Partial Report of Hearing on Johnston Sunday Bill, S. 404


Class Legislation

It is important for us to consider principles, and not merely questions of expediency. It is not the question of whether certain classes of men ask for legislation. It is not proper to come in here and ask you to pass a kind of legislation that will favor certain classes against certain other classes. That ques- ion was well argued out in the Senate when this matter was before the Senate; and one senator, a leader of the Senate, said, “I am not disposed to allow any class to come and ask for a law that interferes with some man who wants to pursue his calling, simply because some other man does not want to pursue it.” RJSB 3.3

A statement has been presented before you here this morning to the effect that this is a bill to put a stop to competition. I ask you whether legislation designed to put a stop to competition is proper legislation. RJSB 4.1

This bill has been designated as a bill for public health. I ask you whether it is any more a bill for the public health than a bill that would compel people to eat at certain hours, or to sleep at certain hours, or a bill that would require them to ventilate their rooms at night in a certain way. When you go onto that ground, you pass from the ground of proper legislation. That is a matter of personal right and choice, and the power has not been conferred on any legislative body to make people rest, or to eat, or to sleep at certain hours. RJSB 4.2

The state has no right to enforce either rest or labor except as a punishment for crime. The state can not properly compel the individual either to rest or to work. That is a matter of individual right, with which the legislature ought not to interfere. RJSB 4.3