constitution will be adopted. We are not particular, however, about the phrasseology, and if you want it we have no objection.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Clerk will read the next Section unless the gentleman wants to offer the amendment.
MR. DENT ‑ I offer that amendment.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ Send up that amendment in writing.
MR. DENT ‑ I don't care enough about it to write it. Let them pass on.
The Clerk then read Section 2 as follows:
Sec. 2. The boundaries of the several counties of this State as they now exist are hereby ratified and confirmed.
MR. PARKER ‑ That is substantially the same as the old Constitution.
MR. CORNWELL ‑ I desire to offer a substitute for that section.
MR. SAMFORD ‑ In view of the fact that the gentleman from Jefferson has stated to the Chair that he would not offer his substitute for this article, but would attempt to get his changes by amendment, it appears to me that it would be better to adopt these sections as we go along.
MR. CORNWELL ‑ I will attempt to get in by amendment, the changes I desire.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ We were simply pursuing this course in order not to cut off the gentleman.
MR. PARKER ‑ I move to adopt Section 1.
And upon a vote being taken the section was adopted.
MR. PARKER– I move to adopt Section 2.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ It is moved that Section 2 be adopted.
MR. CORNWELL– I have sent an amendment up to that section.
The amendment was read as follows:
“Until changed by the General Assembly as allowed by this Constitution, the boundaries of the several counties of this State as heretofore established by law, are hereby ratified and confirmed. And no new county hereafter formed shall contain less than 18,000 inhabitants, nor shall it have less assessed taxable property than two millions, as shown by the last tax returns, nor shall it contain a less area than 400 square miles; and it shall be entitled to one or more representatives under the ratio of representation existing at the time of its formation.”
MR. CORNWELL– you will notice as to that substitute, or amendment, whichever you choose to call it, that there are other sections in this article that deal more or less with the same matter; and if necessary I will have to offer another substitute along the same line as embodied in that amendment. We all recognize the fact that Alabama, when it was first organized, had 23 counties. Today we have 66. Our constitutional area for a county is now 600 square miles. I propose to reduce it to 400; but for information of the Convention I will state that further on I propose to offer a section, limiting the counties left to 600. That is, you can establish a new county, provided it has 400 square miles and so much taxable wealth. If you take into consideration what other States are doing, benefits to be derived from small counties in way of education, the benefits of brushing up against each other, the benefits to our country friends on account of better roads and local home government, which we all believe in, it will give our people opportunities they have not enjoyed heretofore.
MR. deGRAFFENREID– I move to lay the amendment of the gentleman on the table.
The yeas and nays were called for by the delegate from Cleburne (Mr. Howell) The call was withdrawn and was then renewed by the delegate from Sumter (Rogers), but the call was not sustained. And a vote being taken on a division the motion to table prevailed by 69 ayes and 21 noes.
MR. PARKER ‑ I move the adoption of Section 2.
MR. HARRISON ‑ Under the ruling of the Chair, were not amendments only to be considered and then opportunity given for the substitute to be considered?
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MR. PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair proceeded under that rule, but the gentleman from Jefferson announced that he would prefer to offer his amendments to each section as read.
MR. MOODY ‑ There is a minority report embracing Sections 2 and 3.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Secretary will read the minority report.
THE CLERK ‑ The minority report does not embrace Section 2.
MR. PRESIDENT ‑ The Clerk informs me that the minority report does not affect Section 2.
MR. FOSTER ‑ I think the Secretary is mistaken.
The Clerk found the minority report referred to and it was read as follows:
The undersigned member of the Committee on State and County Boundaries does not concur in the report of the Committee as to Sections 2, 3 and 4, and he offers as substitute therefor the following:
Sec. 3. The boundaries of the several counties of this State as heretofore established by law, are hereby ratified and confirmed. The General Assembly may by a vote of two ‑ thirds of both houses thereof arrange and designate boundaries for the several counties of this State, which boundaries shall not be altered, except by a like vote; but no new counties shall be hereafter formed of less extent than six hundred square miles and no existing county shall be reduced to less than six hundred square miles; and no new county shall be formed which does not contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to one representative tinder the ratio of representation existing at the time of its foundation, and leave the county or counties from which it is taken with the required number of inhabitants entitling such county or counties to separate representation. Respectfully submitted.
C. H. Miller.
MR. ROBINSON ‑ I want to offer a substitute.
MR. BLACKWELL ‑ I make the point of order that there is but one section before the House.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The chair will rule if the committee desires to perfect that section it will have the opportunity to do so; and also to perfect three and four.
MR. COBB ‑ I move the minority report be laid on the table so far as it affects Section 2. It is in the identical words.
MR. PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the chair pursuing the same ruling that the chair announced awhile ago, that we will pass over Sections 2 and 3, and then 4, and give the friends of the measure an opportunity, to perfect each section. Then the minority report will be in order, as it relates to all three sections. So, as there is no amendment to Section 2, the secretary will read Section 3.
