Secretary of State Jim Condos announced today that records relating to the first hundred years of the Vermont Constitution, including proposals of amendments, are now available online at: http://vermont-archives.org/publications/publicat/pdf/Council_of_Censors…(link is external) Some examples are displayed below.Secretary Condos noted, ‘The records of the Vermont Council of Censors, 1777-1870 provide unique insights not only into the evolution of our state constitution but also on persisting issues such as the nature of representation, constitutions, and citizenship.’ The Council of Censors was a constitutional body of thirteen men, elected to one year terms every seven years. It had the authority to review the actions of state government in the preceding seven years to see if they conformed to constitutional requirements. It also was the sole body that could propose amendments to the constitution. Proposed amendments would then be presented to a constitutional convention for ratification or rejection. The publication of the Council’s records was originally done in 1991 under then Secretary of State Jim Douglas. The Council’s journals were transcribed and annotated by Paul Gillies and Gregory Sanford. Secretary Condos explained that, ‘Putting Gillies and Sanford’s work online reflects our enhanced opportunities for distributing information through technology. It is part of my commitment to making public information as broadly available, for free, as we can.’ The Censors successfully proposed two-year terms of office; the creation of a state senate; and their own replacement with the current amendment process, though with a ten-year time lock as opposed to the current four years. The Council also foreshadowed the current make-up of the House of Representatives when in 1856 it proposed replacing town-representation with a 150 member chamber based on population. While their proposals failed at the time, their system of proportional representation was essentially adopted in 1965. The debates surrounding even the Council’s failure are fascinating. The 1869 Council’s debates over extending the vote to women followed along the lines of 20th Century debates over the equal rights amendment. The Council’s proposal in support of women’s suffrage lost in convention 1 to 233. ‘Making records on the evolution of our state constitution widely accessible is important to our civic education, as students and as Vermonters,’ said Condos. The online presentation is full-text searchable, easing the ability to search issues over time. Source: Secretary of State, December 15, 2011 Selections from the Records of the Council of Censors, 1770-1870 On Women’s Suffrage ‘We believe that woman, married or unmarried, was made to be the companion of man and not his mere servant; that she has the same right to control her property that he has to control his; that she has the same right to aspire to any occupation, profession, or position, the duties of which she is competent to discharge, that he has. A right is worth nothing without the power to protect it. The ballot alone can do this.’ July 28, 1869 (p. 642)On the Creation of a Senate ‘With these views, we propose, as a safeguard against hasty and improvident legislation, and to remedy, in some degree, the inequality of representation in the most numerous branch of the legislature, a Senate as a substitute for the present Council. The Senate to consist of thirty members, to be apportioned to the several counties, as near as may be, in the ratio of population–providing however, that each county shall have, at least, one Senator.’ January 16, 1835 (p. 374)On the Disadvantage of Annual Sessions of the Legislature ‘Your committee are of the opinion that a careful scrutiny of the history of our State Legislature for the past twenty years will show that in most cases our public legislation has been confined to trivial matters, and that no important changes have been made in our laws as often as once in two years, nor indeed for much longer periods. Such scrutiny will also show that in many instances, such changes as have been made, have been had unadvisedly, so that no inconsiderable part of the business has been to undo and repeal what had been so hastily done the year before. In this view your committee are of opinion that we have had too much legislation; that the continual tinkering of the laws, by making amendments one year and repealing them the next, and the numerous minor modifications of our statute which our legislation has produced, have not been profitable to the State.’ July 29, 1869 (p. 645) Foreshadowing Current Use In our enquiry, “whether the public taxes have been justly laid and collected in all parts of this commonwealth,” we are of opinion, that the act passed by the legislature in October 1797, laying a tax of one cent per acre, on all lands in this state indiscriminately,” was unequal and unjust. It is a principle universally allowed, that property ought to be taxed in proportion to its real value, and annual income; and though it is impossible by any general rule to do perfect justice, yet the mode that makes the nearest approach thereto is to be preferred. The taxing the wild and uncultivated mountains per acre, equal to the lands of the highest cultivation, or covered with elegant buildings, can bear no proportionate estimate, either in value or income. Feb 4, 1800 (p. 170)On the People’s Role in Amending the Constitution It is evident that the people at the present time take but little interest in amending their Constitution, nor have they since 1850. They have become so indifferent that it is a matter of doubt whether one in ten really knows and understands what our Constitution is, or how it is amended; and the question arises, is it best or expedient to perpetuate and continue a system so little understood, and in which so little interest is manifested? It should be brought home nearer to the people; they should have a direct influence, instead of an indirect and remote one. This is an age of improvement, and a republican government is never wiser nor better, in our State, at least, and at the present time, than the people who elect it; and such a government fails to answer its design when the people become indifferent to its workings. The people of Vermont are at the present time vastly more intelligent, better informed, better educated than formerly, and no good reason exists in the opinion of the minority for not trusting them directly in the final amendments to their Constitution. July 31, 1869 (pp. 659-660)On the Purpose of a Constitution ‘Again it is urged that the Council of Censors is a body unknown to sister states, and has arrived at that “respectable old age” in our own that entitles it to funeral honors. We are unable to see any force in this argument. The very soul of an organic law–of a constitution for a commonwealth, is permanency. The people demand some permanent law so that legislatures of partisan bias shall not trample upon the rights of minorities.’ August 3, 1869 (p. 680)
