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the nature and effect of the two decisions referred to. In the State of Oregon there is no express constitutional limit on the indebtedness of towns and cities. It is merely provided that the acts of the legislature incorporating such towns and cities must restrict their power of contracting debts. (Constitution of Oregon, Art. XI, sec. 5.) This the legislature has uniformly done, and specifically in the various charters of the city of Portland. The Bancroft Act of 1893, supra, which was a general act applying to all cities having 2,500 inhabitants, expressly provided in section 8:

“No obligation incurred by any city in this State by virtue of this act shall be deemed or taken to be within or any part of the limitation by law as to indebtedness by such city.”

This extension of the debt limit of the towns and cities of Oregon was, of course, within the competency of the legislature. (Amey V. Allegheny City, 24 How. 364.) Subsequently, however, to the enactment of the Bancroft Act the legislature of Oregon passed, in 1895, a new charter for Oregon City; in 1898, one for Portland; and it was 'claimed in the two cases referred to, supra, not that the Bancroft Act repealed the charters, but that the charters repealed the Bancroft Act, because inconsistent therewith. In Ladd v. Gambell the inconsistency was claimed to lie in the fact that the Portland charter of 1898 contained very strict limitations on the debt-incurring power of the city. In Stratton v. Oregon City it appeared that the new charter expressly provided that the city should not be liable for any portion of the cost of street or sewer improvements, and that no moneys should be paid out of the general fund of the city on account of such improvements. The Supreme Court of Oregon held that the Bancroft Act was not repealed by either of the charters—in the Portland case, because the limitation on the debt-incurring power contained in the charter referred only to debts incurred under the provisions thereof and not to debts incurred under a general act like the Bancroft Act; in the Oregon City case, because the provision that the city should not be liable generally for such improvements referred only to

its liability to the contractors who did the work and not to its general liability to the bondholders under the Bancroft Act. These decisions seem to be distinct authorities that the liability of towns and cities on the bonds issued under authority of the Bancroft Act is general and as complete as any other indebtedness, since the reasoning of the court in those cases went throughout on the assumption that the Bancroft Act gave power to the cities to issue their general obligations and that this power was outside of and above the provisions on the same subjects in their charters. The Bancroft Act has now been expressly extended to the city of Portland by act of January 23, 1903. (Special Laws of 1903, p. 172.)

Some reference is made to the municipal code of February 21, 1893 (Laws of 1893, p. 132), which by section 36 provides:

“ The common council shall not in any manner create any debt or liability, which shall singly or in the aggregate exceed the sum of $2,500, without first obtaining authority from the legislative assembly of this State to contract a debt or liability in excess of said sum.”

But this “authority from the legislative assembly” was afterwards obtained by section 8 of the Bancroft Act, quoted supra. Manifestly section 8 of that act has no meaning unless the obligations incurred thereunder are general obligations of the city, for an obligation which was confined to a special assessment on abutting owners and did not bind the city beyond using due care in the collection of such assessment, would evidently not be within section 36 of the municipal code, supra, nor, indeed, within any other restriction by law upon the debt-incurring power of a municipality.

The reason of this legislation by the State of Oregon is easy to see.

The city has a lien on the property abutting on the improvement to aid and secure it in the payment of the bonds. This lien is not supposed to exceed the increase in the value of the property by reason of the improvement, and the general tax assessment valuation is liot supposed to be affected thereby. Whether economically sound or not, these views are sufficient cause for mak

ing these bonds the general obligations of the city and yet removing from them the bar of legislative limitation upon the debt-incurring power.

In my opinion, therefore, these bonds of the city of Portland are not limited in their obligation to any special fund, but are “public bonds” supported by the general taxing power of the city. Respectfully,

GEORGE W. WICKERSHAM. The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

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IMPORTATION OF VIRUSES, SERUMS, TOXINS AND

ANALOGOUS PRODUCTS.

