Stubbs' Administration.Gov. Stubbs' administration began with the opening of the legislative session on Jan. 12, 1909. In that legislature the senate was presided over by Lieut.-Gov. W. J. Fitzgerald, and Joseph N. Dolley was speaker of the house. As soon as the two branches of the general assembly were organized, Gov. Stubbs submitted his message, outlining the policy he desired to pursue. First of all he counseled diligence and fidelity in the discharge of official duties. "it is my hope," said he, "that the present session of the legislature will break all records in the enactment of good and useful laws, as compared with former sessions in Kansas and other states. The application of sound business methods to legislative pay rolls and the general expense of the legislature would be in striking contrast with the ordinary legislative session. The consideration of measures, regardless of politics, would result beneficially to the state. It would also be a most novel proceeding to witness the members of the Kansas legislature settling down to work six days in the week from the commencement to the end of the session."
The one topic on which the governor seemed to be more interested than any other was the creation of a public utilities commission. On this subject he said: "Under the leadership of Gov. Hughes in New York, and Gov. La Follette in Wisconsin, public utilities laws have been enacted which have resulted in great practical benefits to the citizens of the above-named states. I most earnestly recommend the enactment of a public utilities law in Kansas, using whatever may be used to advantage of the present railroad law as a basis and adding the best features of the New York and Wisconsin public utilities laws, which have had a severe practical test. This law should empower a commission to supervise not only the railroads, but all public utilities, including water, gas, electric light, heat, power, express, car, pipe-line, telegraph and telephone companies, and all other public service utilities; also have jurisdiction over the issue of stocks, bonds and securities of railway and all other public utilities corporations," etc.
He recommended a commission of five members, to be appointed by the governor and subject to removal by him for cause, the three members of the railroad commission to serve on the new board of public utilities for the ensuing two years, leaving but two members to be appointed in case such a bill was passed by the legislature, which was not done at that session.
On the subject of good roads, he called attention to the investigations made by the United States agricultural department showing that the cost of marketing farm products is much greater in this country than in some of the European states, on account of the condition of the public highways. "It is not so important," says the message, "how much permanent road improvements cost. If the added value of the improvement is largely in excess of the cost, then the expenditure is justified and desirable. It is really a permanent investment, bringing in good dividends. We are spending more than $1,000,000 a year on the public highways of Kansas, without making permanent improvements worthy of mention. If this amount of money was used in a scientific, businesslike way, and the work done regularly and systematically by men who are skilled in road building, it would require only a few years to give Kansas a perfect system of public highways."
As aids to carrying his ideas on this subject into effect, he recommended the appointment of a state engineer of public highways; a road supervisor in each county; provisions for draining and grading all the main traveled roads of the state; authorizing organized road districts to issue bonds for permanent road building; the payment of all poll-taxes in cash, and that 75 per cent. of all money collected from each road district be used to improve the roads therein.
Other recommendations made by Gov. Stubbs in his message were the abolition of the county assessor's office; the election of state tax commissioners by popular vote; the limiting of the tax-rate by law; to give women the right to vote on the question of adopting the commission form of government in cities of the first and second classes; a compulsory referendum in the matter of all franchises; the initiative and referendum in the passage of municipal ordinances, and the recall of commissioners; the discontinuance of the free distribution of trees at the state forestry stations; an increase in the number of inspectors in the employ of the state board of health, and that a report of all campaign contributions and expenses be made public. With regard to passenger rates on railroads, the present rate was denounced as a humbug by the governor, who recommended that "a flat two-cent rate should be substituted therefor." In closing his message the governor said: "A majority of your number were elected upon specific pledges to enact certain legislation. Such pledges should be redeemed as faithfully as are personal obligations by honorable men in their own private affairs,"
Several important laws were passed during this session of the legislature, among them the law providing for the guaranty of deposits in the state banks, and one authorizing the bank commissioner to employ additional deputies. (See Banking.) Another law which has been of great benefit to the people of the state, was that establishing a standard of weights and measures for staple products. By this law the chancellor of the University of Kansas was made ex-officio state sealer, to have charge of the authorized public standards of weights and measures, with power to appoint a deputy to assist him in the work. The county clerk of each county was made the official sealer for his county. In the enforcement of the law, each inspector of foods employed by the board of health was given a set of standard weights and measures, with instructions to test the scales, etc. Commenting on the operation of this law in the summer of 1911, the Kansas City Star said: "In the two years that the law has been in operation the inspectors have confiscated more than a carload of scales, measures, weights and bottles that made it impossible to give the customer a square deal. Some of the merchants were found to have scales that 'went against' them, that is, the customer got the advantage. These were confiscated also."