[This story has been updated. See below for details.]The Los Angeles Police Department has detained two suspects following a shooting that injured four people near the Ronald Tutor Campus Center at approximately 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday, according to campus authorities.A gunshot victim is loaded into an ambulance at the scene of Wednesday’s shooting. Four people sustained gunshot wounds and two suspects were later detained. Joseph Chen | Daily Trojan Only one of the four victims is in critical condition and as of approximately 2 a.m. was undergoing surgery at California Hospital Medical Center, according to LAPD. Three others were injured and immediately transported to California Hospital as well. Neither the suspects, whom LAPD identified as approximately 19-years-old, nor the victims were affiliated with USC.Classes across the university are scheduled to continue as normal Thursday. The shooting occurred about 100 yards from a Halloween costume party, “Freak or Greek,” which was held in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center’s ballroom. The event, which began at 9 p.m., was hosted by a USC student organization and LA Hype, a night life and entertainment group. The party drew a crowd of about 1,500, according to the Dept. of Public Safety.“We were waiting outside to get into the party, and we were waiting for a while — maybe 20 or 30 minutes,” said Olivia Gordon, a freshman majoring in psychology. “And all of the sudden, as soon as people started going inside, there were multiple gunshots and everyone who was in line for the party ducked and we all ran.”A confrontation occurred between two unidentified males, which led one to shoot the other, inadvertently injuring three others in the process, according to DPS Capt. David Carlisle. The intended victim was shot three to four times in the torso, according to LAPD Cmdr. Bob Green. The other three victims did not sustain life-threatening injuries.“I heard three gunshots … there might have been more than that,” said Christina Nour, a freshman majoring in civil engineering building science. “Then I ducked. It didn’t feel real. It felt like it was a movie because I really haven’t experienced anything like this before. I was running as fast as I can, trying to make sure I didn’t get trampled or tripped. I just ran as fast as I could, as far as I could.”Michael Jackson, vice president for student affairs, released a statement on the university’s website, saying DPS had been monitoring the area near the party. He also noted the importance of ensuring safety.“This incident reminds us that we must look out for ourselves and be particularly vigilant about the personal safety of friends and guests at our social events,” Jackson said.After the shooting, officers at the scene identified the shooter as well as an unidentified male who was fleeing the scene with him. Officers followed the two to Parking Lot 6 and detained them; they also retrieved the handgun used in the shooting from the ground at the lot.DPS issued a Trojan Alert at 12:02 a.m. on Thursday, asking students to take “shelter in place and avoid opening doors for unknown persons.” DPS and LAPD also immediately cordoned off the area near the shooting, including from Bovard Auditorium to Mudd Hall and from the Campus Center to the eastern edge of Hahn Plaza. The entire University Park Campus was locked down soon after.Despite the lockdown, LAPD said the event in the Campus Center continued even as the shooting and its aftermath unfolded outside.“Music continued to play, and they continued to party,” Green said.At approximately 2 a.m., DPS and LAPD opened the campus to students, faculty and staff with USC identification. The entire campus was reopened at 4:52 a.m.Asst. DPS Chief John Thomas said that the incident was not indicative of the overall level of safety in and around USC.“[USC has] a great partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department. We are one of the safest campuses in the country — we make sure that we have the necessary resources at the event, we do necessary planning and unfortunately [the shooting] happened outside,” he said. “These are individuals that unfortunately came here and decided to disrupt what otherwise would have been a very peaceful event, like all of our events on campus.”[Update #1: Victims recovering from Halloween shooting]Geno Hall, a former Crenshaw High School football star and 2009 L.A. City Football Player of the Year, was recovering from seven bullet wounds in critical but stable condition Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.Eugene Hall, Geno’s father, told the Times that his son was recovering from a three-hour surgery in the intensive care unit of California Hospital Medical Center. The younger Hall sustained bullet wounds to the left thigh, back of leg, buttocks and arm, according to his father.“The doc says he’ll pull through but they’re keeping him up there,” Eugene Hall told the Times.Geno Hall was the intended victim of the shooting that occurred outside the Ronald Tutor Campus Center late Wednesday night. Three others were also admitted to California Hospital with minor injuries. None of the victims or suspects were affiliated with the university, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.LAPD officials said they expect the other three victims to make a full recovery.[Update #2: President Nikias addresses Halloween shooting]In a statement posted Thursday, USC President C. L. Max Nikias addressed the shootings that occurred on campus and assured parents and students of USC’s continued safety.Nikias wrote that the individuals involved in the shooting were not affiliated with the university. USC’s policy allows student parties to be open to USC students and students from other colleges with a college ID.Nikias did, however, say that the university will review this policy in light of Wednesday’s incidents.“We are now carefully assessing and reviewing all of the university’s policies regarding visitors and events held on campus,” he wrote.He continued to say that USC is still a safe campus, calling the risk of on-campus crimes like the shooting “very low.”“I want to personally assure you that the university mobilized all its resources in responding to this incident, and worked closely with Los Angeles Police Department in ensuring our students’ safety,” Nikias wrote.Nikias also acknowledged safety concerns stemming from Wednesday’s shooting and other incidents, such as the off-campus shooting last year that killed international graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu.“All of us have been shaken by serious incidents this year,” Nikias wrote. “Despite these events, or indeed because of them, we must continue to support each other as members of the Trojan Family.”Joey Kaufman, Eddie Kim, Annalise Mantz, Daniel Rothberg and Yasmeen Serhan contributed to this report.