Page images
PDF
EPUB

A poor

investigation or action of any kind, notice thereof may be given by the board, or any three members thereof, to the attorney-general, and he shall thereupon make inquiry and take such proceedings in the premises as he may deem necessary and proper. It shall be the duty of the attorney-general and of every district attorney when so required, to furnish such legal assistance, counsel or advice as the board may require in the discharge of its duties.

§ 17. State, nonresident and alien poor. person shall not be admitted as an inmate into a state institution for the feeble-minded, or epileptics, unless a resident of the state for one year next preceding the application for his admission, The state board of charities, and any of its members or officers, may, at any time, visit and inspect any institution subject to its supervision to ascertain if any inmates supported therein at a state, county or municipal expense are state charges, nonresidents or alien poor'; and it may cause to be removed to the state or country from which he came any such nonresident or alien poor found in any such institution.

§ 18. Transfers of inmates of state charitable institutions. When, in the judgment of the state board of charities, any inmate of any state charitable institution more properly belongs in a state charitable institution other than the one to which he or she was originally committed, or would be benefited by transfer to any other state charitable institution, the state board of charities with the written approval of the governor may order such transfer of such inmate. Before issuing such order the state board of charities shall notify the board of managers of the institution from which and of the institution to which such transfer is to be made, and shall afford them an opportunity to be heard. Copies of such order shall be sent to the boards of managers and the superintendents of the institution where the inmate then is and of the institution to which he or she is to be transferred. The authorities of the institution to which such inmate is to be transferred shall, at the expense of such institution, provide for the conveyance of such inmate from such other state charitable institution as may be designated by the state

VOL 3-2

board of charities in such order, and such inmate shall be received by the authorities of the institution to which such transfer is made. When any inmate is so transferred there shall be furnished certified copies of the commitment papers and of the record of such inmate. The board of managers of the institution to which such inmate is transferred shall have all the powers and duties in relation to such inmate which it possesses in relation to other inmates of such institution.

§ 19. Reports of state board of charities. The state board of charities shall annually report to the legislature its acts, proceedings and conclusions for the preceding year, with re sults and recommendations, which report shall include the information obtained in its inquiries and investigations, and from the reports made to it as in this chapter provided, giving a complete and itemized statement of expenditures for state poor, and of such other matters relating to the institutions subject to its visitations as it may deem necessary or proper. The board shall collect and, so far as it shall deem advantageous, embody in its andual reports such information as it may deem proper relating to all institutions subject to the visitation of the board and respecting the best manner of dealing with those who require assistance from the public funds, or who receive aid from private charity, and represent its views as to the best methods of caring for the poor and destitute children who may be distributed through the various institutions of the state, or who may be without instruction or guidance, and furnish in tabulated statements, as nearly as possible, the number, sex, age and nativity of persons in this state, and in the several counties thereof, who are in any way receiving the aid of public, private or organized charity, with any other particulars it may deem proper. And all officers of such institutions shall furnish such statistics on or before the first day of November in each and every year for the preceding fiscal year, as may be required by said board; and every person refusing to do so, in violation of this section, without reasonable excuse, shall be subject to a penalty of one hundred dollars, to be sued for in the name of the people by the attorney-general of the state, upon his receiving written notice from the state board of charities of such refusal. The annual reports of the board may, in its discretion, present the designs and plans and the general estimates for buildings and improvements which it may deem necessary for any state charitable institution, with the opinion of the board respecting any appropriation required as asked in behalf of such institution, other than for maintenance or ordinary purposes. The board may, in its discretion, and shall, when required by the governor, or either house of the legislature, make other and special reports. It is within the province and power of the State Board of Charities to re

quire and compel the verification of all reports made to it from the in-
stitutions which are subject to its visitation.

STATE OF NEW YORK,
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

ALBANY, September 3, 1897. ROBERT W. HEBBERD, Esq., Secretary, State Board of Charities, Albany, N. Y.:

DEAR SIR.— In reply to your letter of the 1st instant, stating that the board desires to be informed as to whether in my opinion it las authority to make and enforce a request that reporting officers shall verify under oath the anaual reports made by them to the board, in behalf of the institutions, socie. ties and associations which, by the State Charities Law, are made subject to the board's visitation, inspection and supervision, I beg leave to say that, by section 11 of article VIII, of the Constitution, it is provided that

" The legislature shall provide for a state board of charities which shall visit and inspect all institutions, whether state, county or municipal, incorporated or not incorporated, which are of a charitable, eleemosy

nary, correctional or reformatory character In accordance with this constitutional provision, the State Charities Law, chapter 546, was passed in the year 1896. By section 10 of this law,

