HB44 Consumes Session; Senate Defeats NPL Program

March 11, 1917

The 1917 legislative session is history and, as expected, the anti-NPL senate sent the League’s program down to defeat. The NPL decided to write a new constitution through concurrent resolution that, when approved by the people, would enable it to complete its objectives.

The proposed constitution was embodied in House Bill 44, around which raged the main controversy of the session. Its central provisions proposed to permit the state or its political subdivisions to enter agricultural or manufacturing industries, make possible the exemption of farm improvements from taxation, and allow taxation for hail insurance. Adoption of these proposals would have made possible the implementation of the League’s program.

The NPL provides a dose of good medicine. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

After weeks of wrangling over the measure, the House passed it, 81-28. To no one’s surprise, the Senate killed HB 44 by a vote of 29 to 20. Although the key NPL proposal failed, the legislature has passed several reform measures. Of those, the most important appear to be a state grain grading system, a constitutional-amendment proposal to exclude farm implements from taxation, a nine-hour workday for women, the tripling of financial aid for rural education, support for and expansion of woman suffrage.

The NPL has not gotten what it wanted but the tone of the legislature, generally, was progressive. If the League is ever to establish its state-owned industries, it is clear that it must maintain control of the House and win control of the Senate in 1918.

By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton


Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Grade Level

4-5, 7, 9-12

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change