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Second Inaguaral Message to Legislature of Woodbridge N. Ferris. (7 January 1915.)

Gentlemen of the Legislature:

In addressing the Michigan Legislature of 1913, I assumed that the best interests of the State could be conserved through cooperation. While the three departments of government, the executive, the legislative and the judicial are distinct, they are not independent; in other words they are so interrelated that unity of purpose must be observed. At the same time each department has its own imperative duties, its own responsibilities. Possibly, there have been occasions in the past when members of the State Legislature have, against their own best judgment, yielded to the wishes of their constituency, expecting that the Governor would correct, through his veto power, errors they might be persuaded to make. That precedent, if ever was a precedent, is unwise and militates against efficiency in legislative action.

In the 1913 session of the Michigan Legislature, I used the veto power sparingly. The Executive Office was always open for every member of the Legislature and to every committee for conference in order that the best interests of the State could be conserved. In the present session of 1915, I shall pursue the same plan, believing that the citizenship of the State will hold the Legislature, together with the Governor, responsible for the sacred performance of their duties. These duties are so clearly defined that no public official can be excused for going wide of the mark. The tendency of the age is to expect altogether too much of each legislative body, and underestimate the performance of the homely every day duties of citizenship. As a result of this tendency, too many laws are put upon our statute books. The all-important ideal is quality not quantity. If by some process of sifting this Legislature could concentrate its forces upon a few important measures, a legislative step would be taken in the right direction. By careful and consistent cooperation of the Legislature and Executive Departments, the frequency of the Governors' veto can be reduced to the minimum.


I have already mailed to every member of the present Legislature a copy of a plan for proposed changes in our system of enacting laws. By adopting the essentials of this plan, this Legislature can reduce the quantity and greatly improve the quality of our statutory laws. This proposal will not require additional legislation in order to become operative. It can be accomplished by the adoption of a rule in the Senate and House of Representatives. It has, however, the advantage of not creating any new offices nor requiring any additional appropriations. You will all agree that in the making of laws a system should be devised which will accomplish the following results: Accuracy of statement; simplicity of language; consistency not contradictory; brevity; exclusive and inclusive averments; orderly arrangement; constitutionality. These ends are not attained in our present system.

The maker of this plan suggests that the Legislature amend its rule so as to create a joint committee of arrangement, phraseology and conformity. Every bill as it passes the committee of the whole in each house should be referred to this committee and examined as to its validity, accuracy, consistency, simplicity, brevity, orderly arrangement, phraseology, etc. This committee would have the power to propose amendments or even a substitute in case they found any of the foregoing imperfections. They should have no power to alter the general purpose of the bill. Every bill would pass through the hands of this committee before it is placed upon its final passage.

The primary value of this plan lies in the fact that we have here a committee of experts through whose hands every bill must pass before it becomes a law- a committee whose sole attention is directed to the discovery and correction of the defects indicated.

I hope that you have examined this proposed plan with the utmost care. Some of the very ablest lawyers and judges, without reference to their political affiliations, have pronounced this plan worthy of adoption.

I urge upon you at this time the very great importance of giving this plan a trial at this session.


The present Primary Election Law is the best one that Michigan has yet had on its statute books. This is proven by the fact that last August more citizens of Michigan voted at the primaries than ever before in the history of the State. Like all human laws it has its limitations. Some of these can be remedied in further legislation.

The principal complaint against the primary is that in a large field of candidates for a given office, a minority candidate is sometimes chosen. This can be remedied largely by having a preferential ballot with columns for first and second choice. The chief objective to this plan lies in the fact that the voter must exercise his intelligence, the one absolutely essential thing for a voter to do.

In recent political conferences it has been suggested that the primary should include the remainder of the elective State officials. My recommendation of two years ago and repeated this year of the adoption of the Short Ballot, meets this demand admirably.

Several other debatable suggestions have been given publicity. Because a good workable primary law is of the greatest concern, it might be well to make a most searching investigation through a competent commission before making radical changes to our present law.


