Kansas City ex rel. North Park District v. Scarritt

Decision Date19 March 1895
Citation30 S.W. 111,127 Mo. 642
PartiesKansas City ex rel. North Park District v. Scarritt et al., Appellants
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

127 Mo. 642 at 654.

Original Opinion of March 19, 1895, Reported at: 127 Mo. 642.

Brace C. J., and Barclay, Gantt, Macfarlane, Sherwood, Burgess, and Robinson, JJ.



Per Curiam

It is claimed, in the motion for rehearing, that the decision rendered is not in harmony with some prior judgments of the court.

The importance of the question involved in the case justifies a short statement of our views as to the effect of the earlier decisions.

In Ewing v. Hoblitzelle (1884), 85 Mo. 64, an act regulating the registration of voters and the conduct of elections, in cities of over one hundred thousand population was held valid and applicable to the city of St. Louis although it overrode charter provisions of different import.

In the State ex rel. Ziegenhein v. Railroad (1893), 117 Mo. 1 (22 S.W. 910), provisions of a law (general throughout the state), regulating the mode of assessment of railroads for purposes of taxation, were held paramount to the terms of the charter of St. Louis.

The subject of the statutes construed in those cases authorized the legislature to deal with them in a very different manner from topics of purely internal municipal government.

"Legislation which is necessary or appropriate to carry into effect a positive command of the organic law, or is required or directly contemplated by its terms, can not justly be held to be either special or local within the true intent and meaning of the constitution." Kenefick v. St. Louis (1895), 127 Mo. 1 (29 S.W. 838).

That proposition had been already substantially recognized in State ex rel. v. Hughes (1891), 104 Mo. 459 (16 S.W. 489), in State ex rel. v. Yancy (1894), 123 Mo. 391 (27 S.W. 380), and in State ex rel. v. Higgins (1894), 125 Mo. 364 (28 S.W. 638).

The act construed in the Hoblitzelle case was plainly called for by the constitutional command in regard to the registration of voters in large cities (art. 8, sec. 5).

The act construed in Ziegenhein's case regulated the mode of assessment and collection of revenue necessary for the state.

By the separation of the city and county of St. Louis, the city was placed in a dual relation to the state government. It became invested with certain powers which in other parts of Missouri are exerted by county officers, as well as with the usual municipal powers for internal government.

Under the terms of the constitution the city was required to "collect the state revenue and perform all other functions in relation to the state in the same manner as if it were a county." (Art. 9, sec. 23.)

It is plain that a general statute, regulating the assessment and collection of revenue, if found to be intended to apply to the whole state, should be construed by the courts as so applicable. That was the ruling made with reference to the statute discussed in the Ziegenhein case.

The same rule then maintained, touching the repeal of local laws in St. Louis, had been previously declared in State v. Bennett (1890), 102 Mo. 356 (14 S.W. 865), in dealing with a statute governing procedure in criminal causes.

As was pointed out in Kenefick's case in the first division, 127 Mo. 1 (29 S.W. 838), all such topics are within range of the constitutional power of the legislative department.

The protection, in regard to local affairs, accorded by the constitution to cities organized under the special license given in article 9 of that instrument, does not reach so far as to prevent legislation on the various subjects considered in the cases above mentioned.

In Westport v. Kansas City (1891), 103 Mo. 141 (15 S.W. 68), the ordinance for extending the limits of the latter city was held invalid, because it had not been submitted to a vote in the city. That was the point in judgment in that case; and that result was in accord with the one reached in the case at bar. The same may be said in respect of the decision State ex rel. v. Field (1889), 99 Mo. 352 (12 S.W. 802), which held that the freeholders' charter of Kansas City operated to repeal a prior statute of the state in respect of street opening proceedings, the latter being then held to be a subject which "naturally falls within the domain of municipal government," to quote the words of Judge Black in that case.

Other holdings of the court might be cited, in which statutes, applicable to cities having special constitutional charters, have been sustained because of the topics dealt with in those statutes, for instance:

State ex rel. v. Tolle (1880), 71 Mo. 645, which held that an act regulating the publication of legal advertisements in cities applied to St. Louis.

State ex rel. v. Miller (1890), 100 Mo. 439 (13 S.W. 677), in which an act, providing for the management and government of the public schools in the large cities, was approved.

State ex rel. v. Bell (1893), 119 Mo. 70 (24 S.W. 765), which sustained an act...

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