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Opinion No. 5485

April 26, 1979


Art 4, Sec. 24 (title-object clause)


Object expressed in title


Loan program for construction of city lock-ups

A provision in an act appropriating funds to the Department of Corrections which provides for the creation of a program for city lock-ups is in violation of Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24 where there is no appropriation in the act for such program and nothing in the title to suggest that the act purports to create such a loan program.

Gerald H. Miller


Department of Management and Budget

P.O. Box 30026, Lewis Cass Building

Lansing, Michigan 48909

The title of 1978 PA 403 states that it is:

'AN ACT to make appropriations for the department of corrections and certain state purposes related to adult corrections for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1979; to provide for the expenditure of the appropriations; and to provide for the disposition of fees and other income received by certain state agencies.'

1978 PA 403, supra, Sec. 37, provides:

'(1) The department of management and budget shall establish a loan program for a city which is located entirely within a city of the first class for the construction of new city lockups. A city of the first class is not eligible to receive loans under this section.

'(2) The loan of these funds shall not be made until the department of corrections has approved plans for the lockup which shall meet standards promulgated by the department.

'(3) The method of repayment shall be determined cooperatively between the city, the department of management and budget, and the municipal finance commission.'

You have, therefore, requested my opinion as to whether 1978 PA 403, supra, Sec. 37, is in violation of Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24, which states in part:

'No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. . . .'

The test for determining whether a statutory provision violates the comparable constitutional article under Const 1908, art 5, Sec. 21, was discussed in Vernor v Secretary of State, 179 Mich 157, 160; 146 NW 338 (1914) as follows:

'What is the constitutional test? We think it is that a title must embrace the object of the act, and the body of the act must not be inconsistent with the title. The pertinent questions should be: Does the title of the act fairly indicate the purpose of the legislation? Is the title a fair index of the act? Does the title of the fact fairly inform the legislators and the public of its purposes, as a whole?'

Further, in Continental Motors Corp v Township of Muskegon, 376 Mich 170, 179; 135 NW2d 908 (1965), the Supreme Court stated:

'. . . It is sufficient to say only that the title of a legislative act must give notice to legislators and others interested of the object of the law thereby assuring them that only matters germane to the object expressed in the title will be enacted into law.' (Emphasis added)

and in Advisory Opinion re Constitutionality of 1972 PA 294, 389 Mich 441, 465; 208 NW 469 (1973):

'An act may include all matters germane to its object. It may include all those provisions which directly relate to, carry out and implement the principal object. . . . [T]he purpose of this constitutional limitation is to insure that both the legislators and the public have proper notice of legislative content and to prevent deceit and subterfuge.' (Emphasis added)

See also Maki v City of East Tawas, 385 Mich 151; 188 NW2d 593 (1971); and the concurring opinion in Alan v Wayne County, 388 Mich 210, 371; 200 NW2d 628 (1972). The Alan court quotes from People v Mahaney, 13 Mich 481 (1865):

". . . The framers of the constitution meant . . . to require that in every case the proposed measure should stand upon its own merits, and that the legislature shall be fairly notified of its design when required to pass upon it." 388 Mich 210, 377 (Emphasis the court's)

See also inter alia: OAG, 1975-1976, No 4896, p 132 (September 9, 1975); and OAG, 1973-1974, No 4824, p 164 (July 24, 1974).

The primary object and purpose of 1978 PA 403 is to provide appropriations for the Department of Corrections; there is no appropriation in the act for the program described in section 37 and there is nothing in the title of such act to suggest the required creation of a loan program by the Department of Management and Budget for the finding of city lockups. I am constrained to conclude that section 37 of 1978 PA 403 violates Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24, because it has a separate object which is not expressed in the title to the act.

It is, therefore, my opinion that such provision does not provide sufficient authority to implement the program and that the state may not make loans for such program pursuant to this statute.

Inasmuch as section 37 of 1978 PA 403 is unconstitutional in light of Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24 and, since the act does make appropriations for the Department of Corrections, it is clear that this act would have been enacted without section 37 being made a part thereof. See OAG, 1965-1966, No 4275, p 389 (December 23, 1966). Section 37 may, therefore, be severed from 1978 PA 403 without invalidating the entire act.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General