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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 25, 1910)
NOVEMBER 25, 1910
j' f rs ' r
The Initiative and Referendum in the Country
A Great Campaign for "Club and Poker" System i Being Made in Many of the State of the Union
Nine Have Already Adopted It Status of the Movement as Found After a Canvass of Every State
THE ROLL CALL OF STATES
1. Adopted: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois,
Maine, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon,
South Dakota, Utah, Nevada (referendum
2. Time set to be acted on by legislature:
.California, Nebraska, North Dakota 3.
3. la an issue and has been declared for by
on or both leading parties, or by legislative
candidates of one or both leading parties: Idaho,
Illinois, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Rhode iBland,
Wyoming, Arizona, Now Mexico, Wisconsin 9.
4. Not an issue: Indiana, Iowa', Kentucky;
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia,
Washington, West Virginia, Alabama, Connecti
cut, Florida, Georgia 25.
6. Has been an issue and was rejected: Dela
The initiative and referendum la, no longer
an issue in Nebraska. There is no doubt that
the next legislature will make arrangements
ior giving the people a chance to vote on its
adoption because the platforms of both partiea
have declared for it.
Delaware is the only state in the union in
which a referendum Is not required for the
adoption of constitutional amendments. Many
states have for many years referred matters of
local . government directly to the people. The
big issue before the people of many states right
now is the initiative and referendum on all legis
lation. Eleven states' have already adopted the Initia
tive and referendum; one, the referendum only.
In many other states the issue is being fought
out, with one or both of the leading partiea
favoring it, and in these states the legislature
now being elected will enact, defeat or shelve
The roll call of states reveals a rapidly grow
ing sentiment in favor of the initiative and
referendum. This Is the nation-wide struggle
for this popular legislation:
Arkansas Adopted by a majority of about
20,000 on September 12, 1910. (Constitutional
California Never been considered by legisla
ture. Republican platform favors it. Question
will come up in next session of legislature,
January 1, 1911.
Colorado The Initiative and referendum,
submitted by a special session of the legislature
In the form of a constitutional amendment, car
ried at the last election by a vote or 3 or 4 to 1.
Florida Never been considered by the legis
lature. Some discussion of it. May be brought
up at next session of legislature, April, 1911.
Idaho Never been considered by the legisla
ture. It is now an issue. Democratic platform
declares for it. If they control next legislature,
will probably be enacted.
'Illinois Never been considered by the legis
lature, but republican and democratic platforms
declared for it. At the last election the people
voted '.'yes" by 2 to 1 on the question of wheth
er or not they wanted a constitutional amend
ment providing for the Initiative and referendum
to be submitted to popular vote.
Kansas All party platforms promise its sub
mission to the people as a constitutional amend
ment. It will unquestionably be adopted.
Maine Adopted by popular vote September
Massachusetts Has been considered in the
legislature for many years, but' has never passed
more than one house. No probability of its
adoption, in the near future.
Missouri Missouri adopted It by constitu
tional amendment in 1908. SimilaT to the Ore
Montana Montana adopted it by constitu
tional amendment in 1907.
Nebraska Considered by the last legislature
(1908), accepted by the house, rejected by the
senate. The rejection by the legislature made
the question an acute issue in the state. The
PROPHETIC WORDS OF LINCOLN
"I heard President Lincoln toll General
Grant and General Meade toward the
end of the war that tho initiative and
referendum was bound to become univer
sal in tho United States," Bays A. II.
McCormick, Kansas legislator and union
"In General Meade's tent, whilo wait
ing during a thunder shower, and after I
had deliverod a message to tho gcnoral,'
President Lincoln, evidently continuing
a conversation interrupted by my arrival,
turned to Genoral Grant and said:
" 'General, the day will come, but it
will riot bo In your day or mine, when
every state in tho union will have tho
initiative and referendum. Whon that
day comes tho people will rule; tho
people will rule.' As he said this ho
brought his fist down on the tabid with
such vehemence that he overturned the
A POKER AND A CLUB
Initiative If the lawmakers of a city
or state fail to enact lows demanded by
the public", a potitl6n signed by a certain
percentage of voters is filed and tho pro
posed law Is said to be initiated. Tho
people then vote on It at the next elec
tion, or at a special election, and If It
carries, it is law, in spite of tho legis
lature. Referendum If the legislature or
council enacts a law which is not liked,
a petition may be filed and tho operation
of the low is suspended until It can bo
referred to the people at a general elec
tion. Then, unless a majority vote for
It, the law is a dead letter.
