Imagens das páginas

Mr. RATHBUN–I do not see why the amend- | tary of State, would have gone beyond the reach ment proposed by the gentleman from Erie (Mr. of the Legislature and the police of the city. Is Verplanck] does not effect the object and obviate it not better, after all, when the Legislature is in the objections wbich have been raised, and leave session to say "you are responsible for your the matter entirely clear for the Legislature. action as a Legislature; you are here for the They certainly know when they adjourn whether purpose of enacting laws, and we will hold a bill has been introduced five days prior to that you responsible for the laws you enact"; and if time. It removes the uncertainty and difficulty members of the Legislature shall fail to introduco of a prior esta blishment of the day for ad- bills a sufficient time before the adjournment, journment. I think it effects the object precisely. they must know, as a matter of necessity, that the

Mr. PRINDLE-It seems to me the amendment Governor cannot sign them, and they will necesof the gentleman from Erie (Mr. Verplanck], is sarily fail. On the subject of allowing the Gov. liable to important and serious objection. It ernor to sign bills after the adjournment of might be quite necessary that a bill should be the Legislature, one gentleman (Mr. Chesebro] passed in less than five days, and I think the in- has said he has changed his mind on that subject. stance cited by the gentleman from Westchester I hope if he has, other gentlemen have not, be[Mr. Greeley), a short time ago, would be an in-cause that very restriction is a restriction I believe stance of that kind. It seems to me it is better that will affect the very point we have up now. to strike this section out altogether. It must be I shall vote for the amendment of the gentleman evident to every member of the committee that from Erie (Mr. Verplanck), and I shall vote again it is a very difficult subject indeed. None of the to strike out the whole section, for I believe that amendments seem to reflect the object desired, amendment is the best we have had on that suband the discussions here by gentlemen who have ject. Leave the Legislature to act as a Legislahad very large experience in the Legislature, ture. Let the Legislature be responsible for their show to my mind that the scheme is entirely im- action, and if an occasion arises in which it is practicable. Besides, it seems to me we must necessary to pass a bill or repeal a bill have some little confidence in, and leave some Mr. SMITH-I would like to ask the gentleman things to the Legislature. Now, if a bill is in. if the rule of holding members to personal respontroduced within five days of the adjournment, it sibility is a good reason against passing this remust have the almost unanimous consent of both striction, why it is not equally good against any branches of the Legislature before it could pass. restrictions upon the action of the Legislature. Sir, if we cannot trust the large majority, Mr. WAKEMAN-We must recollect the obalmost the entire of the Legislature, that are ject for which the Legislature meets. They are elected here to take care of the interests of the here for the purpose of enacting laws. That is State, we might as well abandon all hope of good their province, and of course we cannot meet all government.

cases; it is impossible for us to tie them up. But Mr. WAKEMAN-If we are to have any re- it seems to me, sir, we are going a little too far. striction whatever, I am in favor of the amend. We have said a good deal in this hall on the subment of the gentleman from Erie [Mr. Verplanck]

.ject the corruption in the Legislature, and I But it seems to me when the Legislaturo meets, it believe it is right and proper to say it; it will should be responsible for its action. We have have its effect on future Legislatures, I hope; but already provided that no bill should be signed by we ought to be careful we do not go too far. We the Governor after the adjournment of the Leg- must be careful that we do not tie ourselves up islature. Now, when the Legislature is in session, in attempting to restrict the Legislature. We let us treat it as a Legislature, and hold its mem- must remember it is not the members of the Legisbers responsible for their action. I recollect in lature themselves, it is the people behind the 1857 a bill was passCA through the Legislature in Legislature, who may want laws enactnd, or have good faith for a seemingly laudable purpose, and it them repealed, and by restricting them too much turned out afterward that there was a fraud in it, it will not affect the members of the Legislature and the person for whose benefit it was passed went as much as it will the people behind the Legislato the office of the Secretary of State and was ture who will have necessity for legislation. about getting a certified copy of that bill for the Mr. CHESEBRO-I understand that the genpurpose of taking possession of certain persons, tleman is in favor of striking out this provision minors, when the real object of the bill was found entirely? out, and we repealed that bill within two hours Mr. WAKEMAN-Yes, sir. after the time notice of the fact came into this Mr. CHESEBRO—Then suppose there are one chamber. It became absolutely necessary. A hundred bills placed in the hands of the Governor designing man got that bill through, the precise on the last day of the session, what will you do terms I do not now recollect, but I know when it with them? was found out, there was an indignation in this Mr. WAKEMAN—They will see by having it hall that I had never seen the like of before, and understood from the commencement of the session the bill was repealed before the man could get that the Governor can sign no bill after the adpossession of the minors and before he could journment of the Legislature-members of the leave the city of Albany. In that case, after Legislature will conform their business to that finding out the design of that bill, it became ab. action. solutely necessary to take the step we did at Mr. CHESEBRO—But you are opposed to givonce. Now sir, if we had been confined to five ing them power to do that thing. days by the Constitution of the State, that man Mr. WAKEMAN-Let me go a little further, under a certified law from the office of the Secre- and answer the first question. I say that tho


