Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

have operated to prevent the adoption of either. With the amending clause amended, as suggested, it will open the way for an early amendment of the Constitution along the lines of revenue reform, the initiative and referendum, and other necessary amendments, all of which could be voted for at the same session and submitted to the people at the same election.

RE-DISTRICTING OF SENATORIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS.

Senatorial. The Constitution provides that, “The General Assembly shall apportion the State every ten years into 51 senatorial districts, each of which shall elect one senator and three representatives.

The last senatorial apportionment was made in the year 1901. The new senatorial apportionment should have been made, pursuant to the Con: stitution, in 1911. Nearly four years have elapsed since the senatorial apportionment should have been made.

I, therefore, recommend, in compliance with the Constitution, that the Legislature re-apportion the senatorial districts of the State.

Congressional. The last congressional apportionment in this State was made on May 13, 1901. Since that time Illinois has become entitled to two additional congressmen, who are now elected in the State at large.

A new congressional apportionment should also be made at this session to provide for 27 congressional districts.

COST OF ELECTIONS.

Elections for city, village, township, school districts, counties and State are unnecessarily frequent and too costly. In the city of Chicago alone a single primary election costs $275,000 and a single final election $320,000.

I would respectfully recommend the passage of bills requiring all city, village, township and school elections to be held on the same day, and have only one such election every two years, and that all county, State, congressional and national elections should be held upon the same day every two years. If the State, county, congressional and national elections are held in the even year, the city, village, township and school elections might be held in the odd year, thus having only one election day each year.

This will considerably reduce both the cost and number of elections and be for the public interest.

I further recommend that elections for all judicial offices be held on a date when no other officials are voted for. The primary election for judges might, however, be held on the same day as a general election, had for other offices.

Legislation should also be enacted cutting down the number of elective offices where possible, thus shortening the ballot and providing for the rota. tion of names of candidates upon the ballot at all elections for all offices.

I further recommend that, at all primary elections, each candidate be compelled, on filing his application, to pay to the clerk, where such application is filed, a filing and printing fee sufficient to cover the cost of print. ing, at least one page of printed matter, relating to his candidacy and that said clerk cause to be printed and paid for out of such fee, copies of such page of printed matter to the amount of twice the number of legal voters in the district from which said applicant is a candidate; said copies to be delivered to the applicant, before the nomination, for distribution by him or mailed to all voters by said clerk upon such candidate paying the cost of the postage thereof, and that all candidates be limited in their election expenditures to a reasonable amount over and above the cost of such distribution of such printed matter. Probably twenty per cent of the legal

salary, paid to the incumbent of the office should be the maximum of expenditure to be permitted.

The election laws should also be amended so as to provide for a report of a candidate's expenditures within a reasonable time after the election and before he be permitted to assume the duties of his office, with effective penalties for violation of the law.

STATE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.

The State Public Utilities Commission closed the first eleven months of its administration on November 30, 1914. During that time, the commission was organized, its work systematized, and the administrative, engineering, accounting, rate, and service departments were built up to such a state of efficiency as the limited time and the means at the disposal of the commission would allow. The present working force of the commission, attorneys, engineers, accountants, statisticians, experts, inspectors, clerks, stenographers, etc., numbers seventy-three persons. The Illinois Public Utilities law is probably the most comprehensive measure of its kind ever enacted, and the duties and powers of the Illinois Commission are probably more numerous and greater than those of any similar commission. The multiplicity, variety, and importance of matters coming before it during this period of organization have been so great as to tax to the utmost its ability to investigate, hear, and dispose of the cases.

During the eleven months, there were filed 1,278 formal complaints and petitions, all of which called for investigation and public hearings, and a finding by the commission. In 924 of these cases formal orders were entered. There were also brought to the attention of the commission during this same time about 500 informal complaints, covering almost every conceivable matter about which complaint could be made, some 400 of which have been investigated and disposed of informally by correspondence or conference. In addition to the above, the commission has approved 1,160 leases, made by utility corporations. Orders were issued in sixty-fivé stock and bond cases, authorizing the issue of $176,917,304.00, par value, of stocks, bonds, and notes. On December 15, 1914, there were pending, applications for authority to issue securities of the par value of $262,185,258.00. On December 22 a majority of the pending applications for authority to issue securities had been heard. The amount of fees paid into the State Treasury for authorities granted up to this time was $505,202.78. The total receipts of the commission at this time was $510,173.89. The total amount of appropriation expended to maintain the commission was $118,548.14.

The beneficent effects of the operation of the Utilities Law are already apparent on every hand. Discriminations in rates and service have been eliminated, and it may now be said that strict rate uniformity prevails among all the utilities of the State. The question of rates has probably been most often brought to the attention of the commission; for while rates and service are fundamentally joined in almost every case, the majority of complaints coming to the commission thus far have found their expression in terms of rates. In a number of smaller communities settlements have resulted in substantial reductions in rates. In some of the more important cases the determination of reasonable rates has necessitated the making of property valuations, which requires much time and labor.

