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Short Session Prevails Among Lawmakers

1/22/2015:

On this date in 1918, members of the North Dakota Legislature began to hope that a short session was possible. If that was the case, they could all go home early. There was concern, however, that contentious issues advocated by the Nonpartisan League could extend the session. Some accused the NPL of “having something up their sleeves,” but the NPL denied this, saying their program had been fully outlined for the legislature.

Governor Lynn Frazier was an NPLer who had run on the Republican ticket. He didn't want the NPL blamed for dragging things out. He urged both sides to come to an agreement on the issues, and a conference was arranged in the hopes that negotiations could bring the session to a quick end.

The NPL wanted to extend the vote to soldiers serving in Europe, but had been unable to work out a satisfactory plan. They also wanted to put the Home Guard under the control of Governor Frazier. The Guard would not only defend the state, they would be required to assist farmers with the harvest if needed. But Frazier had previously called the home guard “bunk” and said they were not needed. The Home Guard was understandably not enthusiastic about being placed under Frazier’s control. That proposition went nowhere. The NPL’s third proposal was to remove the state grading department from the control of Professor Ladd of the North Dakota Agricultural College. It would be placed under the control of the board of rail commissioners. Professor Ladd, however, was very popular across the state. It was questionable whether this proposal would succeed.

With the desire for a short session, it was hoped that “friction would be eliminated,” and the two sides could get along, if only for a short while, to push legislation through, united by an eagerness to go home early.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Sources:

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. “Sentiment for Short Session Prevails Among All Law Makers.” 22 January, 1918.