Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

as

legislature? Could he resign and become State superintendent before his term senator had expired? If the postmaster at Des Moines desires to become a member of the General Assembly, what must he do before he can take his seat in that body?

237. Holders of Public Money.-Sec. 23. No person who may hereafter be a collector or holder of public moneys shall

have a seat in either house of the General Assembly, or be eligible to hold any office of trust or profit in this State, until he shall have accounted for and paid into the treasury all sums for which he may be liable.

If the treasurer of Black Hawk county is elected as representative for that county in the General Assembly, what three things must he do before he can take his seat in that body? Why is this requirement wise?

238. Payment of Public Money.-Sec. 24. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.

It is also necessary to have a warrant, signed by the auditor of State, authorizing the payment of monny by the State treasurer.

239. Compensation of Members,-Sec. 25. Each member of the first General Assembly under this Constitution shall receive three dollars per diem while in session; and the further sum of three dollars for every twenty miles traveled, in going to and returning from the place where such session is held, by the nearest traveled route, after which they shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed by law; but no General Assembly shall have the power to increase the compensation of its members. And when convened in extra session they shall receive the same mileage and per diem compensation as fixed by law for the regular session, and none other.

Notice the two methods of paying members. The

present pay of members of the General Assembly is $550 for the regular session, and five cents for every mile traveled going to and from the place of meeting. Half this sum and all the mileage is payable at the close of the first thirty days, and the rest at the close of the session. The pay for an extra session is mileage and a rate per diem equal to the amount of their salary per day during the last regular session, provided that it is not over six dollars. (Code, $ 12.) Notice that, although the General Assembly fixes by law the compensation of representatives and senators, no assembly has the power to increase the pay of its own members. This is not true of the United States Congress, and at one time (March 3, 1873) Congress raised the salaries of its members from $5,000 to $7,500, and dated the change back two years.

This was the famous“ Salary Grab," which raised such a storm of indignation throughout the country that the act was soon after repealed. Public opinion prevents any great excesses in this line of legislation.

240. When' Laws Go Into Effect.--Sec. 26. No law of the General Assembly, passed at a regular session, of a public nature, shall take effect until the fourth day of July next after the passage thereof. Laws passed at a special session shall take effect ninety days after the adjournment of the General Assembly by which they were passed. If the General Assembly shall deem any law of immediate importance, they may provide that the same shall take effect by publication in newspapers in the State.

241, Prohibition, Sec. 27. No divorce shall be granted by the General Assembly.

Sec. 28. No lottery shall be authorized by this State; nor shall the sale of lottery tickets be allowed.

A divorce is granted by the courts of the State if, after investigation, there seems to be just cause for the divorce. Lotteries have been proven such insidious foes to the moral and financial good of the people that every State in the Union now opposes them, and the United States has made it a criminal offense to use the mails to advertise lotteries or sell lottery tickets. The long struggle on the part of the Louisiana Lottery to induce the legislature of that State to authorize its continuance finally failed, and the lottery was finally driven from its last stronghold in the United States.

242. Subject Matter.-Sec. 29. Every act shall embrace but one subject, and matters properly connected therewith; which subject shall be expressed in the title. But if any subject shall be embraced in an act which shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be expressed in the title.

This requirement aims at clearness and definiteness in laws, and prevents any legal requirement from being obscured by being inserted in the clauses of another law.

243, Local and Special Laws,--Sec. 30. The General Assembly shall not pass local or special laws in the following cases:

For the assessment and collection of taxes for State, county, or road purposes.

For laying out, opening, and working roads or highways.

For changing the names of persons,
For the incorporation of cities and towns.

For vacating roads, town plats, streets, alleys, or public squares.

For locating or changing county seats.
In all the cases above enumerated, and in all other

cases where a general law can be made applicable, all laws shall be general and of uniform operation throughout the State; and no law changing the boundary lines of any county shall have effect until upon being submitted to the people of the counties affected by the change, at the general election, it shall be approved by a majority of the votes in each county, cast for and against it.

Consider each of the cases mentioned above, and notice how unwise it would be to take such matters out of the hands of the local authorities. Instead of making special laws for every local requirement under the above heads, the General Assembly passes general laws giving authority, with certain restrictions, to certain local officials, as supervisors, township trustees, or, in the changing of county seats, to the popular vote. Instead of giving special charters, prescribing the form of government of every city and town separately, general laws are passed, providing a form of government in cities of a certain class, as determined by population (146).

244. Extra Compensation, Private Appropriations,-Sec. 31. No extra compensation shall be made to any officer, public agent, or contractor, after the service shall have been rendered, or the contract entered into; nor shall any money be paid on any claim, the subject matter of which shall not have been provided for by pre-existing laws, and no public money or property shall be appropriated for local, or private purposes, unless such appropriation, compensation, or claim be allowed by two-thirds of the members elected to each branch of the General Assembly.

The necessity of the first clause of this section lies in the fact that extra compensation is sometimes secured in very corrupt ways by officials or contractors in no manner entitled to it. A member of a city council

who had been appointed overseer of certain work being done for the city, presented his bill for services rendered. The council declined to allow the bill, as his services had been performed as part of official duties. This is an illustration of the same principle that is mentioned in the above section, occurring in a local instead of a State legislative body. The second clause in the section is an application of Art. III., Sec. 24.

The meaning of the last clause is illustrated by the following incident in Iowa history: In Governor Sherman's last term, Auditor Brown declined to make certain reports required of him, and was removed by Governor Sherman. The investigation of the case was long and expensive, and after Mr. Brown's reinstatement by the next governor he brought claims against the State for his expenses in the contest. After a number of unsuccessful attempts, a bill was carried through the Twenty-sixth General Assembly by a two-thirds vote, granting the claims made by Mr. Brown. As there are several interesting and instructive features in the bill, we give it entire, as follows: LAWS OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

Chapter 164. An act to reimburse John L. Brown, as auditor of State during the years 1885 and 1886, for money expended in defense of his said office and of his official rights and duties.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa, Section 1. That for the purpose of reimbursing John L. Brown for money expended by him for attorney's services necessary in defending his office

« AnteriorContinuar »