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North Dakota's Thirteenth Legislative Session

1/16/2015:

North Dakota's thirteenth legislative session began in January of 1913. Many of those seats in the House and Senate were held by legislators still remembered today. For example, Col. John Fraine, longtime member of the North Dakota National Guard, whose name lives on in the Fraine Barracks; Bert Ash, a well-known drum major for the First Infantry Band; D.R. Streeter, the editor of the Emmons County Record, the namesake of the town Streeter; and newspaperman Walter F. Cushing of Fargo, publisher of The Record, a historical magazine.

While there was some vying for the position of Speaker, and it was predicted that women would be lobbying for equal rights, the session appeared to be off to a tame and routine start. In the House, it appeared all was "harmonious." The Bismarck Tribune, referring to political commentator and humorist Dennis Hannifin, reported: "Indeed, so far as developments here thus far manifested, there is nothing to indicate that Dennis Hannifin was at fault in his early prediction that there would be no war without appropriation for it, and the appropriation committee has not yet shown a desire to fight. Truly, the influence of the House has followed the westward course of the Empire, and the North Dakota Capitol, at least for the time being, is sheltered by the protecting wing of the peace dove." That is to say, the paper amended, that there was nothing exciting to report.

It was lucky that up to this point, there was little to write home about – because on the Senate side, some of the decisions pertained to the matter of the Senators’ stationary, desk, and postage supplies.

The House sent over the initial resolution, which was sent to committee by the Senate, and after a short recess, it was reported that they had concurred over the resolution, with the exception that they had fixed the limit of postage costs to $2 per legislator - which supporters felt would be enough for any individual to carry on their business. This was outrageous to other members, who wanted the limit raised. One Senator insisted, "If the members could not be trusted with more postage than that, the matter of postage had better be eliminated entirely from the report." So that matter was indeed struck, and both Senate and House were left to pay their own postage.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker

Sources:

Jan. 2, 1913, p1 - Bismarck Daily Tribune

Jan. 16, 1913, p1 and 6 - Bismarck Daily Tribune