Governor, understanding he cannot sign bills and those only, and they pass measures through after the adjournment of the Legislature, will the body of the Legislature, without any reflection make himselt acquainted with important bills that as to what they are, and they become in that way are introduced and ought to be enacted, and will laws. I wish to state a single circumstance in be prepared to sign the bills that the Legislature contradistinction to the position taken by the gen. will pass. Now, all I have to say is, and what I tleman from Genesee (Mr. Wakeman). I recolbelieve, too, that the people of the country are a lect a circumstance of this kind, where one of the little alarmed at our action here. A day or two most outrageous acts that was ever put on the ago I was attending the circuit for a single day. statute boks of the State of New York, was I heard an eminent judge, a former member of passed by both houses and became a law, and the Convention of 1846, in his charge to the grand went down to the office of the Secretary of State. jury, make this a point to them on the subject of It was all done within three days, only two days the purity of the ballot-box. In referring to that before the end of the session. When it got down portion of the statute which requires him to there it was discovered to be an outrageous act, charge the grand jury in reference to violation of and a storm of indignation arose in the upper election laws, he took occasion to refer to the house of the Legislature here, such as I never Convention now in session, and referred to the saw before, sir, and it was almost instantly recorruption of the Legislature, and he made it a pealed; and when it was found out, and it came point before that grand jury to say that he was down to this house, every one was busy with their fearful, in correcting the evils of the past, we own affairs and desirous of attending to their own might tie up the people by restricting the Legisla- business, because the time of adjournment was ture too much, and I only speak of this as a single fixed; and although it was attempted again and instance, and that we ought to be careful how far again to get the bill forward, on the ground of we go on this point of restricting the Legislature. the outrageousness of the act, to be repealed in Restrict them as far as you can with propriety, this house, it failed, and it remained on the but let us be careful not to go too far in order to statute book, to the disgrace of the State, and it reach the points that have been raised here. We was a year before it was repealed, but it gave rise had better hold them responsible for their action, to a storm of indignation at that time from all and say they shall not be restricted to five days, parties. The Legislature came together the next "but when you are in session, whether it be the year and repealed it among the very first acts it first or the last five days of the session, be care- did. Make it at least five days after the introful what kind of laws you pass."

