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referred to. If you are a member of the committee, there is a good chance to get it reported, because the other members of the committee want your vote to get their own bills out. If not, you are a hundred to one shot, unless your senator comes over and sees Wadsworth (the speaker of the assembly) or Merritt (the floor leader of the majority) about it. The next thing you do is to ask for a hearing on the bill. You find out who is the chairman and hunt him up. When he sees you are only a firstyear man, he insists in mistaking you for a doorkeeper or messenger, just to let you know your place. After you get that straightened out and tell him what you want, he pulls a long face and talks about the flood of bills they have to consider. That's all you can do. If the committee, or rather if two or three men on the committee, are willing to give your bill a chance, you may get it out after begging like a college president. Once on the alendar, instead of the chairman of the committee, you have one man, Merritt, the Republican floor leader, to convince before you can get a vote on the bill at all. They say it's even worse over in the senate, but it's bad enough here. All the new assemblyman is good for is to vote as he is told. If he doesn't do that, never a bill of his will see daylight. The committee holds the power of life and death over a bill, and Wadsworth and Merritt hold the committee in an iron grip.”
As a matter of plain fact, a great portion of our legislation is done in the most hasty and irregular manner. The members usually waste from one-third to two-thirds, if not more, of the session, and then the measures are rushed through during the closing hours with little regard to the actual rules.- Chas. A. Beard, “American Government and Politics,” p. 538.
8 The Lobby.- In all our states a large proportion of the legislation enacted affects directly or indirectly the interests of particular persons, classes, or localities. As a result, interested parties bring great pressure to bear upon the members to pass certain bills or to reject certain others.
Usually when the legislature meets, the paid representatives of interested individuals, corporations, or local governments appear on the scene to urge legislation in their interests or to defeat bills introduced that are unfavorable to them. These persons are
known as “lobbyists,” and the means they employ to secure or prevent legislation are often improper and sometimes venal. Sometimes money is used to bribe members to vote for or against pending measures, and there are few states indeed where charges of this kind have not been made. In one state recently, money was contributed in large quantities by persons interested in preventing certain legislation, and the sum thus contributed was known as the “jack pot " fund, out of which the members were handsomely paid for their votes. In a special message to the legislature of New York state, Governor Hughes declared that certain disclosures had caused honest citizens to tingle with shame and indignation and made irresistible the demand that every proper means should be employed to purge and purify the legislature.” The situation described by the governor as existing in New York unfortunately exists in other states as well.
Sor of the great corporations maintain regularly paid lobbyists at the state capitals when the legislature is in session, not so much for the purpose of securing legislation in their interests as to prevent the enactment of laws to which they are opposed. Sometimes they are practically forced to have lobbyists on the ground to prevent the enactment of what are called “strike” bills, that is, bills introduced by unscrupulous members for the purpose of extorting money from the corporations to pay for defeating the bills.-J. W. Garner, “Government in the United States," p. 84.
• Due Process of Law.- What is due process in criminal cases ? A law of California provided that a person could be prosecuted for felony by information after examination and commitment without indictment by a grand jury. Under this law one Hurtado was charged with the crime of murder on information without preliminary grand jury hearing and indictment, and, after jury trial in the ordinary manner, was found guilty and condemned to death. Was Hurtado to be deprived of life and liberty without due process of law? The court replied that due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment was different from that of the Fifth Amendment; that it did not require indictment by grand jury; and that “any legal proceeding enforced by public authority, whether sanctioned by age and custom, or
newly devised in the discretion of legislative power in furtherance of the general public good, which regards and preserves these principles of liberty and justice (lying at the basis of all our civil and political institutions) must be held to be due process of law.”— Chas. A. Beard, “American Government and Politics," p. 439.
It is in legislation controlling corporations and protecting labor that state legislatures most frequently come into conflict with due process of law as interpreted by the Supreme Court. For example, the legislature of Minnesota created a railway commission with the power to compel any common carrier to fix such rates as the commission should declare to be equal and reasonable, and made no provision for judicial review of the rates and charges so fixed. This law was held unconstitutional on the ground that it deprived a railway company of its right to judicial investigation by due process of law under the forms and with the machinery provided for the judicial investigation of the truth of any matter in controversy, and substituted for this, as an absolute finality, the action of a railway commission which could not be regarded as clothed with judicial functions or possessing the machinery of a court of justice. To take another example: the legislature of New York passed a law providing that no employees should be required or permitted to work in bakeries more than sixty hours a week or ten hours a day, and the Supreme Court held this law invalid on the ground that it was an unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty to contract in relation to labor — the right and liberty to purchase and sell labor being within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. Whenever a state regulates railway or other rates, its terms must be “reasonable,” that is, allow proper returns on investments.- Ibid, 440.
10 Extent of Legislative Powers.- In spite of the numerous restrictions, however, the power of the legislature is very large. It enacts the whole body of criminal law of the state; makes laws concerning the ownership, use, and disposition of property, laws concerning contracts, trade, business, industry, the exercise of such professions as law, medicine, pharmacy, and others; laws relating to the government of counties, towns, cities, and other localities; laws concerning the public health, education, charity, marriage, and divorce, and the conduct of elections; laws concerning railroads, canals, ferries, drainage, manufacturing, eminent domain, and a very great variety of other matters. The subjects concerning which the legislatures may enact laws are indeed so numerous and varied that it would be impossible to enumerate them all. For that reason the legislature is by far the most important branch of the state government, and it is highly important that it should be composed of honest, intelligent, and efficient members. Unfortunately, however, in many states the legislature has declined in public esteem. In the early days of our history the legislative branch of the government was allpowerful. It was not only practically unlimited as to its power of legislation, but it was intrusted with the choice of many important officers of the state. Now, however, there is a disposition to cut down its powers and place restrictions on the exercise of those that are left to it. In many states the people have secured the power to legislate for themselves by means of the initiative and referendum; and, to diminish the power of the legislature to enact useless laws, many constitutions limit the length of the sessions to forty or sixty days in the hope of compelling it to devote its time to the consideration of important measures of general interest.— J. W. Garner, “Government in the United States," p. 74.
T the head of the administrative system of the
state is the governor. We have already discussed his duties in connection with legislation, and now pass to a consideration of his position as the chief executive and head of the administrative department. Unfortunately the actual position of the governor in this capacity is neither as imposing nor as influential as one might reasonably expect from the chief executive office of a great commonwealth. While theoretically held responsible for the efficiency of the administration and for the enforcement of laws in a general way, he is given little control over the officials upon whom he has to depend. In no state does the governor appoint all of the heads of departments and principal administrative officers of the state. On the other hand, in most states the majority of these officials are elected by popular vote. In the national government, the president appoints all of the heads of the administrative departments — the members of the cabinet and can remove them at any time. But in the states, the corresponding officials are elected. The attorneygeneral, secretary of state, state treasurer, and superin