State v. Bronson

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtBlack
Citation21 S.W. 1125,115 Mo. 271
Decision Date25 March 1893
PartiesSTATE ex rel. WOLFE v. BRONSON et al.
21 S.W. 1125
115 Mo. 271
STATE ex rel. WOLFE
v.
BRONSON et al.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
March 25, 1893.

TITLES OF LAWS — SCHOOL-BOOK COMMISSION — ACTION ON CONTRACTS — WHO MAY SUE.

1. Act April 4, 1891, entitled "An act to establish and maintain a uniform course of text-books to be used in all the public schools within this state," excludes from its operation cities and districts having more than 100,000 inhabitants. Held, that the act did not violate Const. art. 4, § 28, providing that "no bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in the title."

2. The subject of an act is not "clearly expressed" in its title when the latter states that the act applies "to all the public schools within this state," but its provisions expressly do not apply to Kansas City and St. Louis. Per Barclay, J., dissenting.

3. The act also provides for the appointment of a school-book commission, which is required to select text-books on certain specified subjects, and to make contracts for supplying such books to the pupils. Held, that such duties are not a "supervision of instruction," within Const. art. 11, § 4, providing that "the supervision of instruction in the public schools" shall be vested in a state board of education.

4. Section 9 of the act provides that after the commission has made such contracts it shall be the duty of the president of the commission to see that the provisions of the contracts are carried out. Held, that mandamus to compel the directors of a school district to introduce and put in use in their district the text-books selected and contracted for by the commission is properly prosecuted on the relation of the president of the commission, and need not be prosecuted in the name of the state, under Rev. St. 1889, § 630, providing that all suits to enforce any right, interest, or claim of the state shall be prosecuted in the name of the state.

In banc.

Mandamus on the relation of L. E. Wolfe, president Missouri school-book commission, to compel Ira T. Bronson and others, directors of the City of Sedalia school district, to adopt and put in use in their district the text-books selected by the commission. An alternative writ was issued, and the respondents moved to quash. Motion denied.

Geo. P. B. Jackson, Edward Robb, and John M. Wood, Atty. Gen., for relator. G. W. Barnett and Sangree & Lamm, for respondent.

BLACK, J.


This case is now before us on a motion to quash an alternative writ of mandamus issued by this court. The

21 S.W. 1126

relator is the state superintendent of public schools, acting in his official capacity of ex officio member and president of the Missouri school-book commission; and the respondents are the directors of the City of Sedalia school district. The Missouri school-book commission, created and organized under the act of April 4, 1891, (Acts 1891, p. 26,) advertised for and received and accepted bids and made contracts with different publishers for furnishing a course of school books for the period of five years upon the subjects or branches of learning specified in the fifth section of that act. The respondents have not used this course of books, but have adopted and put in use in their district a different series; and the object of this proceeding is to compel them to introduce and put in use in their district the textbooks selected and contracted for by the commission. The act of 4th April, 1891, is entitled "An act to establish and maintain a uniform course of text-books to be used in all the public schools within this state, and to reduce the price thereof." In its general scope, it provides for the appointment of the commission, the method of advertising for and receiving bids, the selection of a series of books covering the specified subjects, and the making of contracts with the publishers for furnishing the books at the contract price. The fifth and eleventh sections are in these words: "Sec. 5. If any of such bids be satisfactory to the commission, it shall proceed to select the cheapest and best course of text-books so offered, as follows, to wit, chart, reading, spelling, English grammar, arithmetic, geography, history, civil government, physiology, and penmanship." "Sec. 11. From and after the first day of September, 1891, no textbooks upon the subjects named in section 5 of this act, except those contracted for by said commission, shall be sold for use in the public schools of Missouri; and from and after the first day of September, 1892, no text-book upon the aforesaid subjects, except those contracted for by said commission, shall be used or taught in any public school within this state: provided, that this act shall not apply to any city or district which now contains or may hereafter contain more than one hundred thousand inhabitants."

