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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 1, 1912)
BOH 1, 191S
hio Congressmen on Harmon's Position
ollowing Is a special dispatch to tho Cincin-
Enquirelr: Washington, February 12.
ernor Judson Harmon's onnnsition to tho
ative and referendum has not found an echo
he sentiments expressed upon the subject by
rdemocratic members of the house from Ohio.
fFll OTA a Tlrtf rTrx rQ f Y r a Itrf tr mnmKAvn rt
tae delegation who takes the view of the subject
Which is entertained by the governor, but. on ,
the contrary, a majority of them are openly in
favor oT this principle as laid down in the demo
cratic platform of Ohio.
"While the Ohio democrats do not seek to enter
.toy controversy with the governor on the sub
ict. and are disnosed to leave him nnt. of nnn-
fl.eration when discussing it, tho. fact is that
,pz one or tneir number has given indorsement
Lrhis utterances upon the issue. There are
'iiVeral members of the delegation who prefer
apt to state their views upon the question, chiefly
because the governor has taken a stand acainst
grits but there is' none of them who wishes to
rfricord himself as ODnosiue the Initiative and
fejGenerally speaking, they favor adhering to
yXM principles laid down in the platform, and
Vf ree witn the manner in which Representative
&0ox, of Dayton, expresses it, that platforms have
jyftme to mean something, that they are in effect
ItoWHMHUtt','" ""'' Vin-ciwu IUIU WU.ll MJC IICUU1U. ilUU
.ggjjKfie who are elected to public office upon such
" 'Jf9one 0 ue Ohio democrats has withdrawn
lVM support from the governor's candidacy for
$fflA$? democratic nomination because of his de-
wJfJJjBfred attitude on the question, but it is evi-
wit that tliey do not wish to take up the fight
;$5his defense on the matter.
T AVTJSgh expressing their individual views they leave
s' ;ihai governor's position out of consideration, and
dojnot couple their attitude with his aspirations
'-mSl6 following expression of opinion indicates
"tMsentiment of the Ohio members:
presentative Allen, of the Second Ohio dis-
"I am in favor of the initiative and
rendum, but I am not in favor of the recall
'judges. The initiative and recall solves many
the questions we now have to meet. It, bow
er, is one of many issues, the most important
which is the tariff, which should not be
Representative Cox, of the Third district: "I
in favor of 'the initiative and referendum,
d have so stated on numerous occasions. I
nsider it an absolute safeguard to representa-
ye government. Instead of it being an ex-
riment. the giving of absolute authority to
gislative bodies has often proved a failure.
in the initiative and referendum, tne people
ke back authority to themselves.
"The day has arrived when a party platform
eans something it is a contract with tne
eople. The initiative and referendum has Deen
our state platform in onio during tne last
wo campaigns, and the people have, by large
alorities, showed that that is wnat tney want.
ind we 'should keep the faith."
Renresentative Post, of the Seventh district
s absent from Washington on account of illness
n his family.
Representative Ansberry, of the Fittn district,
referred not to express an opinion at this time.
RenreRentntive Denver, of the Sixth district,
eaid he preferred to be classed as non-committal
on the question.
f RenreRentative Post, of the Seventh district:
I"The initiative and referendum has been tried
successfully in Oregon. Tliere is evidently a
demand on the part of the people tnat it snouia
be tried in Ohio. I am a democrat and l oenove
In the rule of the people. I do not believe that
we should adopt new measures without giving
them due consideration and careful study. I
think that the constitutional convention will
The Democratic Progressive league,
which was organized at Columbus,
January 2nd, has opened headquarters at
No. 510-511 Harrison building, Colum
bus, Ohio, secretary of the league, W.
W. Durbin, in charge. Mr. Durbin de
sires to get into communication with the
Ohio democrats who approve of the work
that the league has undertaken.
perforin its duty and weigh thiB question care
fully and act according to its best judgment. It
will then be for the people themselves to decido
whether or not they wish to approvo its work."
Representative Sherwood, of tho Ninth Ohio
district: "I believe in the initiative and refer
endum and recall . I am not here to condemn a
majority of federal judges. I only give some
terrible examples in order to show the danger
in the system of judges appointed for life.
Even so rank an imperialist as Colonel Theo
dore Roosevelt recently criticised in a public
address the integrity of a recent supremo court
"The best thought of the beBt thinkers today
is that in a republic, with a constitution guar
anteeing to every citizen free thought and free
expression of opinion on all current topics and
a free press, there should be no public official,
either executive, legislative or judicial, who
is above removal or recall by the people."
Representative Claypool, of tho Eleventh dis
trict: "I am opposed to tho recall of judges. At
this time I am not ready to express an opinion
on the initiative and referendum."
Representative Anderson, of the Thirteenth
district: "While I do not want to commit my
self just now and express an opinion as to
what the constitutional convention should or
should not do, I believe that the voters of my
district know that I am always in favor of tho
greatest possible liberty and the greatest pos
sible participation of the people in the affairs
of their government. What the people want is
what I want, and they will always find me ad
vocating what will be to their greatest benefit."
Representative Sharp, of tho Fourteenth Ohio
district: "The principlo of the initiative and
referendum is correct, yet its proper application
is one of no little difficulty. While I believe
the right ought to be lodged in the people to re
call any official who has by his acts proved un
worthy or unresponsive to their wishes, yet it
is not difficult to contemplate a situation where
by the action of the chosen representatives of
the people to make laws in their behalf may
become quite superfluous in carrying the reform
so far that the people themselves shall be called
upon to vote for or against any particular act
to be considered.