Several laws relating to insurance were enacted, the principal features of which were those prohibiting the offering of special inducements in the sale of life insurance policies; making it unlawful for any agent of any insurance company to misrepresent any of the conditions and settlements of any insurance policy, and prohibiting the sale of notes given in payment of insurance premiums. A "child labor" bill was passed. It prohibited the employment of children under the age of fourteen years in factories, workshops, theaters, packing-houses and mines, and regulated the hours of labor and conditions of employment of persons under the age of sixteen years in other occupations. The primary election law was amended to provide for the printing of ballots at the expense of the state; the pure food and tax laws were also amended; drinking intoxicating liquors on passenger trains within the state was prohibited; liberal appropriations were made for the support of the state's institutions; provisions were made for the widening and deepening of channels of certain streams and the construction of levees as a precaution against floods; escape shafts were ordered to be placed in mines, and a limit was placed upon the indebtedness that might be created by boards of education in counties, cities and school districts.
The second state-wide primary election, and the first under the amended law, was held on Aug. 2, 1910, when four state tickets were nominated. On the Republican ticket Gov. Stubbs was renominated; Richard J. Hopkins was chosen for lieutenant-governor; Charles H. Sessions, for secretary of state; W. E. Davis, for auditor; Mark Tulley, for treasurer; John S. Dawson, for attorney-general; Edward T. Fairchild, for superintendent of public instruction; I. S. Lewis, for superintendent of insurance; W. C. Austin, for state printer; George Plumb, Frank J. Ryan and John T. White, for railroad commissioners; Silas W. Porter and J. S. West, for associate justices.
On the Democratic ticket, George H. Hodges was nominated for governor; Lot Ravenscroft, lieutenant-governor; Ray L. Taylor, secretary of state; J. G. Miller, auditor; B. M. Dreiling, treasurer; Thomas F. Morrison, attorney-general; David M. Bowen, superintendent of public instruction; Northrop Moore, superintendent of insurance; Edward F. Hudson, state printer; Joseph B. Fugate, Taylor Riddle and Thomas E. Walsh, railroad commissioners; Charles F. W. Dassler and Humbert Riddle, associate justices.
The Socialist ticket was made up as follows: For governor, S. M. Stallard; lieutenant-governor, C. R. D. S. Oakes; secretary of state. V. V. Oakford; auditor, Thomas H. McGill; treasurer, M. J. Wells; attorney-general, D. E. Crossley; superintendent of public instruction, Terence Vincent; superintendent of insurance, James H. Lee; state printer, O. L. Rice; railroad commissioners, B. W. Burnside, J. B. Huffman and A. S. McAllister; associate justices, J. L. Jackson and J. W. Puckett.
No nominations for justices of the supreme court were made by the Prohibitionists. The candidates selected by the voters of that party for the other state offices were: For governor, William Cady; lieutenant-governor, Ray Heritage; secretary of state, M. C. Platz; auditor, T. W. Bertenshaw; treasurer, O. A. Herbert; attorney-general, A. G. Darke; superintendent of public instruction, S. W. Bond; superintendent of insurance, D. L. Timbers; state printer, C. B. Jones; railroad commissioners, M. R. Becktell, B. F. Hester and J. K. Mayberry.
At the election on Nov. 8, Stubbs received 162,181 votes; Hodges 146,014; Stallard, 15,384, and Cady, 2,372. The entire Republican state ticket was elected by similar pluralities, and the Republican candidates for Congress were victorious in all of the eight districts. (See Congressional Representation.)
Gov. Stubbs' second term began with the opening of the legislature which assembled on Jan. 10, 1911. The senate organized with Lieut.-Gov. Hopkins as the 'presiding officer, and in the house G. H. Buckman was elected speaker. In his message the governor announced that "The taxable property placed on the tax rolls of the state in 1910 amounted to $2,752,098,125, which is an increase of more than $300,000,000 in two years. The value of farm products and live stock has increased, and bank deposits, railroad earnings, manufactured products, the volume of business and financial transactions in the state have also made satisfactory gains."
