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Pauper Law — Settled Pauper — Liability for Support. Where a pauper inmate of a State institution has a settlement in any city
or town in this Commonwealth, such city or town is liable to the Commonwealth for his support, notwithstanding the fact that there may be kindred or other persons who are bound by law and are of sufficient ability to defray the expense incurred therefor.
JULY 13, 1903. J. F. LEWIS, M.D., Superintendent, State Adult Poor.
DEAR SIR: - In your letter of May 4 you state that in certain cases the overseers of the poor of cities and towns within the Commonwealth acknowledge the settlement of pauper inmates of State institutions to be in such cities and towns, but deny their liability for the support of such persons, for the reason that they allege that there are relatives or kindred bound by law to support the pauper, who are of sufficient ability so to do.
R. L., C. 85, § 20, is as follows:
A city or town in which an inmate of the state hospital is found to have a legal settlement shall be liable to the commonwealth for his support in like manner as one town is liable to another in like cases; and in such case, the state board of charity shall adopt such measures relative to notice, removal of a pauper and recovery of expenses as are prescribed for towns in like cases.
The kindred who are liable by law to towns for expenses in supporting such paupers shall in like manner be liable to the commonwealth for any expense incurred for such paupers; and the state board of charity may adopt the same measures and institute like proceedings for the recovery of such expenses from the kindred so liable as are prescribed for towns in like cases.
I am of opinion that where a pauper, an inmate of a State institution, has a settlement in any city or town within this Commonwealth, such city or town is liable for his support, notwithstanding the fact that there may be some person or persons who are bound by law and who are able to defray the expense incurred by the Commonwealth.
It is true that under the provisions of section 21, above quoted, the Commonwealth has an alternative remedy against the kindred of a pauper, should they be in a position to aid in his support; but the liability for the maintenance of settled paupers who are inmates of State institutions is primarily imposed upon the cities and towns in which such paupers have settlements; and it can hardly be maintained that a city or town could successfully defend a claim brought by the Commonwealth under the provisions of R. L., C. 85, § 20, upon the ground that the kindred of the pauper for whose support the action was brought were also liable. Very truly yours,
HERBERT PARKER, Attorney-General.
Trading Stamp - Definite Article — Exchange. A trading stamp company may, under St. 1903, c. 386, issue trading stamps
to merchants, for delivery to their customers, upon condition that a certain number of such stamps may be exchanged by the holder thereof for a definite and specified article, on inspection at the store of such company; and the customer, after receiving the article specified, may further exchange it for any other article of equal value exhibited at such store, without violating the provisions of such statute.
JULY 21, 1903. Rufus R. WADE, Esq., Chief of the Massachusetts District Police.
DEAR SIR :- St. 1903, c. 386, provides that no person, firm or corporation shall, in connection with the sale of any merchandise, deliver trading stamps or similar devices, to be exchanged for any indefinite or undescribed article, the nature and value of which are not stated, or to be exchanged for any article not distinctly bargained for at the time when such trading stamps or other devices were delivered. You ask my opinion as to whether the following transaction is prohibited by this law :
A trading stamp company issues to merchants stamps to be delivered to their customers, upon condition that a certain number of stamps may be exchanged by any customer for a rocking chair valued at $4, similar to other rocking chairs on inspection at the company's store. When the stamps are delivered to the customer, it is agreed between the merchant and the customer that in exchange for a certain number of them the customer may receive a rocking chair valued at $4, similar to other rocking chairs on inspection at the company's store. It is further provided that if, after receiving the rocking chair in exchange for the stamps, the customer desires to exchange the chair for some other article in the store which is valued at the same price, he may do so.
In my opinion, this transaction is not a violation of the above statute. Very truly yours,
HERBERT PARKER, Attorney-General.
State Inspector and Assayer of Liquors - Certificate - Evidence
State Board of Health. The provision of R. L., c. 100, § 67, which made the certificate of the
State inspector and assayer of liquors prima facie evidence of the composition and quality of liquors examined by him, is not affected as to the competency of such certificate as evidence by the fact that, under St. 1902, c. 110, the office of State inspector and assayer of liquors was abolished, and the powers and duties of such officer were transferred to the State Board of Health.
JULY 22, 1903. SAMUEL W. ABBOTT, M.D., Secretary, State Board of Health.
DEAR SIR:- You inquire in your letter of July 14 as to the effect of St. 1902, c. 110, upon R. L., c. 100, S8 67 and 68, particularly with regard to the provision contained in R. L., c. 100, $ 67, that the statement of the inspector and assayer of liquors with regard to the percentage of alcohol found by him in samples of liquors submitted to him shall be prima facie evidence of the composition and quality of the liquors to which it relates. The sections in chapter 100 of the Revised Laws to which you refer established the duties of the State inspector and assayer of liquors, among which was the duty to “ inspect and analyze all liquors sent to him by the licensing board of any city, the selectmen of any town, or by police officers or other officers who are authorized by law to make seizures of liquors." The result of his examination and analysis was to be embodied in a certificate signed by him “ of the percentage of alcohol by volume at sixty degrees Fahrenheit which such samples of liquors contain.” The section further provides that such statement shall be prima facie evidence of the composition and quality of the liquors to which it relates.
