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THE Wisconsin legislature lias finally adjourned. It has been in session six months, longer than any other legislature in the United States—but there's a reason. Wisconsin probably has the finest state capitol in the country, fin ished in marble with mural paintings and brass artwork spittoons said to cost $26 apiece. The senators and as semblymen have luxurious lounging rooms well up to the class of the average millionaire's club. It was pretty comfortable at Madison for the legislators, and with the exception of a few farmers and working men who had' to get back to their crops and jobs they all hated to leave. In Wisconsin as in other states they open each day's legislative session with prayer. They say a Wisconsin farmer couldn't understand how the chaplains could find enough material for prayers for each day during the six months and asked a city man, who lived at Madi son, how they managed to do it. "That's easy," said the Madison man. "The professor just gets up each morn ing and looks over the members of the legislature and then prays God to pre serve the state of Wisconsin." There is a general idea in Wisconsin that while the legislature is in session, the people have good reason to fear the worst. But if the people, in general, fear the legislature, the Wisconsin legislature which just adjourned show ed on virtually every occasion that it was a legislature that feared the peo ple. It feared to give the people any power, for fear that they might take things into their own hands. REFUSE TO LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE While Wisconsin has. been known in some quarters as a progressive state, it lacks any provision for the initiative and referendum. The people of the state, for year after year, have been asking the right to propose laws of their own which the legislature may have refused to pass, or to stop a bad law from going into effect after the legisTature has passed it. The people of almost every state, outside of the extreme Bast and extreme South have this right. But the lower house of the Wisconsin legislature voted it down, 45 to 34. They were afraid to give the people this power. In Wisconsin especially in the north ern part of the state there are millions of acres of cutover lands, former forests, held by land speculators. Al though the nation and the world are crying for more food, these lands are held uncultivated because farmers can not buy them at present prices and operate them at a profit. As they are not improved they virtually escape taxation. A proposed constitutional amendment was submitted which •would have allowed local taxing bodies to have placed heavier tax burdens on this unused land, held for speculation, so that it would be forced into use. The measure would have been submit ted to the people of the state first, and then the local officials, elected by the people, would have decided whether to take advantage of it or not But the assembly refused, by a vote of 53 to 30, to submit the measure to the people. The legislators were afraid to give the people a chance to pass upon it and 's 3* wf WISCONSIN ASSEMBLY RECORD These assemblymen voted FOR constitutional amendment permitting public ownership of terminal elevators and cold storage warehouses, FOR constitutional amendment to allow home rule in local taxation, ... ,. FOR initiative and referendum, -'r FOR increasing power of cities to operate public owned utilities, FOR adequate appropriation for industrial commission, FOR bill to permit cities to operate municipal fjiel and ice depots, AGAINST abolishing state insurance of public buildings: CONNOR (R) EVJUE (R) JORDAN (S) METCALFE (S) OHL (S) SMITH (S) afraid to give the local officials a chance to decide whether it should be put into effect. Cities in Wisconsin have been anxi ous to go into the field of public owner ship, to save money for their citizens and give them better service. Most of them have municipal water systems which are splendid successes, especial ly in the case of Milwaukee, but a 5 per cent indebtedness limit prevents them from doing anything further, A constitutional amendment was pro posed to raise the limit of indebtedness to 10 per cent, the additional bonds authorized to be used for: public utility purchases only. The cities wanted the ENGEBRETSON (R) DUFFY (R) HEMMY (R) GALBRAITH (E) MELVIN (R) NORDMAN (D) SCHINDLER (R) WHITESIDE (R) Every other assemblyman voted against the people's interests on one or more of the above bills. Of 100 assemblymen just i8 were for the people every time. Are Afraid to Trust the People Wisconsin Legislature Doesn't Think Democracy is Safe in Wisconsin— The Record of the Assembly and House Given S1\ One of the corridors of the magnificent legislature loafs around for six months :J KENT (S) MILLER V. V. (R) ROSA (R) TURNER (S) X1W/ PAGE TEN iSllllii state