« AnteriorContinuar »
Those voting for Mr. McCann are: Messrs.
Lipschulch Richardson Turnbaugh
Rothschild Walsh Curran, T. Gregory
Rowe, W. Watson
Ryan, Frank Weber
Ryan, J. W. Williamson
Wilson, G. H.
Wilson, R. E..
Total--147. Mr. McCann, having received the necessary constitutional majority, was declared elected Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Scanlan offered the following resolution and moved its adoption:
HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 18.
Resolved, That the Clerk notify the Senate that the House is organized by the election of a Speaker and Clerk, and is now ready to proceed with the business of the session.
And the resolution was adopted.
HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 19. Resolved, That a committee of seven members be appointed by the Speaker, to wait upon the Governor and notify him that the House is organized by the election of a Speaker and Clerk, and is now ready to receive any communication which he may have to present.
And the resolution was adopted.
The Speaker thereupon appointed as such committee Messrs. Farrell, Graham, W. J., Holaday, Festerling, Richardson, Santry and Hamlin.
Mr. Shurtleff offered the following resolution and moved its adoption:
HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 20. Resolved, That the Speaker be authorized to appoint a Committee on Rules, consisting of seventeen members, of which he shall be chairman.
Mr. Lee O'Neil Browne offered the following as a substitute and moved its adoption:
Resolved, That the rules adopted by the last General Assembly be adopted by this House, as the rules of the House.
The question being upon the adoption of the substitute, a division of the House was had, resulting as follows: Yeas, 20; nays, 77,
And the substitute was lost.
The question recurring on the adoption of the original resolution, offered by Mr. Shurtleff, it was decided in the affirmative.
And in accordance therewith the Speaker appointed as such committee Messrs. Shanahan, Shurtleff, McCormick, Lyon, Thomas Curran, Frankhauser, Dudgeon, Tice, Rothschild, Rentchler, Lee O'Neil Browne, Igoe, Arthur Roe, Gorman, Devine, Hubbard and Garesche.
Mr. Farrell, from the committee heretofore appointed to wait on the Governor, reported that they had notified the Governor of the organization of the House, and he stated that he would communicate with the House through his private secretary.
A message from the Governor, by William L. Sullivan, Secretary to the Governor:
Mr. Speaker-I am directed by the Governor to lay before the House of Representatives the following communication:
SPRINGFIELD, ILL.. February 17, 1915. To the Members of the Forty-ninth General Assembly:
In compliance with the constitutional provision, requiring the Governor, at the commencement of each session, to give to the General Assembly information, by message, of the condition of the State and to recommend such measures as he may deem expedient, I submit the following matters for your consideration:
For many years past there has been in this State an emphatic demand for a waterway between Chicago and the Gulf of Mexico. The practicability of such a waterway was noted by Pere Marquette when he first discovered the portage between the Chicago River and the Des Plaines River centuries ago. Its practicability was further noted by the early pioneers of this State, and the boundary lines of the State were fixed upon its admission to the Union of States so as to provide for this waterway.
The Congress of the United States deeded lands of immense value to the State of Illinois for the purpose of creating this waterway. In the early history of the State, a cut was made and a canal constructed, connecting the south branch of the Chicago River with the Illinois River, which was for many years successfully used in commerce. As the years rolled by, however, it became apparent that the canal then constructed was totally inadequate to meet the demands of advanced, modern transportation. The age of steam and gasoline has rendered obsolete the boats, locks and waterways of the early part of the nineteenth century, and the Illinois and Michigan Canal has rapidly fallen into disuse. As the result, in recent years, the demand for an adequate waterway between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River has become insistent.
On November 3, 1908, the people of the State by popular vote amended the Constitution so as to permit the issuance of not to exceed $20,000,000.00 worth of bonds to be used in the construction of an adequate waterway, and in the erection, equipment, and maintenance of power plants, locks, bridges, dams and appliances.
Divers plans for the development of a waterway between Lockport and Utica have been formulated and discussed before the public, but the different Legislatures of the State have never succeeded as yet in formulating a law for that purpose, and placing it upon the statute books.
In my judgment, the time has arrived for prompt action. The Panama Canal has been opened to the commerce of the world. As the results thereof, the cost of transportation between the eastern and the western seaboard has fallen much below the rates heretofore charged by the rail. roads. As a result, freight traffic is now being attracted from as far east as the States of Ohio and Indiana to the eastern seaboard by railroad and thence by waterway transportation to the western coast of the United States. Where such competition exists, railroad rates will probably be
lowered, and where no competition exists, railroad rates will probably remain as they now are.
