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CONFIRMING THE CLAIM OF CHARLES GAUDET
FEBRUARY 8, 1945.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and
ordered to be printed
Mr. PETERSON of Florida, from the Committee on the Public Lands,
submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 1719)
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1719) to confirm the claims of Charles Gaudet under Spanish Patents to section 18, township 11 south, range 5 east, and section 21, township 12 south, range 5 east, Saint Helena meridian, parish of St. James, State of Louisiana, together with all accretion, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
EXPLANATION OF THE BILL
A similar bill (H. R. 4857) with amendments to make it contain the same verbiage as now contained in this bill was reported favorably by the Committee on the Public Lands under date of December 5, 1944, and was placed on private calendar but the private calendar wasn't called, so it was not reached last session. The bill has been redrawn to contain the amendments reported by the committee at that time and to conform with the recommendations as to amendments made by the Department of the Interior in its letter of November 23, 1944. The bill as now reported contains these amendments.
The plats of survey on file in the General Land Office, approved July 18, 1851, show that the claim of Charles Gaudet embraces the tracts described in the bill, containing a total area of 182.84 acres. The plats contain notations that the claim is based on a Spanish patent.
On May 7, 1822, Charles Godet (evidently the same person as Charles Gaudet), made application under section 5 of the act of March 3, 1811 (2 Stat. 662-663), as revived by section 7 of the act of May 11, 1820 (3 Stat. 573-574), to purchase a tract adjacent to and back of a tract which he claimed to own. The statute made the ownership of the front tract a prerequisite to the allowance of the sale. The letter from the Surveyor General at Donaldsonville, La., dated September 1, 1846, and included in the report from the Secretary of the Interior to the chairman of the committee, was written in connection with the consideration of the application for the back tract, which was patented November 25, 1846.
The author of the bill, Mr. Maloney, of Louisiana, had sent to the chairman data in support of the bill.
The bill has the approval of the Acting Secretary of the Interior, as indicated by a letter addressed to the chairman of the committee, dated November 23, 1944, which also advised that the Bureau of the Budget had no objection to the passage of the bill, said letter being hereinafter made a part of this report.
NOVEMBER 23, 1944. Hon. J. HARDIN PETERSON, Chairman, Committee on the Public Lands,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. PETERSON: Reference is made to your request of June 2 for a report on H. R. 4857, a bill to confirm the claims of Charles Gaudet under Spanish patents to sec. 18, T. 11 S., R. 5 E. and sec. 21, T. 12 S., R. 5 E., Saint Helena meridian, Parish of Saint James, State of Louisiana, together with all accretion.
I recommend the enactment of the bill.
The plats of survey on file in the General Land Office, approved July 18, 1851, show that the claim of Charles Gaudet embraces the tracts described above, containing a total area of 182.84 acres. The plats contain notations that the claim is based on a Spanish patent. Apart from this, no record can be found which gives any facts as to the claim, except a letter from the surveyor general at Donaldsonville, La., dated September 1, 1846, w'ich states:
"In the case of sec. 18, T. I1 R. 5 E. and sec. 21, T. 21 R. 5 E., represented in the name of Charles Gaudet, I can find no confirmation; there is reason, however, to believe that the land is held in good faith under ancient title, as the application for the entry of the double concession in this case sets forth that the front tract is 'part of a tract originally granted to Abraham Ray' and the application being granted by the register would indicate that the title to the front tract was then considered a good one by that office."
On May 7, 1822, Charles Godet (evidently the same person as Charles Gaudet) made application under section 5 of the act of March 3, 1811 (2 Stat. 662–663). as revived by section 7 of the act of May 11, 1820 (3 Stat. 573–574), to purchase a tract adjacent to and back of a tract which he claimed to own. The statute 'made the ownership of the front tract a prerequisite to the allowance of the sale.
The applicant alleged ownership of the land which is described in H. R. 4857.
I suggest the following amendments of the bill, which relate only to form:
The Bureau of the Budget has informed me that there is no objection to the presentation of this report. Sincerely yours,
MICHAEL W. STRAUS,
Acting Secretary of the Interior, The committee felt that the bill should be reported favorably and urged its prompt passage.
EXPRESSING THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS WITH REFERENCE TO THE REGULATION OF THE BUSINESS OF INSURANCE
FEBRUARY 8, 1945.— Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. WALTER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 1973/
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1973) to express the intent of the Congress with reference to the regulation of the business of insurance, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and, as amended, recommend that the bill do pass.
On page 2, line 13, after the word "January”, insert the figure “1” and & comma.
From its beginning the business of insurance has been regarded as a local matter, to be subject to and regulated by the laws of the several States. This view has been fostered and augmented by decisions of the United States Supreme Court for a period of more than 75 years, leading to the generally accepted doctrine that the business of insurance was not subject to Federal law.
