Imagens das páginas

But there cannot be many cases, we should suppose, to which this ruling would be applicable.

It is also provided in the constitutions of some of the States that, on the final passage of every bill the yeas and nays shall be entered on the journal. Such a provision is designed to serve an important purpose in compelling each member present to assume as well as to feel his due share of responsibility in legislation ; and also in furnishing definite and conclusive evidence whether the bill has been passed by the requisite majority or not. “ The constitution prescribes this as the test by which to determine whether the requisite number of members vote in the affirmative. The office of the journal is to record the proceedings of the house, and authenticate and preserve the same. It must appear on the face of the journal that the bill passed by a constitutional majority. These directions are all clearly imperative. They are * expressly enjoined by the fundamental law as matters (* 141] of substance, and cannot be dispensed with by the legislature.” 1

For the vote required in the passage of any particular law the reader is referred to the constitution of his State. A simple majority of a quorum is sufficient, unless the constitution establishes some other rule; and where, by the constitution, a twothirds or three-fourths vote is made essential to the passage


any particular class of bills, two-thirds or three-fourths of a quorum will be understood, unless the terms employed clearly indicate that this proportion of all the members, or of all those elected, is intended.2

1 Spangler o. Jacoby, 14 Ill. 297; which requires separate action in Supervisors of Schuyler Co. v. People, every case, and that when resorted 25 III. 183; Ryan v. Lynch, 68 I. to, it is usually for the purpose of 160; Steckert v. East Saginaw, 22 avoiding another provision of the Mich. 101 ; People o. Commissioners constitution which seeks to preclude of Highways, 51 N. Y. 276. For a " log-rolling" legislation, by forbidpeculiar case see Division of Howard ding the incorporation of distinct County, 15 Kan. 194. There have measures in one and the same statute. been cases, as we happen to know, in 2 Southworth v. Palmyra & Jackwhich several bills have been put on sonburg R. R. Co., 2 Mich. 287; their passage together, the yeas and State v. McBride, 4 Mo. 303. By Days being once called for them all, most of the constitutions either all though the journal is made to state the laws, or laws on some particular falsely a separate vote on each. We subjects, are required to be adopted need hardly say that this is a mani- by a majority vote or some other profest violation of the constitution, portion of all the members elected,” The Title of a Statute.

The title of an act was formerly considered no part of it; and although it might be looked to as a guide to the intent of the lawmakers when the body of the statute appeared to be in any respect ambiguous or doubtful, yet it could not enlarge or restrain the provisions of the act itself, and the latter miglit therefore be good when that and the title were in conflict. The reason for this was that anciently titles were not prefixed at all, and when afterwards they came to be introduced, they were usually prepared by the clerk of the house in which the bill first passed, and attracted but little attention from the members. They indicated the clerk's understanding of the contents or purpose of the bills, rather than that of the house; and they therefore were justly regarded as furnishing very little insight into the legislative intention. Titles to legislative acts, however, have recently, in some States, come to possess very great importance, by reason of constitutional provisions, which not only require that they shall correctly indicate the purpose of the law, but which absolutely make the title to control, and exclude every thing from effect and operation as law which is incorporated in the body of the act but is not within the purpose indicated by the title. These provisions are given in the note, and it will readily be perceived that they make a very great change in the law.3

or of “the whole representation.” 107. Compare United States v. Union These and similar phrases require all Pacific R. R. Co., 91 U. S. Rep. 72. the members to be taken into account 3 The Constitutions of Minnesota, whether present or not Where a Kansas, Maryland, Kentucky, Nemajority of all the members elected is braska, and Ohio, provide that “10 required in the passage of a law, an law shall embrace more than one ineligible person is not on that ac- subject, which shall be expressed in count to be excluded in the count. its title.” Those of Michigan, New Satterlee v. San Francisco, 22 Cal. Jersey, Louisiana, and Texas are 314.

similar, substituting the word object 1 United States v. Palmer, 3 for subject. The Constitutions of Wheat. 610 ; Burgett v. Burgett, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, 1 Ohio, 480; Mundt v. Sheboygan, Arkansas, and California contain siin&c. R. R. Co., 31 Wis. 451; Eastman ilar provisions. The Constitution of v. McAlpin, 1 Kelley, 157; Cohen v. New Jersey provides that, "to avoid Barrett, 5 Call, 195; Garrigas v. Board improper influences which may result of Com’rs, 39 Ind. 66. See Dwarris from intermixing in one and the same on Statutes, 502.

act such things as have no proper 2 Hadden v. The Collector, 5 Wall. relation to each other, every law shall