"I have seen ballots upon which a very large
number of proposed measures for legislation
have been printed, and a proper determination
to my mind would seem to be most bewildering
Jn anything, but a clear reflection of the people's
views. I think our trouble in part has come
" more from not exercising proper care in the
selection of our officials rather than the methods
of making our laws."
Mr. White, of the Fifteenth district, was tho
only democratic member of the delegation who
was not seen in regard to the issue.
Representative Francis, of the Sixteenth dis
" trict: "I do not care to be quoted now on a
matter which is before the constitutional con
vention and not before congress."
Representative Ashbrook, of the Seventeenth
district: "Before giving my unqualified approval
of the initiative and referendum I would like
to see It thoroughly tested out."
Representative Whitacre, of the Eighteenth
district, is now in Panama.
Representative Bathrick, of the Nineteenth
Ohio district: "It is my opinion that the initia
tive should be instituted by a reasonable num
ber of petitioners to the legislature to consider
the law in question. The consideration should
be mandatory to prevent its being burled in com
mittee and compel a final vote.
"This would give consideration by what we
are pleased to term a deliberate body and the
pros and cons would bo well thrashed out. If
the final vote were not satisfactory to the people,
use the referendum. By this means more de
liberation and education would be procured.
"I am not at all adverse to the recall. It
would operate as a check, and I do not believe
in one case out of a hundred would it be used
to the detriment of the people's interest."
Representative Bulkely, of the Twenty-first
district: "I think the initiative and referendum
is wrong in principle, but it Is right in Ohio.
It is necessary wherever there is a crooked
legislature, and we have had so many crooks in
our legislature that I deem it necessary in
Ohio. I declared in favor of It in the last
campaign and voted for candidates who were
pledged for it. It would be a violation of that
pledge now if it were not placed in the constitution."
Some Sido Lightn on the Ohio Governors
1 ' I 'roKressi von ess' '
The veto messages of Governor Harmon of
Ohio afford another angle from Which to vlow
tho alleged progreasivenoss of this democratic
candidate for the presidency. As was noted in
a previous iasuo of The Commoner the governor
failed to approvo, but allowed to become laws
without his signature, a number of bills affecting
corporations. Ho also vetoed some bills that
were pointed in tho same direction. One of .
these upon which his disapproval fell was Houso
Bill No. 53, Ohio has a law which requires tho
electric cars used in city and interurban traffic
to bo fitted up with closod vestibules so as to
completely protect tho motormon from wind,
storm and sleet, and that they be heated during
the winter months. The bill which Mr. Harmon
vetoed provided that tho cars should also bo
'equipped with like vestibules for conductors, but
without heating. A year was allowed to make
all necessary changes.
Tho governor advanced several reasons why
this bill should not becomo a law. One was that
it was too expensive and impracticable. An
other was that the conductor didnt need tho
same protection, lie said: "I can not believo
that there is anything in tho case of the con
ductor to justify tho proposed moasuro. The
convenience and proper service of the public is
the objept of tho enterprise in question, and
these should not bo interfered with except for
clear and sufficient cause. And while the ex
pense involved, though great, would not matter
if such cause existed, it must not be forgotten
that every needless burden imposed upon a
public utility is bound to result in impairment
of the service it is established to rogulate and
maintain." Reads a little like the speech of tho
attorney for tho defense, doesn't it?
Governor Harmon vetoed House Bill No. 54,
to regulate tho number of men employed in tho
business of operating switching engines and to
prescribe the qualifications of such men. This
law forbade railroads from operating switching
engines w'ith less than five men, a foreman, two
helpers and an engineer and fireman, and re
quired six months' experience on the part of at
least two of the three switchmen in other
branches of railroad work. This was a bill
backed by and asked for by the switchmen of
the state, who objected to being subjected to tho
extra hazards attached to working with less than
the number of men actually needed. The bill
also prohibited certain practices indulged in by
the railroads to avoid providing the proper num
ber of men for this dangerous work. Among
other reasons advanced by the governor was
that this was an attempted interference with
the trained discretion of the operating officers
of a railroad. He said it was also unconstitu
tional because railroads ten miles long or less
were excluded from the provisions of the bill.
The governor's kindly care for the railroad
corporations was evidenced also In his veto of
House Bill GG, which required the carriage of all
live stock within the state at "an average of not
less than ten miles an hour from point of ship
ment to destination, unless prevented by un
avoidable accidents, excluding time consumed in
loading and stops required by law or order of
tho shipper for feeding and watering." Similar
laws are in force in other states. The provision
is regarded by stockmen as very necessary.
Loads of cattle arriving just before a market
opens in the morning bring better prices, and
the cost of feeding them for another twenty
hours Is avoided if their arrival is thus timed.
The law was asked for in Ohio in order that ship
pers might be able to better time the arrival of
their stock at markets. It also proposed to com
pel railroads to pay attorney fees in cases where
shippers were required to sue because of un
reasonable delays in the movement of stock.
This provision, said the governor, was a depar
ture from the settled policy of the state. His
objection to the bill was that a large part of the .
stock shipping is done by local freights, and as
an operating question this was impracticable.
C. Q. D.
t - '
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