If an adequate waterway were opened between Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico, an immense commerce would, in my judgment, develop between points on the Illinois River and points at or near the Great Lakes through the Sanitary District Canal from Chicago to Lockport and thence through a waterway from Lockport to the Mississippi River. At the present time, a navigable depth of over seven feet exists normally for a distance of 262 miles out of a total of 327 miles between Chicago and the Mississippi River. Sixty-five miles between La Salle on the Illinois River and the Chicago Drainage Canal at Lockport is now limited to a draft of four and one-half feet through the old fossilized Illinois and Michigan Canal, with its inadequate locks constructed three-quarters of a century ago. A channel of eight feet in depth is now maintained in the Mississippi River from Cairo to St. Louis with no early prospect of being further deepened. If an eight-foot depth could be provided for an adequate waterway in the Illinois River and a portion of the Illinois and Michigan Canal between the cities of Utica and Lockport, we would have a waterway of eight feet in depth from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico.
Such being the situation, I invited last summer, the eminent engineer, Lyman E. Cooley, and E. J. Kelly, Assistant Chief Engineer of the Sanitary District of Chicago, Walter A. Shaw, engineer member of the Illinois Public Utilities Commission, and LeRoy K. Sherman, engineer member of the Illinois Rivers and Lakes Commission, to accompany me down the Illinois and Michigan Canal from Joliet to LaSalle. On that trip of inspection, these gentlemen and myself examined the physical condition of the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Illinois and DesPlaines Rivers between Joliet and LaSalle, and as the result of that inspection and after a careful inquiry into the practicability of at least an eight-foot channel between Joliet and Utica, these gentlemen have reported, in writing, several schemes or projects for the construction of an eight-foot waterway between Utica and Joliet. One of these schemes or projects, known as project No. 3, they have unani. mously endorsed as being entirely feasible and capable of construction within two years at a cost of $3,075,000.00.
It contemplates the use of the Illinois River for approximately 45 miles and the development and enlargement of about 20 miles of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. A copy of this report which has been endorsed by the Rivers and Lakes Commission of this State will accompany this message, and I herewith recommend it to you for careful examination.
I am convinced that the scheme is entirely feasible; that, considering the immense advantages to be obtained therefrom, it is exceedingly economical, and that it possesses the advantage of not, in any way foreclosing or preventing the creating of a deeper waterway hereafter, if a deeper waterway can be secured in the Mississippi River. If the science of engineering in the future will be able to bring about a greater depth in the Mississippi River than the eight feet which now exists, such depth can also be secured in the proposed channel without in any way impairing the efficiency of the work done under project No. 3. In other words, the construction of this channel in the Illinois River and the Illinois and Michigan Canal between Utica and Joliet will open up within two years, if constructed, a splendid waterway of eight feet in depth from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico, at a cost of $3,075,000 or thereabout, and give to the people of this State, as well as those tributary to the Great Lakes, a commerce to New Orleans and the Panama Canal.
I would further call the attention of the Legislature to the fact that, if this waterway be constructed as outlined in project No. 3, $1,000,000 is available in the treasury of the United States for the dredging and deepening of the Illinois River to an eight-foot depth between Utica and the mouth of the Illinois River where it enters into the Mississippi River. Project No. 3 has been investigated by such influential bodies as the Associations of Commerce, of Chicago, Joliet, LaSalle, Peoria, and other cities and towns along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, and, so far as I am informed, it has their unanimous approval,
I therefore recommend the passage of a law providing for the construction of a channel, as recommended by these engineers, and authorizing the issuance of bonds not to exceed in amount the sum of $3,500,000.
REGULATION OF FIRE INSURANCE RATES.
Complaints of excessive rates in fire insurance premiums and of combinations between fire insurance companies to prevent competition in the establishment of reasonable rates in this State have reached me for some time past.
In the spring of 1914, I instructed the Insurance Superintendent, Hon. Rufus M. Potts, to make an investigation into the subject, the result of which investigation he has embodied in a comprehensive report, to which I respectfully request your earnest attention.
In substance, this report declares that there exists a widespread and comprehensive combination among the fire insurance companies doing business in the State, and their annexes and rating organizations and appendages, the effect of which has been to stifle competition and to establish in many lines of insurance unreasonably excessive rates of premiums; such rates being in excess of rates established and charged in other states, although the State of Illinois is favorably situated in reference to fire insurance risks.
The report discloses, as the result of investigation into premiums paid and losses sustained, that, for twenty years past, the insured citizens of this State have been paying for insurance premiums approximately twice as much as has been paid to the insured for fire losses. The report also states that the profits earned by the insurance companies upon their capital stock have been enormous, amounting in some cases to over 100 per cent.
The report shows that, owing to the fact that it is impossible to obtain the dividend figures of European companies, the total profit percentage of all companies doing business in the State cannot be calculated. This can be done, however, for companies domiciled in the United States. The average profit percentage of these companies for 1913, exclusive of dividends, as shown by this report, was 32.8 per cent. They paid an average dividend of 12.3 per cent, so that the total annual profit for 1913 of all the American fire insurance companies doing business in Illinois, as stated in the report, was 45.1. per cent of their capital stock, which is enormous and unreasonable.