capitol at Madison, Wis., where the or so every two years. legislature to submit this question to vote of the people. A two-thirds ma jority was required. The proposal got 47 votes, with 30 against it, when 51 affirmative votes were needed. Thus the legislature decided that the people were not to be allowed to decide this question either. DEFEAT PLAN TO HELP MILWAUKEE The success of the Nonpartisan league in North Dakota and the de mand of the farmers of that state, by a four-to-one vote, for state-owhed terminal elevators and cold storage warehouses, attracted the attention of certain forward-looking members bf the Wisconsin legislature. Wisconsin couldn't go into state ownership under' its present constitution any more than North Dakota could.. So they proposed an amendment to the constitution and asked the legislature to submit it to the people. The amendment got 46 votes in the ..lower house, with 31 against it, when. El votes, or two-thirds, •.'-"•.•I ifUf-W WISCONSIN SENATE RECORD These senators voted FOR government ownership of coal mines, FOK^giving cities right to borrow money on existing public utilities to buy others, FOR requiring a standard,weight loaf of bread,^ FOR permitting cities to- operate municipal fuel and ice depots, AGAINST bill to restore old gang party convention system: ARNOLD (S) RAGUSE (S) SCHULTZ (R) SKOGMO (R) STAUDENMAYER (R)ZTJMZCH (S) Every other senator voted against the people's interests on one or more of the above bills. Of 33 senators just six 'were with the people every time. were required to submit it to the peo ple. So the people didn't get a chance to pass on this question, either. In the senate another proposal to give the cities power to go into the public utility business was introduced. Milwaukee has a splendid water sys tem, worth approximately $8,500,000. Practically all the bonds have been retired out of earnings of the water plant. Milwaukee still buys its gas from a private monopoly. Statistics have been presented to show that if the city could take over this gas plant at its present valuation its earnings at the present rates in 12 years would pay the entire purchase price and interest on bonds in the meantime and the city could then supply its citizens with gaa at cost. A measure .was submitted in the senate which would allow the city to issue bonds against the water plant and use the proceeds to buy the gas plant. This was defeated in the senate. SENATE STRIKES BLOW FOR COAL BARONS After defeating all the most im portant plans for public ownership, both houses passed a bill to allow cities to establish coal and ice depots. This was passed only over the most strenuous opposition of the old gang legislators. It will do very little good, for the cities will have to buy their coal from the coal operators who are admittedly charging three or four prof its under the opportunity given them by war-time demands and failure of the railroads to furnish sufficfent cars. The senate showed how it really stood on protecting the interests of the coal operators. After the house had passed, by a big majority, a memorial to congress demanding government operation of coal mines to do away with extortionate war time profits, the senate struck a great blow in behalf of the coal men by defeating this memor ial, 16 to 14. Another good bill that the legislature refused to pass was one to require the baking of loaves of bread for sale in standard weight loaves. By clip ping an ounce or two occasionally from a loaf of bread bakers can, in the course of a year, make thousands of dollars. A senate bill provided that bread should be sold only in pound or half-pound loaves. The senate de feated it, 18 to 13. Having prevented any progressive measures from being enacted into law the old gangsters in the Wisconsin legislature went further and attempted to take from the people some! of the privileges they had. The appropriation' for the industrial commission, which enforces all labor laws, was reduced to a sum which will not permit the commission to enforce the laws to the extent which they should. The old liners also attempted to pass a law to reinstate the old discredited party con vention system, but were beaten in this attempt. They also tried to abol ish Wisconsin's system of state insur ance of public buildings, to give the regular insurance companies a chance to reap fat profits from this business, but they were defeated here also. The Leader is presenting herewitli tables showing the names of the few Wisconsin senators and assemblymen ^vho remained true to the people's in terests on every vote. The letters in brackets after each name indicate whether the man in question was elect" ed as a Republican, Democrat or So cialist. it will be noticed that the men who remained true to the people's in terests belonged to all three parties so did the men who voted, against the peo ple's interests. ». 1 "V-i"'