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Upon motion of Mr. Bone, the report was adopted and ordered filed.
Mr. McBride, chairman of the Committe to inform the Governor that the House is ready for business reported as follows: Mr. Speaker:
Your committee appointed as a joint committee with the Council to notify the Governor that the House of Representatives of the Eighth Legislative Assembly was now organized and ready to receive any communication that he might have to deliver, beg leave to report that we have called on the Governor and delivered your message, and the Governor will be ready to deliver his message at 2 o'clock P. M. of this date.
I. B. LEVY.
Mr. Gandy moved that the House take a recess until 1:30 P. M. The motion was carried.
The House convened pursuant to adjournment at 1:30 o'clock.
Mr. Prouty moved that when the House adjourn it should meet at 10 o'clock A. M. Friday, January 13. The motion carried.
Mr. Fuller moved that the Speaker appoint a committee to wait on the Governor, territorial officers, and justices of the supreme court of the territory and invite them to meet with the joint session of the Legislature to hear the reading of the Governor's message. The motion was adopted.
The Speaker appointed Mr. Fuller, Mr. Wood, and Mr. Becker. The committee retired and the House took a recess.
The House convened in joint session at 2:20 o'clock P. M.
The President of the Council was invited to take the Chair.
Mr. Levy moved that the members of the Supreme Court be invited to occupy the platform. Mr. Gandy amended to include the Governor and his staff. Motion as amended carried.
Mr. Becker said that the committee to wait on the Governor, Supreme Court, etc., was ready to report. Mr. Fuller, chairman, reported that the Governor was present, but the Supremt Court, having important business to transact, requested to be excused. The report was accepted.
The reading clerk read the Governor's Message.
Of the Governor of Oklahoma to the Eighth
To the Eighth Legislative Assembly:
Gentlemen: You have assembled in the capacity of lawmakers, representing the only feature of Territorial government which derives its authority from the people. Let us all hope that when another legislative assembly convenes in Oklahoma it will be after her star has been given a place upon the field of blue—the "brightest and the best.”
The progress of the Territory has been wonderful during the period which has intervened since the adjournment of the Seventh Legislative Assembly. The population is now at least seven hundred thousand. The wealth of the Territory, if all property could be assessed at its real cash value, would reach in the aggregate five hundred and forty million dollars. Our schools are the greatest of all Territorial interests. The people of Oklahoma are educators.
This assembly will probably be the last of a Territorial character. It will be a maker of history, and may close the chapter of Territorial legislation. We are living in the formative days of a state. Our people have by their achievements written a magnificent history. The world has looked upon Oklahoma and marveled at her accomplishments. Her past has been full of interest and her future is full of promise.
Self government is one of the things most highly cherished by every liberty loving American citizen. The people of Oklahoma want statehood. The people of the Indian Territory want statehood. bill now pending in the senate of the United States offers what is wantde by both Territories. That bill should receive favorable action. It would be proper for this assembly to pass at once a joint resolution asking that statehood be conferred through the bill now pending in the senatc.
The reports of the various Territorial officials have been printed in compliance with law and are submitted for your careful consideration. It is earnestly requested that committees be appointed by the assembly to carefully check up each of the offices connected with the Territorial government, and that a report be made on the condition and business transactions of each department. As members of this body you have come direct from the people. You are their chosen business agents, and through you they should know how their affairs are being conducted.
Oklahoma has made the most wonderful progress along all lines of possible development ever witnessed in any commonwealth in the American republic in so short a time. She has grown to magnificent proportions. Conditions have very materially changed. Requirements and necessities have changed also.
In dealing with financial matters it should not be forgotten that with the growth of the Territory have come increased demands for larger appropriations, and it is not correct economy to withhold any necessary support, and by so doing curtail in any way the progress which has so conspicuously marked our past history. In my judgment
the people who pay the taxes and upon whcm devolve the responsibility of supporting the various interests of the commonwealth, are willing to meet all necessary expenditures and will cheerfully acquiesce in the action of this honorable body in making the appropriations necessary to meet all reasonable demands. However, without presuming to instruct, I have the honor to suggest that in matters pertaining to appropriations it is always expedient for us to follow the ancient admonition to be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”
Many demands will be made upon this assembly for appropriations. The needs are greater than at any time during the history of the Territory, and the ability to meet them has been increased accordingly. The one safeguard, however, is to know that every appropriation asked for is necessary at this time.
There are seven educational institutions in the Territory to be maintained. They present claims to the Territorial assembly every session for appropriations. It, in my judgment, is not and should not be the policy of the Territory through its legislative assembly to deny any of these institutions the support that they need, but, at the same time, precaution should be taken to prevent any appropriation not actually needed at this time. Local enthusiasm and a desire to build up an institution which will add to the welfare of a community, as well as to the general welfare, often inspires efforts that reach beyond the present financial power of the Territory. Again, ambition to build quickly and to develop a great institution regardless of existing conditions sometimes leads promoters of appropriations to transcend the capacity of the Territory. We can only build up our interests as existing conditions will permit. The only consistent way is to pave the road as we go but not in advance of our financial ability to do things. As the commonwealth advances in population and wealth, we should make provision to meet increased demands accordingly, but we should never go beyond present necessity.
These are matters submitted for the careful consideration of this assembly, believing that you will act in a business like manner, conforming the general demands to the ability of the Territory to meet them.
GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL.
Legislative assemblies have established a dangerous precedent in relation to the general appropriation bill. It has been a custom too long observed to allow the so-called general appropriation bill to remain for action until the closing hours of the sesson, at which time it is formulated and passed hastily and often without the mature consideration that its importance warrants. This custom frequently allows the intrusion of certain things that should not be a part of the appropriation bill. Unjust claims against the Territory, or State, are often attached to the general appropriation bill and passed as a part of it. It is a difficult task to prevent such work, especially when the bill is acted upon in the hurry and turmoil that so often characterize the closing hours of a legislative body.
Every state constitution should contain a provision giving the executive power to veto any unjust feature of an appropriation bill without extending the veto to the bill as a whole. It is to be hoped that this power will be conferred by the constitution of the State of Oklahoma.
A general appropriation bill should contain only such provisions as refer to necessary expenses in maintaining the various features of the State government. All private or individual appropriations should be considered separately. A legislature can often save the state many thousands of dollars by refusing to allow private claims to be attached to the bill which provides for the legitimate expenses of government.
A law was passed by the Seventh Legislative Assembly providing certain restrictions on stock running at large. Under the provisions of that law, all of Oklahoma lying east of the one hundreth meridian (all of the Territory except Beaver County) is subject to herd law regulations, unless the resident freeholders and legal voters otherwise direct. Upon the presentation of a petition signed by twenty-five freeholders and legal voters in any county east of the one hundredth meridian, the commissioners are required to divide the county into stock districts, no district to contain less than seventy-two square miles or more than one hundred and forty-four square miles, and