duction of a bill before it shall become a law, and Mr. ALVORD—I have had some experience in give the Legislature time to look at it in the inthe Legislatures of this State, even back of the terest of the public, and you will cure the entire Constitution of 1846, and although the same pro- of this evil. "I trust, therefore, that the amend. vision which obtained in the Constitution of 1821 ment of the gentleman from Erie [Mr. Verplanck) obtained in the Constitution of 1846, yet the will not only prevail, but that it will be retained practice under the former Constitution was differ- as a portion of the Constitution; and then, in ent from the practice under the present. It had connection with the fact that the Governor is been the practice under that Constitution, sir, to bound to sign the bills before the Legislature adhave bills signed by the Governor before the ad- journs, we may have some remedy in regard to journment of the Legislature. Every bill which this very great evil of the past. was unable to receive the Governor's signature Mr. SCHOONMAKER- The object to be atbefore the Legislature adjourned was, as a mat- tained, as the gentleman from Onondaga [Mr. ter of course, as it was supposed to be under the Alvord] says, is to prevent hasty legislation. It Constitution itself, a defeated bill; and, sir, my strikes me the object is not fully attained by the recollection of those Legislatures is that it was a amendment of the gentleman from Erie (Mr. Verperfect turnpike road from each house of the Leg. planck], because it does not prevent bills from islature to the Governor's room, and that there being driven through by force of the previous was just as much hasty legislation in those days question at any time. They may have been inas there has been in days subsequently. That troduced four or five days previously, and subsevery many bills were passed upon the last day quently may be driven through by force of the of the session-hundreds in number-at the so- previous question in a single day. If an amend, licitation of members following bills into the Ex- ment is in order I have one drawn which I would ecutive chamber, which were signed and came like to offer at the proper time, which I will read: back laws, because they would not be laws un "No bill shall be passed in either house until less they received the signature of the Governor after it shall have been considered in Committee during the session of the Legislature. I do nol of the Whole; nor shall the final vote on its pasbelieve, myself, you are going to get rid of this sage be taken in either house upon the same day difficulty by having the Governor sign the bills it is reported by the Committee of the Whole.”. before the close of the session to the extent you Thai is an amendment which will prevent hasty desire. But, sir, I do believe that the gentleman legislation, but the amendment of the gentleman from Erie [Mr. Verplanck] has hit the right from Erie [Mr. Verplanck] will not. method in this whole matter. We have too much Mr. GREELEY-I do not still understand hasty legislation. It is legislation which, at the whether it means five days in each house or five last hours of the session, has no one else to at- days in the whole Legislature. [Laughter.] tend to it except the person directly interested in The CHAIRMAN-The Chair cannot inform it. Men get wearied out or get anxious in regard the gentleman except by reading the amendto their affairs, and are looking at those ment.



The question was then put on the amendment the State will hold them to a strict responsibility. of Mr. Verplanck, and it was declared lost. If in order, I will move to strike out the section.

Mr. SEAVER-I desire to offer an amendment, The CHAIRMAN—There is an amendment and I believe it will secure the end sought to be now pending. attaided.

Mr. BELL—I hope it will be reached immodi. The SECRETARY proceeded to read the ately. amendment as follows:

The question was put ou the amendment of Mr. Add to the section, “And the Legislature shall Seaver, and it was declared lost. at least ten days before its final adjournment fix Mr. SCHOONMAKER—I offer the following the day of such adjournment."

amendment: Mr. GREELEY-I hope the amendment will “No bill shall be passed in either house until not be adopted. We have fixed in this Conven- after it shall have been considered in Committee tion upon a day of adjournment, and I am afraid of the Whole; nor shall the final vote on its pas we cannot stand up to that. [Laughter.] I do sage be taken in either house upon the same day not see the propriety of fixing it so that it cannot it is reported by the Committee of the Whole." be changed because a few members desiring to em Mr. BELL—This will do very well for the rules barrass the action of the Legislature, might render regulating the manner of conducting legislatiou, the adjournment very injurious and mischievous. but it seems to me it is not a proper provision for I hope it will not be adopted.

a Constitution. Mr. KETCHAM-Though we have fixed on our The question was put on the amendment of Mr. day of adjournment for buncombe, I do not believe Schoonmaker, and it was declared lost. the Legislature will do any such thing. We fixed The question rccurred on the motion of Mr. our day, and gentlemen did not expect we would Bickford to strike out the section. adjourn at that time when they fixed it; it was Mr. REYNOLDS—I thought there was nothing but buncombe, sir.

amendment pending, offered by the gentleman Mr. SEAVER—I suppose that it will not be from Ontario (Mr. Folger]. necessary for the Legislature to fix

The CHAIRMAN-The Chair has not underMr. RUMSEY-Will the gentleman from Frank. stood the gentleman from Ontario (Mr. Folger] to lin (Mr. Seaver) allow me to make a suggestion ? have formally offered an amendment. If he will look on the next page he will see a Mr. WILLIAMS—I offer the following amend. provision that the Legislature on the day of final ment: adjournment shall adjourn at twelve o'clock noon. Add at the end of the section the words “ The proposition will fit in there better than any. cept upon the assent of two-thirds of the members where else.