The Initiative cures the bad habit of
letting good laws die in pigeonholes. It
Is a good poker for use on lax law
The referendum ruins the' business of
the lobbyist and grafter, because a crook
ed legislature cannot "deliver tho goods."
It is a fine club for use on crooks.
These two weapons of popular govern
men areespecially useful In the matter
of franchise grabs and crooked tax laws.
three parties republican, democratic and popu
list have declared for It in their platforms,
and It will undoubtedly be submitted as a con
Btitutlonal amendment to the people by the next
legislature, January, 1911.
- Nevada Referendum provision adopted
March, 1909. No provision for initiative.
North Dakota Both party platforms declare
for It, and it wilL-probably come up in next
legislature, January, 1911.
Oklahoma Included In the constitution of
.the state on its admission to the union.
Oregon Constitutional amendment adopted
by the people by vote of 62,024 for to 5,668
against it, June 2, 1902.
Pennsylvania In 1907, bill to establish It
passed the house, went to the senate and died
there. It is not now an issue, but at the pri
maries last spring several legislative candidates
were nominated with it as one of their planks.
Rhode Island Bills introduced have all died
in committee. Democratic platform declares
South Dakota Legislature of 1897 submitted
constitutional amendment to people. Adopted
at general election November 8, 1898, 23,816
for, to 16,483 against. Next legislature passed
act, approved March 3, 1899, carrying Into offect
tho provisions of this constitutional amondmont.
Utah Constitutional amendment adopted in
Washington Defeated in tho logislaturo of
1907. May bo presontod at tho next fiosslon,
Wisconsin Passed by sonato at 1909 session
of logislaturo, defeated in houno. Will undoubt
edly bo adopted by noxt legislature. LaFollottc's
republican platform promises it.
Wyoming Considered by legislature 1892;
killed in committee. Democratic platform de
clares for it. Republican platform Ignores it.
Possibility of action by noxt logislaturo.
Arizona Tho democrats have won a majority
of delegates to th constitutional convention in
session now, and they are plodgod to put tho
initiativo and referendum and recall Into tho
Now Mexico Constitutional convention con
vened October 3. Tho democratic party favored
initiativo and referendum. Tho republican
party neither favored nor opposed. Tho issue
will bo submittod separately to a vote of tho
In only one state has tho question boon put
before tho people and been defeated. That
was in Delaware a fow years ago. In every othor
stato'whoro tho voters have had a direct say-so
about it tho initiativo and referendum has won
easily. From tho Omaha Dally News.
."THE WORLD DO MOVE"
.Governor-elect Eugene N, Fogg of.
Massachusetts created a sensation when
ho issued a statement demanding that
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge withdraw
from tho field for re-election. In tho
ovont of a refusal Mr. Fobs declared ho
would go into every section of tho com- 0
monwealth in a campaign to dofeat the
senator. Mr. Fobs' statement In part
"In the name Of tho majority of tho
sovereign people of tho commonwealth
of Massachusetts, I demand that Henry
Cabot Lodge surrender his seat In tho
United States sonato by withdrawing 0
from his contest for re-election.
"His election to tho senate would be
a repudiation of the great victory of the
people at the last election. He was on
trial as much if not moro than Governor
Draper, and if he had been the candidate 0
my majority woild have been double
what it was.
'The issues on which the fight watf
made, on which I was elected, were on
honest tariff revision downward, lower 0
duties on the necessaries of life, free
raw materials, an untaxed food supply,
reciprocity with Canada, and more de-
mocracy In our form of government) 0
"We all know where Senator Lodge 0
stands on the issues and where he has
stood all these years. To elect him
would be a step backward and Massachu- 0
setts has never learned to walk back-
"I shall never sign his credentials ex-
cept at the end of a campaign which
will make the last one look like an
afternoon tea party.
" "He must surrender or fight. He 0
must defend his position before the
people. Tho people of Massachusetts
will not permit him longer to manipu-
late the legislature. I am ready and if 0
he does not retire will be on the
stump in every section of tho state, and
we will find out where the people stand.
"Senator Lodge is not in touch with
. the new order of things, with the pro-
gressive spirit of the times. He does
not represent the people, the men and
women In the ordinary walks of life."
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