Section 3 was read as follows:
Sec. 3. The General Assembly shall have power, provided that each house, by a majority of the members elected thereto shall vote in favor thereof, to submit to a vote of the people residing within the territory proposed to be taken from one county and given to another, a change or alteration in county lines, but no such change or alteration shall be made unless such proposed change or alteration shall receive two ‑ thirds of the votes of the qualified electors voting at such election, and provided that no county line shall be changed or altered so as to reduce any old county below 500 square miles or which shall reduce the inhabitants in any such county below the number of inhabitants to entitle the county to one representative.
THE CLERK– To which there are two minority reports; the one just read, which was signed by Messrs. Moody and Miller, and the other of which is as follows:
We therefore move to amend the report by striking out "five hundred" where it occurs in Section 3, and adding in lieu thereof the word "six hundred." Respectfully submitted,
J. E. Cobb,
John H. Parker,
MR. HOWE LL ‑ I have an amendment to Section 3.
MR. SANFORD (Pike) ‑ I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will state his point of order.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ The chair held a half minute ago that a minority had the same relation to the majority report as an amendment. That being the case, there are two minority reports, and that would be an amendment to an amendment and no more amendments can be offered until we can get rid of some of the amendments now before us.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ One of the amendment, offered by the minority relates only to one section.
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MR. PARKER (Cullman) ‑ Yes.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the chair that where one of the minority reports relate to the three sections, the other to one, the rule suggested by the gentleman does not apply, but the Convention will first consider the minority report which is confined by its terms to one section with a view of allowing the friends of the measure to perfect that section before the other substitute is considered, which relates to the three sections.
MR. HOWELL ‑ The chair will not entertain my amendment, then, until that is considered?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The minority report will be considered, and then the gentleman will have an opportunity of offering his amendment. The chair will suggest that the gentleman from Chambers withdraw his amendment. The secretary will read the minority report which relates to Section 3 alone.
This was done, and the amendment of the delegate from Cleburne was read as follows:
Amend Section 3, Article 2, by striking out the words "five hundred" where they occur and inserting in lieu thereof "four hundred."
THE PRESIDENT-- It seems to the chair the amendment of the gentleman should relate to the amendment.
MR. HOWELL ‑ I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment, then, and to offer it at the proper time.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ It can come in now by striking out “six hundred” in the minority report and inserting “four hundred.”
The change suggested by the President by unanimous consent was allowed, and the amendment was then read as follows: "Amend the amendment, the minority report, by striking out the words ‘six hundred’ where they occur and inserting in lieu thereof “four hundred.’”
MR. O'NEAL ‑ What becomes of the minority report signed by Messrs. Moody and Miller?
THE PRESIDENT ‑ That relates to the third section and it will be taken up as soon as the third section is reached.
MR. HOWELL ‑ I asked to be allowed to give a few reasons for offering that amendment.
I appreciate the fact that we will lead a forlorn hope from the expressions already had on this subject, but we have some reasons, and, to our minds, very plausible reasons, why the constitutional area of counties should be reduced to 400 square miles.
In the organization of this State in 1819 in consequence of the sparsely settled condition of the country, it took 900 square miles to make a county. Possibly that was well enough in that day. Thirty ‑ six years after that when the State had settled up and there was a demand and a reason for it, the Constitutional Convention of 1865 reduced it from 900 to 600 under which a number of new counties were organized in Alabama. Waste places were built up and people were situated much more conveniently at their county towns than they had been before. Thirty ‑ six years have come and gone since that and if there was a reason for the reduction of the area of counties in 1865 the reason is stronger now why the constitutional area should be still further reduced. I have no personal interest in the formation of any new county, because situated where my home is, it would be impossible for the creation of a new county to put me any nearer the Court House than I am at present and I have no pique or ill ‑ will against any town so that I have no interest in the formation of counties. I am too old to desire any office, and it occurs to me in framing this organic law that we hope will be the organic law for years to come, and in the rapid increase of the population and the development of our great State, are we prepared to say in all the years to come there shall be no county less than 600 square miles? There is to my mind a number of reasons for this measure. I appreciate the fact that the county towns, the Court House towns of Alabama as a rule are opposed to it because they are situated conveniently to the Court House and are put at no disadvantage in attending courts and going to the town and they feel like everybody else is the same way. They remind me very much of the old lady who went out visiting one evening and before she returned there came up a cold blizzard, and when she got back to her house she was nearly frozen, and she said to one of her servants, you hitch up old John and go to the coal house and get some coal and take over to Widow Smith's. While the man was hitching up she went in and got thoroughly warm, and then she went around to the coal house and said, "John, I think it is turning some warmer, and you need not carry the coal to Widow Smith's." So these gentlemen cannot appreciate the disadvantages of the people of the rural districts, that have to take a journey of forty miles to get to the Court House. I had a personal experience this winter. During our County Court, which is in the place of a Circuit Court, there were witnesses before the jury that had to travel anywhere from twenty ‑ five to forty miles and the weather was bad and the roads bad, and some of them had to walk and they were summoned and on account of the weather they refused to go. Attachments were taken and the Sheriff was sent and they were brought there and the Judge fined them $10. That is only one case out of many. Now they tell us if you disturb the present status of the counties it is going to beat the Constitution. I risk nothing in saying that that will be counterbalanced
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on the other side. I know sections of the country where they will say if this privilege is not given, let the Constitution go to the dogs.