If the people are to rule the agency of the ballot at the election primary, they must simplify our election primary laws. Possibly we are under the delusion that we have had the Australian Ballot system for many years, but as a matter of fact, such is not the case. It is claimed that the present party column ballot is easy for the ignorant voter to vote the straight party ticket but it is difficult for the independent voter to split the party ticket. The double system of marking the ballot with the circle on the top and squares at the side gives rise to endless confusion. Many voters mark the squares to the side of the first name on the ticket, believing this mark votes the whole ticket. Election inspectors say one voter in ten fails to mark his ballot properly, indicating that 50,000 Michigan voters are annually disenfranchised in whole or in part, by the present complicated ballot. Our ballots should be changed to the genuine Australian Ballot similar to that provided by Massachusetts law. The advantage in this ballot is that there is but one way to mark it. No complicated instructions are necessary. In voting every candidates name comes under the eyes of the voter, and he places a cross in front of the name of every man he wishes to vote for.


Many citizens think that the people are called on to elect too many officials. AN examination of our election returns for many years will disclose the fact that some people exercise much independence in voting for Governor, some in selecting a Lieutenant Governor, but below that office the candidates for the state offices receive practically the same vote regardless of their individual merits. If, for example, anything goes wrong in the State Treasurer's office, the blame is promptly laid on the Governor, although he has no control over that office.

In the interest of better government and the shorter ballot, why would it not be a good idea to submit a constitutional amendment providing for the election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and that the remainder of elective state officials be appointed by the Governor and to act as his cabinet and advisor in State affairs. The ballot could also be shortened by abolishing the offices of Circuit Court Commissioners and Coroners, and providing that Justices of the Peace may perform the duties of these officials.


It is necessary that each candidate should get his name and ideas on public questions before the public. Newspaper advertising is very expensive. In this form of publicity the rich man has an advantage over his poorer brother. Small fortunes are frequently spent to gain a single office that doesn't pay one half the amount in return salary. I suggest that the Oregon system of publicity be carefully considered. In that State an election pamphlet is published by the State. Each candidate of every party paying a nominal sum can have a certain amount of space, give his biography and views on public questions and if some proposition or enactment is submitted it is printed in full in this pamphlet, and an argument for and against by its most active advocate or enemy is also printed. This pamphlet is mailed at the State's expense to every registered voter ninety days before the election. As a result of this publicity pamphlet, Oregon has become a great school for the study of political questions.


Several states in making appropriations have tried what is called the Budget System. This system requires the various departments and institutions to file their estimates in advance of a legislative session and provides for examination of these estimates by a competent authority which shall have both the time and the facilities to check the estimates down to rock-bottom necessity; that will then carry the estimates and the recommendations of the surveyors to the Legislature; and that will require the Legislature to frame on single "budget" appropriation bill to cover the entire needs of the State. While reports from the states that have tried the system are not uniformly favorable, it might be well for this Legislature to give this proposed plan consideration. If in this session you haven't the time to perfect an adequate system, I suggest that the finance committee meet after the adjournment of the present session and sit as a special commission to recommend a suitable plan to a subsequent legislature.


The taxation system of Michigan, except as to property specifically taxed, is based upon a general property tax. Its operations for the most part are satisfactory and in many respects most admirable. It is the only system of taxation with which the taxpayers of Michigan are familiar. Recommendations of radical departures from this system, such as the separation of State and local taxation, transfer of the taxes paid by public service corporations from the primary school fund of the State, substitution of a progressive income tax for intangible personal property taxes, should only be made after the most careful study of the constitutional, legislative and administrative changes that would be involved. I, therefore, suggest only such changes in, or additions to the existing laws as will tend to produce "equality of burden" under the present system and promote cash value assessments and better administration of the general property tax.

Repeal the present mortgage tax law and other laws exempting secured debts from all taxation on making a single fixed payment; substitute a tax providing for an annual fixed payment upon both secured and unsecured credits, bank deposits and intangible property represented by certificates other than the stocks of domestic corporations; accomplish this through a "specific tax" or preferably by amending the constitution so as to allow classification of property for taxation purposes.

Require all corporations doing business in the State and not now required to make reports and statements to the State Board of Assessors or the Board of State Tax Commissioners to make full and complete sworn statements in writing to the Board of State Tax Commissioners, the second Monday in April of each year, upon forms to be furnished by said Board, giving in detail such information as the Board of State Tax Commissioners may deem necessary for properly determining the true value of the property of such corporation. Similar statements to be required of any individual, firm, or association when deemed necessary to properly value the business of the property of such individual, firm or association. A copy of such statement to be furnished to the local assessing officer as soon as practicable after the second Monday in April each year.

Provide for the assessment by the State Board of Assessors of inter-urban railroads, light and power companies and all corporations whose property extends through more than one assessing district, and the equitable apportionment of the same among the several assessing districts in which located.