In considering these provisions it is important to [* 142] regard,

1. The evils designed to be remedied. The Constitution of New Jersey refers to these as “the improper influences which may result from intermixing in one and the same act such things as have no proper relation to each other.” In the language of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, speaking of the former practice: * The title of an act often afforded no clue to its contents. Important general principles were found placed in acts private or local in their operation ; provisions concerning matters of practice or judicial proceedings were sometimes included in the same statute with matters entirely foreign to them, the result of which was that on many important subjects the statute law had become almost unintelligible, as they whose duty it has been to examine or act under it can well testify. To prevent any further accumulation to this chaotic mass was the object of the constitutional provision under consideration."1 The Supreme Court of Michigan embrace but one object, and that shall the title." The Constitutions of New be expressed in the title.” The Con- York and Wisconsin provide that“ stitution of Missouri contains the private or local bill which may be following provision : “No bill (ex- passed by the legislature shall embrace cept general appropriation bills, which more than one subject, and that shall may embrace the various subjects and be expressed in the title.” The Conaccounts for and on account of which. stitution of Illinois is similar to that moneys are appropriated, and except of Ohio, with the addition of the savbills passed under the third sub- ing clause found in the Constitution division of section 44 of this article) of Indiana. The provision in the shall contain more than one subject, Constitution of Colorado is similar to which shall be clearly expressed in its that of Missouri. In Pennsylvania title.” The exception secondly re- the provision is that “no bill except ferred to is to bills for free public- general appropriation bills shall be school purposes. The Constitutions passed containing more than of Indiana, Oregon, and Iowa provide subject, which shall be clearly exthat “every act shall embrace but pressed in its title.” Const. of 1853. one subject, and matters properly Whether the word object is to have connected therewith, which subject any different construction from the shall be expressed in the title. But word subject, as used in these proviif any subject shall be embraced in an sions, is a question which may some act which shall not be expressed in time require discussion; but as it is the title, such act shall be void only evidently employed for precisely the as to so much thereof as shall not be

same purpose, it would seem that it expressed in the title.” The Consti- ought not to have. Compare Hingle tution of Nevada provides that“ every v. State, 24 Ind. 28, and People v. law enacted by the legislature shall Lawrence, 36 Barb. 192. embrace but one subject, and matters 1 Walker v. Caldwell, 4 La. Ann. properly connected therewith, which 298. See Fletcher v. Oliver, 25 Ark. subject shall be briefly expressed in 298.


say: “ The history and purpose of this constitutional pro[* 143] vision are too well understood to require any * elucidation

at our hands. The practice of bringing together into one bill subjects diverse in their nature and having no necessary connection with a view to combine in their favor the advocates of all, and thus secure the passage of several measures, no one of which could succeed upon its own merits, was one both corruptive of the legislator and dangerous to the State. It was scarcely more so, however, than another practice, also intended to be remedied by this provision, by which, through dexterous management, clauses were inserted in bills of which the titles gave no intimation, and their

passage secured through legislative bodies whose members were not generally aware of their intention and effect. There was no design by this clause to embarrass legislation by making laws unnecessarily restrictive in their scope and operation, and thus multiplying their number; but the framers of the constitution meant to put an end to legislation of the vicious character referred to, which was little less than a fraud upon the public, and to require that in every case the proposed measure should stand upon its own merits, and that the legislature should be fairly satisfied of its design when required to pass upon it."i The Court of

” Appeals of New York declare the object of this provision to be " that neither the members of the legislature nor the people should be misled by the title.”2 The Supreme Court of Iowa say: " The intent of this provision of the constitution was, to prevent the union, in the same act, of incongruous matters, and of objects

1 People v. Mahaney, 13 Mich. memorable measure of the 17th of 494. And see Board of Supervisors January, 1795, as is well known, was v. Heenan, 2 Minn. 336; Davis v. smuggled through the legislature Bank of Fulton, 31 Geo. 69 ; St. Louis under the caption of an act " for the v. Tiefel, 42 Mo. 578. The Constitu- payment of the late State troops," tion of Georgia provided that “no and a declaration in its title of the law or ordinance shall pass containing right of the State to the unapproany matter different from what is priated territory thereof " for the proexpressed in the title thereof.” In tection and support of the frontier Mayor, &c. of Savannah v. State, settlements." The Yazoo act made 4 Geo. 38, Lumpkin, J., says : “I a large grant of lands to a company would observe that the traditionary of speculators. It constituted a promhistory of this clause is that it was inent subject of controversy in State inserted in the constitution of 1798 politics for many years. at the instance of General James 2 Sun Mutual Insurance Co. t. Jackson, and that its necessity was Mayor, &c. of New York, 8 N. Y. suggested by the Yazoo act. That 253.

[ocr errors]

having no connection, no relation. And with this it was designed to prevent surprise in legislation, by having matter of one nature embraced in a bill whose title expressed another."? And similar expressions will be found in many other reported cases. It may therefore be assumed as settled that the purpose of these provisions was: first, to prevent hodge-podge, or “ log-rolling” legislation ; second, to prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the titles gave no intimation, and which might therefore be over- [* 144] looked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and, third, to fairly apprise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the subjects of legislation that are being considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon, by petition or otherwise, if they shall so desire.

2. The particularity required in stating the object. The general

purpose of these provisions is accomplished when a law has but one general object, which is fairly indicated by its title. To require every end and means necessary or convenient for the accomplishment of this general object to be provided for by a separate act relating to that alone, would not only be unreasonable, but would actually render legislation impossible. It has accordingly been held that the title of "an act to establish a police government for the city of Detroit,” was not objectionable for its generality, and that all matters properly connected with the establishment and efficiency of such a government, including taxation for its support, and courts for the examination and trial of offenders, might constitutionally be included in the bill under this general title. Under any different ruling it was said, " the police government of a city could not be organized without a distinct act for each specific duty to be devolved upon it, and these could not be passed until a multitude of other statutes had taken the same duties from other officers before performing them. And these several statutes, fragmentary as they must necessarily be,

State v. County Judge of Davis provision in the constitution of that Co., 2 lowa, 282. See State v. Sil- State to be designed, among other Ter, 9 Nev. 227.

things, to assist in the codification of See Conner v. Mayor, &c. of the laws. Indiana Central Railroad New York, 5 N. Y. 293; Davis v. Co. v. Potts, 7 Ind. 685; Hingle v. State, 7 Md. 151. The Supreme State, 24 Ind. 28. See People v. InCourt of Indiana also understand the stitution, &c., 71 Ill. 229.

« AnteriorContinuar »