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TAXATION OF LAND.
Chapter 28, Laws of the Twentieth General Assembly, fixes the date when lands within the State heretofore or hereafter granted to railroad companies are to become subject to assessment and taxation. The date for taxation is the date when earned, and this date is fixed even though patents have not yet been issued to the company. Parol evidence as to when said lands were earned is declared admissible.
AGENT FOR SELECTION OF OCCUPIED LANDS.
Chapter 69, Laws of the Twentieth General Assembly, authorizes. the Governor to appoint an agent to make a formal and proper selection of lands not heretofore patented, along the line of the railroad constructed from McGregor to Sheldon and within the limits of the grant and which are claimed by occupants under Section 8, Chapter 21, Laws of the Seventeenth General Assembly.
RELINQUISHMENT OF CERTAIN LANDS.
Chapter 71, Acts of the Twentieth General Assembly, relinquishes all lands and all rights to lands resumed and intended to be resumed by Chapter 107, Acts Nineteenth General Assembly, to the United States, and directs the Governor to certify to the Secretary of the Interior all lands which have not heretofore been patented to the State to aid in the construction of the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad, which have not been patented by the State to said railroad; but it is provided that the act shall not apply to lands situated in Dickinson and O'Brien counties.
BELLS AND STEAM WHISTLES ON LOCOMOTIVES.
Chapter 104, Acts Twentieth General Assembly, requires a bell and steam whistle to be placed on locomotives; the whistle to be twice sounded sharply at least sixty rods before a highway crossing is reached and the bell to be rung continuously after the sounding of the whistle until the crossing is passed. But in incorporated towns and cities the sounding of the whistle may be omitted at street crossings, unless the same is required by the council of such town or city, and the company is to be held liable for all damages which shall be sustained by any person by reason of a failure to comply with the above regulation. Any officer or employe of the company violating the
above regulation shall be punished by fine not exceeding one hundred dollars for each offense.
INCREASED POWER TO RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS.
Chapter 133, Twentieth General Assembly:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa :
SECTION 1. The circuit and district courts of this State shall have jurisdiction to enforce, by proper decrees, injunctions and orders, the rulings, orders and regulations affecting public right, made or to be made by the Board of Railroad Commissioners, such as are now, or may hereafter be, authorized to be made by them for the future direction and observance of railroads in this State. The proceedings therefor shall be by equitable action in the name of the State of Iowa, and shall be instituted by the attorney general, whenever advised by the Board of Railroad Commissioners that any railway corporation, or person operating a line of road in this State, is violating and refusing to comply with any rule, order, or regulation made by such Board of Railroad Commissioners, and applicable to such railroad or person. It shall be the duty of the court in which any such cause shall be pending, to require the issues to be made up at the first term of the court to which such cause is brought, which shall be the trial term, and to give the same precedence over other civil business. If the court shall find that such rule, regulation, or order is reasonable and just, and that in refusing compliance therewith said railway company is failing and omitting the performance of any public duty or obligation, the court shall decree a mandatory and perpetual injunction compelling obedience to, and compliance with, such rule, order, or regulation by said railroad company, or other person, its officers, agents, servants and employes, and may grant such other relief as may be deemed just and proper. All violations of such decree shall render the company, persons, officers, agents, servants and employes who are in any manner instrumental in such violations, guilty of contempt of court, and the court may punish such contempt by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars for each offense, and may imprison the person guilty of contempt until he shall sufficiently purge himself therefrom. And such decree shall continue and remain in effect and be enforced until the rule, order, or regulation shall be modified or vacated by the Board of Railroad Commissioners.
SEC. 2. Whenever a decree shall be entered against a railroad company or person under section 1, the court shall render judgment for costs, including a reasonable attorney's fee for counsel representing State in said case, and said judgment shall be enforced by execution.
SEC. 3. This act being deemed of immediate importance, shall take effect, and be in force from and after its publication in the Iowa State Register and Iowa State Leader, newspapers published in the State of Iowa.
Approved, April 3, 1884.
Two cases have been certified to the courts, referred to in our remarks above.
Chapter 139, acts Twentieth General Assembly, authorizes any number of persons or railroad corporations to organize under the general incorporation law, for the purpose of acquiring, establishing, constructing and maintaining, at any place in the State, union station-houses or depots, with express, baggage, and postal rooms, also, railroad tracks and other appurtenances of such depots. Such corporation may take and hold such real estate as may be deemed necessary by the Railroad Commissioners, and purchase or condemn the same under the laws provided for condemnation. With the consent of the coucil of the city or town it may lay tracks through said city or town, and make necessary connections with all railways desiring to use said common depot. With consent of the city or town council it may erect the depot building upon or across any street or alley, but not until condemnation proceedings have been had with reference to injury to abutting property. Nothing in the act releases railway companies using such union depot from liability for damage for injuries to persons, stock, baggage, or freight, or loss of baggage or freight in and about the union depot grounds; but the several railroad companies are to be held liable as though owning and operating such union depot grounds.