Repeal the law exempting from taxation credits that can be offset by debits.

Change the personnel of the State Board of Equalization by making it consist of the three tax commissioners, the Attorney General and the Governor of the State.

Enact a law providing for the rate of taxation for State, county, municipal and school purposes, designating for each a limit beyond which the taxing officers cannot go without special authorization in each case.

Require all field men on being promoted to the rank of examiner to take the constitutional oath of office, the same is required of supervisors and other assessing officers.


Amend Act No. 135, Public Acts of 1911, for the encouragement of farm forestry, by removing the restriction on the use of the products of such forests for strictly farm purposes.

The examiners of the State Tax Commission have not reported a single instance where advantage has been taken of this Act and on inquiry as to the reasons for failure to do so have invariably been told that the requirements of the Act in many ways were such that they could not be complied with.

The requirements of the application are not only puzzling to the applicant and difficult to be complied with but are of little apparent benefit to the treasurer and assessing officer in determining whether it should be exempt as a farm forest. The provisions as to cutting prevent the owner from cutting and removing anything, whether posts to fence a field, or wood for fuel, or timbers for a building, or a stick for any purpose, without first notifying the supervisor of his intention to cut, and having him appraise the trees selected and issue a license to cut the same and paying the treasurer a fee of five per cent of the appraised valuation.

The farm wood lot is as much a part of the farm as the barn or the pasture and must be drawn upon many times a year, and the use of its products for strictly farm purposes should be as free and unrestrained as is the use of other parts of the farm, as long as the requirements as to the number of trees, of original or second growth are not violated. The restrictions as they now exist make it impossible to so use it. From the standpoint of revenue the fee of five per cent of the appraised value would not pay the necessary per diem of supervisor, treasurer and clerk, all of whom are brought into every transaction.

Restrictions upon the cutting of such farm forests for commercial purpose should be continued but restrictions upon the use of its products for general farm purposes must be done away with if any general use of the act is ever made.


One of the great duties of this generation is to see that the natural resources of our country are conserved and passed on to future generations as little impaired as possible. Conservation means the proper use of things and whenever the disuse of a natural resource permits of waster, then such disuse is not true conservation. The people of this generation are entitled to the use of the natural resources of the country, but no man should be allowed to destroy the seed which is to produce the harvest for the generations to follow us.

The Public Domain Commission, which has charge of matters pertaining to conversation in this State, is doing a great work along the line of reforestation of the cut-over lands and the protection of growing timber from fire, and I would advise that some settled policy be adopted in regard to its work so that the results of the work now being done may be protected and perpetuated.


The last Legislature passed a law to regulate the sale of securities in this State and created the Michigan Securities Commission. Soon after the law took effect its validity was assailed in both the Federal and State courts. The Federal court held it invalid by reason of certain of its provisions and the State court upheld it in all particulars, although an appeal was taken from the latter decision. Pending a final decision, the Commission has enforced the law except as restrained by the Federal court. It has passed upon securities aggregating $45,000,000 and has collected in fees nearly $14,000. It has prevented the sale of millions of dollars of worthless securities and has carried out the purpose of the act. At the meeting of the Attorneys General held in Washington in October a committee consisting of the Attorneys General of Michigan, Iowa and Arkansas was appointed to prepare and submit to the legislatures of the various states of the nation a new bill, which will, so far as possible, meet the objectives to the validity of the present act. This bill will be submitted to you, and I earnestly recommend its enactment into law.

In this connection I call your attention to the corporation laws of the State and suggest their amendment as one of the means of preventing fraud in the sale of stocks. Under the present corporation laws only 10% of the authorized capitol of the corporation is required to be paid in. Parties turning in property to a corporation fix their own values in their articles of association. I recommend that no corporation be permitted to organize unless at least 50% of the its authorized capital be paid in, and that when property makes up any part of such payment that an appraisal of such property be held by some officer of the State.


We now have a Railroad Commission which is given the power to fix rates and regulate the practices of railroads, telephones and power companies. I would recommend the enlargement of the powers of this Commission to cover all public utility Corporations of the State. Furthermore, as there can be no intelligent fixing of charges without a knowledge of the real value of the properties, I would recommend that the Commission be authorized to make physical valuation of all such properties that they may deem advisable, that the rates fixed may return reasonable dividends on actual cash investment.


