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CLOTHE GOVERNOR WITH POWER.
It is well known that under the constitution the Governor has no power to call out the militia unless empowered by the Legislature then in session. The statute now on the books on this subject is an attempted evasion of the constitution and believed to be void. Governor Turner vetoed a similar act upon the ground that it was unconstitụtional, regretting that he felt constrained to do so.
It is not improbable that some day Tennessee will run red with blood for a want of executive authority to put down a riot or insurrection. . In ume of peace, prepare for war.
OPPOSITION IS EXPECTED. - My advice is that the tenure of no official should be interferred with; that is, no one should be legislated out of office. You will meet with plenty of opposition. The character thereof is succinctly described by my friend, Chancellor Allison, of Nashville, as appears in the State bar proceedings of May, 1911, as follows:
“Hon. John Allison—Mr. President, I am not going to discuss the question, but I desire to ask the members of the bar present, if you have ever gone out to make a speech in favor of a constitutional convention. Do you recall one who has ? You remember, some eight or ten years ago, and I say this in view of the fact that you talk about efforts to amend the constitution, we had a question submitted to the people as to whether the constitutional convention should be called, and I went out through the counties to make speeches; I met a friend of mine and said, ‘Bill, how is it out here?' He said, “Four to one against it.' I said, 'What is the matter? How do you explain it?' And he said, 'I am against it,' and I said, 'Upon what grounds ?' He said, 'I have an office that goes on for four years or six years, and I don't want to be turned out.' I said, 'That is a good reason for you; what about the other folks ?' He said, “The Prohibitionists are against it,' and I said, “Why?' And he said, 'They are afraid the liquor people will get it,' and he said, “The liquor people are against it, for they are afraid the Prohibitionists will get it,' and he says, 'I am working on
both ends.' And he says, “The railroads are against it, for fear the people will get it, and the people are against it, for they are afraid the railroads will get it,' and he says, 'I am working on these two ends, for I tell the railroad men they are right, and I tell the Prohibition folks they are right, for the railroads will sure get it, and I tell the liquor men the Prohibitionists will get it,' and, when the vote came in from his county, it was a little over four to one against it.”
I do not desire to be understood as placing the seal of condemnation on our constitution in all respects. It was an admirable charter for its day. So was the first constitution adopted by the pioneers in 1796. But as the State was settled and new problems arose, that constitution needed changes, and the men of 1834 were equal to the occasion, and framed a new charter far superior to the first constitution. Then came the Civil War, with all its desolation and changes, when the men of 1870 rose up and framed the present organic law, suited to the conditions then existing, but we had scarce emerged from the shadow of the great conflict and the whole country was in a state of transition.
Since 1870 forty-one momentous years have rolled into the silent eternity of the past. During those years greater advances have been made in science, in the diffusion of knowledge, in the accumulation of wealth, and more progress has been made in every department of human activity than in all the past history of Tennessee. There has followed in the train of all these wonderful changes new conditions and new problems, which await men with sufficient courage and ability to meet and solve them, as did the men of 1796, of 1834 and of 1870. Are there such men now in Tennessee?
BILLS CALLING FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, EACH TO BE VOTED
ON SEPARATELY BY Each VOTER.
To the General Committee on Revision of the State Constitution:
The undersigned, who were appointed a sub-committee to draft bills to lay before the Legislature for the calling of a Constitutional Convention along the lines pursued in Ohio, beg leave to report as follows:
That Chairman Malone first made a draft of two bills, which were submitted to the other members of the Committee, and the Committee spent three separate evenings criticising, examining and endeavoring to so shape them up as to carry out the resolution under which they were appointed, and, at the same time, make the bills conformable to Tennessee law. This was a somewhat difficult task, as it is evident that the election machinery in Ohio is different from that in Tennessee, and in addition, it is well known that the election laws of Tennessee are extremely intricate and that the manner of holding elections are not only different in different counties, but are entirely different in some districts in the same county.
Taking the Tennessee Act of 1897, calling a Constitutional Convention (which was originally prepared by Chairman Malone), the endeavor was to write into it the Ohio plan, and which the Committee thinks it succeeded in doing so as to make the same conformable to Tennessee law.
We submit herewith two bills, as follows:
(1) A bill which will allow the people of Tennessee on the first Thursday in August, 1913, to vote upon the question whether a Constitutional Convention shall be held, not to make a new constitution, but to submit separate amendments of the present constitution to be voted on separately by the people.
(2) In case the Governor by proclamation announces that the people have declared in favor of calling such a convention, then the next bill provides for the election of 99 delegates to the Convention, being the same number composing the House of Representatives, whose duty it will be in convention assembled, to formulate such amendments as they may think proper to the constitution, which are then to be submitted by a mandatory provision to the approval or disapproval of the voters, each amendment being voted on separately.
The delegates to this convention are to be elected upon a nonpartisan plan and basis, according to the Ohio law, which was prepared and formulated by Governor Judson Harmon of that State.
The two bills are herewith submitted and are open for approval or disapproval, amendment or otherwise, as the whole committee may see proper. This December 12, 1912.
JAMES H. MALONE, Chr.
A Bill to be entitled: “An Act to Authorize the People to
Decide by Vote Whether They Will Call a Constitutional
Whereas, under our Constitution the right of the people to alter, reform or abolish the same is fully recognized; and
Whereas, in the opinion of the General Assembly, the public exigencies do now demand the exercise of the power to alter or reform the Constitution on the part of the people of the State;. and
Whereas, by Article XI, Section 3, of the present Constitution, power is given to the Legislature to submit to the people the question whether a Constitutional Convention shall be called; therefore,
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That all the legal voters under existing laws of this State are hereby authorized to assemble on the first Thursday in August, 1913, at the several places of holding elections, in the various counties of this State, and vote for or against calling a convention to alter or reform the Constitution by submitting amendments to the present Constitution, to be voted on separately by the people.
SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That in submitting the question of a convention to the people, tickets shall be prepared by the proper authorities under the laws in force at the time of holding said election, or by the electors in various counties of this State, with the words written or printed “For a Conven
tion,” “Against a Convention,” and if the number of votes cast for a convention be greater than the votes cast against a convention, then there shall be a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.
Registration books shall be opened and voters will be allowed to register in all respects as at that time provided by law, and the qualifications necessary to entitle a citizen to vote upon the questions submitted shall, in all respects, be the same as then required by law in order to vote for members of the General Assembly.
Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That in all cases where any commissioners of election, or other proper officer under the law, fail or refuse to hold said election, it shall be lawful for any three freeholders, being legal voters, to hold said election by summoning as many bystanders, being legal voters, as may be necessary, to hold said election.
Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That it is hereby declared to be the duty of the Governor to issue his proclamation to the several commissioners of election, or other proper officers under the law, in the State and counties thereof, immediately after the passage of this act, requiring them to hold and conduct said election as herein provided. And said commissioners of election or other proper officers under the law, in the various counties of the State, shall advertise the time and places of holding said election, as in case of special election for members of the General Assembly.
SEC. 5. Be it further enacted, That is shall be the duty of the commissioners of election, or other proper officer under the law, of each county of the State, immediately after said election, to make a complete return to the Secretary of this State of the votes cast “For a Convention” and “ Against a Convention” in their county.
Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney-General of the State, to compare the returns made by the commissioners of election, or other proper officers under the law, and if a majority of those voting be in favor of a convention, or against a conven-' tion, it shall be the duty of the Governor to immediately issue his proclamation announcing the result.