Jefferson County v. Cole

Decision Date24 June 1924
Citation263 S.W. 1114,204 Ky. 27
PartiesJEFFERSON COUNTY v. COLE ET AL.
CourtKentucky Court of Appeals

Appeal from Circuit Court, Jefferson County, Chancery Branch, Second Division.

Suit by Jefferson County against Edith M. Cole and others. Judgment for defendants, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

J. Matt Chilton and W. F. Clarke, Jr., both of Louisville, for appellant.

Humphrey Crawford & Middleton and O'Neal & O'Neal, all of Louisville, for appellees.

CLAY J.

Jefferson county brought this suit under the declaratory judgment law against Edith M. Cole and others, the stenographic reporters in the common-law divisions of the Jefferson circuit court to test the constitutionality of an act relating to the compensation of such reporters and passed by the Legislature at its last session. Being of the opinion that the act was valid, the circuit court sustained a demurrer to and dismissed the petition. Jefferson county appeals.

The title of the act is as follows:

"An act to repeal and re-enact section four thousand six hundred and forty-two, Kentucky Statutes, Carroll's Edition, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two, relating to and fixing the compensation of official stenographic reporters in the courts of this commonwealth."

In the body of the act, section 4642 is repealed, and a new section enacted in lieu thereof. Under the section repealed, all the reporters of the common pleas and chancery branches of courts in counties having a population of 150,000 or more were paid $1,800 a year, but were required to account to the fiscal court for the fees received by them until such fees amounted to $1,800, if they collected that much. Under the new act the compensation of the chancery reporters remains unchanged while the common-law reporters are allowed to receive a salary of $1,800 a year, without being required to account for any fees they may earn.

The first objection to the act is that its title violates section 51 of the Constitution, which is as follows:

"No law enacted by the General Assembly shall relate to more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title, and no law shall be revised, amended, or the provisions thereof extended or conferred by reference to its title only, but so much thereof as is revised, amended, extended or conferred, shall be re-enacted and published at length."

It is the settled rule in this state that the title of an act is sufficient if it purports to repeal or amend a particular section of the Kentucky Statutes, the reason being that the members of the General Assembly may at once examine the section affected and determine the nature and extent of the proposed change in the law. Board of Penitentiary Commissioners v. Spencer et al., 159 Ky. 255, 166 S.W. 1017. Nor did the addition of the words, "relating to and fixing the compensation of the official stenographic reporters in the courts of this commonwealth," render the title defective. These words do not restrict the application of the title. They are general in character and broad enough to include the stenographic reporters in all the courts of the commonwealth, and therefore sufficient to give notice that the reporters in courts of counties having a population of 150,000 or more may be affected by the act. It is also clear that the act relates to only one subject, which is expressed in the title, and that all its provisions are germane to the title.

Another objection to the act is that it violates subsections 1, 18 and 29 of section 59 of the Constitution, which forbid the General Assembly from passing any local or special acts to regulate the jurisdiction, or the practice, or the circuits of the courts of justice, or the rights, powers, duties, or compensation of the officers thereof, or to create, increase, or decrease fees, percentages, or allowances to public officers, or to extend the time for the collection thereof, or to authorize officers to appoint deputies, and provide that in all cases where a general law can be made applicable, no special law shall be enacted. It must not be overlooked that "special legislation" is such as relates either to particular persons, places, or things, or...

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36 cases
  • Ravitz v. Steurele
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • December 21, 1934
    ... ...          Appeal ... from Circuit Court, Jefferson County ...          Proceedings ... between Morris Ravitz and Clarence J. Steurele, ... might have been applied."' See Jefferson ... County v. Cole, 204 Ky. 27, 263 S.W. 1114 ...          With ... these settled principles as a Rosetta ... ...
  • Shaw v. Fox
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • December 6, 1932
    ...55 S.W.2d 11 246 Ky. 342 SHAW v. FOX, County Judge. Court of Appeals of KentuckyDecember 6, 1932 ...          Appeal ... from t Court, Jefferson County; Common Pleas Branch, ... First Division ...          Action ... by James S ...          Special ... legislation is thus defined in Jefferson County v ... Cole, 204 Ky. 27, 263 S.W. 1114, as: "'Special ... legislation' is such as relates either to particular ... ...
  • Manning v. Sims
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • August 13, 1948
    ... ... Denied Oct. 15, 1948 ...          Appeal ... from Circuit Court, Franklin County; Leslie W. Morris, ... Special Judge ...          Suit ... involving constitutionality ... legislation is general and not special or local ... Jefferson County v. Cole, et al., 204 Ky. 27, 263 ... S.W. 1114. Classification is within the power of the ... ...
  • Manning, Commissioner of Finance, v. Sims
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Kentucky
    • October 15, 1948
    ...legislation peculiar to themselves in the matter covered by the legislation is general and not special or local. Jefferson County v. Cole, et al., 204 Ky. 27, 263 S.W. 1114. Classification is within the power of the legislative branch of the government and so long as classification is not m......
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