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Article fourteen, Jurisprudence, commands the legislature at its first session’ to provide for the appointment of three commissioners to prepare a code of procedure, to abolish so far as expedient, "the distinct forms of action in law” currently used, and to provide for the “administration of justice by a uniform mode of proceeding without reference to any distinction between law and equity.”3
The fifteenth article deals with a variety of miscellaneous subjects, such as the seat of government, state printing, duelists, lotteries, the liquor traffic,4 and civil service.
· Article sixteen provides that amendments to the constitution may be proposed by three-fifths of the legislature and ratified by a majority of those voting upon them at a general or special election, voting on each amendment separately, after five weeks' publication in each county. Two-thirds of the members of each branch of the legislature may submit to the electorate the question of calling a constitutional convention. Delegates must be nominated by petition and voted for on a separate ballot, without party designation. In 1932 and every twenty years thereafter the question of calling a convention must be submitted to the electors of the state. All amendments proposed by a convention are required to be submitted to the electorate for approval or rejection.$
Article seventeen, dealing with elections, repeats much already stated in previous articles, but adds nothing of importance.
The eighteenth and final article, Municipal Corporations, is celebrated for its home rule provisions. These, in a word, lay down the mandates that municipal incorporation shall be by general law, that special laws applying to individual cities must be submitted to the municipal electorates and that cities may frame their own charters, subject to such limitations, in financial and other matters, as may be prescribed by the legislature.3
4. e., after 1852.
5"Appointments and promotions in the civil service of the state, the several counties, and cities, shall be made according to merit and fitness, to be ascertained, as far as practicable, by competitive examinations. Laws shall be passed providing for the enforcement of this provision." (XV. 10. Amendment 1912.)
"Women who are citizens may be appointed as members of boards of, or to positions in, those departments and institutions established by the state or any political subdivision thereof involving the interests or care of women or children or both." Otherwise only electors may be appointed to any office (XV, 4. Amendment 1913).
&XVI, 1. Amendment 1912.
By two-thirds vote or on petition of ten per cent of the electors the “legislative authority” of a municipality may submit to the electors the question "shall a commission be chosen to frame a charter.” Ballots must be without party insignia and must provide also for the election of fifteen commissioners to frame the charter in case a majority of those voting on the question desire it. When framed copies of the charter must be mailed to all voters. Amendments may be made in a similar fashion by vote or petition and submission to the voters."
Municipalities are classified into cities and villages according to population,—5,000 and less than 5,000, respectively, and are vested with
authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws."
Municipal ownership of public utilities is elaborately provided for. No ordinance for such acquisition can take effect until after thirty days, during which a referendum may be demanded.
Excess condemnation is authorized for municipalities acquiring property for public use, and the excess above the amount actually used may be sold with “such restrictions as shall be appropriate to preserve the improvement made.” Bonds issued for the excess property are not a municipal liability, but a lien upon the property bought for the use in question and upon the excess. Assessments upon abutting property to the extent of
2 Also required by XIII, 6.
8XVIII, 5. The debt limit of a municipality may be exceeded in the case of mortgage bonds for the acquisition of a public utility (XVIII, 12).
PSec. 12. Text, infra, p. 342.
the benefit to be derived from the improvements, not to exceed
Contrast of commonwealth, stands most clearly for government by the the Ohio and people. The amendments of 1912, headed by those establishing Proposed the initiative and referendum, sought to establish a government Constituresponsive to the people governed and to give to the electorate
-in whom rests final responsibility for governmental actionthe tangible means for making its power effective. Toward making the government itself a more efficient organ for the execution of the wishes of the people, however, the Ohio convention contributed almost nothing.
The New York convention of 1915, on the other hand, made an efficient governmental machine the first principle of its endeavor. It sought responsibility by making each official's duties and powers definite and by reducing the constitutional checks through which responsibility could be shifted from one officer to another and lost in the general confusion. Centralized control was emphasized, administrative organization was simplified and the governor's position made more distinctly than before the fountain and center of the entire state government.
