March 18, 1907

Then He Gives His Impression of the
Missouri Legislature

"So they are going to call an extra session!" said the proprietor of the First ward, yesterday. "If I had my way I would put forth one billand that wou ld be to abolish the legislature for ten years. Then I would make the next legislature do nothing but repeal laws. Once in ten years is enough.

"They did pretty well this time," continued Mr. Pendergast. "They abolished capital punisment, by leaving it to the jury to decide, and anybody knows there is always one man in twelve who will stop a verdict if he can. This one law will make Missouri a lynching state. Anybody knows what will happen as soon as the people read the juries are refusing to hang men who assault women.

"In its ignorance the legislature tried to disfranchise 70 per cent of the voters in my ward, and 40 percent of the voters in the entire city. One of the senators, whose name is not worth mentioning, came out with a bill to require a primary election, those to vote at it being the legally registered voters. That would mean that next spring only those would be allowed to vote in Kansas City at the same place they lived when they registered last fall. That was brilliant. Mike Casey killed that bill and I am going to send him to the senate next time for that. We need him there."

Telling how the experts had tried to jockey a primary bill through the legislature Alderman Pendergast said that he and Election Commissioner Lowe had drafted one, but that it had been turned down.

"They would not take the bill two sensible, common people drafted," said the boss of the river wards. "What they wanted was a bill that the lawyers could draw up and all of them fight over. They had seven lawyers draw up the bill and all seven had different views. I could hire forty-five lawyers to interpret Cooper's bill, and all of them would have different opinions. If it was not for that, how could the lawyers make a living? We fixed the bill, anyhow."