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AN ACT Providing for cooperation between the State of Arizona and the United Statees in the settlement of soldiers, sailors, marines, and others upon farms and farm-laborer allotments; and in the reclamation and improvement of such farms and farm-laborer allotments; constituting the members of the State land department, members of a soldier-settlement, board and defining the duties of such board, and making an appropriation and declaring an emergency.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
SEC. 1. This act may be known and cited as “The soldier-settlement act.” SEC. 2. The object and purpose of this act is, in recognition of military Service, to provide employment and rural homes for soldiers, sailors, and marines, and others who have served with the armed forces of the United States in the European wars or other wars of the United States, including former American citizens who served in allied armies against the Central Powers and have been repatriated, and who have been honorably discharged, hereafter generally referred to as “soldiers,” and to accomplish such purpose by cooperation with the agencies of the United States engaged in work of a similar character. SEC. 3. For cooperation with the agencies of the United States, as provided in the preceding section, and to provide the necessary organization for carrying this act into effect, the soldier settlement board, which shall hereafter be referred to as the board, is hereby created. Said board shall be composed of the members and officers of the State Land Department of Arizona, and designated and created by law, and they shall perform their duties as such officers and members of said board, as prescribed and defined by this act, in addition to the duties imposed upon them by the law creating the State land department and acts amendatory thereof, without additional compensation. The State land commissioner is hereby designated soldier settlement commissioner, and the deputy State land commissioner is designated deputy soldier settlement commissioner and shall be secretary of the board, and said commissioner and deputy commissioner and all assistants, agents, and employees of the State land department shall, without additional compensation, perform the duties imposed by this act, under the direction of the board or of the commissioner, as the case may be, in like manner and with like authority as they perform the duties imposed by the law creating the State land department and acts amendatory thereof. SEC. 4. There is hereby established a fund, to be known as the “State soldier settlement fund,” which shall consist of all moneys appropriated, or realized from the issuing of bonds, for the purpose of said fund, of all gifts made thereto, and of all repayments to the State on account of moneys advanced or of lands furnished by the board under and in accordance with the provisions of this act. SEC. 5. The board is hereby authorized to perform all acts, not inconsistent with the constitution of the State, necessary to cooperate fully with the agencies of the United States engaged in work of similar character. SEC. 6. The board is authorized to acquire undeveloped agricultural lands which may be deemed suitable for reclamation and settlement, together with necessary water rights, rights of way, and other appurtenances; to set aside and dedicate to public use appropriate tracts so acquired by it for roads, school houses, churches, or other public purposes; to direct the exercise by the State, through the attorney general, of the power of eminent domain for the condemnation of property of any kind which may be necessary for carrying out the purposes of this act; to appropriate water rights under the laws of the State; to provide all necessary means for furnishing agricultural training
for the soldier so as to render him better qualified for the cultivation of his land; and to arrange with the agencies of the Federal Government for sharing in the expense of such work under appropriate conditions of supervision by the Federal Government or by the State Agricultural College, and to perform any and all acts and to make such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this act into full force and effect. SEc. 7. In cooperating with the agencies of the United States the board is empowered to take title, in the name of the State to lands in fee simple, or in trust, or under such other conditions as may be deemed advisable for the purposes of this act, and may convey title thereto or exercise such liens as may be necessary for carrying out the plans decided upon in cooperation with the agencies of the United States. The title to the land furnished by the board shall be held by all purchasers under such conditions and restrictions as may be specified in the Federal Statutes relating to this subject, or approved by the Secretary of the Interior. SEc. 8. The basis of cooperation with the agencies of the United States under the provisions of this act shall be: (a) That the State shall provide the land needed for settlement and the United States shall provide the money necessary to meet the expense of reclamation and subdivision and the necessary improvements and equipment, perform the necessary work, and have charge of all settlement work; (b) that the State shall make actual expenditures, in an amount not to exceed 25 per cent of the total purchase price of the land, the cost of reclamation of the same as hereinafter defined, the cost of farm improvement as hereinafter defined, and the cost of farm implements, stock, and other necessary equipment; and the board may, under such agreement as may be made with the United States and under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, control