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Wisconsin. State Conservation Committee (1915-27) / Biennial report of the State Conservation Commission of Wisconsin for the years 1915 and 1916
(1916)

[Decree of the court],   pp. 71-73 PDF (849.5 KB)


Page 71


BIENNIAL REPORT
long time, interest bearing obligations; (2) whether the basis, itself, of
the
forestry scheme, the legislative diversion of the land and proceeds thereof
granted to the State for particular purposes to a different one, is legitimate;
(3) whether using revenues raised by present taxation to promote the
production or improvement of forests for the benefit of future generations,
is a public purpose within the meaning of the Constitution; (4) whether
interest bearing obligations of the State in excess of $100,000 is valid
in
any event; (5) whether the creation of interest bearing indebtedness of a
less amount is valid in view of existing indebtedness of the State to the
trust
funds or otherwise; and perhaps still others, might, upon due consideration,
aided by eminent counsel, be deemed worthy of judicial interference and
of being brought to the attention of the courts in this litigation in an
appropriate way. The case is of great importance.
  "It is therefore considered that the court should and will decline
to
decide upon the duty of the Secretary of State in respect to making the
payments in question on the motion of quash, but will permit such motion
to be withdrawn and a return to be made to the alternative writ within
thirty days, setting forth by answer every difficulty which he may be
advised should be thus set forth in order that all questions in relation
to
his duty may be so solved as to protect the state and its officers in re-
spect to the use of moneys for forestry purposes which are in the custody
of the State Treasurer.
  "In case of issue being joined as herein suggested, the Court will
aid
in reaching a final conclusion speedily by placing the case on the present
calendar and advancing it for argument."
  Thedecree of thecourt was rendered February 12, 1915, and is as follows:
  "By the Court: It is considered, ordered, decreed and adjudged that:
  "First, The demurrer to defendant's pleading be and is overruled.
  "Second. The land contract mentioned in the petition is void for reasons
indicated in the opinion, particularly because:
  "a. It created a state debt and created such when state indebtedness
exceeded the constitutional limit.
  "b. It is an evidence of indebtedness within the state constitutional
prohibition.
  "e. The contract was not authorized by statute.
  "d. By section 10, Art. VIII, at the (late of the contract, it is
fatally
within the 'Works of internal improvement' feature of the forestry
statutes (though they are in important features, as indicated in the opinion,
not so tainted) and the addition, in form, to such section in November,
1910, failed for reasons stated in the opinion.
  "e. It is an inseparable part of the forestry legislation and particularly
of the invalid features thereof stated in the opinion.
  "Third. The forestry legislation, including section 1072-1, Chapter
367, Laws of 1897, Chapter 450, Laws of 1903, and Chapter 264, Laws of
1905, and such other acts as there may be, did not repeal or affect sections
250 and 251, Stats. 1898, for reasons cited in the opinion. Such sections
are part of the written law of the state and govern the matters therein
referred to.
  "Fourth. All land derived by the state from the United States under
the swamp land grants, the lands in lieu of swamp lands, set aside for edu-
cational purposes under Chapter 537, Laws of 1865, and confirmed by
Chapter 151, Laws of 1869, and subsequent practice, and all other lands
so derived or in lieu of swamp lands and required to be set apart under
the terms of said sections 250 and 251, by section 2, Art. X of the constitu-
tion and the legislative action referred to became, and so far as not dis-
71


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