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Socialist Elected Officials Holding Office in 1915.


Other Con- State School
Mayors Alder- Municipal gress. Legisla. Offi-

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New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
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West Virginia

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* There are many school officials in Oklahoma of whom we have no record.

WORK IN STATE LEGISLATURES. We give as typical of Socialist accomplishments in the state legislatures the reports from six states, California, Illinois, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.


IN CALIFORNIA. (From a statement by Mr. Downing.) Legislators Downing and Spengler succeeded in bringing 18 measures to a vote in the house. Of the eighteen, eleven passed the assembly, five of these passed the senate, and four of the latter were signed by the governor and became laws. One was vetoed by the governor, and one was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Of the four Socialist bills that became laws the most important one provided that a voter moving from one precinct to another in the same county within thirty days of an election, may vote in his old precinct at that election. This was a bill intended to prevent the wholesale disfranchisement of workingmen, because of their moving from precinct to precinct. It was declared constitutional by the attorney general before it was passed, but was afterwards rendered unconstitutional by the supreme court, “almost before the ink was dry on it."

The Socialist bill giving women the right to serve on juries passed the assembly and the senate judiciary committee and was killed in the senate.

Five resolutions, introduced by Socialists, passed the assembly. They were memorials to Congress: 1st, to take steps toward government ownership of coal mines; 2nd, to prohibit the exportation of food and ammunition to the belligerent nations; 3rd, for full political rights for civil service employees; 4th, for world peace and an international congress and courts to settle international differences; 5th, a less expensive method of naturalization.


(Report by Christian M. Madsen.) The 49th General Assembly of the State of Illinois may be considered the most reactionary in a: decade. The strength of the Progressive party had dwindled from 25 members in the House to two and they immediately joined in caucus with the Republicans. The Socialists who had elected four members to the House in the previous General Assembly were successful only in returning two and the old parties were in absolute control and feeling secure in their power.

As will be seen from the record on bills and resolutions not a single one of our measures passed or was given a chance for a final roll call in the House, and most of them were not even considered by the committees to which they had been referred.

Nevertheless, the two Socialists were able to make their presence felt in various ways. While we did not help to elect the speaker, but refrained from taking part in the prolonged deadlock, we received fair consideration in the appointment on committees where we were able to do some effective work. Joseph Mason was appointed on the committees for Revenues, Charities and Corrections, Enrolled

and Engrossed Bills, and License and Miscellany. I was made a member of the following committees: Education, Efficiency and Economy, Elections, and Industrial Affairs.

Nearly all Labor bills go to the committee on Industrial Affairs. I had been a member of this committee in the previous General Assembly and by hard and consistent effort helped to report out several bills which might otherwise have been buried.

As a member of a Sub-Committee on the Women's nine hour bill I had the pleasure of asking members of the manufacturing interests appearing against the bill, unpleasant though illuminating questions and finally succeeded in having the bill reported out unanimously with favorable recommendation from a committee which, when appointed, was considered "safe" by a majority of 6 to 3.

At a critical moment I was successful in saving this bill from being emasculated by an amendment on second reading in the house.

On several occasions the two Socialists in conjunction with a few radical members, under the rule granting a roll call upon the demand of five members, succeeded in putting old party politicians on record on important questions which they had been able to dodge at previous sessions and very often we would gain our point on a roll call when we would have lost on a viva voce vote.

The Socialists were also instrumental in defeating, a number of obnoxious bills. Two bills in particular which had already passed the senate, one exacting heavy punishment for alleged attempts (?) to extort money from employers by business agents or representatives of labor organizations in connection with strikes, etc., and another enabling the jury Commissioners to establish a system of separate jury boxes, which might be used effectively to manipulate and tamper with the jury system.

The jury box bill was an old acquaintance. I helped to defeat it in the 48th General Assembly. I was practically the only member attacking these bills on the floor of the house, yet they were overwhelmingly defeated.

The jury bill which came within 3 votes of passing in 1913, receiving 74 affirmative votes, received only 58 at this session notwithstanding the fact that a lobby was maintained in the house in its favor, and several judges sent letters and telegrams urging its passage.