The fire insurance companies dispute the conclusion of the report in some particulars, but there are sufficient 'facts set forth in said report to justify me in reaching the conclusion that the time has come in the history of the State, for effective control by the State of the rates charged for fire insurance. Legislation along this line is imperative. I have been in correspondence and in conference with representatives of the fire insurance interests of the State in the endeavor to agree upon the outlines of a law under which the State shall be empowered to make a thorough and exhaustive examination into the rates charged for fire insurance, and to enable the State further, if it is found that such rates are unreasonable and excessive, to fix and proclaim just and reasonable rates, which shall be charged in the future by all the fire insurance companies doing business in this State.
I am pleased to announce that gentlemen, representing very important and influential fire insurance interests of the State, have declared their willingness to cooperate with the Insurance Superintendent and his legal staff in and about drafting a bill, under which the right of the State to make such investigations and to fixo such rates is recognized, and that they are willing to have such provisions incorporated in a law to be enacted by this Legislature. The Insurance Superintendent and his counsel and the counsel for these insurance interests have been engaged for some time past in endeavoring to agree upon the details of such a bill. If such an agreement is reached, such a bill will be presented to this Legislature for its action. Should they not agree upon the details of the bill, one will be presented to the Legislature by the Insurance Superintendent, embodying the fundamental principles of investigation and regulation by the State, hereinbefore referred to, and such other provisions as may be agreed upon between the insurance interests and the Insurance Superintendent, leaving the other details of the bill, which may not be agreed upon, to the careful consideration of this
Legislature. Such a law is now in force in the State of Kansas, and has been pronounced valid and constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the German Alliance Insurance Company v. Lewis, decided April 20, 1914.
In that case the court held that, “the business of insurance so far affects the public welfare as to invoke and require governmental regulation."
"In assimilation of insurance to a tax, the companies have been said to be the mere machinery by which the inevitable losses by fire are distributed, so as to fall as lightly as possible on the public at large, the body of the insured, not the companies, paying the tax"; and again in the same case, the court declares that fire insurance has “become clothed with a public interest, and, therefore, subject, to be controlled by the public for the common good.”
I earnestly recommend the passage of a bill providing for such investigation and regulation in the interest of the citizens of Illinois.
Insurance Superintendent Potts in his report, after an exhaustive examination into insurance conditions, has made certain recommendations with reference to the codification and amplification of the general insurance laws of this State to which I hereby direct your earnest attention.
AMENDMENT TO THE AMENDING CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF 1870.
The Constitution adopted by this State in the year 1870 is in many respects an admirable instrument. Its bill of rights is broad and comprehensive, and its distribution of powers of government is in accord with the fundamental laws of most of the states of the Union.
In the march of events, however, it has been found that some few amendments are advisable. So proud of their work were the framers of this Constitution that they framed the article relating to amendments of the Constitution in such a way as to make amendments to the Constitution most difficult, by declaring that, “The General Assembly shall have no power to propose amendments to more than one article of this Constitution at the same session, nor the same article oftener than once in four years.” This provision is archaic, inelastic, and unduly onerous. It is so restrictive as at times to operate in practice as a prohibition against amendment. This amendment should be amended so as to permit at least three different articles to be amended at the same session.
Because of the difficulty in amending the present Constitution, some sentiment exists in favor of the adoption of a new Constitution. Whether a new Constitution is adopted or not, in my judgment, the amending clause of the present Constitution should be amended. The amendment of the amending clause could be adopted within two or three years, so as to permit several amendments of the present Constitution to be adopted thereafter. A new Constitution cannot be adopted by the people in the ordinary course of such matters within five or six years.
What the new Constitution, when framed may be, and whether the people will approve of it or not, cannot be known. In the meantime we must proceed, before the adoption of a new Constitution, upon the lines of the old Constitution, and that Constitution should be amended, in its amending clause, so as to permit the people to suggest amendments from time to time to meet the demands of modern progress in legislation.
If a new Constitution be framed and submitted to the people and disapproved, we should have our present Constitution in such shape as to permit it to be more readily amendable than at the present time. If a new Constitution is adopted after the amendment of the present Constitution, the much needed amendment heretofore suggested would not operate in any way to interfere with a new Constitution, as the present Constitution, and all amendments thereto would be displaced by the new Constitution.
Whatever action be taken in reference to a new Constitution, I, therefore, recommend the amendment of the amending clause of the present Constitution as hereinbefore suggested.
In the past the struggles between the advocates of the initiative and referendum and the advocates of revenue reform for paramount recognition