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ate, its members were arrested by the sergeant-at-arms and taken to the Senate Chamber. Before leaving the committee room, however, they agreed to return after the Senate had adjourned and continue the hearing.
They got back to the committee room at 12:40 a. m. Tuesday morning. There were present Senators Mott, Anderson and Cartwright. The arguments against the bill, heard so many times before, were repeated. Cartwright stated on the floor of the Senate later, that the argument of the opposition that night converted him to the bill. At any rate, Cartwright that morning voted with Mott and Anderson to return the bill to the Senate with the recommendation that it be passed. Anderson, however, reserved the right to oppose the bill on the Senate floor. But the Conservationists had gained an important point. They had got the bill out of one of the two Senate committees which in the regular course of legislative business must pass upon it. As the measure carried an appropriation it still had to be acted upon by the Senate Finance Committee.
The Finance Committee did not meet until midnight, May 7. The committee went into executive session.15 In executive session it cut the appropriation for the work of the Conservation Commission from $75,000 a year to $37,500.153 The Assembly Ways and Means
152 Such executive sessions will one day be regarded as highly as the bar-room caucuses of the old convention days are now. There is no good reason why the public should not know what takes place in committee meetings, especially when such astonishing action is taken as that of the Senate Finance Committee on the Conservation bill.
153 It is significant to note that opponents of the Conservation bill now urge that the measure is impractical, because the appropriation which it carries is too small to permit of effective work.
Committee had approved the original appropriation, and the Assembly had also. The Senate Finance Committee, behind locked doors, the public excluded, cut the appropriation one-half. That, however, was within its province.
But the Senate Finance Committee went further. It decided, in that executive session, to recommend that the bill be referred to the Judiciary Committee. This action was quite out of the ordinary. The Conservationists determined to resist this re-reference recommendation.
Kehoe was in charge of the bill, and all of the morning of May 8 he waited for the committee's report. Shortly before noon Kehoe had occasion to step from the room. During his brief absence the Finance Committee's report on the bill came in. On Kehoe's return to the Senate Chamber he found that the report had been accepted and the bill sent to the Judiciary Committee.
Kehoe attempted to have the bill recalled from the Judiciary Committee. Curtin and Wright led the opposition to Kehoe's move.
The opposition contended that the bill contained unconstitutional provisions, which required revision at the hands of the Judiciary Committee. The discussion became spirited. But the bill was in the end left with the committee, on the understanding, however, that the committee was to return the measure to the Senate not later than the following day, Friday.
Arrangement was made for the Judiciary Committee to meet immediately after Senate adjournment Thursday night. But the Senate did not adjourn until
midnight. The members were
out. Senator Gates, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced no meeting would be held that night, but that the committee would assemble at 8:30 Friday morning. It was 10 o'clock the following morning, however, before a quorum of the committee got together. The committee had not made much progress before the Senate convened. The committee accordingly adjourned until the Senate's noon recess.
At that hour it was impractical for the committee to meet. The committee did not get together until 7:30 that evening.
It will be remembered, the bill had been left with the committee on the understanding that it was to be returned to the Senate that day.
Francis J. Heney and James F. Farraher, on behalf of the bill, attended the Judiciary Committee hearing. Senators Curtin and Wright were present during the greater part of the proceedings. Heney and Farraher were prepared to resist any attempt to amend the bill into ineffectiveness.
The changes proposed were many of them trivial, although much time was consumed in discussing them. The question was discussed at some length, for example, whether the bill should read "by eminent domain proceedings” or “through eminent domain proceedings.” It was finally decided to make it "by or through eminent domain proceedings.”
The progress was slow. By midnight only about half the bill had been covered. The committee adjourned at that hour until the following morningSaturday. The Legislature was to adjourn on Monday at noon. The committee met on Saturday morning, however, and by 11:30 had finished with the bill.
Some fifty amendments, running all through the measure, had been decided upon. Heney and Farraher had fought successfully every weakening amendment proposed. A majority of the committee was for the measure, which meant that it would be sent back to the Senate. All that the opposition to the bill had gained was delay. And delay was important.
Ordinarily it would have taken hours to get the amended bill into shape for the Senate and the printer. But a force was at work upon which the opponents of the measure had not counted. Ray Freeman, clerk of the Senate Committee on Irrigation, with assistants, had not, on Friday night, left the Capitol until the amendments adopted that night had been typed, ready for preparing the bill for the printer. When the committee was at work on Saturday morning, these clerks had kept at their labor. The result was, that a few minutes after the committee had adjourned, the bill was ready for presentation in the Senate.
The Senate that afternoon adopted the amendments which the Judiciary Committee had recommended.
The amendment proposed by the Senate Finance Committee, reducing the funds available for the work of the commission from $75,000 a year to $37,500, was rejected for one making even greater reduction.
Senator Strobridge, chairman of the Finance Committee, offered an amendment which reduced the appropriation to $25,000 a year.
This amendment was adopted. The amended bill was then, for the sixth time, sent to the printer.
The measure got back from the printer at 11:30 p. m. Saturday night. This was too late to permit of the Senate acting upon it before Sunday. The Legislature was to adjourn at Monday noon. The measure was not, as a matter of fact, taken up by the Senate until 3:30 p. m. Sunday, twenty hours before the hour set for adjournment.
When the measure came up at that late hour for final passage, Senator Wright offered an amendment, the effect of which would have been to permit any one to continue to appropriate water under the old law until the Water Commission had examined and passed upon the particular stream upon which the filing was
The first Wright amendment—he made two attempts to amend the bill—was defeated by a vote of 13 to 18.155
Senator Wright then offered his second amendment. This time Wright moved to amend by striking out Sections 26, 27 and 28. The twelve members who had supported Wright's first amendment again supported him. But the second Wright amendment was defeated by a vote of 13 to 21.15
154 This particular amendment read: “(Amend) by a new paragraph after line 26, page 30, to read as follows: 'Nothing in this Act shall prevent or be construed to prevent, any person, firm, or corporation, from making an appropriation under the provisions of Division II, Part IV, Chapter VIII of the Civil Code, of any unappropriated water in any stream, lake, or other body of water, until the State Water Commission shall have investigated such stream, lake, or other body of water, and determined by its findings herein provided the unappropriated rights in such stream, lake, or other body of water.'
The examination of all the streams of the State will probably take some years. During that period any one who could get to a stream before the Commission could file under the old law and be exempt from the provisions of the Conservation Act.
155 The votes on the two Wright amendments may be regarded as the real test votes in the Senate on the Conservation Act. Had the bill been amended at that late hour, requiring