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statute may be framed to take effect on the happening of a future event,' and this event may be the passage of a law in another state.2
§ 108. Constitutional provisions regulating the time of acts taking effect. In many state constitutions are regulations of this sort; that acts shall take effect a certain number of days after their passage, or after the end of the session, unless the acts themselves otherwise provide. In several a larger majority is required to give immediate effect to an act than to pass it; in others there must be some emergency to warrant it. These provisions are mandatory. Where it is required by the constitution that an act shall declare that an emergency exists for making it take immediate effect, such declaration cannot be omitted. If the emergency clause be absent, the provision that the act take immediate effect will, under such constitutional requirement, be held void, and the act will take effect as though silent on that subject. The emergency clause in an act passed June 14, 1852, regulating the remission of fines and forfeitures, declared the act to be in force from and after its being filed with the clerks of the circuit courts in their respective counties. It was held that the legislature intended the act to be brought into force as soon as it could be distributed in the several counties, and though there is no express direction to the secretary of state to distribute it, the emergency clause implies such a direction; it was held also that the secretary of state is to be presumed to have done his duty, and hence that the act was in force on the 20th day of December, 1852.6 What may be deemed an emergency for this purpose is purely a legislative question. The courts will not inquire into it, nor entertain any question of its sufficiency.' An act which contains an emergency clause and provides that it "shall take effect and be in force from and after its approval by the
How. (Miss.) 273; Swann v. Buck, 40
1 Ante, § 71.
21 Am. & Eng. Corp. Cas. 1.
3 Day v. McGinnis, 1 Heisk, 310; Gorham v. Springfield, 21 Me. 58; New Portland v. New Vineyard, 16 Me. 69.
4 Ante, SS 29, 41.
Cain v. Goda, 84 Ind. 209.
6 State v. Dunning, 9 Ind. 20; Stine v. Bennett, 13 Minn. 153.
7 Gentile v. State, 29 Ind. 409; 11 id. 224; Carpenter v. Montgomery, 7 Blackf. 415.
governor," and on his vetoing it is passed by both houses over the veto, takes effect immediately after its passage.1
§ 109. Taking effect on publication.- Where the taking effect of an act depends on publication, required by its own terms or by the constitution, it is a condition, and the time can be fixed only by the date of compliance. The provisions of the Louisiana constitution requiring the laws to be promulgated in the English language, and in the English and French languages, does not prevent the legislature from passing acts to take immediate effect. A joint resolution of a general nature requires the same publication as any other law. When it is provided that an act shall go into effect on publication in two newspapers, publication in one will not suffice, though officially certified to be so published." When properly published it will take effect according to its own terms, although subsequently published officially in different terms. In one instance, by the later publication, the law erroneously appeared to repeal a prohibitory section of a previous law. The erroneous publication was not allowed to avail a person who had committed the act prohibited by such prior law, which was still in force. The statute, having gone into effect on its correct publication in two newspapers, was not affected by the subsequent erroneous publication."
Under a constitutional provision that "no act shall take effect until the same has been published and circulated in the several counties of this state by authority," it was held that the words "published" and "circulated" were used synonymously. And no publication or circulation is good unless * done by authority. Under a general constitutional provision that "no general law shall be in force until published," publication of a general law by mistake only, in the volume of private laws, is a sufficient publication.o
Though going into effect only on publication, the act of
1 Biggs v. McBride, 17 Oregon, 640. 2 Cain v. Goda, 84 Ind. 209; Welch v. Battern, 47 Iowa, 147.
3 Thomas v. Scott, 23 La. Ann. 689; Re Merchants' Bank, 2 La. Ann. 68; State v. Judge, 14 La. Ann. 486.
5 Welch v. Battern, 47 Iowa, 147. 6 Hunt v. Murray, 17 Iowa, 313; State v. Donehey, 8 Iowa, 396.
Jones v. Cavins, 4 Ind. 305. Hendrickson v. Hendrickson, 7 Ind. 13; McCool v. State, id. 379;
4 State v. School Board Fund, 4 State v. Dunning, 9 id. 20. Kan. 261.
Re Boyle, 9 Wis. 264.
record in the office of the secretary of state is the law, when different from the published copy. A law would probably not be deemed to be published, so as to give it effect, if the publication materially differed from the act of record, but a slight error would be disregarded. The date of the certificate of the secretary of state, appended to a published volume of laws, will, in the absence of any suggestion which may lead to more accurate inquiry, be taken to be the date of their publication.'
In the constitution of Wisconsin' it is provided that "no general law shall be in force until published." The words “general law," here used, have the same meaning as public acts in their ordinary acceptation, as distinguished from private acts. The object of the prohibition was the protection of the people, by preventing their rights and interests from being affected by laws which they had no means of knowing. But all are bound by and are to take notice of public statutes."
§ 110. The precise time of taking immediate effect. At what precise time does a statute go into operation, and first have force as law, when it takes immediate effect? Passing over the fiction of relation to the first day of the session which has been mentioned, there is still to be answered the question whether it takes effect at the beginning of the day of its passage, at the beginning of the next day, or at the precise moment of the last essential act in its enactment.