1. The respondents say this act is void, because it violates section 28 of article 4 of the constitution, which provides that "no bill * * * shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title." This constitutional provision has been the subject of much observation in recent years, as will be seen from the following cases: State v. Miller, 100 Mo. 439, 13 S. W. Rep. 677; State v. County Court, 102 Mo. 531, 15 S. W. Rep. 79; State v. Burgdoerfer, 107 Mo. 1, 17 S. W. Rep. 646; State v. Morgan, (Mo. Sup.) 20 S. W. Rep. 456. These and other cases show that this section of the constitution is to be reasonably and liberally construed and applied, due regard being had to its object and purpose. It was designed to prevent the insertion of disconnected matters in the same bill. The section asserts only two propositions. The first is that no bill shall contain more than one subject, and the second is that this single subject must be clearly expressed in the title. If all the provisions of the bill have a natural relation and connection, then the subject is single, and this, too, though the bill contains many provisions. As to the second proposition, namely, that the single subject must be clearly expressed in the title, it is sufficient to say that the legislature may select its own language, and may use few or many words. It is sufficient that the title fairly embraces the subject-matter covered by the act; mere matters of detail need not be stated in the title. Now, the precise point of objection here is, not that this act contains more...

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26 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Carpenter v. St. Louis, No. 28285.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 18 Enero 1928
    ...duty to compel the city authorities to levy the tax and set it aside for the use of said library board. State ex rel. Wolfe v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271. (8) The library statutes do not violate Section 1 or Section 10 of Article 10 of the Constitution. They do not delegate legislative power nor ......
  • State ex rel. Transport Mfg. Co. v. Bates, No. 41456.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 14 Noviembre 1949
    ...Men's Assur. Co., 350 Mo. 666, 168 S.W. (2d) 82; Asel v. City of Jefferson, 287 Mo. 195, 229 S.W. 1046; State ex rel. Wolfe v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271, 21 S.W. 1125; Thomas v. Buchanan County, 330 Mo. 627, 51 S.W. (2d) 95; Sec. 23, Art. III, Constitution of 1945; 129 A.L.R. 222; 153 A.L.R. 609......
  • State v. Valliant
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 4 Diciembre 1894
    ...114 Mo. 283, 21 S. W. 813, — to compel the railroad company to rebuild a line of railway, and to run trains thereon. State v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271, 21 S. W. 1125, — to compel respondent to use books adopted by the Misssouri school-book commission in the schools of the city of Sedalia school......
  • State v. Brodnax
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 24 Mayo 1910
    ...v. Miller, 45 Mo. 495; City of Hannibal v. County of Marion, 69 Mo. 571; State ex rel. v. Mead, 71 Mo. 268. In State ex rel. v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271 [21 S. W. 1125], it was ruled that this provision of the Constitution should be reasonably and liberally construed and applied, due regard bei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • State ex rel. Carpenter v. St. Louis, No. 28285.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 18 Enero 1928
    ...duty to compel the city authorities to levy the tax and set it aside for the use of said library board. State ex rel. Wolfe v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271. (8) The library statutes do not violate Section 1 or Section 10 of Article 10 of the Constitution. They do not delegate legislative power nor ......
  • State ex rel. Transport Mfg. Co. v. Bates, No. 41456.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 14 Noviembre 1949
    ...Men's Assur. Co., 350 Mo. 666, 168 S.W. (2d) 82; Asel v. City of Jefferson, 287 Mo. 195, 229 S.W. 1046; State ex rel. Wolfe v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271, 21 S.W. 1125; Thomas v. Buchanan County, 330 Mo. 627, 51 S.W. (2d) 95; Sec. 23, Art. III, Constitution of 1945; 129 A.L.R. 222; 153 A.L.R. 609......
  • State v. Valliant
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 4 Diciembre 1894
    ...114 Mo. 283, 21 S. W. 813, — to compel the railroad company to rebuild a line of railway, and to run trains thereon. State v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271, 21 S. W. 1125, — to compel respondent to use books adopted by the Misssouri school-book commission in the schools of the city of Sedalia school......
  • State v. Brodnax
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 24 Mayo 1910
    ...v. Miller, 45 Mo. 495; City of Hannibal v. County of Marion, 69 Mo. 571; State ex rel. v. Mead, 71 Mo. 268. In State ex rel. v. Bronson, 115 Mo. 271 [21 S. W. 1125], it was ruled that this provision of the Constitution should be reasonably and liberally construed and applied, due regard bei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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