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The Speaker of the House:
Dear Sir- I herewith return without my approval,
House bill No. 442 (file No. 308), House Enrolled No. 161
An act to amend section 4 of chapter II, and section 4 of chapter IV of Act No. 254, of the Public Acts of 1897, as amended by Act. No. 16, of the Public Acts of 1903, entitled "An act to provide for the construction and maintenance of drains and the assessment and collection of taxes therefore, and to repeal all other laws relative thereto," being sections 4313 and 4343 of the Compiled Laws of 1897.
I disapprove of House Enrolled No. 161 (House bill No. 442, file No. 308), because while section 4 of chapter II might be applied in certain cases and would be of some little help, it would not be applicable in enough cases to merit its becoming a law.
Section 4, chapter IV if it became a law, would work more injury to the construction of drains than would be received in benefits. Extensions of time for completing the construction of drains due to weather conditions or unforeseen conditions of the soil through which drains are established, making it necessary to await the action of nature so that the drain may be finished according to specifications and with a reasonable amount of safety. During rainy seasons in some sections of the State there would be so much water upon the ground that it would be impossible to construct a drain where construction is to be done by hand, or with teams. On such ground, making an extension of the contract for a period considered reasonable might necessitate a further extension if conditions did not improve by the end of the first extension.
On bridge work, extensions of time on contracts are made, believing that the drain or drains will be constructed by a certain time that will permit concrete work to be constructed without danger of frost. If the delay upon the construction goes too near the danger period from frost, then they are forced to grant another extension sometimes, carrying over until the winter and well past the frost period in the spring.
Sickness and many other causes make extensions necessary upon a contract.
Drain commissioners have the opportunity to make extensions so long as in their judgment they feel that the work under reasonable conditions will be done well. There is every reason to believe that it will be done much better under these conditions then to have an iron-clad law that forces a commissioner to take action in re-letting a contract when the new conditions were such that it was practically impossible to do the work. Under these circumstances, to re-let the job would work an unjust injury to both contractor and the bondsman.
In a word, under the provisions of this bill, the commissioner would be forced to consider a reasonable extension to be a period of time which in many cases might prove to be unreasonable.
I do not believe that this bill is any improvement over our present law.
I therefore decline to sign it.
Yours very truly,
Woodbridge N. Ferris