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OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE,
January 1, 1899.
To the honorable the senate and the house of representatives of the State of
I have the honor to submit the following report of the transactions of this office and of the fiscal concerns of the state and other matters_connected therewith for the biennial term ending December 31, 1898, with an appendix containing names of all the officers of the territory and state of Oregon, and senators and representatives in congress, with brief biographical sketches of as many as could be obtained from reliable sources, and members of the Oregon executive committees and legislative assemblies from 1823 to 1899.
Without reproducing the report submitted to the special session of the twentieth legislative assembly, which convened September 26, 1898, in obedience to the proclamation of Governor Lord, it will be proper, in order to present a concise and intelligent statement of the transactions of this office and the fiscal concerns of the state during the last two years, to refer briefly to some of the matters contained in that report to the special session.
THE NINETEENTH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY DID NOT
As explained in that report, when the senators and representatives of the nineteenth legislative assembly met in the state house January 11, 1897, the senate organized by electing Hon. Joseph Simon president and Hon. S. L. Moorhead chief clerk. The house failed to effect a permanent organization. Hon. E. J. Davis was elected temporary speaker and Hon. Ralph E. Moody temporary chief clerk by more than a quorum. Subsequently Hon. Henry L. Benson was elected speaker and A. V. R. Snyder chief clerk by less than a quorum. The senate held sessions thirty-six days and adjourned over at different times, including Sundays, seventeen days, covering a period from January 11 to March 3. The members of the house remained
during the same time and some of them a few days longer. Those who claimed Benson for speaker quit holding sessions soon after the senate gave up trying to transact business. Those who claimed Davis for speaker remained a few days longer, trying to bring in a quorum, but did not succeed, and finally all went home without transacting any legislative business.
On account of the failure of the house to effect an organization no laws were passed and no money was appropriated to pay the expenses of the state during the years 1897 and 1898.
THE SUPREME COURT DECISION OF 1871.
Under the constitution and laws as construed by the supreme court in 1871, claims against the state could not be audited and warrants drawn until money had been appropriated for their payment. Under that opinion of the supreme court it did not seem possible to carry on the business of the state without appropriations. At first I did not deem it expedient or practicable to attempt to issue certificates of indebtedness, which are neither authorized nor prohibited specifically by law, in sufficient amounts to carry on the entire business of the state. But when the necessities became great and the governor did not call a special session, I decided to issue duplicate vouchers on which money could be raised. The business of the state was carried on in this way for several months, until perhaps more than 4,000 vouchers and duplicates had been filed and issued.
THE SUPREME COURT IN 1897 REVERSED THE DECISION OF 1871.
In the meantime three mandamus suits had been commenced before Judge Hewitt in the circuit court for Marion county by Hon. Ralph E. Moody against H. R. Kincaid, as secretary of state, to compel the auditing of claims and the drawing of warrants as follows: Hon. E. D. Shattuck, for salary as circuit judge of the fourth judicial district; A. B. Croasman, for supplies furnished the penitentiary, and the Irwin-Hodson Company, for ruling and binding, assessment and tax rolls. I employed Col. N. B. Knight and Hon. A. C. Woodcock as attorneys to represent the state in these suits, for the reason that the attorney-general agreed with the demands of the plaintiffs and took issue with the opinion of the supreme court, under which I was legally bound to act. Judge Hewitt sustained the opinion of the supreme court of 1871 and dismissed the suits. The plaintiffs appealed to the supreme court, and on the tenth day of August, 1897, the supreme court, in an elaborate opinion by Judge C. E. Wolverton, reversed the former opinion of the supreme court and ordered the secretary of state to audit claims and draw warrants for all claims which
"the legislature has through its enactments permitted and directed, either expressly or impliedly."
ISSUING WARRANTS UNDER THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT WITHOUT APPROPRIATIONS.
Under this opinion of the supreme court, reversing the former opinion, accounts were audited and warrants issued for all claims authorized by law, and the opinion of the court. In doing this, a great amount of extra labor, care and responsibility, such as has not occurred before and perhaps will not again, were thrown upon the secretary of state and the clerks during the last two years. For this reason I asked the legislative assembly at the special session for a sum sufficient to pay the clerks a little more than their regular allowance for extra work, and the amount asked for was readily granted without objection or opposition. While the amount paid was a little more than for the previous biennial term of 1895 and 1896, it was really less in proportion to the work done.
AUTHORITY FOR TRANSACTING STATE BUSINESS.
Before and after this decision of the supreme court directing claims to be audited and warrants drawn without appropriations, supplies were purchased and expenses incurred under the following statutes:—
Hill's code, section 2207, authorizes the secretary of state to purchase all stationery required for the use of the state and audit such account and draw a warrant on the treasurer for the same.
Section 2216 covers the rooms and furniture for the legislative assembly during sessions and vacation.
Section 2848, requires the secretary of state, from time to time, as he may think proper, to cause to be printed blank assessment rolls and other forms and transmit them with instructions to the several county clerks who shall distribute them to the assessors.