While the legislature of 1909 was in session, the governor had a bill prepared and introduced requiring railroad companies to file with the board of railroad commissioners an itemized statement, setting forth the cost of rolling stock, equipment, etc., the purpose of the law being to furnish the state with information that would place it on an equal basis with the railroads in matters of litigation, adjustment of rates and settlement of claims. Concerning this measure, which failed to pass, the governor in his message of 1911 said: "The railroad lobbyists bitterly opposed this bill before the house committee which had charge at the last session, and succeeded in defeating it. At the request of President Ripley to examine the Santa Fe books, I made an attempt to secure this same information in regard to the Santa Fe road, but was immediately stopped by both President Ripley and General Manager Kouns. The right to examine, at any time, the books, records, expense bills, profiles and other papers owned by each railroad should be specifically granted in this law. All the above information to be furnished under oath by the proper officer of each railroad in Kansas."
A law was passed at the session of 1909 levying a tax upon legacies and successions, varying from 2 to 15 per cent., according to the amount of property included in the inheritance. Referring to this law in his message of 1911 Gov. Stubbs said: "Our new inheritance tax law was enacted at the very last night of the legislature two years ago. The bill was passed without having the consideration and attention that such an important measure deserves. It came to the governor's office for approval with some bad features that should have been changed by the legislature, but I regarded the law as too important a piece of legislation to veto." He also announced that the state had received $10,000 as the inheritance tax from foreign estates owning railroad stocks that had to he transferred in Kansas, and about $15,000 from another estate accumulated in the state. He concluded this part of his message by saying: "It would be almost a crime to repeal the law, as some persons demand," and recommended that no tax be levied upon the first $25,000 passing to a husband or wife and $10,000 passing to direct heirs.
As in 1909, the governor urged the passage of a law creating a board of public utilities, and that the "city council, or city commission in cities that have commission form of government, be constituted a public utilities board to have control of local public utilities, such as gas, electric light, water supply, telephones," etc., giving interested parties the right of appeal to the state commission. In response to his recommendations on this subject, the legislature passed a bill of 44 sections converting the railroad commission into a public utilities commission, giving it enlarged powers over common carriers, telephone and telegraph companies, pipe-line, street railway, sleeping car companies, etc., providing that the members of the railroad commission should serve on the new board until the end of the terms for which they were elected, and repealing all laws in conflict therewith.
Another recommendation of the governor was that a law should be enacted submitting to the voters of the state at the next general election a proposition for an amendment to the constitution "which will permit the state to derive its entire revenue from state-wide public service corporations, and thereby relieve all counties, municipalities and local subdivisions of the state from paying any state tax."
On the subject of labor legislation, the message says: "I recommend that this legislature do full justice to the cause of labor in Kansas and recognize, through just and equitable laws, the principles advocated by Lincoln, that the rights of men are superior to the rights of property." The specific acts of legislation suggested along this line were the workingman's compensation law; an employers' liability law; to compel mine owners to make suitable provisions for the care of persons injured while in their employ and engaged in the line of duty; for a uniform signal system in mines; safety catches on all hoisting apparatus in mines; and the establishment of a branch school of the Kansas University department of mines in the Pittsburg district.
He also asked the legislature to submit to the people at the next election propositions to amend the state constitution to permit the "recall of derelict, incompetent and unfaithful officers, similar to that now granted to cities of the first class which have adopted the commission form of government," and providing for the initiative and referendum "similar to amendments that have been adopted in Maine, Oregon, South Dakota and other states." He also suggested the advisability of changing the date of the primary election to a time early enough to permit the people to vote for delegates to the national conventions for the nomination of candidates for president and vice-president, and the adoption of the "Oregon plan," giving the citizens of the state the right to vote at the general election for a United States senator, such candidate to be elected by the legislature at the next succeeding session.
The 61st Congress submitted to the legislatures of the various states an amendment to the Federal constitution relating to an income tax. Gov. Stubbs recommended the Kansas legislature to pass an act or a resolution ratifying the amendment, which was done on March 11, 1911. Other acts passed during the session were those authorizing the directors of the penitentiary to erect, equip and maintain, in connection with the state prison a "State Asylum for the Dangerous Insane;" establishing the state conservation commissionto consist of not more than three members from each Congressional district, with the governor a member ex-officiofor the purpose of "exploiting the resources of the State of Kansas, collecting and disseminating useful information concerning the same;" declaring Oct. 12 (Columbus day) a legal holiday; and submitting to the voters at the general election of 1912 an amendment to the state constitution providing that "The rights of citizens of the State of Kansas to vote and hold office shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex."
Two important labor laws recommended by the governor were placed on the statute books by this legislature. One provided compensation to workmen injured in certain hazardous industries, such as railways, mines or quarries, factories, electric plants, building or engineering work, laundries, natural gas plants, and "all employments wherein a process requiring the use of any dangerous explosive or inflammable materials is carried on." The otherknown as the railway employees liability lawprovided that, under certain conditions the company should be liable for damages, for injuries received by employees while engaged in the performance of duty.