There are various advantages that grow out of the organization of new counties. Compare the State of Georgia with Alabama. Everybody who knows anything about Georgia knows there is not a State in the Union whose citizens are better satisfied with their State and the conditions than the State of Georgia. While that State has scarcely more than eight or ten thousand square miles more territory than Alabama, she has 137 counties to Alabama's sixty ‑ six. Every man in the State of Georgia can get up and eat his breakfast, go to the county seat, and get back home before night.
A Court House in a sparsely settled district is a civilizer and an educator. I remember just after the war new counties were organized along the Georgia line under the Constitution of 1865. Up to that time men had to travel forty miles through the piney woods to get to the Court House. Now the court houses are built up and you can see the marvelous improvement socially and every way and all attributable to these county towns in their midst. They are great educators. A man lives eight or ten miles from the Court House and he goes out and talks to the doctor and the lawyer and the preacher and the merchant and then he goes back home with a fund of information which his family gets. You put him forty miles from the county seat and he never gets there unless the Sheriff is sent after him. I am surprised at the Chairman of this Committee. I remember and so does he some years ago that there was a mighty barren section up where his county is. It was said that a crow could hardly fly over it without carrying his rations. But there came a colony of Germans and settled down there and the first thing they did was to ask to organize a new county. Of course that was opposed by the fellows who live around the Court House. I remember that the Chairman of the Committee of the Legislature would not report the bill and it was reported by another member of the Committee, and we got the county of Cullman. and I am surprised that the gentleman from Cullman, coming here with a provision which practically says that we shall have no new counties, that we don't care about any others.
I don't care to protract the discussion further. I have given some reasons and I will say to my Court House friends, and I like them all, a better class is not in Alabama, and they are sincere in what they say ‑ that this article don't create new counties. It is to be left to the good sense and the wisdom of the people of the Legislature within years to come, and it is a fact within my personal knowledge that for thirty years the Court House towns have always controlled things, and unless they united on passing a measure it never passed. In view of that fact, I risk nothing in
saying that in years to come, it will be the same way, and in view of the restrictions thrown around that article about the organization of new counties and about the removal of court houses and the fact that the Court House towns have always controlled things in the Legislature, it seems to me you can take no risk in allowing this measure to go in, that unless there is infinite merit in a proposition to create a new county, it won't be done.
Don't let us shut the gates, so that in the next decade, when our population will be increased at least 25 per cent, and our great State filled up with people, we won't be able to form any new counties and some of our people will have to go twenty ‑ five or thirty miles to a Court House.
Now they say that it will increase taxation. It may, but if these gentleman who desire to form a new county are willing to assume the taxation, they ought to be allowed to do it. It is just like a fellow who won't allow his boys to go out and build him a home, but wants him to stay around home so that what he makes will go to the homestead. Let the boys go out and build their shacks and start to housekeeping. and in the years to come Alabama, instead of sixty ‑ six courthouses, schools and churches, will have 100.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ I do not feel that I can add anything to the remarks that have been made by the delegate from Cleburne. I simply want to go on record now as going in the band wagon of progress in this enlightened twentieth century. When States are first organized the counties are large, as a matter of course, because they have not a sufficient number of inhabitants or wealth to have smaller counties. But as the counties grow in wealth and the people increase, it has been the policy of all civilized countries to reduce the area of counties so that a mall could go to his court house and attend to his business in one day and get back home by night.
Another reason as has been stated by my friend is that the establishment of a court house congregates the officers of the county there and they build up improvements, schools and churches. There can be no reason urged against this reduction, except two. One is that it will reduce the pay of certain officers in the State of Alabama, the Probate Judges and other officers, who draw their living from the people of these counties. Another is that certain counties may be afraid if their areas are reduced they will lose a certain amount of influence which they have a in dominating the laws of the State of Alabama. But neither of these reasons is sufficient to retain these cumbersome counties, where men sometimes reside forty miles from the court house. I submit whenever a community has a sufficient amount of wealth and people and wants to establish a new county, we should permit them to do so. If they want to tax themselves, that is their business. They can't
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get out of paying their proportion of the debts of the old county. They are compelled, under the provision that we are to adopt, to assume their just proportion of the debt of the old county.
No injustice will be worked on anybody, and no reasons can be assigned why those who live around court houses now should want to retain the counties unchanged, because thereby they will get a little more money. The money those officers receive does not belong to them. It belongs to the State of Alabama.
MR. OATES ‑ The gentleman stated that new court houses here great civilizers. Don't that depend on the number of barrooms around them?
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ No, sir; it depends on the number of churches that grow there. Whenever you build a new court house you have a clerk and a sheriff and a probate judge, and from their very necessity they establish schools, and their wives build the churches, and the barroom can go to the devil, where it ought to go. It has nothing to do at all in the civilization of this country.
The delegate from Washington here arose.
THE PRESIDENT-Will the gentleman yield to a question from the delegate from Washington ?
MR. PALMER ‑ No sir: I don't want to ask a question. I wanted to make a speech.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ If that is the case. I shall desist, as I am sure we are all anxious to hear the delegate from Washington.