The anti-extortion bill was beaten so badly that its sponsor asked that further consideration be postponed, destroying the roll call.

It might be appropriate to mention in this connection the fact that I am, and have been for more than twenty years

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an active member of organized labor and was in close touch with the labor representatives present in Springfield during the session. Thus I had come to be regarded as speaking not merely for the two Socialists in the house but in a sense as a representative of the labor movement in the state which of course gave considerable strength to my position. I would say, as my personal opinion, that only in this way can a few Socialists have any considerable influence in a legislative body where they are outnumbered almost 100 to 1.

SOCIALIST LEGISLATION IN NEVADA. For the session of 1913 M. J. Scanlan was elected to the state senate and I. F. Davis to the assembly. The legislature was opposed to the Socialists in every way, and their "most important bills were unceremoniously killed.” At the next election, however, Scanlan was able to call the attention of the voters to the action of their representatives with the result that nearly every candidate who came up for re-elecion was defeated.

In the session of 1915 the Socialist Party was again represented by one member in each house, Scanlan remain-ing as a holdover and C. A. Steele having been elected to the Assembly.

More consideration was shown to the Socialist in the Senate than in the previous session, and Scanlan was able, as a member of the Committee on Labor, to secure favorable recommendation for several bills which otherwise might haye been killed in Committee.

A bill was passed at this session providing for the state mine inspector to post a copy of his report at the entrance of each mine.

The following is the record of bills introduced by Scanlan in the senate during both sessions:

Allowing electors three hours to vote.-Became a law.
Providing for commercial course in 9th grade.-Passed.
Child Pension Bill. Signed by the Governor.
Semi-monthly pay-day.
Safety of employees working on high power electric lines.
Redemption of property under tax sales within two years.
Abolishing capital punishment.

Prohibiting inaccurate meters and making it a misdemeanor to charge more than the actual amount consumed.

Universal Eight Hour Law.
To entitle poor persons to carry case through courts without putting
Enabling persons without means to carry case to Supreme Court.

Requiring mines to be ventilated so as to keep the temperature below 85 degrees.

Repeal of all Poll-tax laws.
To prohibit the employment of armed men by private persons.
Six hour shift in mines where temperature exceeds 85 degrees.
Repealing Poll-tax section of Constitution ;
Repealing veto power of the Governor.

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(By Assemblyman A. I. Shiplacoff.)

In the short space of an article in book of this nature, it is rather difficult to sum up the experiences of a lone Socialist member of a State legislature, particularly when it has to be done by the “afflicted” himself. The difficulty is due to the fact that my work in the Assembly was chiefly of a negative nature.

Quite early in the session I realized that the chances for having any of my bills voted out of the committees and presented on the floor of the Assembly, were very scarce. This was not the result of any antagonistic feeling toward the “lone red,”. but almost entirely due to the fact that I was not open for bargaining; for the success or failure of getting one's bill out of a committee depends mainly on one's willingness to exchange courtesies. This condition was well illustrated by the pointed answer an ambitious young law-maker gave me when I protested against his voting for a certain vicious measure. “I had to vote for Mr. D's bill,” declared the Assemblyman, “because there are a couple of my bills in a committee of which he is a member." Having no concessions to make, I had no hopes of getting any in return.

Having this in view, I divided my efforts between trying to advance my own bills and putting up a fight against the bills which were opposed to the interests of labor, or were otherwise of a vicious nature.

The first bill that I opposed in the Committee of Labor and Industries, of which I was a member, was the Mackey bill exempting the milk and dairy workers of the state from the one-day-rest-in-seven law. The committee “accidentally" consisted of several men directly interested in the dairy business, and the rest were manufacturers; so that my protests and arguments against the bill fell on unwilling ears.

That bill, in one form or another, appeared on the floor of the Assembly about twelve times, and in each case I succeeded in foiling the attempt to pass it. My activity in connection with that bill became so conspicuous that representatives of religious societies and social reform lobbyists congratulated ne several times on my success in checking its progress.

The bill, in a milder form, ultimately passed the Assembly with the doubtful count of 76 votes. In the Senate,

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