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.
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.
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