RELATING TO TAXES IN AID OF RAILROADS.
Chapter 159, acts of the Twentieth General Assembly, repeals chapter 123, acts Sixteenth General Assembly, chapter 87, Nineteenth General Assembly, chapter 173, Seventeenth General Assembly, chapter 192, Eighteenth General Assembly, and chapter 102, Nineteenth General Assembly. It provides that taxes not to exceed five per centunı on the assessed value of any township, incorporated town, or city may be voted to aid in the construction of a projected railroad. A petition is to be presented to the council or trustees of any incorporated town or city, or trustees of any township, signed by a majority of the resident freehold taxpayers. Trustees or council shall then give notice by publication in some newspaper either in the town, township, city or county, and also by posting copies of said notice in five public places in the township, city or town, at least ten days before the elec
tion. The notice must specify the time and place of holding said election, the name of the company and the line of the road proposed to be aided, the rate per centum of tax to be levied, whether one half of the tax shall be collected in one year and one half the following year, or the whole thereof in one year; the amount of work required to be done, and when and where it shall be done, and to what point on said railroad it shall be fully completed, and any other conditions to be performed before such tax shall become due, collectible and pay. able: The form of the ballots shall be "for taxation," and "against taxation.” If a majority vote for taxation the recorder or clerk, as the case may be, shall forthwith certify to the county auditor the result of the election, the rate per centum of tax voted, the year or years during which the same is to be collected, the name of the company to which voted, the time, terms and conditions upon which the same, when collected, is to be paid to the railroad company under the conditions and stipulations of the notice, together with an exact copy of the notice under which the election was held, which the county auditor shall at once cause to be recorded in the proper office, and the expense thereof, and of publishing the notice, and all expenses of the election, be paid by the railroad company to which the tax is voted. When the above certificates are made and recorded, the board of supervisors shall at the time of levying ordinary taxes next following levy the tax voted, following in their order the conditions and stipulations of the vote, and attach to the lists a certified copy of their order. Such tax shall be collected as other taxes, subject to the conditions and stipulations of the petition and notice. With reference to the conditions and stipulations the petition and notice must conform. The aggregate amount of taxes voted or levied under this law shall not exceed five per centum of the assessed value of the property in town, city or township.
The money collected is to be paid out by the county treasurer to the treasurer of the railroad company upon the order of the president or managing director at any time after the trustees or council certify that the conditions of the notice have been complied with, deducting the expense of the election, recording of certificates, etc., if not previously paid. The county treasurer shall, when required, give each tax-payer, in addition to the ordinary receipt for taxes paid, a certificate of the amount so paid, the name of the railroad coinpany, and when paid, and may charge a fee of twenty-five cents therefor. When presented in amounts of one hundred dollars the railroad company shall issue stock certificates therefor. If there is an amount, a fraction of one hundred dollars, the holder may pay any balance necessary to make the amount of a certificate at par, for which the company shall issue to the person so paying the balance, a certificate of stock. If it is proposed in the petition and notice to issue first mortgages, bonds not exceeding eight thousand dollars per mile for a three feet gauge, and not exceeding sixteen thousand dollars per mile for the ordinary four feet eight and one half inch gauge may be issued in lieu of stock, as provided for stock; but the petition and notice must state the amount of bonds per mile, the rate of interest and time of payment of interest and principal, and the bonds may be issued in the denomination of one hundred dollars, as provided for stock.
The board of directors, or those members thereof, or either of them voting to bond, mortgage, or in any manner encumber said road to an amount per mile exceeding the limit named in the act, not including any debt for ordinary operating expenses, shall be liable to the stockholders for double the amount thereof at par value held by said stockholders, if the same has been rendered of less value or cost thereby. If the taxes voted remain in the county treasury for more than one year they shall be considered forfeited and the persons who paid the taxes shall be entitled to receive back their pro rata shares thereof remaining.
When a railroad company has failed to build according to the conditions, the board of supervisors of the county where the taxes are levied shall give the railroad company at least thirty days ' notice of their intention to abate and cancel such taxes. The notice shall be in writing and served like original notices, and the supervisors may then cause the same to be canceled and stricken from the tax books. Such cancellation shall remove all liens created by the levy of said taxes, but the foregoing provisions shall in no manner affect any actions which were pending at the time of the act for the recovery of the taxes heretofore voted in aid of any railroads. Taxes are declared forfeited in the following cases:
When the railroad company refuses or neglects to receive such taxes, or to require or permit the same to be collected and the certificates therefor to be issued for the period of one year after such taxes shall become due and collectible.
When the conditions upon which such taxes were voted have not