Sixty-Third Session of the General Assembly






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This being the day prescribed by the Constitution of the State of Indiana (Article IV, Section 9) for the meeting of the General Assembly, the Senators holding over, and Senatorselect met in the city of Indianapolis, in the Senate Chamber, in the State Capitol Building, at 10 o'clock a. m.

Lieutenant-Governor Newton W. Gilbert, President of the Senate, called the Senate to order.

The Senate was led in prayer by Rev. J. Cumming Smith, of the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis.

Lieutenant-Governor Newton W. Gilbert delivered the following address :

Gentlemen of the Senate:

Realizing the important duties which we, alike, are about to assume; and feeling the responsibility of my position as President of the Senate of the Sixty-third General Assembly of the State of Indiana, it is perhaps proper, before proceeding with the per

manent organization of this body, that I should say a word relative to the work which lies before us.

Because of a bountiful Providence and wise legislation and administration in State and Nation, we assemble at a time of unprecedented prosperity. Labor and capital, hand in hand, like joyous children in the spring time, are singing a song of rejoicing. Our people are today at a higher stage of material advancement, intellectual activity and moral well-being than ever before. Harvests unequalled have awaited the hand of the husbandman. The laborer, happy in his opportunity, has many fields inviting him. Indiana is a queen in the glorious sisterhood of states. We are her servants. She requires faithful, loving, thoughtful service. She requires service with an eye single to her needs and her advancement. She has reached her present high station by reason of the service of those who have preceded us. The enactments of wise legislators, executed by faithful executives, have accomplished this.

Our State institutions have been placed upon a high plane. They have been divorced from party politics; and it is a divorce of which we may all approve, for it permits no remarriage. Our dependent classes were never as well cared for as today, and we have taken some steps looking toward the decrease of such classes in the future. Is it too much to hope that other steps will be taken, and that the time may come, in Indiana, when the deliberate creation of human beings, diseased and crippled in body and mind from their birth, will not be permitted by law? Every step in this direction decreases the sum total of human misery, and adds strength to each succeeding generation.

While vast sums of money have been wisely expended in this direction, the debt, piled upon the people of Indiana by prodigal hands in years that are past, has been steadily pulled down, until today it is less than for half a century; and if this Legislature is as wise as I am convinced it will be, this debt will be practically paid before another General Assembly shall convene.

But we should remember that this has been done, without increasing the tax levy, or adding to the burdens of the people. Good men, with good purposes, may seek to impose additional bur

dens upon the people, or to create new investments of public funds, which will impose additional burdens in the future. It is my belief that we should resist these efforts. If any change is to be made in the tax levy, it should be reduced. At any rate, let us devote our revenues to the payment of the remaining debt, and to perfection in administration and equipment of the institutions which we already have. When these two results are accomplished, it will be time enough to seriously consider new avenues of expenditure.

But while we should practice economy, let it be understood, that it is to be such economy as characterizes any successful business, rather than parsimony. Indiana is a great State, with millions of dollars invested in public property. If money is needed to keep this property at its best, or to better fit it for the uses and purposes for which it is provided, we should not hesitate to authorize its expenditure. The people whom we have the honor to represent, are a great people. They are as broad-minded, progressive and intelligent as any in the land. They propose that Indiana shall remain second to no state in the Union in all that can be accomplished by earnest effort.

It is not my province to outline the particular legislation needed at this time. It is surely little rather than much. Conservatism should characterize our actions. We had better suffer for a time a seeming evil than to adopt a remedy which does not bear the closest scrutiny. “When in doubt, vote 'No'”

passage of a bill, would probably be a good rule to adopt. Our people are often kept in a state of unrest by many statutes upon varied subjects which scarcely receive judicial determination until a succeeding Legislature modifies or repeals them. There certainly can be only a few subjects upon which a majority of all the people unite in believing there should be legislation.

The message of the Chief Executive, which will be submitted to us today, will undoubtedly contain suggestions upon all questions of real importanre. The careful and painstaking administration of Governor Durbin warrants me in saying that the views expressed by him and gathered from the various departments of administration of our State government, should have great weight. He, for two years, has been constantly in touch, day by day, with

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