the preparation of the land as homes and the settlement thereof. SEc. 9. The board shall satisfy itself of the practicability of each undertaking proposed, utilizing all related State agencies for such investigation, and thereupon shall cooperate with the authorities of the United States in the preparation of plans, not inconsistent with the provision of the preceding section, for the Settlement of soldiers. SEc. 10. Whenever the board, in accordance with plans agreed upon with the authorities of the United States, desires to acquire land, it shall give notice by publication in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the State calling for offers from owners of land of the character desired. Such notice shall be published once a week for five consecutive weeks, the last date of publication being not more than one week prior to the date of opening offers, and shall specify the matter which should be incorporated in such offer. After thorough investigation and report as to the character of the lands, rights, and appurtenances, upon examination by the commissioner and two or more members of the board, together with a representative of the cooperating agency of the United States and such expert of the State agricultural college and others as may be deemed advisable, and after approval by the attorney general of the State of the title to lands and any water rights or other rights appurtenant thereto deemed essential by the board, and after approval of the purchase by the authorities of the United States and definite arrangements made for the reclamation of the lands by the Federal Government, if necessary, and for the improvement and subdivision of the lands, the board may, by formal order entered upon its minutes, authorize and proceed with the acquirements of the lands by purchase, gift, or condemnation. Payment, if necessary, shall be made out of the State soldier settlement fund or by settlers under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by agreements between the board and the owners of said lands. The board shall have the right to reject any or all offers, to accept offers which may not be the lowest, and to readvertise, from time to time, as it may deem necessary. SEC. 11. The board shall make appropriate arrangements with the agencies of the United States for the collection of and repayment to the State of the cost of lands furnished by the board, or of moneys actually expended, under agreement with such agencies of the United States, on the purchase price of land and the cost of reclamation, farm improvement, farm implements, stock, and other necessary equipment, which agreement with the agencies of the United States may provide that any such repayments to the United States shall be divided between the Federal Government and the State in proportion to the disbursements made by each, respectively. All money so received
or otherwise received by the board shall be deposited with the State treasurer and by him credited to the State soldiers' settlement fund, and shall be available for meeting the obligations of the board for the purchase of land acquired under the provisions of this act or for the disbursement of money, under agreement with the agencies of the United States for the purchase, reclamation, or improvement of land, or the purchase of farm implements, stock, and other necessary equipment.
Sec. 12. Should the board, in accordance witth the provisions of section 9, undertake the subdivision, preparation, and settlement of any land acquired under the provisions of this act, such subdivision, preparation and settlement shall be subject to the following provisions :
(a) The land shall be subdivided into farms, each having a value when unimproved, as determined by the board, and not including any cost which may be incurred in the reclamation of the land, as hereinafter defined, of not to exceed $8,000, and into farm laborer allotments each having a value when unimproved, as determined by the board, and not including any cost which may be incurred in the reclamation of the land, and hereinafter defined, of not to exceed $1,000.
(b) The board may make the necessary improvements on any such farm or farm laborer allotment, or may contract with the settler to make the same. Such improvements may consist of dwelling houses and outbuildings, fencing, the construction of farm drains, irrigation laterals, seeding, planting, and such other improvements as may be deemed necessary or proper to render the particular allotment habitable and productive, the same being collectively hereinafter referred to as “farm improvements," and shall not include any work or item hereinafter classified as “reclamation."
(c) The board may contract with the United States for the construction of works for irrigation, drainage, protection against flood waters, and general
sanitation, and for the subdivision of the lands, clearing, leveling, and other · work necessary to render one or more groups of farms available for agriculture, which work is defined for the purpose of this act as “reclamation."
(d) The board is authorized.to secure from the United States, under the rules and regulations of the United States agency advancing the same and in accordance with the provisions of Federal laws, the necessary funds to make loans to approved settlers for making permanent improvements and for the purchase of farm implements, stock, and other necessary equipment, which advances of funds are defined for the purpose of this act as “ short-time loans," and shall be secured by mortgage or other effective lien on the land, or upon property purchased with said loan; the total amount of any such short-time loan shall not exceed $3,000 for a farm, or $1,000 for a farm laborer allotment.