"all institutions of a charitable, eleemosynary, reformatory or correctional character or design, including reformatories (except those now under the supervision and subject to the inspection of the prison commission) but including all reformatories except those in which adult males convicted of felony shall be confined

are subject to the visitation, inspection and supervision of the State Board of Charities,

its members, officers and inspectors.” According to this section, such institutions may be visited or inspected by the board, or any member, officer or inspector, duly appointed for that pur. pose, at any and all times, and such board or any member thereof, nay take proofs and hear testimony relating to any matter hefore it; and this section further provides that,

“The board may prepare regulations according to which, and provide blanks and forms upon which such information shall be furnished, in a clear, uniform and prompt manner, for the use of the board.”

[ocr errors]

Further, it is provided that the annual reports of each year shall give the results of such inquiry, with the opinion and conclusions of the board relating to the same; and it is made a misdemeanor on the part of any officer, superintendent or employe, of any institution subject to the visitation and inspection of the board, to neglect or refuse to furnish the information required by the board, or any of its members; and the rights and powers conferred by this section upon the board may be enforced by an order of the Supreme Court, after notice and hearing, or by indictment by the grand jury of the county, or both.

By section 17 of this act, the State Board of Charities is commanded to report annually to the Legislature its acts, proceedings and conclusions for the preceding year, with results and such recommendations as the board may see fit to make, with reference to the information obtained in its inquiries and investigations, and from the reports made to it, as required by the law. The board is also commanded to collect, and so far as it shall deem advantageous, embody in its annual report such information as it may deem proper, relating to all institutions subject to the visitation of the board, and respecting the best manner of dealing with those who require assistance from the public funds, etc.

These provisions of the law, being for the general public good, it seems to me, should receive a very liberal construction. The object of the Legislature in requiring the State Board to make an annual report would seem to be that the Legislature may be fully informed as to the practical workings of the various charitable and eleemosynary institutions. Necessarily, the basis of the annual report of the State Board is the data furnished to it from the several institutions which are subject to its inspection, direction and regulation. Such data should, of course, be accurate and reliable; and, if in the judgment of the State Board such accuracy and reliability can best be attained by requiring the reporting officers to verify the same, the board, has, in my opinion, ample authority in the law to compel such verification.

Respectfully,
T. E. HANCOCK,

Attorney-General.

§ 20. Institutions for the deaf and dumb and the blind. Institutions for the deaf and dumb and the blind shall be subject to such visitation and inspection by the state board of charities as the constitution provides, but nothing in this article shall be deemed to take from the comptroller of the state any power which he now has to audit and supervise the expenditures made on account of the institutions for deaf-inutes and for the blind.

It is not necessary that an institution should be wholly charitable to fall within the provisions of the Constitution (article 8, SS 11-15) and the statutes (Laws 1895, chapters 754, 771) placing charitable institutions under the supervision and rules of the State Board of Charities. It is enough if the institution is partly charitable in its character and purpose. Court of Appeals, October, 1897, People ex rel. New York Institution for the Blind v. Fitch, 154 N. Y. 14.

ARTICLE 3

State Charities Aid Association Section 30. Visits by the state charities aid association. 31. Duties of officers in charge of institutions; enforce

ment of orders. 32. Annual reports.

§ 30. Visits by the state charities aid association. Any justice of the supreme court, on written application of the state charities aid association, through its president or other officer designated by its board of managers, may grant to such persons as may be named in such application, orders to enable such

persons, or any of them, as visitors of such association to visit, inspect and examine, in behalf of such association, any of the public charitable institutions and state hospitals for the insane owned by the state, and the county, town and city poorhouses and alms-houses within the state. The persons so appointed to visit, inspect and examine such institutions shall reside in the counties from which such institutions receive their inmates, and such appointments shall be made by a justice of the supreme court of the judicial district in which such visitors reside. Each order shall specify the institution to be visited, inspected and examined and the name of each person by whom such visitation, inspection and examination shall be made, and shall be in force for one year from the date on which it shall have been granted, unless sooner revoked.

§ 31. Duties of officers in charge of institutions; enforcement of orders. All persons in charge of any such institution shall admit each person named in any such order into every part of such institution, and render such person every possible facility to enable him to make in a thorough manner such visits, inspection and examination, which are hereby declared to be for a public purpose, and to be made with a view to public

« PreviousContinue »