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Newspaper Page Text
REGARDING THOSE FLOATING DEATH-TRAPS
For 20 years disaster after disaster has happened5 to-ships al sea "with'
out spurring congress to legislate adequately for safety. Sometimes it
moved a little. The burning of the Gen. Slocum forced a stiffer inspectio:
of life preservers and the sinking of the Titanic more lifeboats. But evi
day, in the excursion season, tinder-like craft still are allowed to take o:
packed loads of human freight and sail without sufficient precautio:
against either fire or wreck.
At last, thanks to LaFollette, a bill has passed the senate really puttin
But,, as always, greed has summoned its chorus of trusties to cry ttn
LaFollette measure down.
The provision at which complaint is loudest requires lifeboats suffi
cient to rescue all the passengers and two able seamen to man each boa
Lake and river vessel owners are a unit in opposition to this. The;
say that, however fitting such a rule might be in voyages far from land. i(
would kill the fresh water excursion business, since it would fill the decka
with boats instead of passengers and increase the pay-roll beyond the pos-
sibility of profit. J
We think they exaggerate. Anyhow, life is worth more than moneys
on fresh water no less than on salt.
The nature of much excursion traffic on our lakes and rivers has long;
been a crying peril and disgrace. Ships are continued in service which)
ages ago became mere rotten shells and which now are blind gambles!
against storm, rock or fire, with their herded passengers taking all thej
Whatever allowances congress may see fit to make in behalf of thek
newer, finer and safer ships, the law cannot deal too drastically with thej
large number of punky death-traps.
A bill resembling LaFollette's bill was first introduced in the House
by the present Secretary of Labor, W. B. Wilson, who was then a mem-
ber of Congress. This was in June, 1911. After a period of hearing ex-
tending from December, 1911, to February, 1912, by Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries it was reported favorably to the House on April 25
1912. It was passed on August 3, 1912, and sent to the Senate.
The hearings before the Senate Committee on Commerce were started
December 2, 1912, and lasted 15 days. The committee, after much argu
ment, reported a substitute bill, which was passed by the Senate March
2, 1913, and was accepted by the House March 3.
This was virtually Taft's last day as president, and true to his stand
pat principles he refused to sign it.
Then at the special session Senator LaFollette reintroduced the bilL
and on October 2, 1913, the Senate Committee on Commerce reported a sub
stitute, the Nelson bill.
? But LaFollette put up a hard, earnest fight for the real seamen's bill
and the Senate finally capitulated and passed his bill October 23. It was
immediately sent to the House and referred to committee, where it is now
Mrs. Nuwed (to dear friend)
What's the secret of getting a new
frock from hubby after he refuses
once? Mrs. Wiley If at first you
don't succeed, cry, cry again!
Belgium maintains at public ex
pense a horse-shoeing school, at
which students from all over the
country receive one lesson each wee
for two years. - .
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