The importation or admission into the United States of viruses,

serums, toxins and analogous products, that are prepared by and sold or given away by a foreign unlicensed establishment to individuals or institutions in the United States for their use and not for sale, barter, or exchange by such individuals or institutions, is not contrary to the provisions of the act of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat. 728), regulating the sale of viruses, serums, etc.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

March 7, 1912. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d ultimo, in which you call my attention to the act of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat. 728), regulating the sale of viruses, serums, toxins, and analogous products in the District of Columbia and interstate traffic in said articles, and also to an application of Dr. O. L. Mulot, of New York, for permission to import, for use in his own immediate practice and without any view of selling it or any part of it to anyone else, certain antituberculosis serum prepared in Paris by establishments not licensed under section 1 of the above act. In view of this application you request my opinion on the following question:

“Is the importation or admission into the United States of serums, viruses, etc., that are prepared by and sold or given away by a foreign unlicensed establishment to indi

viduals or institutions in the United States for their use and not for sale, barter, or exchange by such individuals or institutions contrary to the provisions of the said act of July 1, 1902?"

The first section of the act provides as follows:

“ That from and after six months after the promulgation of the regulations authorized by section four of this Act no person shall sell, barter, or exchange, or offer for sale, barter, or exchange in the District of Columbia, or send, carry, or bring for sale, barter, or exchange from any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, or from any foreign country into the United States, or from the United States into any foreign country, any virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, or analogous product applicable to the prevention and cure of diseases of man, unless (a) such virus, serum, toxin, antitoxin, or product has been propagated and prepared at an establishment holding an unsuspended and unrevoked license, issued by the Secretary of the Treasury as hereinafter authorized, to propagate and prepare such virus, serum, toxin, antitoxin, or product for sale in the District of Columbia, or for sending, bringing, or carrying from place to place aforesaid; nor (6) unless each package of such virus, serum, toxin, antitoxin, or product is plainly marked with the proper name of the article contained therein, the name, address, and license number of the manufacturer, and the date beyond which the contents can not be expected beyond reasonable doubt to yield their specific results: Provided, That the suspension or revocation of any license shall not prevent the sale, barter, or exchange of any virus, serum, toxin, antitoxin, or product aforesaid which has been sold and delivered by the licentiate prior to such suspension or revocation, unless the owner or custodian of such virus, serum, toxin, antitoxin, or product aforesaid has been notified by the Secretary of the Treasury not to sell, barter, or exchange the same.”

The third section empowers any officer, agent, or employee of the Treasury Department duly detailed by the

Secretary of the Treasury to inspect establishments where such viruses, etc., are prepared for sale, barter, or exchange in the District of Columbia, or to be sent, carried, or brought into the United States or any of the States. Section 4 creates a board empowered to issue regulations to govern the issue, suspension, and revocation of licenses for the maintenance of establishments for the preparation of viruses intended for sale in the District of Columbia or to be sent, carried, or brought for sale from any State into another State, or from a foreign country into the United States, and it is provided that all licenses issued for the maintenance of establishments in any foreign country for the preparation of any virus for sale, barter, or exchange in the United States, shall be issued on condition that the licentiates shall permit an inspection of their establishments.

Section 7 provides as follows:

“Sec. 7. That any person who shall violate, or aid or abet in violating, any of the provisions of this Act shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court."

It will be noticed that the prohibition of this statute is directed against persons who send, carry, or bring viruses, etc., into the United States or into a State for sale, barter, or exchange, and against such persons only. Section 1 specifically and in clear language provides this, and the same limitation is referred to again in the proviso to section 1, in section 3, and twice in section 4. As this is a penal statute, the natural meaning of the words defining the offense and the class of offenders can not be enlarged by construction because of any supposed underlying intent of the act or because, to limit the offense as the act itself has limited it, will lead to evasion of its provisions, or will exclude offenses which are within the evil the act was meant to remedy. The law applicable to such a situation was thus stated by Chief Justice Marshall in United States v. Wiltberger, 5 Wheat. 76, 95:

The intention of the legislature is to be collected from the words they employ Where there is no

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