MR. PALMER ‑ I would like to give a bit of my experience in regard to these new counties. I judge from the looks of the majority of these men's faces that 90 per cent of this Convention live at and near the court houses and you cannot appreciate nor realize what a farther has to contend with who lives thirty or forty miles away from the county seat. I was born and raised in the county of Wilcox, in a prairie county, and I resided there all my life until three years ago last December. I lived at least twenty miles from Camden, the county seat of Wilcox, and the most of it was rough prairie road. At that time no railroad was built there and after standing it the greater portion of my life, that was one of the main objects of my pulling up and leaving my homestead in Wilcox County, to get into more convenient quarters. I moved from there to Washington County, and I now live within five miles of St. Stephens, with a perfect road, high and dry and level. No one can appreciate, no one can know or realize the convenience of a man living on a good road near his court house over one that lives in the remotest section with bad roads to get to his court
house. The thing is this: The officers build the court house, and I am sorry to say, the most of the attorneys there seem to think a great deal of the people that live a distance. They love them tremendously, and they are afraid they will tax themselves, and they are afraid they will spend their money in building court houses, for themselves. The court houses are built four our convenience, to keep our records, and so that all offenses against the law may be speedily tried. Now, you take men that live thirty or forty miles from the court house, and there is bad roads to it, and they will submit to almost any intolerance before they will push a prosecution against a man for any common offenses. The worry and trouble and labor of getting to the court house takes up so much time and expense that they pass over matters without prosecution, where otherwise, if they lived in close proximity they would push the prosecution.
Now gentlemen of the Convention, I am satisfied most of you live at or near court houses. They tell me that ninety ‑ six lawyers are in this body. If that is so, there must be ninety of them that live near the court house. It is a mighty poor lawyers who is going to get off in the piney woods and hills. Now, another thing: The old lawyers, the way things are fixed now, get all the clients and you young fellows almost stare to death. Right here in Montgomery I will guarantee that a large majority of the lawyers are hardly making a living. You are over ‑ shadowed by such a lawyer as the gentleman on my left and the one on my right, and you young lawyers hardly get enough money to allow you to smoke a few cigars and occasionally drink a little liquor. I would vote for my friend's substitute if he would leave out that $2,000,000 propo- sition. The 400 square miles is all right, but you put in the $2,000, 000, and that will kill the formation of a new county in every county in the State except Bessemer, which I think the gentleman is working for. But there is a safeguard in this. You get the population and get the representation and that is enough for you get population sufficient to support one representative in the Legislature and leave the old counties enough. That is sufficient. I hope the Convention will have consideration enough for people that live thirty or forty miles from the county seat and give up their selfishness ans some of you and develop counties and go into new counties and build and develop the new county. I am in hopes the convention will for the 400 miles amendment.
MR. LONG (Walker) ‑ I think the Convention is ready to vote on this proposition. There is only one county that has not made any progress and that is the county of Cleburne. It stands right close to the Georgia line where all that prosperity has been. I move to lay the amendment of the delegate from Cleburne on the table.
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The yeas and nays were called for by Mr. Howell of Cleburne and the call was sustained, and the result of the roll call was as follows:
Heflin, of Chambers,
Heflin, of Randolph,
Parker (Elmore ),
Carmichael, of Colbert,
Jones, of Montgomery,
Jones, of Wilcox,
Coleman, of Walker,
Davis, of DeKalb,
Smith, Morgan M.,
Graham, of Montgomery,
Graham, of Talladega,
Greer, of Perry,
Greer, of Calhoun,
Rogers ( Lowndes ),
Carmichael, of Coffee,
Jones, of Bibb,
Jones, of Hale,
Smith, Mac. A.,
Davis, of Etowah,
Total ‑ 36.
ABSENT NOT VOTING.
Coleman, of Greene,
So the amendment of the delegate from Cleburne was laid on the table.
During the roll call.
MR. BEDDOW– On this question I am paired with Mr. Selheimer. He would vote aye and I would vote no.
MR. MILLER (Marengo)– I now move to substitute the minority report of Hood and Miller for the other minority report of Cobb, Parker and Jackson.
THE PRESIDENT– The minority report seems to relate to three sections.
MR. WHITESIDE– I have an amendment.
THE PRESIDENT– We will settle the question as to the minority report.
MR. BLACKWELL– That minority report is to Sections 2, 3 and 4.
THE PRESIDENT– That is one minority report, and then one of the minority reports is confined to Section 3.
MR. MILLER– I have a substitute for Section 3.
THE PRESIDENT– You offer it as a substitute for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Morgan?
MR. MILLER (Marengo)– Yes, sir.
MR. COBB– Will it not suit your views just as well to strike out “five hundred” and insert six hundred?
MR. MILLER– No, sir, Mr. President, I yield the floor to the gentleman from Hale.
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MR. deGRAFFENREID– I offer as a substitute for the pending question, the following, which I ask the Clerk to read.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ For Section 3?
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ Yes.
THE PRESIDENT – Or for the amendment offered?
MR. deGRAFFENREID– And for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Morgan, yes, sir.
The amendment was read as follows: The General Assembly may by a vote of two-thirds of the Houses thereof, arrange and designate boundaries for the several counties of this State, which boundaries shall not be altered except by a like vote: but no new county shall be hereafter formed of less extent than six hundred square miles, and no existing county shall be reduced to less than six hundred square miles, and no new county shall be formed which does not contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to one representative under the ratio of representation existing at the time of its formation, and leave the county or counties from which it is taken with the required number of inhabitants entitling such county or counties to separate representation."
