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Indiana State Senate
Commencing Thursday, January 9, 1919
WM. B. BURFORD, CONTRACTOR FOR STATE PRINTING AND BINDING
State Senate of Indiana
The Senators holding over and the Senators-elect of the State of Indiana met in the Senate Chamber in the State Capitol on January 9, 1919, at 10 o'clock a. m., this being the time fixed by the Constitution of the State of Indiana for the convening of the same, viz.: "Commencing on the Thursday after the first Monday of January of every second year after the adoption of the Constitution in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three."
Lieutenant-Governor Edgar D. Bush, President of the Senate, called the Senate to order.
Prayer was offered by Rev. Louden A. Harriman of Indianapolis.
It is not my duty to recommend legislation. I forfeit no right, however, as your presiding officer, to express my opinion on any subject. Loyalty to my party demands fair and impartial treatment, on my part, of platform measures. In fact all proposed legislation should receive such treatment. I am untrue to my oath of office, however, if I fail to exert every constitutional power at my command to protect the rights, prerogatives and dignity of this Senate. As your sworn administrative officer, I am mindful of the fact that I can not comply with my obligation to you and the State of Indiana without recognizing this Senate to be a creature of the Constitution. No human agency has any right to alter or amend in the least, the prerogative of this Senate, save through the duly constituted and only possible way-by amendment to the Constitution.
VOICE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
You are here, Senators, in response to the mandate of the men who met down in Corydon more than a century ago. No living voice called you into session. The framers of our Constitution are stilled in death, but the Constitution's voice still lives in the hearts of those who cherish the fountain source of our greatness.
You are here, Senators, as the rep
resentatives of an intelligent electorate, and you have been sent here for the purpose of giving expression by voice and by vote, to your formulated opinions on matters of legislation.
The makers of our Constitution never intended a session of the General Assembly to be a ratification meeting, but rather a constructive body, clothed with the sole authority to enact legislation in behalf of the people.
The German imperial government under the late infamous military regime had a bundesrat and a reichstag, in outward form, corresponding to our Senate and House respectively. And yet the German people are strangers to real liberty. A thirst for power by those intrusted with authority, withheld from the people their rightful functions. Dynasties are crumbling and there is today a serious disposition on the part of liberated nations to zealously guard their freedom.
I am sure there is no man in this assembly who does not cherish our exalted institution of government. There are none so dull in sentiments of citizenship and patriotism. From the Magna Charta to the American Constitution, serious-minded men engaged themselves with the still more serious problem of working out a system of government which would secure for all time the greatest possible measure of liberty. The efforts of our forebears have been consecrated with the best blood that ever gushed through human heart.
Our governmental system, the great American system, the pride of every patriotic heart, the beacon light of the oppressed of all lands—yea, more, the hope of the generations still nestling in the womb of Time, is unique in its three co-ordinate branches, the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. The legislative, which has to do with the making of laws, the judicial, which has to do with the interpretation of laws, and the executive, which has to do with the administration of laws.
CHECKS AND BALANCES.
This system of government by checks and balances was long viewed with suspicion and disfavor, but the records and battle-scarred flags in our State House abundantly attest the willingness of the great American heart to protect the real bulwark of our liberty from internal dissensions and the disposition of one department to encroach upon the other.
The spirit of encroachment, with its natural tendency to centralize and consolidate the powers of all departments in one, must inevitably result in despotism.
The seemingly beneficial results, if any, are only transitory and can in no measure compensate for a breach
once made in the solid wall of our security; for, through the breach, the tyrant may enter as well as the benefactor.
Gentlemen of the Senate, you are here as representatives of all the people in your respective districts, regardless of party affiliations, and you are responsible to your various constituencies in their entirety. We are mutually interested in lessening our burdens and administering to the happiness and comfort of all. An economic administration of the people's affairs is as essential as a just and equitable one. Centralization of power under the mantle of economy and efficiency should never be permitted, at the price of encroachment, upon our well-established fundamentals of government, which for a century and a half has been the bulwark of our people's safety.
CENTRALIZATION OF POWER.
There has been a decided tendency in recent years toward the centralization of governmental power. This disposition should be guarded with zealous attention, because of the inherent weakness of human nature and the natural temptation to abuse administrative privileges.
The delegation of power by the people or through their representatives to the chief executive of State or Nation in a crisis is justified only when the same power is returned to the people at the termination of the crisis. Any tendency to extend to an executive increased appointive power should be viewed with alarm, for the good reason that the appointee is responsive to the power which appoints and is not responsible to the people.
I love and cherish the principles of my party-the Republican party is dear to my heart. It has been blessed with great leaders who so thoroughly
understood its missions to humanity that at no time has it faltered in administering to the happiness and elevation of mankind. As a Republican, I believe that liberty is a boon too dearly purchased to be surrendered for mere partisan advantage or personal aggrandizement. Is party love a passing sentiment to be traded for personal advantages?
Gentlemen of the Senate, in conclusion, I have spoken to you as the administrative officer of one of the three great co-ordinate branches of government, with no feeling other than a righteous interest in the welfare of our beloved State. I trust that this session of the legislature may redound to our everlasting credit and the imperishable glory of this great commonwealth, and that the legislation which we may enact will be wise and beneficent.
There is a higher duty devolving upon us than this our seemingly highest duty. Upon each of us rests the grave responsibility of seeing to it that there is no encroachment upon our sacred, fundamental principles of government, the overthrow of which would surely be humanity's loss.
The following named Senators, elected in 1916 for the constitutional term of four years, appeared and answered to their names: Beardsley, Bracken, Dobyns, Dorrell, Elsner, English, Erskine, Grant, Hagerty, Hudgins, Kolsem, Laney, McCray, McKinley, Metzger, Munton, Negley, Nejdl, Retherford, Signs, Smith, Wolfson.
Lieutenant-Governor Edgar D. Bush ordered a roll call of Senators elected in 1918: Alldredge, Arnold, Bainum, Bowers, Brown, Cravens, Decker, Douglass, Duffey, Duncan, Furnas, Hepler, Hogston, Humphreys, Kiper, Kline, McConaha, McCullough,