(e) The board shall collect from settlers the sums due for principal and interest on lands, reclamation costs, farm improvements and in payment of shorttime loans, and shall repay all sums advanced by the United States for shorttime loans and the proportion of such sums due the United States on lands, reclamation costs, and farm improvements, returning the State's proportion of any such sum, to the State soldiers' settlement fund, as by this act provided.
(f) The board is authorized to take over from the Secretary of the Interior of the United States and to operate and maintain any irrigation, drainage, or other works or improvements constructed by the United States Reclamation Service for the purposes in this act set forth, and involving lands owned or controlled by the board, and shall in any such case, become responsible for the proper care thereof and provide for the repayment of the cost thereof. The board shall require of each purchaser of land the payment of proper and reasonable charges for the operation and maintenance and preservation of such works, and shall also be authorized to make reasonable charges pursuant to general regulations for services rendered to the purchasers of lands and others.
(g) The lands disposed of under this act shall be sold in accordance with plans prepared in cooperation with the agencies of the United States for soldier settlement, after public notice in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the State, once a week for five consecutive weeks, the last date of publication being not more than one week prior to the date of sale, setting forth in general terms the information necessary for the public, and providing for detailed statements to be available at the office of the board and other convenient places, which shall supply full information as to the farms and allotments and the several prices therefor. The manner of the sale shall be such as to afford equal opportunity to all qualified soldiers desiring to purchase. The purchaser
may be required to make application in a form approved by the board stating, among other things, whether he has available the minimum amount of capital deemed necessary by the board, which shall be not less than 10 per cent of the reclaimed, improved, and equipped value of the farm or allotment, and whether he can comply with the terms of payment and give such assurance in regard thereto as the board may require. The board shall have the discretion to reject any or all applications and to readvertise, from time to time, any or all tracts, as it deems necessary. (h) The soldier, to be a qualified applicant, must be a citizen of the United States, and must satisfy the board that he is not the holder of agricultural land or possessing rights which, together with the land, improvements and equipments to be purchased hereunder shall exceed a value of $15,000. No purchaser shall hold more than one farm or allotment on which all charges are not fully paid, and each purchaser shall satisfy the board as to his fitness to cultivate and develop the same successfully, both financially and otherwise. The board may, in its discretion, require applicants to appear before it in person. (i) Each approved applicant shall enter into contract of purchase which, among other things, shall create a mortgage or other effective lien for the payment of the purchase price of the land, the reclamation costs and the farm improvements and other charges, if any, and also require the purchaser to actually occupy the land within six months, or if the development of water for the irrigation of the land be necessary, within six months from the date on which such water is available, and to actually reside thereon for at least eight months in each calendar year for a period of at least five years, unless prevented by illness or other cause satisfactory to the board, and any other absence from the land exceeding four months in any calendar year shall be a breach of the contract. The contract shall provide for immediate payment of 2 per cent of the sale price of the land including reclamation costs, and not less than 10 per cent of the cost of the farm improvements. The balance of the amount for the land and reclamation costs shall be due as follows: Two per cent each year for the first four years, and thereafter in annual payments to be fixed by the board in such amounts as to repay within a further period not exceeding 40 years, the capital sum with interest on deferred payments from the date of the contract at the rate of 4 per cent per annum. The title to the land shall not pass until full payment is made for the land and the reclamation costs, and until full payment is made, no farm or allotment shall be transferred, assigned, or mortgaged in whole or in part without the written consent of the board. The amount due on farm improvements shall be repaid in a period to be fixed by the board not exceeding 20 years, so as to return the capital sum with interest on deferred payments at the rate of 4 per cent per annum. The repayment of short-time loans shall extend over a period to be fixed by the board not exceeding five years, payable in such amounts and at such times, and with such rate of interest as may be determined by the board. The purchaser shall have the right on any installment date to pay any or all installments thereafter due. The contract shall also provide that the purchaser shall cultivate the land in a manner to be approved by the board and shall keep in good order all buildings, improvements, and equipment, reasonable wear and tear excepted, and pay such assessments as may be levied