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ As I understand it, the amendment offered is the provision now contained in the Constitution with reference to counties and county boundaries, and upon the adoption of that as a substitute, I call for the previous question.
MR. BLACKWELL ‑ I will ask the gentleman to withdraw that. The majority of the committee have not been heard.
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I will withdraw, but wish to submit a few remarks. Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, the matter that is presented to you is one of some importance to the State. It is one that has been sprung in this Convention and was not discussed in the campaign before the people. This Convention was called for the purpose of reforming the suffrage of this State, with a pledge on the part of some of the members of this Convention at least, that the taxes of the State should not be increased, but that they should be decreased if it could be done. Upon those issues we went before the people. Upon those issues this Convention was called, and upon those issues most of the delegates to this Convention were elected by the people. We are not adopting a Constitution which will by virtue of our act be the supreme law of this State, but we are adopting a Constitution under a pledge that it will be sent back to the people for ratification by them. I am not informed as to the wishes of the people of Alabania upon this subject. I do not believe that there is a single delegate here who can truthfully rise in his seat and say that he is authorized to speak for the people upon this subject.
MR. HOWELL ‑ I am sir.
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ You are, but there are no others. I did not think that there was one who could say he knew what the people of Alabama desired upon this subject.
MR. HOWELL– I know what they want in my part of the county.
MR. deGRAFFENREID– In your part of the county. Excuse me, but ‑
MR. ROGERS (Sumter)– If the gentleman will permit a question, some days ago in your eloquent way you advocated increasing the pay of the Governor of the State of Alabama. Were you authorized to speak for the people of Alabama as to what they wanted done about that?
MR. deGRAFFENREID– We didn’t put it in the Constitution, either.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ But didn't you want to put it in there ?
MR. deGRAFFENREID– Yes, I wanted to and I am willing, so far as that small matter was concerned, to go before the people and say it was right.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ Will the gentleman permit another interruption?
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ Yes.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ We are willing to go before the people of the State of Alabama and say whenever you want countties of four hundred square miles, you shall have it.
MR. HOWELL ‑ I misunderstood the gentleman's question. I meant to answer that I knew what our people wanted.
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ In our section.
MR. HOWELL ‑ In my section.
MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I understand, and I did not challenge that. I suppose every man here feels that he knows something of the wishes of the people of his particular locality about this matter, but this is a subject in which all of the people of the State of Alabama are interested.
Now some gentleman has referred to the State of Georgia, where we know they have a number of small counties. It was only a day or two ago that a distinguished gentleman of that State, who was in the State of Tennessee, where I happened to be, said to me that he had read the report of this Committee, and
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that he wanted to say that the State of Georgia had made a grave blunder in providing for so many small counties, and that a number of the county seats of the counties of Georgia were mere court houses, with a store and postoffice, unable to keep in the officers and the dignity of it county.
But, gentlemen, there is another matter I desire to place before you. We came here as I have already stated, for the purpose of reforming the suffrage. That was the main purpose for which this Convention was called. We would not have been here had it not been for that subject. Let us be very careful not to load the Constitution down. Let us be very careful not to do anything here that may render it doubtful whether or not this Constitution will be adopted by the people when we send it back to them for ratification. Remember that it is a matter of the gravest importance to the State of Alabama, to its integrity and its prosperity, that we should be relieved from the ignorant and the vicious at the ballot box. Let us be careful not to do anything that will deflect the attention of the people from that subject when this instrument is back to them for adoption‑
MR. CORNWELL ‑ I move to lay that amendment offered by the gentleman from Hale, on the table.
MR. BLACKWELL– I will ask the gentleman to withdraw that for a while. The majority of the Committee have not had an opportunity to oppose the measure, and I would like to speak in opposition to the measure offered by the minority.
MR. CORNWALL ‑ I will yield to the gentleman.
MR. BLACKWELL ‑ In behalf of the Committee, Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention. I have no doubt that it is amusing to a good many of us here to see how readily we about face, in our ideas, when our interests suggest a change of front. You will notice, Mr. President, whenever we have got a measure here that we want to put in, we know it is not legislative in its nature and character, and whenever anybody else has got a measure that we don't want, we know that it is legislative in its nature and character. You will notice, also that whenever a thing is offered a gentleman does not want, he says we are loading down the Constitution. You will notice he says we have got up something that the people don't know anything about, and yet when he supports anything that the people have not been consulted about, why he says, I am willing to risk it before the people. I am willing to risk anything before the people in this matter.
