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On consultation with the state officers, and many prominent citizens from different parts of the state, and having received numerous letters and petitions to the same end, I assumed the responsibility of borrowing from a number of our banks, on the credit of the state, subject to your approval, the sum of thirty-five hundred dollars. I was impelled to this course, rather than assemble the legislature for the purpose of securing an appropriation, for the reason that a special session would cost the state more than the amount proposed to be expended. The total cost of the display was forty-five hundred and nine dollars, for which I hold vouchers.

I would ask that an appropriation for this amount be made.

This outlay is small compared with the great advantage gained in advertising the state, by the very respectable display that was made.

Over sixty thousand pamphlets and reports, showing the resources and advantages of the state, were distributed.

I am informed that Nebraska received the first premium on soil and apples, and made a very creditable showing in general fruits, cereals and grasses.

Already the good results are beginning to appear in the increased inquiry concerning our state by capitalists, and persons seeking homes in the west.

BANKS AND BANKING INSTITUTIONS.

Under the provisions of a law of congress, the comptroller of the currency is required to report annually to congress the resources and liabilities, exhibiting the condition of the banks, banking companies, and savings banks, organized under the laws of the several states and territories. This information is obtained by the comptroller from the reports made by such banks to the legislatures or officers of the different states and territories. This state has been unable to give the information asked for by the comptroller, as we have no law requiring this class of corporations to furnish official statements of their condition.

This law of congress seems eminently proper, as it affords protection to all parties transacting business with banking institutions.

I would therefore recommend that the law regulating corporations of this character be so amended as to require all banks, banking companies, and savings banks doing business in this State to annually report, under oath, to the auditor of public aaccounts on their condition, showing their resources and liabilities.

This law should also apply to firms and individuals engaged in banking

USURY.

The statutes of this state provide that the party receiving any rate of interest above that allowed by law shall forfeit all interest, and pay the costs of suit. The forfeiture goes to the borrower. This appears to be simply awarding a premium on dishonesty.

There is no reason why the law should limit the market value of money any more than it should that of wheat, or any other commodity. This has been so frequently and clearly demonstrated by almost every political economist who has written upon the subject, that I will not attempt a lengthy discussion of the question here. Yet notwithstanding these natural laws of business and settled rules of political economy, nearly all the states have assumed the right to affix a penalty for loaning money at a higher rate of interest than that prescribed by the laws of the several states.

As the law now stands the penalty falls solely upon the creditor, and the temptation for the debtor to annul his contract is made very great. In fact, it furnishes about the only instance known to the law, where a person can successfully plead his own unlawful action.

If the acceptance of the usurious interest is a wrong that demands punishment, the payment thereof must likewise be a punishable offense. It is a joint act, and all the parties to the transaction are violators of the law. Our law, however, rewards one of the parties and punishes the other. That this is morally wrong and mischievous in its results there can be no doubt.

If the usury law is to remain in force, I would suggest that it be so amended as to make the forfeiture only the excess of the legal rate instead of all the interest.

This would mitigate the evil effects of the present law.

COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS AND BUILDINGS.

The constitution creates the office of commissioner of public lands and buildings, and such an officer was chosen at the last general election.

To him, in a degree, is committed the supervision and disposition of the liberal land endowments for the state university and common schools, and all other lands belonging to the state. The magnitude and importance of these endowments is such that there should be careful and well guarded legislation for protecting the interests of the state.

Such provisions should be made as will enable the commissioner to perform the duties of his office as contemplated by the constitution. The constitution further provides that “the commissioner of public lands and buildings, secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney-general shall form a board which shall have general supervision and control of all the buildings, grounds, and lands belonging to the state, the state prison, hospital for the insane, and all other institutions thereof, except those for educational purposes, and shall perform such duties, and be subject to such rules as may be prescribed

by law.”

It will thus be seen that this board will have to perform, in addition to the duties of their respective offices, what heretofore was required of the inspectors of the state prison, trustees of the hospital for the insane, the blind and deaf and dumb institutes. The duties imposed upon this board are important, and legislation will be required to empower it to fulfill the spirit of the constitution.

I would urge upon you the necessity of such early action on this subject as your wisdom may dictate, to the end that the board may be vested with its responsibilities without delay.

AMENDMENTS AND ENACTMENT OF LAWS.

The wise and well settled legislation of a state should remain undisturbed; nor should laws be amended or repealed for experiment's sake. However, the adoption of a new constitution will require many new enactments as well as the repealing and amending of laws now in force.

I will here briefly refer to a few of the more prominent provisions of the constitution that will require legislative action, while many others will doubtless suggest themselves to your minds.

Section twenty-two of article VI of the constitution provides " that the state may sue and be sued, and the legislature shall provide by law, in what manner and in what courts suits shall be brought.” This is an important provision, and proper legislation will be necessary to make it operative.

Section eight of article IX, requires " that the legislature, at its first session, shall provide a law for the funding of all outstanding warrants and other indebtedness of the state at a rate of interest not exceeding eight per cent. per annum.” I have previously named the amount necessary to fund the outstanding indebtedness, and redeem the warrants issued by the state and remaining unpaid.

Section nine of article IX, declares that “the legislature shall provide by law that all claims upon the treasury shall be examined and adjusted by the auditor, and approved by the secretary of state, before

any warrant for the amount allowed shall be drawn.” This, in effect, it seems, makes the secretary of state a second auditor, and will require him to keep additional records and accounts, necessitating an increase in his clerical force. An appropriation for these purposes, and to enable him to fully meet the provisions of the law, should be made.

Again, the constitution says that “the legislature may provide that at the general election immediately preceding the expiration of a term of a United States senator, from this state, the electors may, by ballot, express their preference for some person for the office of United States senator. The votes cast for such candidates shall be canvassed and returned in the same manner as for state officers.”

To make this provision effective, suitable legislation by you will be necessary

Our electoral law is defective and should have your attention. By an act of congress the electors for each state are required to meet and give their votes for president and vice-president of the United States, upon the first Wednesday in December, in the same year in which they are appointed. Our statutes provide that the votes cast for electors of the president and vice-president shall be canvassed in the same manner and by the same officers as required by law in the case of electing a representative in congress.

The law further directs that the votes cast at any election for member of congress shall be canvassed by the legislature in joint session. As the law now stands, the electors are required to meet and give their votes for president and vice president before the time fixed by the constitution for the regular meeting of the legislature. I would therefore recommend the law be so amended as will not require a special session of the legislature to canvass the electoral vote.

It frequently occurs that the secretary of state is called upon to verify the official signatures and seals of county officers.

At present there is no legal method by which that officer is made aware who the qualified county officers are, consequently great annoyance is often experienced by both the state and individuals. I would therefore recommend the enactment of a law requiring all county clerks to report to the secretary of state a certified list under seal of all duly elected and qualified county officers of their respective counties.

GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.

I would again direct your attention to the growing need of a geological survey. This is called for by the exigencies of the state and demands of the people, and the geological work in constant need of being performed. It is a well known fact that the geological deposits of Nebraska are alike remarkable for their number and variety and for the scientific value of her fossils.

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