The differences are excellently typified—personified-in the presidents of the two conventions. Herbert S. Bigelow, pastor of a non-orthodox Cincinnati church, whose religion is democracy and social progress, was elected to preside over the Ohio convention because in him centered the aspirations of those who sought more direct popular government and whosc thoughts and studies had not narrowed down to the technical details of the government itself, who believed in the efficacy and wisdom of the common will and sought above all things else to give it expression. Elihu Root, world famous statesman and intellectual leader among senators and presidential advisers, but endowed with little faith in the masses of the people, was the natural choice for the chairmanhsip of a convention which was keenly alive to the evil effects of popular apathy and saw the enormous wastefulness of a government already highly popular in form but clumsy and beset by friction when in operation. The New
Work of the
York convention was thoroughly aware that in a government in which diffused responsibility is made inevitable by law party • bosses”—extra legal and utterly irresponsible functionariesmust necessarily arise in order to cement the warring governmental elements into a workable if not a graceful or efficient political organ. This convention was determined to set up a state government that could run itself.
Unfortunately the new instrument produced was ahead of its time—and also behind the times. The people were jealous of their powers and feared to lose them in a too workablehence, too powerful-government whose new functions they little understood or appreciated. The convention failed to understand the people and so failed to offer them additional safeguards or additional means of control.
At a special election held in New York in April, 1914, in which less than one-fifth of the electorate participated, a constitutional convention was ordered by an insignificant majority of those voting. Under the constitution of 18942 providing for a periodic submission to the electorate of the question of calling a convention, a vote would naturally have been—and will betaken on the subject in the present year. 3
Delegates were elected at the November election, 1914, and assembled in the spring of 1915. On September 10 a constitution was adopted in convention by the vote of 118 to 33 but was overwhelmingly defeated by a popular majority of more than half a million“ in the election of November 2. The convention decided to submit separately its taxation and apportionment amendments. Three other amendments which had been proposed by the legislature, (1) to extend the suffrage to women ;) (2) to alter the interest rate upon state indebtedness and (3) to ratify a bond issue for the barge canal, were voted on at the same time. All save the last were defeated, though with vary. ing majorities. In its address to the people the convention pronounced as most important in its work of amendment ten proposals, given as follows, for the most part in the language of the address :
2XIV, 2. 31916.
4893,635 to 388,966. The convention cost the state about half a million dollars.
The vote was 553,348 for ; 748,322 against. cf. proposed constitution, IX, 4.
(1) The reorganization of the state governnient on its administrative side into seventeen civil departments, a reduction in the number of elected officers, and provisions for the appointment of all other officers. These changes, the convention believed, would put an end to the present unsystematic, wasteful and irresponsible organization of the state government, under which the state's executive and administrative agencies are distributed among more than one hundred and fifty bureaux, departments, commissions, boards and officials, many of which duplicate the work of others. The proposed departments of law and finance were to be headed by the elective attorney-general and comptroller. The heads of several departments whose terms of office were to extend beyond the term of a single governor and who were invested with both legislative and administrative functions were to be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate and removable for cause by the governor after opportunity to be heard. The department of education was continued under the administration of the l'niversity of the State of New York.' The other departmental heads were to be appointed by the governor and removable by him."
(2) Provisions affecting the legislature, designed to remove from it the consideration of local matters and private claims, and to restore it to its true function of enacting laws of general application and of making necessary appropriations for the conduct of the state government. With this end in view the convention increased the prohibited classes of private or local bills so as to embrace those granting to any corporation, association or individual the right to prove a claim against the state, or
The seventeen departments were to be (1) law. (2) finance, (3) accounts, (4) treasury, (5) taxation, (6) state, (7) pubile works, (8) health, (9) agriculture, (10) charities and corrections, (11) banking, (12) insurance, (13) labor and industry, (14) education, (15) public utilities, (16) conservation, and (17) civil service. The elected officers to be made appointive were the secretary of state and treasurer. The elective office of state engineer was to be a bolished and the duties to be tranferred to the proposed department of public works, the head of which was to be appointed by the governor (VI, 1, 2, 4). Preceding note, (15), (16); (17). These department heads were to be com
e head of the department of labor and industry, to be a commission or commissioner, was to be likewise appointed, but removable at the governor's discretion.
Composed of nine regents chosen for nine-year terms by the joint vote of the two houses of the legislature.
*Proposed Constitution, Art. VI; VII, 1.