On June 5, 1944, in the case of U. S. v. Southeastern Underwriters Association et al., the Supreme Court decided that the business of insurance was commerce and, therefore, subject to the Sherman Act of July 2, 1890, as amended, and the Clayton Act of October 15, 1914, as amended.
The Attorney General, in several appearances before the Judiciary Committee, frankly stated that the Department of Justice had no opposition to an extension of time to the insurance industry in order to make necessary adjustments to this decision.
Inevitable uncertainties which followed the handing down of the decision in the Southeastern Underwriters Association case, with respect to the constitutionality of State laws, have raised questions in the minds of insurance executives, State insurance officials, and others as to the validity of State tax laws as well as State regulatory provisions; thus making desirable legislation by the Congress to stabilize the general situation.
Bills attempting to deal with the problem were considered in both the House and the Senate during the Seventy-eighth Congress, but failed of enactment. Your committee believes there is urgent need for an immediate expression of policy by the Congress with respect to the continued regulation of the business of insurance by the respective States. Already many insurance companies have refused, while others have threatened refusal to comply with State tax laws, as well as with other State regulations, on the ground that to do so, when such laws may subsequently be held unconstitutional in keeping with the precedent-smashing decision in the Southeastern Underwriters case, will subject insurance executives to both civil and criminal actions for misappropriation of company funds.
The committee has therefore given immediate consideration to S. 340, together with a similar measure, H. R. 1973, so that the several States may know that the Congress desires to protect the continued regulation and taxation of the business of insurance by the several States, and thus enables insurance companies to comply with State laws. What is more, the Congress proposes by this bill to secure adequate regulation and control of the insurance business.
Nothing in this bill is to be so construed as indicating it to be the intent or desire of Congress to require or encourage the several States to enact legislation that would make it compulsory for any insurance company to become a member of rating bureaus or charge uniform rates. It is the opinion of Congress that competitive rates on a sound financial basis are in the public interest.
It is not the intention of Congress in the enactment of this legislation to clothe the States with any power to regulate or tax the business of insurance beyond that which they had been held to possess prior to the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Southeastern Underwriters Association case. Briefly, your committee is of the opinion that we should provide for the continued regulation and taxation of insurance by the States, subject always, however, to the limitations set out in the controlling decisions of the United States Supreme Court, as, for instance, in Allgeyer v. Louisiana (165 U. S. 578), St. Louis Cotton Compress Co. v. Arkansas (260 U. S. 346), and Connecticut General Insurance Co. v. Johnson (303 U. S. 77), which hold, inter alia, that a State does not have power to tax contracts of insurance or reinsurance entered into outside its jurisdiction by individuals or corporations resident or domiciled therein covering risks within the State or to regulate such transactions in any way.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of the bill is twofold: (1) To declare that the continued regulation and taxation by the several States of the business of insurance is in the public interest; and (2) to assure a more adequate regulation of this business in the States by suspending the application of the Sherman and Clayton Acts for approximately two sessions of the State legislatures, so that the States and the Congress may consider legislation during that period. It should be noted that this bill, by the moratorium proposed therein, does not repeal the Sherman and Clayton Acts, but opportunity will have been granted for the States to permit agreements and contracts by insurance companies which otherwise might be in violation of the Sherman and Clayton Acts. It should be noted further that no moratorium is granted from the Sherman Act relative to agreements or acts of boycott, coercion, or intimidation.
ANALYSIS BY SECTION Section 1 declares that the continued regulation and taxation by the States of the business of insurance is in the public interest.
Section 2 provides that the insurance business, and all persons engaged in such business, shall be subject to State laws relating to the regulation and taxation of such business; and (b) that no act of Congress shall be construed to invalidate, impair, or supersede any State law which regulates or taxes the insurance business, unless such act specifically so provides.
Section 3 provides that the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Robinson-Patman Antidiscrimination Act shall not apply to the insurance business, or to acts in the conduct of such business.
Section 4 suspends the application of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act to the business of insurance until January 1, 1948, for the purpose of enabling adjustments to be made and legislation to be adopted by the several States and Congress; and (b) provides that at. no time are the probibitions in the Sherman Act against any act of boycott, coercion, or intimidation suspended. These provisions of the Sherman Act remain in full force and effect.
Section 5 provides that the enactment of this act shall not affect, in any manner, the present application of the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, or the Merchant Marine Act, to the business of insurance.
Section 6 defines the term “State."
In the considered judgment of your committee, H. R. 1973 represents a most commendable effort on the part of insurance companies and State insurance commissioners to effect the adjustments and reorganization in and among the financial operations of insurance companies and in State laws which have been made necessary by the decision in the Southeastern Underwriters case. It should be emphasized that the bill has received the overwhelming endorsement of the principal national organizations of State insurance commissioners, insurance executives, agents, brokers, and underwriters, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the American Life Convention, the American Mutual Alliance, the Association of Casualty and Surety Executives, the Inland Marine Underwriters Association, the National Association of Insurance Agents, the National