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The Consolidated Laws constitute the sixth compilation of the general statute law of the State prepared under legislative authority and were authorized by Laws 1904, chapter 664, whereby a Board of Statutory Consolidation was constituted, charged with the duty to direct and control the revision, simplification, arrangement and consolidation of the statutes of the state" without change in substance, following the plan adopted in the General Laws. That duty having been performed, the Consolidated Laws contained in this edition are presented as they were prepared by the Board of Statutory Consolidation and, as so prepared, passed by the Legislature of 1909 without material change. The Public Service Commissions Law and the Railroad Law (chapter 39 of the General Laws) were included among the Consolidated Laws presented to the Legislature in the report of the board and both were passed by the Legislature, but failed to receive executive approval. Both of these laws, therefore, as amended to date and all existing independent general statutes relating to railroads are included in this edition. The amendments made to the Consolidated Laws at the same session, save those contained in Laws 1909, chapter 240, which was enacted to correct certain typographical errors discovered in the legislative printing of the laws and which have been incorporated in the various sections so amended, are furnished in a cumulative volume. with complete and convenient references to the sections amended, in which the changes made in the law by the amendment are printed in italic. A similar volume will be published annually immediately after the adjournment of the Legislature and each succeeding volume will supplant that of the previous year.
All the general statutes of the State, except as above noted, having now been consolidated, and systematically arranged, and the chaotic condition of our laws which had for so many years existed, removed, the editor believes that an edition of the Consolidated Laws without embodying the construction placed by the courts upon the various sections, which construction is now easily ascertained through the complete and perfect system of digests with which the bar is furnished, will be found essentially useful.
The exact language of the statute is desired in a vast majority of cases when the necessity arises to consult the statute and not the
construction placed upon it by the courts, and the intent of the statute is more easily grasped when read without the intervening spaces which the introduction of the case law necessitates, and with a view of supplying what seems to be necessary to enable one to determine the exact provisions of the statute law of the State with the same ease and quickness as afforded by the use of the pocket code to ascertain provisions of practice, this edition is furnished.
In this edition reference is made under each section to its former location, and a complete history of legislation affecting it is given, and thus all changes made by the consolidation in section numbers clearly appear and the introduction of independent statutes and of substantive provisions of the code is indicated, so that with this information, if desired, references in the decisions of the courts or elsewhere to the former sections of the statutes here consolidated can be easily applied to any section of the Consolidated Laws.
This edition presents not only the statute law in a convenient form but also all the Notes of Consolidators, Tables, Schedule of Laws Repealed and the Historical Record of General Statutes, comprising all of the work of the Board of Statutory Consolidation.
A revision or consolidation of the statute law of the State so seldom occurs that it seems proper to give a brief account of the preparation of the Consolidated Laws, but before doing so it is deemed expedient to refer to the several revisions and compilations of the statutes prepared under legislative authority which were made and published at the time and under the direction of the persons mentioned in the following table and are known by the names therein given:
The so-called revisions of "Jones and Varick," the "Revised Acts" and "Revised Laws" were in fact merely publications of existing public acts arranged chronologically as passed, while the revision known as the "Revised Statutes " was considered the most complete and perfect exposition of the law of the State ever prepared and has been followed in substance and style in many other States. The "General Laws" prepared by the Statutory Revision Commission under the authority of Laws 1889, chapter 289, were enacted from time to time during the eleven years the commission was in existence and a list of these laws, together with the date of enactment, will be found on page xxvi of this volume.
Radical changes in the Code of Civil Procedure were recommended by this commission which did not meet with favor and the commission made its last report to the Legislature under date of April 5, 1900, and was abolished by L. 1900, chapter 664.
During the same session of the Legislature a committee consisting of seven members of the Assembly and five members of the Senate was appointed to consider the subject of statutory and code revision and report thereon to the Legislature of 1901; in the report of this committee a thorough examination and revision of the general statutes was recommended. Adolph J. Rodenbeck was chairman of the joint committee.
THE CONSOLIDATED LAWS.