of that house." Mr. SEAVER-I think the amendment I pro The question was put on the amendment of Mr. pose will come in here better than in the place Williams, and it was declared lost. indicated by the gentleman from Steuben (Mr. Mr. BAKER-I offer the following amendment Rumsey). Under this amendment, the Legisla- as a substitute : ture will

, at some period of its session, fix the day Sec. 7. No bill shall be passed or become a law of adjournment, which must be done at least ten at any session of the Legislature, except the same days before the day of adjournment. Now it works shall have been introduced at least ten days prior up to within three or four days of the time fixed; to the adjournment thereof, and in case any such it finds that the time is too short, and then, or even bill should pass the Legislature and receive the on the day fixed for thio adjournment, it can change approval of the Governor, the same shall be null the day; but it must be so fixed that it will be and void. always determined ten days in advance of the The amendment that I bave offered is substan. time of adjournment; and this will give five days tially the same as that offered by the gentleman for the consideration of all bills, and that, I think, from Erie [Mr. Verplanck]. The object of it is secures all that gentlemen desire.

to prevent the introduction of bills just about the Mr. BELL-It must be apparent to every one close of the session, when there is a large amount that no amendment that we can introduce here of business lying before the members — say from will meet every change of circumstances that may 1500 to 2,000 bills, calling upon them for exami. attend the legislative session. It is impossible tonation before they can give an intelligent vote. do so by a constitutional enactment. I think we The object of the amendment is to have a constihave spent sufficient time in endeavoring to per- tutional provision to prevent indiscreet, imprufect that provision. From the nature of the case dent and vicious legislation; and in my judgment it cannot be perfected; and the better way now, it is the duty of this Convention, if it is possible, after this vain attempt to amend it, is to strike to insert in the proposed Constitution a clauso out the section and pass to something else, leav- which will hereafter prevent what has given the ing this to the Legislature, as it must be left in Legislature in past times a bad reputation. I the end. There are so many circumstances com- have had some little experience as a legislator ing up in the course of a session that it will be within these halls; and I know the fact that in impossible to say when bills shall be introduced, or the last two days of the session, during the ses. when they shall be considered, or when the sions that I was here, the clerk passed more final vote shall be taken. Other rules will laws than the body of the house, and it was no unsufficiently establish the principles of legisla. common thing to adjourn and leave this city, a mation, and we had better leave this to the Legisla- jority of the members not knowing even upon what ture. It will be safe in their hands. At all bills they had voted. Bills would be introduced events, they will understand that the people of within the last forty-eight hours before the ad.

journment-bills that the members proposing The question was put on the amendment of them or the projectors seeking to get them Mr. Baker, and it was declared lost. through the Legislature would not dare bring The question then recurred and was put on the into these halls until they knew that the business motion of Mr. Bickford to strike out the section, had so accumulated before the body that they ard it was declared carried. had not time to examine them. Then they would There being no further amendment, the SECRE. come in, and in the hurly-burly and confusion of TARY proceeded to read the next section, as folthat town-meeting, as one gentleman describes it, lows: unanimous consent would be asked; and if the Sec. 7. After a bill has been fivally rejected by Speaker or the Clerk said it was granted, it was either branch of the Legislature, no bill or joint granted. If this provision that I propose is resolution containing the same substance shall be adopted, it will have this effect. The Legislature passed into a law during the same session. may keep on passing laws as long as they please, Mr. SCHOONMAKER-I move to strike out but no bill introduced within five days after ad. the words or joint resolution." journment shall become a law. I think that it is Mr. CONGER-I move to strike out the whole apparent to the intelligence of every gentle- section. This provision as a general ruleman in this body who has had anything to do Tho CHAIRMAN–The question is upon the with legislation, that all matters of impor- amendment offered by the gentleman from Ulster tance will be introduced before the last five (Mr. Schoonmaker). days of the session. It has been said by some Mr. SCHOONMAKER-It has precedence over gentleman

the notion to strike out the entire section. Mr. BELL-I would like to ask the gentleman The question was put on the amendment of a question. Will not the removal of the restric- Mr. Schooninaker, and it was declared carried. tion upon the session of the Legislature obviate Mr. ANDREWS-I have no amendment to this to a great degree?

offer, but in my judgment it is not safe to allow Mr. BAKER-What restriction ? I do not that set tiou 10 slaud. I hope it will be stricken out. understand the question.