This legislature again placed Kansas on record as one of the most progressive of states in the way of humane legislation, by passing an act appropriating $50,000 for the establishment of a tuberculosis sanitarium. By the provisions of the act the governor was authorized to appoint four physicians as an advisory commission, to serve without compensation other than actual expenses incurred in the line of duty, the secretary of the state board of health to constitute the fifth member of the commission. The state architect was directed to prepare plans for the sanitarium, under the supervision of the commission, and the board of control was authorized to procure a site by donation, when the commission approved the location. Gov. Stubbs appointed on the commission Drs. R. G. Troupe of Garden City, J. M. Purdum of Wetmore, J. A. Milligan of Garnett, and W. H. Bauer of Sylvia. Several locations for the sanitarium were brought before the commission for consideration, but at the close of the year 1911 no selection had been made.
Probably the most important law enacted during the sessionat least the one which created the most commentwas that providing for the regulation and supervision of investment companies. This law, generally referred to as the "Blue Sky law," had its genesis in a plan adopted by Bank Commissioner Dolley in the spring of 1910. Knowing that people all over the country were constantly being fleeced by dishonest stock companies, Mr. Dolley sent out a notice for insertion in the newspapers of the state, requesting its publication, at the same time stating that the department had no funds for advertising purposes. That notice read as follows:
"The state banking department has established a bureau for the purpose of giving information as to the financial standing of companies whose stock is offered for sale to the people of Kansas. If you are offered any stock and want information as to the financial standing of the company offering the same, before investing, please write to this department and I will furnish it.
"JOSEPH N. DOLLEY,
A majority of the newspapers printed the item, many of them adding editorial comment in the way of approval, and before the law was passed hundreds of letters of inquiry found their way to the banking department. The replies of the commissioner prevented many of the letter writers from investing in worthless stocks, but he had no authority to compel the companies to file statements with him showing their financial condition though many companies voluntarily furnished such statements upon request. In his report for 1910 Mr. Dolley called attention to the necessity for a law to stop "wild cat" speculation, and the act of 1911 was the result. Under this law any company, before offering to sell any stocks, bonds or other securities within the state, was required to furnish and file with the bank commissioner a statement showing: 1A detailed description of the plan upon which the company was conducted; 2Copies of all contracts, bonds, etc., made with or offered to the people of the state; 3A statement showing the name and location of the company; 4An itemized report of its financial condition, and if a co-partnership or corporation its articles of co-partnership or association; 5If incorporated in another state, a copy of the law under which it was authorized to transact business, with a copy of its charter, constitution, by-laws, etc., the whole to be verified by the oath of some authorized officer of the company. State and national banks, trust companies, real estate loan companies, building and loan associations and corporations not organized for profit were exempted from the provisions of the law.
When the 62nd Congress met in Dec., 1911, a similar act was proposed for the District of Columbia, of which movement the Washington Times said: "Times have so far changed that it is no longer a reproach that a thing should have come out of Kansas, and it is certainly a matter of congratulation that the 'blue sky' law of that state is to be considered for the district in a bill which Commissioner Rudolph is preparing to have submitted to Congress."
In addition to liberal appropriations for the support of the state's established institutions, an appropriation of $100,000 was made for the establishment of a new insane asylum at some point west of the 98th meridian of longitude, and the state board of control was authorized to select a location, by and with the advice and consent of the governor, within six months from the taking effect of the act. It was also provided that the site should contain not less than 320 nor more than 1,000 acres, and should be located within 5 miles of the corporate limits of some city. A site was selected near Larned, but it was objected to by the governor and the erection of the asylum was thus delayed.
In his message of 1911 the governor said: "The prohibitory law is better enforced than ever before in the history of the state. There is not, to my knowledge, an open saloon or joint in Kansas. The sale of liquor for all purposes has been outlawed and placed on the same basis as other crime." He recommended a penitentiary sentence for every one convicted a second time for violation of the law.
Notwithstanding the congratulatory statement of the governor, some trouble was experienced in connection with the enforcement of the prohibitory law in southeastern Kansas in the summer of 1911, and out of it grew a lawsuit of a peculiar nature. J. F. House, an editorial writer on the Topeka Capital, sent out a circular to a number of newspapers in the state, which circular contained the following statement: "The writer spent a portion of an evening in a small Kansas town not long ago. The town is in territory supposed to be strictly dry. Still they were selling beer openly over a bar. With these conditions prevailing everywhere, why shall all the odium of the situation be hung on Cherokee and Crawford counties?"