by the board to provide the equivalent of insurance to protect the interests of the State and of the United States in all buildings, improvements, and equipment. The contract shall also provide that in case of failure of the settler to comply with any of the terms thereof, the board shall have the right, at its option, to cancel the contract and shall thereupon be released from all obligaions under the contract, and the purchaser shall forfeit all rights thereunder. All payments theretofore made shall be deemed to be a rental paid for occupancy. The failure of the board to exercise any option to cancel for default or violations of the contract shall not be deemed a waiver of such right, but the same may be exercised thereafter. No forfeiture or cancellation shall in any way impair the lien and security of the mortgage or other lien securing the purchase price of the land, and reclamation costs and farm improvements, or the repayment of loan. Upon forfeiture, cancellation, or relinquishment of a contract the board shall have the right to sell the farm or allotment, together with all appurtenances, improvements, and equipment, covered by such con
tract, to any other qualified purchaser. In case of the death of any purchaser before full payment, all of such purchaser's rights under the contract shall pass to his heirs or devises, who shall be bound by all the conditions thereof, but may surrender the same to the board upon terms and conditions satisfactory to the board. SEC. 13. In any case where works have been or are to be constructed which are of general benefit to an area involving a number of farms or allotments, as in the case of irrigation, drainage, clearing cut-over land or other means of reclamation or development, and where the cooperating Federal agencies. find that the interest of the project would be advanced by the organization of an irrigation, drainage, or other district for which provision is made by the laws of this State. The board shall take all necessary steps in its power to: accomplish such organization. The board is authorized to contract with such district or the United States or both, to carry out any or all provisions of this act. SEC. 14. In case of any undertaking for the reclamation of lands in two or more States or any undertaking involving construction works in any State for the irrigation, drainage, or reclamation of lands in whole or in part in another State, the board is authorized and directed to cooperate with similar boards of other States, and the authorized agents and officers of he United States, and either the United States or the said board of such other State shall have authority to acquire by condemnation, purchase, or other lawful means such property rights or easements in this State as may be needed for such interstate undertaking, upon the same terms and in like manner as if such undertaking were wholly in this State. SEC. 15. Whenever the board shall find that all, or any part of any land which may be purchased or otherwise acquired by it, is not necessary for the purpose of this act, the board may sell such land, after public notice as: herein specified, upon such terms as the board may prescribe; or whenever the Secretary of the Interior and the board shall find that all or any part of such lands remaining available will not be required for homes for soldiers they may be opened to disposition to other citizens of the United States, subject to the provisions and limitations of his act. SEc. 16. For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this act, such sum as may be necessary therefor is hereby appropriated out of any moneys. in the State treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be covered into the State soldier settlement fund. The State auditor is hereby authorized and directed to draw warrants upon such fund from time to time, upon the approval by the board of properly executed demands therefor in payment for lands, rights, or appurtenances thereto, or of advances made under cooperative agreement with the agencies of the United States, on the puchase price or the reclamation thereof, or for the cost of farm improvement, as provided by this act, and the State treasurer is hereby authorized and directed to pay such Warrants. SEC. 17. The board shall make an annual report to the governor in December, giving a full statement of its operations, the results of investigations of the subject with which it is authorized to deal, and such recommendations for legislation as it may deem proper, and shall furnish a copy of such report to the Secretary of the Interior. The governor shall lay such reports before the legislature, together with his recommendations. SEC. 18. If any part of this act shall, for any reason be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder of this act, but shall be confined in its operation to the particular part thereof directly involved in the controversy wherein such judgment shall have been rendered. SEC. 19. All acts or parts of acts, so far as inconsistent with the terms of this act, are hereby repealed. Whereas the soldier, sailor, marines, and others who have served with the armed forces of the United States in the European War are being rapidly mustered out of the service of the United States and returning to civil life, and it is necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety that they be speedily provided with homes and employment; therefore an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this act shall be in full forceand effect from and after its passage and approval by the governor.
Approved March 21, 1919.