Tlie question was then put on the motion of Mr. BELL-Will not the removal of the restric. Mr. Conger, w strike ont the section, and it was tion as regards the term of the continuance of declared carried. the session of the Legislature obviate that diffi The SECRETARY proceeded to read the culty? At present the legislative term is confined next section as follows: to one hundred days. By our present Constitu SEC. 7. No law shall be revised, altered or tion we do not limit the time. Will not this ob- amended by reference to its title only, but the act viate a great deal of this bad legislation that the revised, or the section or sections thered altered gentleman speaks of ?

or ameuded, shall be re-enacted and published at Mr. BAKER—I do not understand that the Con- length, and the act so revised, or the part or parts stitution of 1846 limits the duration of the session thereof so altered or amended, shall be repealed. It limits the payment of the per diem allowance There being no amendment offered to the secand that had the effect, I admit, to limit the ses- tion, the SECRETARY proceeded to read the sion to one hundred days; but there is no consti- next sectiou as follows: tutional limitation. The Legislature may continue Sec. 8. Tho presiding officer of each house shall in session six months.

sigu, publicly, in the preseuce of the house over Mr. BELL-But in effect is it not so ?

which lie presides, while the same is in session Mr. BAKER—The effect has been that the and capable of transacting business, all bills and body of the Legislature would not stay after their joint resolutions passed by the Legislature, and per diem stopped. That has been the practical the same shall not be so signed until they are fully effect in the Constitution. I allege that under my enrolled. substitute the great bulk of the important laws Mr. CONGER-I move to strike that out. will be introduced prior to the last five days There is no reason in the world for requiring the of the session every year; and it is only that clerical act of signing these bills by the Lieutenclass of legislation which is sought to be got ant-Governor and the Speaker of the house to through for special occasions-such as amending be done while the house is in session and in the some section of the code at the instance of some presence of the house. lawyer to produce some particular effect on a Mr. MERRILL-I hope the committee will suit that he is to try next week—that has been pause and reflect before it strikes out this section rushed in here within the last five days of the and deprives the honorable Senate and Assembly session--no, within the last two days of the ses from witnessing the spectacle of the presiding sion; and some counselor-at-law somewhere in officer sitting in his seat and 6 slinging ink" over the State

clause that perhaps the bills. [Laughter.] The practice has been 10 changes the practice of the State so as to admit send the bills to the room of the presiding officer, or exclude some witnesses or some evidence. where he could take it leisurely with his coat off That kind of legislation has frequently taken and run out his tongue, if that were his habit



, in place in the Legislature within the last forty- signing bills. [Laughter). eight hours of its session. If this clause be that this has been carefuily considered by the adopted, it will effectually exclude this; if it is committee and should not be stricken out without not adopted, it is apparent to my mind that this consideration. Convention do not intend to provide the remedy Mr. ALVORD-I have had the honor of being that I believe the people seriously demand, and the presiding officer of both houses of the Legis

: that their interests demand.

lature; and I have never signed any bills except

It seems to me

in this house or the house above, except bills of those words was that there should be a quowhich passed on the last day of the session when rum of the body present, not a mere fragment of it was impossible to do so while the Legislature the house. That was the object—that there was in session. On such occasions they have should be a sufficient number of persons there to been brought down to my room; but in no other be " capable of transacting business as a legis. cases during the periods in which I have had the lative body. If the words convey any other honor to sign bills. One great objection I have meaning than that, it is very easy to strike them to this section is that it devolves upon the presid- out and insert “while the house is in session and ing officer of either house, a very important and a quorum present." That would convey the prevery delicate duty, and that is to decide whether cise idea, as I understand it. That is a mere the Legislature is “capable of transacting busi. verbal amendment, which I propose to make, and ness." [Laughter.]