Standards of service to govern gas and electric utilities have been established by the commission, and service inspectors are now at work inspecting the quality of service furnished by the various utilities of the State.

One of the main objects, sought by the Legislature, the establishment of the Utilities Commission was to secure to the people of the State adequate service at reasonable rates, and the commission in all its acts has ever kept before it this condition, and has sought to accomplish and is accomplishing this great purpose, for which it was created.

While the operations of the commission have been satisfactory throughout the entire State, including Chicago, and while there seems to be no sentiment, at the present time in favor of local commissions to regulate intraurban utilities down the State outside of Chicago, there is considerable

sentiment in that great city in favor of a local ancillary commission, to take charge of and control the intraurban municipal utilities of that city, and, I, therefore, favor the creation of such an ancillary commission for the city of Chicago to take charge of and control the intraurban utilities of that city.

TRESPASSES UPON RAILROAD RIGHT OF WAY.

During the years 1911, 1912 and 1913, 1,497 lives were lost and 1,470 persons were maimed while trespassing upon railroad right of way in the State of Illinois.

The number of trespassers on railroad right of way, killed and injured, is increasing year by year. In 1913 alone, 510 trespassers were killed and 521 were injured in this State.

In the interest of the protection of human life and limb rather than protection to railroad interests, I believe that a law should be enacted making trespassing on railroad property a misdemeanor. It is now merely an infraction of civil rights. Such a law would tend to discourage trespassing and result in the saving of life and limb.

LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE BUREAU.

By an Act, effective July 1, 1913, the Forty-eighth General Assembly created the Legislative Reference Bureau, of which I became ex officio chairman, and upon which was imposed the duty of collecting, classifying, and indexing information which may be of value to the Legislature in considering and constructing legislation.

You will find that this work has been diligently prosecuted and there is at your disposal, as a result of the work of eighteen months, a large collection of classified data upon most of the subjects which will come before you.

The methods of this bureau have been modeled after similar bureaus in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and other states.

Perhaps the most important duty imposed upon the Legislative Reference Bureau is the preparation of a detailed budget of the appropriations which the officers of the several departments of the State government report are required for their several departments for the next biennium, together with a comparative statement of the funds appropriated by the preceding General Assembly for the same purpose. This task has been carefully and most completely accomplished. A classification of accounts has been prepared after a study of the best public accounting practice and, for the first time in the history of Illinois, the State Legislature will be furnished early in the session with full information concerning the money asked to be appropriated, particularly as to whether the amount sought is an increase or decrease over preceding appropriations, and as to the definite purpose for which the money is to be used. Estimates have been made of the revenue from all sources which may be counted upon in the next two years, so that an intelligent comparison of proposed expenditures with income may be made by every member of the General Assembly.

PRISON REFORM.

Prison reform in Illinois in past years has not kept pace with the prog. ress in the management of our other institutions. In my experience as a judge on the bench, I have been given an insight into the workings of our criminal laws, which has created in me sincere pity for the man who has gone wrong and an earnest desire that the punishment, inflicted by the State, shall not needlessly degrade him and rob him of all ambition, but rather shall assist and lend encouragement to his efforts toward rehabilitation.

To this end I have lent my influence, in the prison administration of the State, to the introduction of more humane methods of dealing with offenders, and the establishment, so far as found practical, of the honor system.

Real progress has been made in all the penal institutions in this direction. In the Illinois State Reformatory, at Pontiac, corporal punishment has been eliminated and a policy of severe restrictions has been replaced by the elimination of the task system of enforced work under penalty and the substitution of the piece work system with rewards for proficiency; the allowance of one hour's recreation each day for all inmates and the development of institution athletic teams, a drill corps, and frequent entertainments. In each of the penitentiaries, recreation periods have been instituted and repressive rules have been changed to extend to inmates' privileges which make for greater self-respect and tend to reform rather than degrade. The result of these changes has fully met expectations.

The improvement so far made should be continued and Illinois should do its part toward assisting in the scientific research into the causes of crime which is now engaging the attention of many other states and learned societies. It would be of great value to the prison wardens and to the Board of Pardons to have the advice of trained psychologists as to the mental condition, the trustworthiness, and the possibilities of reform of the inmates, to guide them in extending liberties and in granting paroles. This, not with the idea of extending leniency toward defectives, but rather in order that those who are incapable of living honestly, if set free, may be detained in custody and those who possess the possibilities of successful careers in honest occupations may be given encouragement and another chance.

For these reasons, I recommend to your careful consideration measures, seeking to provide for the prisons the assistance of a psychological laboratory for the study of criminals and the causes of crime, and would suggest that provisions be made for cooperation between such laboratory, if it be established, and the psychopathic laboratory of the State hospital service now maintained at Kankakee.

