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to year. Of course, bills designed to render State Prohibition. effective by Federal legislation have always loomed up at one period or another during the progress of the movement, but it is only of late years that they have been taken so seriously as to bring their enactment within the range of probability. If the liberal voters had not awakened in time and organized for the defense of personal liberty, as they have so successfully done in the States. in which Prohibition was defeated,-it is doubtful whether the outcome of prohibitory agitation in Congress would have been so favorable to liberal views.
A LIBERAL RE-AWAKENING.
During the past five or six years the local option movement has assumed formidable proportions under the leadership of the Anti-Saloon League. On the other hand, a re-awakening of the liberal spirit is noticable everywhere. Thanks to the energy of many associations of manufacturers and other business men, who realize the destructive tendencies of the League and the utter lack of fairness in its agitation, the counter-movement goes on bravely, and, supported by the tactful and effective work of the German-American Alliance, with the thousands of societies federated under national leadership, will bring about in time, it is confidently expected, a revulsion of public sentiment wherever the natural rights of the citizen are threatened or suppressed.
LIQUOR QUESTION IN 1908.
URING 1908 laws of sufficient importance to call for extended mention were enacted in Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio and Virginia, and will be considered in the order of these States.
On September 26th a county local option law was enacted at a special session of the legislature called together merely for that purpose. Its chief features are outlined below.
Whenever a petition has been signed and filed with the county auditor praying the board of county commissioners for a special election to determine whether the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage shall be prohibited within the limits of the county, the board of commissioners at its next regular session must order a special election to be held in not less than twenty nor more than thirty days. It is required that the petition shall be signed by a number of qualified electors of the county equal to not less than 20 per cent. of the aggregate vote cast in the county for secretary of State at the last general election. No voter may sign his name to such a petition after it is filed or withdraw his name.
A special board of election commissioners are to supervise the local option balloting, consisting of the county auditor and two resident freeholders of the county, one known to be in favor of prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage in such county and one known to be against prohibiting such sale, both to be appointed by the county commissioners. The board of commissioners must also appoint one judge and one clerk of election known to be in favor of prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage for each election precinct, and one judge and one clerk opposed to such prohibition.
Whenever an election has been held under the provisions of this act, no subsequent election shall be held until the expiration of at least two years.
If the election results favorably to prohibition of the sale of liquors, then after ninety days from the date of the election all licenses granted after the passage of this act shall be null and void. Upon the surrender of a void license the holder shall be refunded an amount proportionate to the unexpired time for which the license fee had been paid.
If a majority of the votes cast shall be against prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors, the vote shall not affect any order, judgment, or remonstrance making it unlawful for the board of commissioners to grant a license for the sale of intoxicating liquors in any particular township, city, ward, or residence district.
In all elections under this act the provisions including penalties of the general election laws of the State shall apply and the election expenses shall be paid from the general funds of the county. The act closes with the enigmatic statement that it "shall be liberally construed to promote the purposes of its enactment.”
The new law does not abrogate the right obtaining under earlier legislation of securing local prohibition by means of a remonstrance, signed by the majority of legal voters in any township or ward. In Indiana, therefore, the unusual possibility exists of obtaining local prohibition in any subdivision of a county, although the majority of the county vote may be recorded as against it.
The provision that a petition for a local option election need only be signed by twenty per cent. of the aggregate vote cast in the county for secretary of State at the last general election is, of course, simply a device to reduce the votes necessary for a valid petition to the lowest terms. In other words, it makes it possible for an unrepresentative minority to force an election.
A new license law was enacted which became effective January 1, 1909. The law makes a general increase in license fees which are based upon the gross annual receipts, and run from $1,600 per annum where the gross annual receipts are $50,000 down to $200 per annum when the gross receipts are less than $5,000.
For the business of selling malt and vinous liquors exclusively in quantities less than five gallons, the license shall be one-half of
that provided for the general sale of alcoholic beverages. Druggists who sell liquors on prescription must pay the same license fee, but no license is charged for selling refreshments for charitable or religious purposes.
In addition to the above, it is made the duty of police juries, city councils and also aldermen to collect a license of not less than $500 "on the business of operating a barroom, cabaret, café," etc., except that only one-half of this amount shall be levied when the business is that of selling malt or vinous liquors only. Stringent regulations are made governing the sale of liquors in connection with a grocery.
Licenses continue to be issued by police juries, city councils, and board of aldermen. There are usual provisions against sales to minors and the unusual provision of prohibiting in any barroom or similar place the sale of intoxicating liquor to women. Exceptions are made for hotels and restaurants where liquors are sold with meals. It is also prohibited to sell liquors to whites and negroes in the same place.
No licenses can be granted except upon the written consent of a majority of the board of property holders within three hundred feet of the proposed location of a barroom. It is also prohibited to grant a license for any such place within three hundred feet of a church or a school. A person who has previously been convicted of any felony is not competent to hold or retain a license as a retail dealer.
Of special significance is a provision that it shall be unlawful for any firm, corporation or officer, director or stockholder of any corporation engaged in the business of brewing or distilling or distributing by wholesale intoxicating liquors, to obtain a license for retail sale, or even to be interested financially in any concern so engaged, or to be the owner or lessee, or to be interested in any lease of premises to be used for such business.
It is within the authority of the local government board to exclude the sale of liquor in any designated section of a city or town.
The act does not modify or repeal special or local acts prohibiting or restricting the sale of liquor in any part of the State.
The general laws regulating the sale of liquors remain unchanged except for some unimportant additions; but the local option
laws have been expanded by providing for county local option. The State already had local option by township, municipality, and residence district, the modus operandi being a special election held on the petition of one-fourth of the voters of the township, municipality or residence district. Especially elaborate are the provisions of the Jones law relating to local option by residence district.
But not content with this, a county local option law was enacted in March, 1908, known as the Rose law. It bears the title, "Further to provide against the evils resulting from the traffic in intoxicating liquors by providing for local option in counties."
Whenever 35 per cent. of the qualified electors of any county shall petition the commissioners or any common pleas judge for a special election to determine whether the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage shall be prohibited in a county, such election shall be held in not less than twenty nor more than thirty days from the filing of the petition. The elections are held in the same manner as other general elections.
If a majority of the votes cast are in favor of prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, then such sale becomes unlawful after thirty days from the election. Whoever thereupon sells or gives away any intoxicating liquors as a beverage is held guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to a fine of not more than two hundred dollars nor less than fifty dollars for the first offense, rising to a fine of from two hundred to five hundred dollars for any subsequent offense. A bond must be furnished in the sum of one thousand dollars to insure compliance with the law.
The sale by regular druggists for exclusively known medicinal, pharmaceutical, scientific, mechanical or sacramental purposes, is permitted.
At any time within three years after an election under this act another election may be petitioned for and ordered in the manner provided, but the provisions of the act do not affect or repeal in any way other laws or ordinances prohibiting throughout any municipality, township, or residence district the selling or giving away of intoxicating liquors as a beverage.
The validity of an election under this act may be contested by any qualified voter if he file a petition with the probate court within ten days after election. The probate judge has final jurisdiction in such cases.