St. 1902, c. 110, is entitled “An Act to transfer the powers and duties of the inspector and assayer of liquors to the state board of health,” and is as follows:
SECTION 1. The office of inspector and assayer of liquors is hereby abolished.
SECTION 2. The powers and duties heretofore conferred and imposed on the inspector and assayer of liquors are hereby conferred and imposed on the state board of health.
The obvious purpose of this statute was to transfer to the State Board of Health the powers and duties of the inspector and assayer of liquors, one of which was to examine samples of liquors seized by the police authorities, and to prepare a certificate setting forth the results of his examination, which should be prima facie evidence of the composition of the liquors analyzed.
I have no hesitation in advising you that the weight of such certificate as evidence remains unaffected by the enactment of St. 1902, c. 110. Very truly yours,
HERBERT PARKER, Attorney-General.
High School — Length of Course of Study — Tuition Payment
by Town. The effect of the provision in R. L., C. 42, § 2, that in a high school estab
lished thereunder “one or more courses of study, at least four years in length, shall be maintained,” is to fix a minimum and not a maximum length for such course, and, in the discretion of the school committee,
the course of study thereat may be made to exceed four years in length. Under R. L., C. 42, § 3, providing that towns relieved of the duty to main
tain a high school of their own shall pay the expenses of tuition of residents therein who attend high schools in other towns, a pupil residing in a town which does not maintain a high school, and attending a high school elsewhere, who fails to graduate in due course, may be allowed a reasonable time in excess of that prescribed for the completion of such course, or such pupil, if graduated in due course, may pursue an additional or post-graduate course for the purpose of securing admission to a State normal school, technical school or college, provided such additional course includes only studies required by law
to be taught in high schools. On the other hand, a pupil resident in a town in which no high school is
maintained, and attending a high school in another town, who pursues an additional or post-graduate course which includes studies not required to be taught in high schools of corresponding grade, cannot be reimbursed by the town of his residence for the expense of tuition incurred in taking such course.
Aug. 17, 1903. C. B. TILLINGHAST, Esq., Acting Secretary, State Board of Education.
DEAR SIR: – You require my opinion upon certain questions relating to the construction of R. L., C. 42, § 3, as amended by St. 1902, c. 433, as follows:
"1. Does the law contemplate a regular four years' course in the high school, and no more?
"2. If a student so attending in some other town or city wishes to take a post-graduate course for a year, more or less, or if a student fails to graduate at the end of the four years' course, and wishes to attend longer, is the town liable in either case for the tuition in excess of the four years' course?”
R. L., c. 42, § 3, which, so far as it is material to the present inquiry, is not affected by the amendment enacted in St. 1902, c. 433, provides that:
A town of less than five hundred families or householders in which a public high school or a public school of corresponding grade is not maintained shall pay for the tuition of any child who resides in said town and who, with the previous approval of the school committee of his town, attends the high school of another city or town. If such town neglects or refuses to pay for such tuition, it shall be liable therefor to the parent or guardian of a child who has been furnished with such tuition if the parent or guardian has paid for the same, and otherwise to the city or town furnishing the same, in an action of contract. If the school committee of a town in which a public high school or public school of corresponding grade is not maintained refuses, upon the completion by a pupil resident therein of the course of study provided by it, to approve his attendance in the high school of some other city or town, which he, in the opinion of the superintendent of schools of the town in which he is resident is qualified to enter, the town shall be liable in an action of contract for his tuition. A town whose valuation does not exceed five hundred thousand dollars shall be entitled to receive from the treasury of the commonwealth all necessary amounts which have been actually expended for high school tuition under the provisions of this section, if such expenditure shall be certified under oath to the board of education, by its school committee within thirty days after the date of such expenditure, and such high school shall have been approved by the board of education.
Section 2 provides in part that every city and town containing, according to the latest census, five hundred families or householders, shall, and any other town may, maintain a high school, in which instruction shall be given in certain studies prescribed by section one of the same chapter, and in such additional subjects as may be required for the general purpose of preparing pupils for admission to State normal schools, technical schools and colleges. The section contains the further provision that “one or more courses of study, at least four years in length, shall be maintained in said high school.”
Upon consideration of the provisions of law above referred to, I am of opinion that the statute is not to be construed to limit the duration of any course of study to a period of four years. The force and effect of the words " at least four years in length,” as used in section 2, is to establish a minimum and not a maximum length for such courses ; and, in the discretion of the school committee of a town in which a high school is situated, the courses of study thereat may exceed four years in length.
In the case of a pupil attending a high school maintained by a town other than that in which he resides, who fails to graduate in due course, I am of opinion that a reasonable time in excess of that prescribed may be allowed for the completion of the course, subject always to the decision of the competent authorities that such