I offer that now-that the words “und capablo Mr. BICKFORD-I move to strike out the of transacting business” be stricken out, and the words in the third line, "and capable of transact. words “when the house is in session and a quoing business," and insert, " before they commonce rum present" inserted in lieu of them. lying round loose." (Laughter.]

Mr. BARKER—Were the words put in there The CHAIRMAN-The gentleman will please for any other purpose than of exacting from the send up his amendment in writing.

house any other capacitity than that it was duly Mr. BICKFORD–Perhaps I had better with organized and “capable of doing business," or draw it. (Laughter.]

does it demand some other qualification ? Mr. RATHBUN-Í am opposed to the amend. Mr RATABUN-It was not intended to call ment of the gentleman from Rockland (Mr. Con for anything more than that there should be a suffiger]. There is a kind of intuition, I know, in cient portion of the house present to transact busithat gentleman; and I am not certain but it is ness. perfectly reliable. Still, after a good deal of de Mr. BARKER-I did not know but that it liberation and consultation with some gentlemen meant sobriety. [Laughter.] of very respectable ability and of sound judgment Mr. RATHBUN-I now propose that the words with the concurrence of the whole number, 1 "and capable of transacting business," be strickmust be excused from giving way from their en out, and the words "a quorum being present " deliberate judgment to the intuition of the gen. inserted. tleman from Rockland (Mr. Conger). It is very Mr. GREELEY-I hope the motion to striko easy to move to strike out; but it may be very out will prevail

, but not the motion to insert. dificult to assign a reason for it. The proposition Because I can imagine a caso where, several memis in the hands of the Convention, and I have not bers having gone away, a factious minority might the slightest objection to their disposing of it in defeat a very important bill, by simply running any manner which they may see fit; but I would out of the house, and leaving it without a quoprefer that some examination should be made and rum. We are about to decree that the Legisla. some reason assigned, before they dispose of the ture shall adjourn at twelve o'clock on the day labors of the committee in that way, by a motion of adjournment; and if you put in these words, at to strike out, without reasons assigned. The con eleven o'clock twenty or thirty members may run mittee were in pursuit of an object (which per. out and leave the house without a quorum, and haps is not fully understood by the gentleman bills of importance may thus be defeated, I hope from Rockland (Mr. Conger], but which was to the motion to strike out will prevail, and I hope endeavor by such provisions as they thought the alternative proposition will not be inserted. would tend in that direction, to lay down, in all Mr. MURPHY-I do not know but this provigrespects, a line of conduct for the Legislature ion may be relevant and practicable, but I do not that would tend to a regular order of business, see how it is to appear that those bills were by which there should be delibration and decorum; signed in the presence of the Legislature. How and the public business should be done in a public does that fact become known ? manner, and to this end their judgment was that Mr. GREELEY-By the signature. the presiding officers of the two branches of the Mr. MURPHY-But suppose it was signed Legislature should put their hands to laws which when the house or Senate were not in session ? had been passed, and which were, after due con Mr. GREELEY-It would be a violation of the sideration, ready for the signature of the Gov. Constitution which I trust no presiding officer ernor, in the presence of the two houses, as the would dare to commit. Speaker of the House of Representatives does it, Mr. RUMSEY-I suggest that if it was an act and not in a corner. Now, sir, if it is wrong, it required by the Constitution, it would probably is very easy for the house to dispose of it by appear from the Journals that those bills wero striking out, or by amendment, or in any other signed in the presence of the house. way. In regard to the criticism upon the words Mr. MURPHY-How will it appear upon the " "capable of transacting business," I inquired the Journals ? meaning of those words. I had heard rumors Mr. RUMSEY-In the same way that any sometimes that legislative bodies, at certain hours other fact transpiring in the house appears. The of their deliberations and particularly during the Clerk will put it there; it is his duty. last hours—the small hours of night-were Mr. MURPHY-I can understand, if the prethought uot to be exactly fit to transact business. siding officer should announce that he has signed Whether that was or was not the intention of the such and such bills, or that he has refused to sign words used in this connection, was a subject of such and such bills

, a minute could be made by inquiry on my part; and I learned that the design the Clerk of that fact, and that that faet would.

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