ties," leaving this to the local boards. The result of this policy has been gratifying. While in the year preceding 1876 the average number of local laws passed by the legislature was over 300, in the years from 1876 to 1905 it stood at an inconsiderable total per year. A commission of the New York legislature in 1896, which had made a careful investigation of the defects in legislative methods, fixed upon private and local legislation as a chief source of abuse. It pointed to the English system of private bill procedure as a model. Though for the time being this standard is unfortunately not achievable in the United States on account of special conditions, the commission recommended some modifications of procedure which in principle are a part of the English system. Thus it would require measures dealing with local and special interests to be filed some time before presentation in the legislature, notice to be given to those likely to be affected by their operation, and counter-petitions to be received from adverse interests. In a number of states notice of certain private bills is already required by constitutional provision, by enactment, or by the rules of legislative procedure. Another suggestion of the commission is that private and local bills be placed upon a separate calendar, and that the expense of such legislation be borne by the parties interested.

It is not surprising that under prevailing conditions the legislative product has lost in quality what it has gained in amount. When it has become physically impossible for a legislator to give a careful reading to all the legislative bills proposed, even should he use the entire working time of the session, it is of course hopeless to expect the due consideration, weighing, and sifting of all the measures. Instead of fulfilling the ideal of rationally and thoroughly considering all proposed legislation, the work of the legislator ordinarily resolves itself to seeing that his own bills may receive a fair consideration, and to making such arrangements with other members that by mutual assistance their respective measures may have some chance of passage. In such arrangements the merits of individual bills are a minor consideration, the princi

pal point being to ascertain what members are for the proposed measure, and what they are able to do for other members in return for the assistance of the latter. It is therefore not surprising that our legislation should in general be haphazard, inconsistent, and often absolutely incompatible, and that there should be absent from it the effective correlation of new measures with the existing body of the law.

Many statutes are intolerably confused and contradictory on account of the lack of logical acumen on the part of the framers, or on account of the use of that convoluted verbiage which has become the bane of legal pleading in so many states. Enactments are overloaded with detailed regulations of matters which could much better be left to the executive agencies. They are often filled with repetitions and specifications probably designed to safeguard the public, but, on account of their technical and involved nature, these render the legislative product obscure and full of passages which necessitate further legal interpretation. Sometimes the slipshod methods of the clerical employés are responsible for the uncertainty of statutes. Thus in the McKinley act the sections relating to the tobacco rebate were omitted, though Congress had passed them, and the President actually signed a different bill from the one that had passed Congress. In Alabama when certain important words had thus been omitted from a statute, the governor, after the adjournment of the legislature, summoned the committee chairman and inserted the phrase in the engrossed copy. The whole process of engrossing is an antiquated method which has profitably been displaced in Indiana by having the bills, as amended for a third reading, printed, so that mistakes can be readily discovered by the legislators upon examination before final passage.

The principal source of confusion in the statute law is the practice of amendment without due regard to the new relations with other portions of the law, created by such amendments; or the process of implied amendment by simply passing a measure contradictory to former legislation, without any serious attempt to bring the older and the newer

law into harmony with each other and definitely to supersede a portion of the older law by the new enactment. Mr. Bishop in his "Statutory Crimes" has forcibly described and characterized this practice in the following language: "Some of the greatest difficulties occur where enactment has been piled on enactment-where nothing is in terms repealed, but this year a statute is added to what was written last year, and so from year to year-and while the later law plainly repeals in part the prior, by construction, it as plainly does not repeal the whole; yet, where the repeal begins and where it ends, it is difficult to tell." Congress has often amended laws that were no longer in force, having been repealed before, or it has passed amendments entirely overlooking former amendments to the same statute. Laws already existing are frequently overlooked by the legislators and are re-enacted in more or less modified form. The confusion in the statute law of many states is even worse than in the federal law. The canal legislation of New York presents a labyrinth of almost hopeless and irrational intricacy. Year after year laws were passed in utter disregard of former enactments, and the administrative officers of the state were left to decide for themselves what parts of the enacted laws were actually in force. With reference to the laws concerning public improvements in New York City and Brooklyn, the New York Court of Appeals declared that enactments had been re-enacted, modified, and superseded so often that it was difficult to ascertain just what statutes were in force at any given time. If the highest court of the state finds such difficulty, it may be imagined that to the ordinary citizen the confusion is hopeless, and that to the lawyer it means chiefly the opportunity for unending litigation. In 1893, the Pennsylvania corporation act passed in 1874 was made to include new corporations, but the amendments passed in the intervening years were not mentioned, and their validity and application were thereby thrown into doubt. The governor, though approving the measure on account of its general effect, severely criticized

its structure. The Pennsylvania act of April 18, 1895, was drawn in such a slovenly manner that the interpretation given to it by the courts necessitated the passage of three curative statutes. The Pennsylvania legislature also made a clumsy attempt to revive certain local legislation by repealing former repeals of such enactments. In Massachusetts the consolidation of two laws requiring the closing of different classes of drinking places at 11 and 12 o'clock, respectively, was, on account of the use of a semicolon, given the effect of closing all such places at the earlier hour. The Royer law, passed in Ohio in 1902, divested the Supreme Court of that state of the larger part of its appellate jurisdiction, an effect not contemplated by the legislators. When the consequences of the act were understood, for the purpose of remedying it a special session was called at an expense to the state of $50,000. The defects of the Illinois primary election law of 1905, which caused the state Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional, also necessitated an extra session of the legislature.


State legislators and the voters who elect them being what they are, how may the legislative product be improved. Professor Ernst Freund suggests two very simple and practical expedients which will go far toward solving this problem: [1907].

Given a legislature of average ability, fairly representative in character, not exempt from political bias or popular prejudice, but willing on the whole to act according to the best of its lights, such a legislature as we now have, and shall have for many years to come; how can it be enabled to perform its task most creditably and most efficiently?

This problem has of course always engaged the attention of legislative bodies, their attention far more than that of the people at large, and it is important to inquire why, after a hundred years' experience and experiments, a satisfactory solution has not been found, and why it is that only now

the subject is beginning to arouse popular attention and interest.

The shortcomings of our present system may be said to be lack of responsibility, lack of expert advice, and lack of principle.

1. Responsibility.-We know how much our jurisprudence has gained through the system of written opinions published in reports, through which the work of every judge of an appellate court is subjected to the scrutiny of the legal profession. But how can the responsibility for a bad piece of legislation be brought home to any one?

Any member of the legislature may introduce any bill he pleases, and his doing so does not even necessarily mean that he assumes any responsibility for its form or contents. In the German reichstag it requires the support of fifteen members to introduce a bill that does not come from the government, and practically all privately initiated measures are backed by some political party. It has been suggested that it might be well to limit each member of a State legislature to a small number of bills, to induce him to exercise some care and discrimination. If this were regarded as trenching too much upon his privileges, he might at least be required, as a condition of having his bill considered by a committee, to state at whose request, at the instance of which interest or organization, he introduced a measure; still better, to furnish a memorandum of the purpose of the bill and explanation of its provisions, as is now common in the national legislature when a bill is reported favorably by a committee. This would ensure the correction of many errors and would tend to fix responsibility. The lobby as a recognized and regulated institution might be made to serve the same end. All this could be accomplished by rules of the legislature. The publication of bills in advance of their introduction would be even more desirable. The requirement of previous notice exists with reference to special or local bills under constitutional provisions in about eight States. In England the law requires such previous notice

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