Shortly after the publication of this circular, the governor directed Atty.-Gen. Dawson to summon Mr. House to appear before some properly constituted authority and give positive and definite information as to when, where and by whom said beer was sold. This Mr. Dawson declined to do, and on July 25 Gov. Stubbs, through his attorney, S. D. Bishop of Lawrence, filed in the supreme court a mandamus suit against the attorney-general. The application for a writ of mandamus was based chiefly upon the constitutional provision that "the supreme executive power of the state shall be vested in a governor who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed," and upon the statutory provision that the attorney-general shall appear for the state in all civil or criminal actions in the supreme court to which the state is a party, and "shall also when required by the governor or either branch of the legislature appear for the state and prosecute or defend in any other court or before any officer in any case or matter, civil or criminal," etc.
On Dec. 8 the supreme court handed down an opinion sustaining the governor's position. The decision was written by Justice Benson, who, after carefully reviewing arguments pro and con, said: "It is manifest from these various provisions that the term, 'supreme executive power,' is something more than a verbal adornment of the office, but implies such power as will secure an efficient execution of the laws, which is the peculiar province of that department, to be accomplished, however, in the manner and by the method, and within the limitations prescribed by the constitution."
A majority of the court concurred in the decision of Justice Benson, Justices Porter and West dissenting. The former, in his opinion, expressed regret that the supreme court should have been called upon to consider what he terms "a tempest in a teapot." Says he: "If the only purpose of the governor was to bring about a prosecution all that was necessary was for him to direct the attorney-general to investigate and prosecute, leaving it to that officer to use his own judgment and discretion as to the means to be employed in such prosecution. If the attorney-general failed to perform his duty or acted corruptly he can be removed by impeachment, but we have no right to compel him to perform any act which is discretionary."
Justice West held a similar view, and in his dissenting opinion said: "Anyone who has had experience in conducting prosecutions arising from the prohibitory law, knows that caution and tact, as well as good judgment and legal learning are necessary, and it is often essential that the prosecutor, instead of putting a hostile witness in position to warn the culprit, let not his left hand know what his right hand doeth. To require by mandamus the performance of an act so manifest, within the realm of official discretion sets, in my judgment, a dangerous precedent and departs from the theory upon which the executive department of the government has heretofore been conducted."
Soon after the decision of the court was rendered the attorney-general filed an application for a rehearing, which was still pending at the close of the year.
The summer of 1911 was hot and dry. In the western part of the state crops were injured to a considerable extent by drought, and in the latter part of July and the early part of August efforts were made to have the governor call a special session of the legislature to afford relief. On Aug. 3 the members of the legislature representing the northwestern counties met at Colby and adopted resolutions urging the governor to call an extra session. Says the resolutions: "Each county is able to take care of its own condition. All we need is a law whereby the respective counties may be authorized to use their own funds by loaning them to its citizens, or in some other proper way assist them to procure a reasonable amount of seed. If you call a special session we pledge ourselves to devote our entire efforts exclusively to the consideration of emergency legislation and to the use of the strictest economy of both time and money."
The counties represented in the conference were Cheyenne, Decatur, Sherman, Sheridan, Graham, Logan, Gove, Trego and Ellis. Not all the people of the western portion of the state thought a special session necessary. The Oakley Graphic said editorially: "Many new settlers came into western Kansas during the past year and homesteaded on isolated tracts of land depending upon this year's crop to put them out of debt. This is the class of people that are asking for assistance, but the rank and file of farmers who are, according to the dispatches in the dailies, asking for aid, are able to buy and sell 90 per cent. of the fellows who read the calamity articles."
After investigation, Gov. Stubbs evidently took the view of the Oakley Graphic, and no special session was called. Later in the year there was some agitation for a special session to amend the primary election law so as to permit the selection of delegates to the national conventions by popular vote, and although Gov. Stubbs is a firm believer in the theory that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed," he declined to call the extra session.
William H. Taft, president of the United States, visited Kansas in Sept., 1911, and on the 27th officiated at the laying of the cornerstone of the Memorial Building (q. v.) at Topeka. That was the occasion of a state soldiers' reunion and several thousand veterans of the Civil war were in attendance, as well as a large number of the citizens of the state. The term of Gov. Stubbs will end with the inauguration of his successor in Jan., 1913.Pages 773-781 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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