During nearly the entire period of the existence of the Statutory Revision Commission, the New York State Bar Association was active in promoting a thorough revision of the statutes. Reports upon the subject were made from time to time to that body, through its Committee on Law Reform, of which J. Newton Fiero,
who has long been active in the matter of code revision and statutory consolidation, was chairman, urging the necessity for the prosecution and completion of the work. The Association thereupon recommended to the Legislature that there should be a revision of the General Laws based upon a page to page examination of the session laws which would make the General Laws comprehensive and specific, repealing all obsolete, contradictory and unnecessary laws and classifying all remaining laws. As the result of this action on the part of the New York State Bar Association, Governor Odell was authorized by the Legislature of 1902 to appoint a Committee of Fifteen to report to the next Legislature concerning the condition of the statutes and laws of this state." The Governor appointed the following members of this committee: Alton B. Parker, Charles Andrews, Robert Earl, William H. Adams, Samuel T. Maddox, Frank H. Platt, Frank Hiscock, John G. Milburn, Celora E. Martin, Judson S. Landon, William B. Hornblower, Abraham Gruber, John C. Davies, Alonzo Wheeler, J. Newton Fiero. The committee organized by the selection of Chief Judge Parker as chairman, and J. Newton Fiero as secretary.
A report was made by that body to the Legislature of 1903 recommending a consolidation of the statutes which would specifically repeal obsolete, contradictory and inconsistent statutes, gather together all cognate general statutes and bring down to date the work of collation and condensation.
Statutory revision and consolidation was also most forcibly recommended by the President of the New York State Bar Association in his annual address in 1903 and 1904.
THE BOARD OF STATUTORY CONSOLIDATION.
Following the recommendations of the Committee of Fifteen and the proceedings taken by the New York State Bar Association, the Board of Statutory Consolidation was created by Laws 1904, chapter 664. By the terms of this act the board is authorized, § 1: "to direct and control the revision, simplification, arrangement and consolidation of the statutes of the state; § 2 The plan and scope of the work shall follow that adopted in the general laws so far as practicable. The statutes shall not be changed in substance except that as to matters of procedure such board shall report for enactment such amendments as it may deem
proper and necessary to condense and simplify the existing practice and as shall adapt the procedure to existing conditions."
The board, as originally constituted, being composed of Adolph J. Rodenbeck, Charles Andrews, Judson S. Landon, William B. Hornblower and John G. Milburn, organized on May 25, 1904, and elected Judge Rodenbeck as chairman and appointed its secretary. Judge Andrews being unable to serve on the board resigned before the board organized and Adelbert Moot of Buffalo was appointed on June 17, 1904, to fill the vacancy so created. Judge Landon died on September 7, 1905, and this vacancy was never filled.
THE PREPARATION OF THE CONSOLIDATED LAWS.
Without attempting to explain in detail the manner in which the consolidation has been accomplished it may be of interest to note briefly the means employed and the plan adopted.
A plan for collating the statutes by means of a card system preparatory to the work of consolidation and revision was prepared by the chairman and presented to the board soon after it was organized and adopted as most admirably fitted to carry out the work. As originally presented this plan provided for the classification of the special laws as well as those of general application but it was soon discovered that it would be impossible in the time allowed for the work to classify the special or local acts and it was decided to confine the work of the board to the examination of "the general laws and special, private or local laws for provisions of general operation." That the work might be thorough and exhaustive it was determined to make a page to page examination of all of the session laws and previous revisions of the statutes beginning with the first session in 1778 and, as provided by the plan adopted, cut from the session laws all acts of general operation, and to more completely accomplish this to examine special acts so far as to ascertain whether any provisions of a general character were included in them, and paste these general acts, section by section, upon cards provided for that purpose. To perform this work some thirty-five members of the bar were selected as "statutory examiners" and by them the page to page examination of the statutes was made, all statutes of general application cut out, duplicate volumes of the session laws being furnished for that purpose, classified to the general law to which each related, and pasted upon cards especially designed for this use, the year, chapter and section, the title and substance