Now, Mr. President, we live in a progressive age. The State of Alabama today has a population of practically two millions of people. The first limit in 1819 fixed the area of counties at nine hundred square miles to the county. In 1865 we had grown so that they said that six hundred square miles was a sufficient limit. We
have got twice as many people here today as we had in 1865, and we have grown much more rapidly since that time than we did from 1819 to 1865. Then if it were wise upon the part of our ancestors to make that change because of the increased wants and demands of the people and the population of the State, is it not wise for us to do it? We are growing on all lines, and this Constitution is not to last only for this year, or until the meeting of the next legislature, but the probabilities are that this Constitution will last for a half century to come. The probabilities are that in Alabama then, if we increase from now until that time as we have in the last thirty-five years, we will have seven or eight millions of people to accommodate before a new constitution is framed for the State of Alabama. Are we willing to say that because we have always done so and so that we are in favor of continuing to do so and so? Are we willing to say that w will have no better houses than our ancestors had? Are we willing to say that we will have no better schools than our ancestors had? Are we willing to say we will have no better roads than our ancestors had? Shall there be no room for growth and development? Is it necessary for the family to live in the same house it has always lived in? As a matter of fact I am informed today that there are counties in Alabama where they have to go as much as forty miles to get the court house, and we have h ad before this Committee petitions from people of St. Clair County, showing us that the topography of that county makes it practically impossible for those people to ever change the conditions and get to their court house with any more convenience, as there is a great mountain intervening between them and their court house. We have a statement made to us from Henry, Geneva and Dale counties, as to their inconveniences, being twenty miles or more from the records in their counties. The same statement is made as to a part of Bibb and Shelby counties, and the same statement comes from Bessemer and from a part of Tallapoosa.
MR. HOWELL– And Talladega and Clay.
MR. BLACKWELL– Talladega and Clay also make it. Now there are only two States in the Union that have a larger area for their counties than the State of Alabama, and they are the States of Texas and Wisconsin. As a matter of fact there are twenty-three States that have no limit at all as to county boundaries, and here in our sister State of Georgia, they have counties with as small a limit as one hundred and twenty-one square miles.
MR. SANFORD– As small as ninety.
MR. BLACKWELL– And in the State of New York they have counties with as small a limit as fifty-seven square miles. We all know that it is a fact that county seats build up towns. We know that the money invested in those towns becomes subjects of taxation, when frequently it is not a subject of taxation if it is
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kept in the pocket before it goes there. We know that they do build churches at such places. We know that they build schools there. We know that they become great civilizers and great educational centres, and frequently the commercial metropolis of the County. At this age of the world it seems to me, when the people themselves are willing to impose this tax on themselves as my friend from Washington said, they ought to be allowed to have the privilege and the opportunity of imposing the taxes, if they furnish additional conveniences to the people. Can you conceive of what Alabamians want for fifty years to come? I understand that in some of these populous counties now, and it is true in some of our North Alabama counties, that some of them have come to be so large that dozens and dozens of men, summoned before the grand jury, have to lay over and night, because the county is so big that as a matter of fact they cannot attend to the business and can’t summon witnesses in a day. New counties are needed in those places for the convenience of the people. That is what they are made for. There is no question of that. Are these unreasonable requests.
It is wonderful how anxious we are to keep the people from taxing themselves. It is said that the county officers are opposed to it. Why, sirs, as a matter of fact, some of our counties have grown so large that the fees of the offices of Probate Judge and Sheriff in those counties many times multiply several times the salary of the Governor of the State of Alabama. We understand that those selfish interests who get large fees out of the offices that they hold, will suggest to these men that we do not need new counties, but what about the great body of the people? These men are already provided for, abundantly provided for, and are we making a Constitution simply for the office holders of the State of Alabama, or are we making a Constitution for the whole people of the State of Alabama.
What do you think of its possibilities of this State. The State Geologist, in a report to the Governor, says that Alabama has eleven thousand square miles of coal, and it reads like a fairy tale, but he says that at the present rate of consumption it will last the world for two hundred and seventy ‑ five years. He says further that the money for taking that out of the mines, as a matter of fact, will be two hundred times as much as the value of all the property in the State of Alabama, and we have these inexhaustible resources and we all want to show what our possibilities are in the future, and yet here we are building not for the great masses of the people, but we are building apparently for those who do not want the fees of the offices cut down in large counties, where they are office holders now. The committee itself is conservative, and very conservative in its estimate.
What are you going to do with these demands for all the future? Are we to say that these counties with their present limits are to remain the limits for the time that this Constitution is to live? That is the idea of some of the members. As a matter of fact I hope that we will not be so short sighted as that.
In addition to the coal that we have mentioned, we have inexhaustible mines of iron, and we have the limestone rock to make the coal and iron into the merchantable product. We have all these resources in Alabama, and with the hope of the future, we see before us the gildings of a coming day, brighter, more prosperous, more hopeful, than all the days that have gone.
THE PRESIDENT ‑ The time of the gentleman has expired.
MR. McMILLAN (Wilcox)– Like the distinguished gentleman from Hale, I, too, realize that the primary object for which the Convention was called was to restrict the suffrage, and as far as possible to eliminate the negro from politics.
MR. HOWELL ‑ Will the gentleman allow a question? Please tell us why we have been here nearly fifty days and have never come to that question yet.