The maxim that the law takes no notice of the fractions of a day is not of universal application. The legal quality of an act may depend on when it was done with reference to other acts or events occurring not merely on the same day but in the same hour. Instances, in great variety, will at once occur to the professional mind. The sequence of such related facts may always be inquired into, unless the inquiry under consideration is an exception. What shall be accepted as the commencement of a period of a given num
Clare v. State, 5 Iowa, 509. See Case, 9 Wis. 264; Berliner v. WaterState v. Donehey, 8 id. 396 loo, 14 Wis. 378.
2 Mead v. Bagnall, 15 Wis. 156;
Smith v. Hoyt, 14 id. 252.
Sec. 21, art. VII.
5 Clark v. Janesville, 10 Wis. 136;
* State v. Foote, 11 Wis. 14; Boyle's State ex rel. Cothren v. Lean, 9 Wis.
ber of days is an inquiry presently to be considered. That is another and different inquiry; such a period need not necessarily be computed upon fractions of a day. Any general rule as to commencement of a period of several days might operate justly. An act which is made to operate six hours before the time when it was actually enacted and passed is liable to the same objection, except in degree, as when it has a commencement six days or six years before its enactment. Hardship is sometimes the result of an act taking immediate effect, and every consideration of humanity and justice is opposed to any retroaction. A statute commands only from the time it has the force of law; it should not be accorded a beginning a moment earlier than the actual time of its enactment than the actual time of the last act in the legislative process. No person is required to anticipate the enactment of a law, though he may be charged with a knowledge of it from the moment of its adoption if it at once goes into operation.
Lord Mansfield said in Combe v. Pitt: "Though the law does not in general allow of the fractions of a day, yet it admits it in cases where it is necessary to distinguish; and I do not see why the very hour may not be so too, where it is necessary and can be done."
In Minnesota the day of the passage is excluded where the act provides that it shall take effect "from and after its passage." There are cases which hold that acts taking immediate effect take effect from the first moment of the day on which they were passed. They proceeded, however, on unsatisfactory reasons. Prentiss, J., said, in the Matter of Welman, "It would be as unsafe as it would be unfit to allow the commencement of a public law, whenever the question may arise, whether at a near or distant time, to depend upon the uncertainty of parol proof, or upon anything extrinsic to the law, and the authenticated recorded proceedings in passing it." It cannot be laid down as constitutional law that the commencement of public laws must be proved or provable in
13 Burr. 1423.
2 Parkinson v. Brandenburg, 35 Minn. 294. See State v. Messmore, 14 Wis. 163, 174.
3 Tomlinson v. Bullock, L. R. 4 Q. B. Div. 230; Matter of Howes, 21 Vt. 619; Matter of Welman, 20 id. 653.
this manner. The legislature may make a law take effect on the happening of an event which has to be ascertained otherwise than by the "recorded proceedings in passing it." The validity of a statute cannot be judically determined by the court's judgment of what is safe and fit.
The law takes notice of fractions of a day when necessary. The general principle declared by Lord Mansfield is believed to be sound and established by the weight of authority, that where it is necessary to justice and it can be done, the law takes notice of the parts of a day; then the precise time when an act is done may be shown. This necessity exists when an act is done on the same day that a legislative act is passed, if that statute being passed afterwards should not affect such act, or, being passed before, should do so.
It was said in Grosvenor v. Magill: "It is true that for many purposes the law knows no divisions of a day; but whenever it becomes important to the ends of justice, or in order to decide upon conflicting interests, the law will look into fractions of a day as readily as into the fractions of any other unit of time. The rule is purely one of convenience, which must give way whenever the rights of parties require it. There is no indivisible unity about a day which forbids one, in legal proceedings, to consider its component hours, any more than about a month which restrains us from regarding its constituent days. The law is not made of such unreasonable and arbitrary rules." The weight of American authority is that a statute which is to go into effect immediately is operative from the instant of its passage.
1 Wells v. Bright, 4 Dev. & Batt. L. 173; Louisville v. Savings Bank, 104 U. S. 469; Savage v. State, 18 Fla. 970; Bigelow v. Willson, 1 Pick. 485; Judd v. Fulton, 10 Barb. 117; Lang v. Phillips, 27 Ala. 311; Clawson v. Eichbaum, 2 Grant's Cas. 130; Grosvenor v. Magill, 37 Ill. 239; Burgess v. Salmon, 97 U. S. 381; Kennedy v. Palmer, 6 Gray, 316; Brainard v. Bushnell, 11 Conn. 17.
2 37 III. 239.
32 Black. Com. 140 and notes.
Matter of Richardson, 2 Story, 571; Gardner v. The Collector, 6 Wall. 499; Strauss v. Heiss, 48 Md. 292; Berry v. R. R. Co. 41 id. 464; Legg v. Mayor, etc. 42 id. 211; Louisville v. Savings Bank, 104 U. S. 469; People v. Clark, 1 Cal. 406; Clark v. Janesville, 10 Wis. 136; Parkinson v. Brandenburg, 35 Minn. 294; S. C. 59 Am. R. 326; Grosvenor v. Magill, 37 Ill. 239; Burgess v. Salmon, 97 U. S. 381; Kennedy v. Palmer, 6 Gray, 316; Fairchild v. Gwynne, 14 Abb. Pr. 121 ;