Section 3961 provides that the secretary of state shall purchase all paper required in the execution of the state printing and shall cause to be done the binding, folding and stitching.
The Australian-ballot law requires the secretary of state to compile, index, publish and distribute the election laws, and procure and distribute suitable pollbooks, tallysheets and other necessary election supplies six months before every biennial election.
The superintendent of the penitentiary, under the direction of the governor, is authorized by law to purchase all supplies and do all things necessary to be done to carry on that institution.
The governor, secretary of state and state treasurer, with the superintendent and other officers, are authorized by law to do whatever is necessary to maintain and carry on the asylum for the insane.
The governor, secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction have the same authority, with the superintendents, over the reform school, the school for the deaf-mutes and the school for the blind.
Under these various laws the business of the state was carried on without appropriations for nearly two years, from January 1, 1897, until the special session made appropriations in October, 1898.
MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY. The legislative assembly, at the special session, appropriated money to pay all the warrauts I had issued and all the claims recommended for payment, with the single exception of the claim of Captain John Mullan.
The following appropriations were made for objects not recommended by this office, most of them having been disallowed for reasons stated or not allowed to be filed at all, for the reason that they were not deemed valid claims against the state:
For the state normal school at Monmouth.
For the state normal school at Weston
For railroad commissioners.
$ 21,500 00
For W. H. Leeds, for printing for the weather service, 1895, 1896 -
18,900 00 3,347 05
For W. H. Leeds, for printing for weather bureau, including biennial report,
For W. H. Leeds, for printing for state and district fairs, 1897, 1898, in excess of the amount allowed by law.
For W. H. Leeds, for printing for the legislature of 1897.
For pilot commissioners and clerk..
For fish and game protector.
For state university
For the state agricultural college.
Making a total of more than
And money was also appropriated by the legislative assembly to pay a number of other claims which I had refused to receive and file or had disallowed for reasous reported to the legislature at the special session, but which need not be reiterated in this report, as they have all been disposed of, including those above enumerated.
ECONOMY AND REDUCTION OF EXPENSES.
During my four years' term of office I have made a special, persistent and unyielding effort, as auditor of public accounts, to encourage and enforce economy in every branch of the public service and to reduce expenses to the lowest limit consistent with efficiency, justice and fair dealing, with a view of reducing taxation. Much has been accomplished in this direction, by refusing to audit bills for newspapers for state officers, which caused a considerable leakage formerly, by cutting out several hundred electric lights in the capitol which were used during sessions of the legislature only, but paid for all the time, and by putting in electric light plants at the reform school, deaf mute school and college farm, instead of permitting the Salem Light and Power Company to include these institutions under their con
tract, as they claimed, thus saving the state about $50,000 during the life of their 10 years' contract; by adopting a system of weighing all paper used by the state, thus preventing a considerable loss annually; by requiring all bills to be presented in the name of the claimants, duly itemized and verified by the claimants, instead of paying the money out in lump sums to state institutions and the militia to be disbursed by them; by refusing to purchase paper and audit bills for printing not authorized by law or in excess of the amounts allowed by law; by reducing the expenses of holding teachers' institutes; by cutting down or disallowing excessive bills for keeping nonresident paupers; by reducing bills for the delivery of the insane and criminals to reasonable amounts, and by practicing and enforcing economy in every other way possible, without injustice or hardship to claimants, always endeavoring to protect the state without encroaching upon the rights of any of its citizens. A good many lawsuits were brought against me and considerable ill will and opposition resulted from this course, but they were unavoidable under the circumstances. They were a result of a firm and faithful performance of duty, often unpleasant, as some who felt aggrieved at the time will perhaps realize hereafter, if they do not now. For some of these savings I am indebted to the assistance of my associates on the state boards. And without disparaging any other state administration, the records will show that during the last four years the business of the state has been economically, honestly and carefully managed, and will compare favorably with any other four years in the history of Oregon. Notwithstanding the great increase in the number of insane and other classes who are maintained at public expense, or require an increase of expenditures in maintaining the judiciary or other state institutions, and the decrease in the assessed valuation of property many millions below what it was a few years ago, state taxes have been gradually reduced during the last 4 years, and would now be about the lowest they have ever been had the special session of the legislature not appropriated for the last two years largely in excess of what had been allowed and estimated by this office and levied as taxes by the board for expenses of the last two years.
The sum appropriated for incidental expenses for the years 1895 and 1896 was $28,000, the same as had been appropriated for and used by my predecessor for the two previous years, 1893 and 1894. Out of that appropriation for the years 1895 and 1896 several rooms in the capitol were furnished that had never been furnished before; a new carpet was purchased for the senate chamber at a cost of over $600, for the first time in twenty years; a well was drilled 347 feet deep, at a cost of more than $1,000, to supply pure water for the capitol, and more substantial improvements and betterments were made by the secretary of state and paid for out of that appropriation than had ever been done in any biennial term for many years. The sum appro