MR. McMILLAN (Wilcox)– As I say, I feel that was the primary object of our being called together, but when we take into consideration that the fundamental law that we are now forming for the people, which I believe the people will in their wisdom see fit to ratify, will be our fundamental law for twenty ‑ five or fifty years, and we must look to the future needs and necessities of our people, I claim that their necessities cannot be better subserved than by reducing the area of the counties. In the Constitution of 1865 the Convention reduced the minimum area of counties onethird from 900 to 600 square miles. At that time the population numbered 600,000. Today, sir, approximately two millions of people live within the confines of the great State of Alabama, and twenty ‑ five years from today, at the present rapid rate of progress, there will be approximately four millions of people residing within the borders of the State of Alabama. Shall we say then with these lights before us, to the independent and progressive people, that the same convenience, which sufficed twenty ‑ five years ago must suffice for one or two score years to come. With all the lights before us, will this not prove us as narrow, and not in keeping with the spirit of the age?
Furthermore, this report does not say that they shall but only makes such a provision possible. With the possibilities before the State, and with the great progress we are pushing on to, I say that the people should be let alone to settle these matters as they wish.
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Now, Mr. President, I contend that the formation of new counties will build up school centers. The material interests of the people will go forward, and the interests of the people will be better subserved, and I trust that the members of this Convention will grant the reduction.
MR .COBB– I merely desire to call the attention of the delegates who will give me their attention, to the difference between the minority report made by myself and another, and the minority report now under consideration as an amendment to it. So far as the extent of the area of the counties is concerned we are together. Both of these minority reports favor the retention of the area of six hundred square miles for the old counties. The only difference is that the minority made by myself accepts the majority report of the committee so far as regards the machinery by which new counties are formed, and county lines changed, which if adopted will force the question through the Legislature to a vote of the people affected by it. The other minority report confers upon the Legislature absolute power to make new counties without regard to the wishes of the people, so far as those wishes can be ascertained by a vote. That is the only difference.
There was no question before the Committee on County Boundaries which gave us more vexation anal caused more discussion than this question as to the area of the counties of the State. There are three propositions before you, and I beg the members of this Convention to get these three propositions well in mind. One of these propositions is, and that is the proposition of my friend here on my left (Mr. Blackwell) to leave not only the new counties with an area of not less than six hundred square miles, but to provide that no new county shall be formed with a less area than six hundred square miles. The majority report of the committee favored the establishment of an area five hundred square miles, both as applicable to new counties to be formed, and to the old counties from which these new counties are taken. My report contemplates leaving the old counties with an area of not less than six hundred square miles, and wherever it is desirable and practicable new counties may be formed with an area of not less than four hundred square miles. Now these are the three propositions that are to be presented for your consideration. I say this, not because these propositions are now before you, but it is in order that you may be advised of the course which is being pursued by the several divisions of the committee. The present proposition is whether you shall retain the majority report of 500 square miles, or whether you will strike out the word five and insert the word six. So that the pending proposition is that a county shall consist of not less than 600 square miles. That is the only question, excepting the question that I have just presented to you, touching the manner in which the new counties shall be formed, upon which there is a difference between the two minorities.
Now that is the whole question, and the whole case. I do not purpose now to enter into anything like an elaborate argument im support of my proposition of retaining 600 square miles as the area of the old counties. I am fully aware of the force of the reasoning which would ask a reduction from 600 to 500, but the reasons upon that side are not all of the reasons in the case. There is another side to this proposition, and just to give you a few pointers, in the first place, by reducing the area of the counties from 600 square miles , now obtaining in the old counties, to a lesser number of square miles, you destroy the symetry of the old counties. Further than that, you incur the danger of leaving old counties and making new counties with an insufficiency of wealth in them to sustain the counties with the proper dignity. My friend here speaks of the small counties in certain other localities to which he refers. Small counties, gentlemen of the Convention, belong to the thickly populated States, where there is great wealth. They do not properly belong to a State where the population is not dense enough to enable each one of the counties with dignity to sustain the county which they form. With respect to what has been said of Georgia, the gentleman is entirely off the track when he says that the people of Georgia are content with their present condition.
MR. HOWELL ‑ Do you think the dignity of a county is paramount to its convenience?
MR. COBB– Yes, sir, I do; emphatically yes; but there is no conflict between the dignity and the convenience. Convenience is a relative term. It is not absolute, and, therefore, what you may call convenience under one set of circumstance, would not be entitled to that designation under other and different conditions.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter) ‑ What do you call the dignity?
MR. COBB ‑ The dignity is the power of a county, being a part of the government of a State, to maintain itself with dignity. With population enough, with intelligence enough to maintain itself, with that degree of dignity which applies to the State of Alabama, in providing for all the machinery of its government.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter)– How would you compare the dignity of Cleburne County with that of Jefferson?
MR .COBB– I cannot make that comparison, because I am not prepared to know anything about these counties, but I say that a county is not maintained with dignity as it is over here across the border in Georgia, where, as my friend over there told me the other day, a matter of his own personal knowledge, the Judge of the Ordinary, (corresponding to the Judge of Probate of Alabama), could not get fees enough out of his office to support himself, and, therefore, he had about six days in the week to work on his farm, and had one day to come to town to attend to business.
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MR. SANFORD- That is a blessed condition.
MR. COBB– The same way with the sheriff, and the same with with the other officers. My friend says that is a blessed condition. His idea of government is quite different from mine. The idea that a county shall be formed, without the ability to provide for these officers, who should stay in their places of business every day in the week, and who should have pay enough to relieve them of the necessity of pulling the ropes over a mule six days in a week.
THE PRESIDENT – The time of the gentleman has expired.
