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(AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS)
LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA
PASSED AT THE
SESSION OF 1923
HELD AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF MONTGOMERY,
WM. W. BRANDON, Governor
HUGH D. MERRILL, Speaker of the House
I, S. H. BLAN, Secretary of State in and for the State of Alabama, do
S. H. BLAN,
BROWN PRINTING COMPANY
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1923 by
.for use of said ştate,
To the Members of the Legislature of Alabama:
Gentlemen: It gives me pleasure to welcome you to the capitol and to assure you of my hearty co-operation in all your efforts for the advancement of the interests of Alabama and the promotion of the welfare of her people. I sincerely hope that your session will be characterized by harmony, wisdom and sound business judgment, and that the legislation you enact may be of a character that will merit and receive the approval of the right thinking people of the State.
I earnestly advise you to avoid the enactment of too much local and special legislation. The practice is far too prevalent. No rule can be more just and equitable than that of the Legislature passing general laws and requiring all alike to regulate their conduct by them. Special laws often interfere with the administration of justice, bear unequally upon individuals and groups of citizens and tend to confound rather than protect the rights and liberties of the people. Some special and local laws may be found necessary and advisable but they should be used sparingly.
This message is sent to you in obedience to the mandate of the Constitution which requires the Governor at the close of his term of office to give to the Legislature information of the condition of the State. In submitting for your consideration such recommendations as I deem expedient and in making such comments as may seem proper, I shall leave to the heads of the respective departments, to whose efficient work and splendid co-operation I am greatly indebted, the more specific and detailed statements and suggestions, using so much of their reports as may be necessary to enable me to lay before you a general statement of the condition of the State. I shall also, through the medium of this message, render to the people of the State an accounting of my stewardship during the past four years. Perhaps no better method of rendering this account can be employed than that of mentioning specifically my campaign promises and the recommendations I submitted to your predecessors and briefly commenting upon the action of the Legislature and the administration concerning them.
The following is a list of all of my campaign pledges and the most important recommendations to the Legislature and a statement of the action of that body in response to them.
FIRST-Laws for the enforcement of
PROHIBITION The first bill of general importance passed by the Legislature of 1919 was H. B. 7, known as the Bone Dry Law. That legislation was followed by the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by 46 states of the Union and the proclamation of the Secretary of State that the amendment had been adopted by the required number of states and was a part of the Constitution. There has been sincere cooperation between the State and Federal authorities for the enforcement of the prohibition laws, State and Federal, with the result that those laws have been reasonably well enforced, as well or perhaps better than many other laws on the statute books. The economic and moral advantages and benefits accruing to the State from the passage of State and Federal laws on this subject are incalculable and can not be over estimated.
In this connection, I shall record the true story of an attempt to amend the law so as to allow the lawful sale of non-intoxicating cereal beverages, about which there has been some misapprehension. Before the call for the extraordinary session of 1921 was issued I was visited by a small group of citizens who requested that the subject of cereal beverages be embraced in the proclamation calling the Legislature together. I declined to comply with the request on the ground that one house of the Legislature had passed unfavorably on the matter and that submission of the question again was useless. Subsequent to that interview pledges of 18 Senators and 54 Representatives to vote for the measure were presented to me. I thereupon placed the subject in the call for the session and submitted it without recommendation. It seemed clearly a duty to allow a vote on a question on what was virtually a request of a majority in each house. Instead of making a recommendation, I submitted arguments for and against the proposal prepared by able friends and enemies of the proposition, Hon. Victor H. Hanson of Birmingham and Dr. W. B. Crumpton of Montgomery, respectively. On coming to a vote in the House the bill was lost by a vote of 51 to 39, notwithstanding the fact that 54 members had signed pledges to vote for the measure. It is clear that a number of the members violated their written pledges. I did not then nor do I now see any harm in allowing the sale of a non-alcoholic non-intoxicating beverage. On the contrary, I believed then and I believe now that the sale and use of such harmless drinks would be in the interest of temperance and the enforcement of the law against intoxicants, but the fact remains that I did not recommend the passage of the bill out of respect to the views of leading prohibitionists who disagreed with me. I make this statement, not for the purpose of re-opening the question but simply that the truth might be known and that the responsibility of the whole matter should be placed where it belongs, viz.: on the shoulders of the members who signed the pledges, many of which were broken.
LAW ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT At the adjourned session of the Legislature in 1919 the Governor was authorized to employ a special force of not more than ten men, to serve under his immediate direction, to assist him in taking care that the laws are faithfully executed. The sum of $20,000 per annum was appropriated for the purpose.
At the special session of 1920 authority was given for the increase of the force to not more than thirty men and the appropriation was increased to $50,000 per year. The following is a summary of the work of the department during the period from its creation September 30, 1919, to September 30, 1922:
Arrests: Violation of prohibition law..
1,903 Operating still
587 Having still in possession.
Disposition of Cases:
4,949 Property Seized and Destroyed :
..1,394 .704,349 gallons ..10,310 gallons
5,135 bottles Property Confiscated: