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ferred previous to their introduction for correction as to phraseology, form, etc. The act of 1912 amending the act of 1910 increased the appropriation for the department from $1000 to $5000 annually and provided for two officers known as “revisers of bills' to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and to hold office until removed for cause, whose duties should be similar to those formerly performed by the Revision Committee. The statute on this point read as follows:

“It shall be the duty of the revisers of bills to examine, previous to their introduction, all bills and resolutions presented to either branch of the legislature, making such corrections as may be necessary to insure accuracy in the text and references, clear and concise language, and consistency with existing statutes, and to avoid repetitions and uncon

stitutional provisions. . ..." “The legislature of 1915 again amended this act regarding the revisers of bills leaving as before that part regarding the legislative reference work. The provision regarding the revisers of bills was amended so as to read as follows:

“ SEC. 3. On the first Friday of each session of the General Assembly two men of legal training and practice, who shall not be eligible to membership in either branch of the legislature during their incumbency in this office, shall be appointed for a term of two years or until their successors are appointed, by the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, to be known as legislative draftsmen. Any vacancy caused by the death, resignation, or removal of a legislative draftsman, shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Speaker and the President of the Senate. In case the Speaker and President of the Senate cannot agree upon the appointment of the legislative draftsmen the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall have the deciding vote.

“The legislative draftsmen shall perform their duties in the office of, and in connection with, the Legislative Reference Bureau in the State Library.

“SEC. 4. The legislative draftsmen shall give assistance to members and committees in the drafting of bills, resolutions and amendments, if so requested, but shall not oppose nor urge legislation, nor the election of any officer by the General Assembly.

“ The legislative draftsmen shall perform for the Senate and the House of Representatives all the duties of a Committee on Revision of Bills, except when the joint rules of the Senate and House of Representatives provide that such

committee be otherwise constituted.” “The principal arguments advanced in behalf of this change are that these officers should be responsible to the legislature

whom they serve rather than to a Governor who may be out of office during their term of service and they should not have power to decide regarding the constitutionality of an act. Number 19 of the Senate rules provides as follows:

All bills intended for presentation by any member of the Senate shall be first presented to the revisers of bills, whose duty it shall be within three days after receiving each bill to examine and revise the same as to form and expression, so far as it may require and, after certifying to such revision, said committee shall deposit the same with the

Secretary who shall submit the same to the President .... “ There is a similar rule in the House regarding the introduction of bills.

“As regards the bill-drafting work I might say I think service during the last session of the legislature was quite satisfactory, there having been a uniformity of phraseology and form which is quite desirable and practically impossible under any other method.

“ The reference service is conducted in a manner similar to that in other states and is closely allied to the drafting service, the librarian at times serving in drafting bills.

“During the last session there was put into operation a plan of indicating by the method of printing in amendatory bills, what was old and what was new matter."





There has been a universal movement within the last few years for more uniform, consistent and better drafting of our statute law. For two years the American Bar Association has emphasized this movement. It has been taken up by the Massachusetts Bar Association, and only recently Elihu Root delivered an address in Washington, D. C., which has been widely quoted by the press of this state.

“By gathering, compiling and indexing material on general, economic and legislative subjects, a member is able to secure the

latest information relative thereto at the expenditure of a minimum amount of time and energy. Take, for instance, such questions as the regulation of public service corporations, milk legislation, divorce, direct primary, or, more recently, workmen's compensation, blue-sky laws and modern methods of taxation, the latest bibliography, together with the recent enactments in other states, can be made available. Such a library was established in Massachusetts in 1910 as a branch to the State Library, and its service to the members of the legislature is best evidenced by the increase in its average use by from 15 to 40 members a day.

“ The second aid to better legislation is the establishment of some form of a drafting bureau. Some states include assistance in drafting with the duties of the reference library. ...

“The committee has investigated the various systems in effect in these different states. We do not believe in the adoption of a system similar to Wisconsin, where the drafting is done by officials in the reference library. We do believe that the reference library should be separate, but at the disposal of the drafting official as well as members of the legislature.

“ The committees on bills in third reading, with clerical assistants in each branch, are now allowed 48 hours to examine bills submitted to them. This is entirely inadequate for the purpose, and in long bills permits only the correcting of language and a verification of references. Supplementary to the above system it would be adequate, and we believe such a check should be maintained.

“ Such an official as a clerk of committees, to have charge of drafting legislation, would have to be an expert or one capable of becoming an expert. There is available today very little knowledge on the subject. The profession, if such it may be called, is in its infancy. There are or ought to be certain underlying principles fundamental to an adequate conception of such duties, but apparently they are for the most part undiscovered. There have been intermittent attempts to set forth certain rules to govern the drafting of bills such as the Indiana pamplet of 1910. We understand that the American Bar Association is to prepare a legislative manual, with this in mind. A collection of the decisions of the United States and Massachusetts Supreme Courts on interpretation of certain phraseology, meaning of words and construction of statutes would be invaluable. Such judicial decisions would furnish ample precedent in the wording of the law to be drafted. Time should be taken to investigate the question of constitutionality, with reference to both the state and national constitutions, and any judicial decisions thereon.

“ Each act should be carefully tested as to its harmony and co-ordination with existing law, to see whether it is a duplicate of any other law or is inconsistent with any, or does in another way

what is already done in one way. The provisions of the act should be clearly adequate to its purpose without accomplishing something never intended. They should be studied with reference to economic, social and business conditions of that part of society affected. With all this there should be brevity, simplicity of form and freedom from ambiguity.

“If that is not a task for an expert we know of none. We pride ourselves on the care that committees now give to the drafting of important bills, yet even here in Massachusetts, judging from the above tables, there is much that is enacted that is loose, slipshod and subject to continual revision or interpretation either by the legislature or the courts. We have only to cite the famous semi-colon' law, so-called, as a typical illustration, and the red flag'law of this past year as another.

“ This office should be created by the legislature and be under the control of the legislature. The incumbent should be assured, either directly or indirectly, of some permanency in his tenure of office. He should be absolutely non-partisan, and should in no

initiate or influence legislation. “ There are other important duties he could be intrusted with, other than mere drafting of bills. He could be given custody of all bills referred to committees, which might save some inconveniences of the past due to lost or mislaid bills. He could arrange the hearings and attend to the giving of notices for the same. By having charge of the advertising, much that is unnecessary would be eliminated. He should keep the records of the committees and a record of attendance of its members. If the rule should be adopted requiring bills to be filed in December, he could arrange the references and the printing of the bills. He could prevent the printing of duplicate bills, of which there are always many, by giving a receipt to every person filing the bill, on which it could be stated that it was received and would be printed if nothing substantially like it had already been printed.

Between the sessions of the legislature, he could bring up to date the laws on some particular subject by a process of revision, elimination and codification, repealing obsolete parts and harmonizing conflicting portions. Such a codification should be submitted to the legislature for action."




PHILADELPHIA, PA., June 18, 1915. The Committee on Legislative Drafting of the American Bar

Association. SIRS: In response to your request, I take great pleasure in giving you herewith a few random observations regarding the possibility of providing for the better draftsmanship of measures submitted to the electorate under the initiative.

As you know I made an investigation on the practical operation of the initiative and referendum several years ago under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. My primary purpose was to discover, if possible, whether the initiative and referendum had been successful in practice entirely aside from any theoretical considerations. Naturally one of the very pertinent factors which must be considered in such an inquiry is the technical quality of the measures brought before the voters by initiative petition. This factor is even more important than it would otherwise be because in a number of states the initiative may be invoked not only for the proposal of statutes, but of constitutional amendments as well. Inartificially drawn statutes are utterly undesirable; but except in states where initiated laws can be amended only by popular vote, vicious statutes can be much more readily amended or repealed than undesirable constitutional provisions.

The suggestions usually made for the safeguarding of the initiative and the referendum have to do with the method of circulating petitions. The question whether petitions to place measures on the ballot should be permitted to be circulated for pay has been the storm-center of a heated controversy in which the ardent advocates of direct legislation usually defend paid petition circulating. Those who insist that all petitions should be procured solely by voluntary effort argue that the circulation of petitions for compensation tends to multiply fraudulent signatures and thus to bring before the voters many measures which would not be on the ballot were paid circulating prohibited.

It cannot be disputed that charges of fraud have frequently been made in the states which do not forbid the circulation of petitions by hired solicitors. In Oklahoma, for example, more than 50 per cent of the petitions circulated prior to 1914 were alleged to contain fraudulent names. One officer of the Depart

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