MR. SANFORD– I move that he be allowed to continue his argument.
MR. COBB– No, I do not care to consume further time.
MR. PARKER (Elmore)– Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, I am very diffident when, for the first time, I appear on the floor since this Constitution convened, and if I was not impelled by a sense of duty, to express myself on this occasion, I would content myself, as I have in the past, by listening to the speeches of others and voting on the pending question. But I feel that it is my duty to make some remarks in line with the minority report that has been submitted to this Convention on this question. As Judge Cobb, who has just preceded me, has said, we do not take issue with the amendments proposed by the gentleman from Hale in all particulars, but I deem that it is proper now to say what I have to say in reference to this question of counties and county boundaries.
Mr. President, this is an economic question. The conditions in Alabama are such that it is unfortunate any number of square miles should constitute the unit of county formations in Alabama. If we were for the first time forming a Constitution for the State of Alabama, and we had the diversified interests that we have now, it would have been wise for our forefathers to have taken into account not only the area in square miles necessary to constitute a county, but also its population and taxable wealth. If that were the condition today. We would have no trouble in arranging counties and county boundaries to suit the varied economic conditions in the State of Alabama, but the old Constitution has fixed the constitutional limit of 600 square miles, under which most of the counties in the State were formed, and reducing the constitutional limit of the old counties would precipitate bitter fights in a great many counties in the State of Alabama and endanger the ratification of this Constitution. As has been already said, the purpose of this Convention, was not to consider economic questions primarily. The people are not prepared for this question. It was not discussed in the campaign, and I venture, to say that had the propositions that have been agitated on this floor been discussed in the campaign, the people would not have sustained the call for this Constitutional Convention.
Now, sir, as a member of the Committee on State and County Boundaries I take it upon myself to try and inform myself as to the sentiment of the people of Alabama on this question. I have sent letters all over the State of Alabama, and while it is true I had to write to the officers of the county governments because I did not know who else to write to, yet the answers to these interrogatories were almost uniformly against the proposition of cutting down the area of counties and they further said it would endanger the ratification of this Constitution. The answer comes back that counties are already up to the tax limit, and any reduction of area will reduce the revenues of the counties and will, therefore, produce opposition on the part of old counties. Now, sir, it the Convention will bear with me just a moment, I will read a circular letter which I have addressed to the officeholders throughout the State of Alabama,. I see gentlemen smiling when I snake that announcement, and they say yes, as a matter of course the officeholders in the State of Alabama are opposed to it, but sir, whatever is, is, and if it is the fact that the officeholders in the State of .Alabama are opposed to it, have we not got to depend upon the political agencies that called this Constitutional Convention, and helped to promulgate and produce this call? Haven't those same agencies, sir. got to ratify or reject it?
"As a member of the Committee on State and County Boundaries, which has decided upon a report by a majority of one in favor of the reduction of the area of counties, I desire information for my guidance and that of the Convention on this subject, before a vote is taken, and for this purpose I am sending out this inquiry to the various counties throughout the State. I will thank you to give your best information and reply to the following questions by return mail:
"First, what office, if any, do you hold in your county? Second, was this question an issue, or was it discussed in your county during the campaign? Third, what is the sentiment of your people on this question? Is it divided? If so in what proportion? How would a change in the present Constitution in this respect affect the ratification of the proposed Constitution If the area of counties is reduced will it increase the county rate of taxation?"
Now, sir, I received two hundred and fifty or snore letters in answer to that inquiry. I have taken the trouble to abstract one hundred and sixty ‑ three of those letters. The replies were this way: One hundred and twenty ‑ three answers say there was no agitation of the question in their County, and that it was not an issue and was not discussed; twenty ‑ eight say that it was discussed‑
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) ‑ I see it is about 6 o'clock, and I have no doubt he would like for the Convention to have the full
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benefit of the documentary evidence he has, and I ask the gentleman to yield to me to make a motion.
MR. PARKER ( Elmore) ‑ I will.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) ‑ The court house question is a very warm one here, but it is not so warm as the weather. We have done a hard week at work and as the thermometer registers one hundred and ten I move when this Convention adjourns this evening, that it adjourn to meet on Monday at 12 o'clock.
There were expressions of dissent.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)– I move a suspension of the rules for the purpose of putting that motion upon its passage.
MR. GREER ( Calhoun)– And upon that I call for the ayes and noes.
THE PRESIDENT– In the opinion of the Chair a suspension of the rules will not be necessary. The ayes and noes have been demanded. Is the call sustained?
The all was not sustained, and upon a vote being taken a division was demanded. The secretaries expressed doubt as to the correctness of their figures.
The clock struck the hour of 6 o’clock.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)–I now make the point of order that under the rules this Convention stands adjourned.
THE PRESIDENT – The ayes were 36 and noes 45. The vote will be verified.
And by a vote of forty-four ayes and forty-seven noes, the motion was lost.
Leave of absence was granted to Mr. Vaughn of Dallas, for tomorrow and Monday, and thereupon the Convention adjourned.
In the third column, proceedings forty ‑ second day, during the course of Mr. O'Neal's remarks, the expression, "No, the gentleman from Henry said there is a masked battery behind every provision of the repeal."should read "every provision of the report."