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Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909   By: (1869?-1964)

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Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909

by Franklin Hichborn

The well being of the State requires that the opponents to the machine in Senate and Assembly, regardless of party label, organize the Legislature. But back of this is the even more important requirement that there be elected to the Legislature American citizens, with the responsibility of their citizenship upon them, rather than partisans, burdened, until their good purposes are made negative, by the responsibility of their partisanship.

San Francisco Press of The James H. Barry Company 1909



I. Breaking Ground II. Organization of the Senate III. Organization of the Assembly IV. The Machine in Control V. Election of United States Senator VI. The Anti Racetrack Gambling Bill VII. Passage of the Anti Racetrack Gambling Bill VIII. The Direct Primary Bill IX. The Machine Defeated in the Senate X. Fight Over the Assembly Amendments XI. Machine Amends Direct Primary Bill XII. The Railroad Regulation Issue XIII. Machine Defeats the Stetson Bill XIV. Railroad Measures XV. Defeat of the Commonwealth Club Bills XVI. How the Change of Venue Bill Was Passed XVII. Passage of the Wheelan Bills XVIII. Defeat of the Local Option Bill XIX. Defeat of the Initiative Amendment XX. Defeat of the Anti Japanese Bills XXI. The Rule Against Lobbying XXII. The Machine Lobbyist at Work XXIII Influence of the San Francisco Delegation XXIV. Attacks on and Defense of the Fish Commission XXV. The Rewarding of the Faithful XXVI. The Holdover Senators XXVII. The Retiring Senators XXVIII. Conclusion Appendix Tables of Votes Postal Direct Primary Dr. Montgomery's Report The Anti Japanese Resolution


In writing the Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909, the purpose has been, not only to show what was done at Sacramento last Winter, but, what is by far more important, how it was done. To this end, the several measures are divided under three heads, namely, those dealing with moral, with political and with industrial issues. Instead of scattering on all the measures introduced, or even a considerable part of them, the principal issue of each group, that which meant the most to The People, and upon which the machine centered its efforts, has been selected for detailed consideration. On the score of the moral issues, the Anti Racetrack Gambling bill has been taken as the most important; while the Direct Primary bill is dealt with as the chief political issue, and the railroad regulation measures as involving the chief industrial issue. The story of the fight over these bills is the story of the session of 1909. The events attending the passage of the Anti Racetrack Gambling bill, the amendment of the Direct Primary bill, and the defeat of the Stetson Railroad Regulation bill, with the attending incident of the passage of the Wright Railroad bill, show, as nothing else can, how the machine controls and manipulates a Legislature and such is the purpose of this little volume.

The efforts of justice loving men to simplify the criminal codes, to the end that rich and poor alike may have equal opportunity in the trial courts not in theory alone but in fact and the successful efforts of the machine to block this reform, have made detailed consideration of the defeat of the Commonwealth Club bills and the passage of the Wheelan bills, and the so called Change of Venue bill timely. And the story of these measures illustrates again how the machine element defeats the purpose of The People, and overrides what are the constitutional rights and should be rights in fact of every American citizen.

Measures which involved no particular contest between the good government and the machine forces measures patched up by interested parties and slipped through the Legislature without opposition and generally without comment although many of them of great importance, are not touched upon... Continue reading book >>

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