PUBLIC CHARITIES.

Upon the public charities of the State a greater proportion of our revenue is expended than on any other single object except public education.

In the last two years, the increase in the population of the institutions under the Board of Administration has exceeded the normal rate. For 1913 it was 4 per cent, and for 1914, 4.2 per cent. The appropriations for maintenance for the biennium 1913-1915 were based upon an estimated increase of 3 per cent. In addition there has been an abnormal increase in the cost of food, which is the chief item of expense in the maintenance of the institutions. Nevertheless, by wise economy and careful management, the institutions have been maintained at the usual high standard and a substantial saving has been made in the maintenance fund.

The Forty-eighth General Assembly appropriated $2,427,304.67 for the continuation of the physical rehabilitation of these institutions and for the construction of the new State Hospital at Alton and a State Epileptic Colony which I urged upon the Legislature in my inaugural address.

The $1,000,000.00 appropriated for these new institutions has been expended or contracted for. After careful investigation, the Board of Administration selected a site for the epileptic colony at Dixon, Illinois, in a beautiful location on the Rock River, and contracts have been let for the construction of nine buildings. At Alton work is progressing upon five buildings. You will be asked to appropriate $500,000, for the completion of each of these new institutions and to provide a fund for the maintenance of patients, as both will be ready for occupancy before long,

Owing to the large amount provided for buildings by the last Assembly, which was more than sixty per cent of the amount which had been expended in the previous eight years, the total request of the Board of Administration for all purposes for the next two years is $397,632 less than two years ago, and this in spite of the maintenance increase made necessary by the abnor. mal growth in population and provision for two new institutions,

It is with sincere pleasure that I can report conditions in the eighteen charitable institutions to have improved in the last two years in all those particulars which increase the comfort and happiness of the wards of the State.

In economical business management, the Illinois institutions are not surpassed by any private corporation. No private sanitarium in this State can furnish medical attention to the mentally afflicted, of a higher standard than that given to the inmates of the State hospitals. No endowed home or school gives more careful training, supervision, nor more humane treatment than is received by the wards of the State in our schools for delinquents, while the institutions for the deaf and blind, the soldiers' homes, and soldiers' orphans' homes are not surpassed anywhere.

Most important in the improvements effected in these institutions during my administration has been the abolition, in the schools under the Board of Administration, of corporal punishment. The old policy of repression and severity has been replaced by patient, persevering encouragement of the better qualities in inmates and freedom from petty restraint-that humane treatment, in fact, which is advocated by the best informed students of delinquency as being most effective for the building up of self-control and self restraint.

In the State hospitals all mechanical restraint of patients, including seclusion, has been abolished. Patience and kindness combined with the best curative treatment known to medical science, have worked wonders in obtaining discipline hitherto thought impossible to maintain without straps, straight-jackets, and close confinement.

The merit system among the employees is being faithfully and conscientiously enforced. The promotional system is in vogue in all branches of the hospital service. The “hospital tramp” is being weeded out. Experience, fidelity, honest and faithful work, humanity, and decency are recognized, encouraged, and rewarded. Standards of living and employment are being elevated with all who serve the State. Wages of employees, particularly those receiving the smallest pay, have been increased in all the institutions. The eight-hour system has been adopted by the Board of Administration in several institutions and will be extended to others.

In the adoption of the eight-hour system for hospital service, Illinois is the pioneer in the United States. Better living quarters are being provided for the employees in the institutions. In return for all these considerations the State demands the highest degree of efficiency and humanity from its employees.

GAME AND FISH CONSERVATION. Consolidation of the former Fish Commission and Game Department, pursuant to my recommendation, in the bill creating the Game and Fish Conservation Commission, effective July 1, 1913, has given substantial proof of the wisdom of combining independent State agencies which handle work that is closely related.

With an appropriation considerably less than that expended by the former departments, the newly created commission has organized an efficient warden force and conducted a vigorous and effective conservation campaign.

By strict enforcement of the law requiring licenses and the development of a thorough system of accounting for collection of fines and confiscation proceeds, the new department has been made more than self-sustaining, the cost through these contributions falling upon persons directly interested in the results of its work.

The most important conservation work in the care of this department relates to the fishing industry of the State. Our lakes and streams furnish an enormous supply of excellent and cheap food. Since it is available for all who come to take it, free of charge, wise and strict regulation is required to prevent the wholesale destruction by wasteful methods of this common property. The problem of protecting the natural supply, and increasing it through scientific propagation, has been undertaken in an effective manner by the commission. Large quantities of fry and fingerlings have been placed in the waters of the State during the last season and permanent ponds and hatcheries have been provided for the continuation and extension of this work.

I commend to your careful consideration, as of great importance to the public, all measures submitted for the purpose of improving the present methods of conserving this important natural resource.

« AnteriorContinuar »