In magnitude and duration, the Michigan Copper Strike of 1913-1914 was one of the greatest that has occurred in modern times. The cost to the State, the cost to one of its great industries, the cost to labor, was enormous. The duty of the Governor was simple and clearly defined. Not a single life was sacrificed through any action of the Michigan National Guard, not a single member of the Guard suffered at the hands of the strikers. The laws of Michigan for the protection of life and property were enforced in a manner that reflects credit upon the entire State. Capital and labor, however, are mutually dependent. The fact that the Federal Government, up to the present hour, has not been able to enact a mediation law satisfactory to either capital or labor, indicates the gravity of the problem. Sooner or later the principle of co-operation must be accepted and adopted. To that end that the best interests of all may be conserved, I suggest the creation of a court of inquiry composed of the Circuit Judge of the circuit where the industrial dispute arises, the Governor and Attorney General of the State, and one or more members appointed on the nomination of the parties involved; or a board composed in some other manner, which shall investigate the matter in dispute and make a public finding thereof, with such recommendations as they believe are warranted to secure justice for both parties. It is generally admitted that compulsory arbitration is impractical. In the light of legislative experience little more can be accomplished than to focus public opinion on industrial disputes.


This law has been in operation a little more than two years; it has, therefore had a practical test. On the whole, the results have been highly satisfactory. I make the following suggestions with reference to amendments.

First: There should be a provision added to the law covering under proper restriction portions of work which are let or sublet on contract by manufacturers and builders, so as to reasonably insure the protection of the compensation law to all of the men engaged in such work, whether they are working directly for the principal or doing his work through some contract or sub-contract.

Second: Our Supreme Court has recently decided that the Michigan Compensation Law does not cover that class of injuries known as occupational diseases, such as for instance lead poisoning, but is limited strictly to injuries received by accident. There can be no reasonable ground for denying the same measures of compensation to the workman or his dependents in case of the loss of life or limb suffered through an accident. Both arise out of the employment and result from the hazards of the industry and both are justly entitled to the same measure of compensation.

Third: The provision of the compensation law requiring that the employer furnish the injured employee with medical and hospital service and medicine for a period of three weeks following the injury is wholly inadequate. The first and greatest need of the workman in case of injury is medical attention and care, and the amount of medical attention and care furnished should in all cases be proportionate to the injury, the same as the money compensation provided for.

Fourth: The provision of Section 11, part 2 of the compensation law fixing the rate of compensation in seasonable occupations, should be amended so that the earnings of the injured workman in other like employments may be taken into consideration in computing the rate of compensation. The real test should be the earning capacity of the man in the general class of work in which he was employed at the time of the injury.

Beyond a reasonable doubt other amendments will occur to members of the Legislature. My attention has been called to several other minor points, but I have not deemed them of sufficient importance to make special mention of them in this message.


Experience proves that the welfare of the people in their relation to banking institutions cannot be too carefully guarded. State banks and national banks are subject to state and national supervision. In spite of this supervision there is a feeling that further steps should be taken to secure depositors. While I would not recommend extremely legislation for the further protection of the depositor, I do believe that this subject should receive careful consideration at the hands of the Legislature. I can see no reason why private banks should not have the state supervision and be required on call to file statements. Under no circumstances would I legislate so as to imperil the progress and development of small banks. There are communities where the needs of the people make the small banks a necessity. The interests of the people in these villages, however, should be as carefully guarded as are the interests of the people in larger cities.


During the past two years public enthusiasm for good roads has rapidly increased throughout the United States. This enthusiasm will continue to grow. Michigan has kept pace with most of the states in the Union. I believe our system is excellent. By this I do not mean that we have solved all the problems connected with the work. The problem of problems is how to proceed with the building of good roads so as to bestow the greatest benefit upon the whole state. Trunk lines are of tremendous importance, but we must not forget that the great majority of people are naturally most interested in good roads that lead to markets. The fact that our present good roads constitute a sort of patchwork in the State does not argue that our plans are wholly unwise and unnecessary. The farmer who draws his produce over a mile of good road, and then over a mile of poor road, gets and object lesion that he cannot get from periodicals and lecturers. It is the duty of this Legislature to study the problems to good roads with reference to immediate legislation whereby these fundamental features can be substantially encouraged. One month ago I appointed a Good Roads Commission to investigate conditions, devise plans and make recommendations to this legislature. Two years ago I suggested that the fees arising from the automobile licenses should be turned into the highway fund. I still believe this was a wise suggestion.


The state of Michigan through its Agricultural College, the Farmers Institute and various private organizations, is engaged in the great educational work of teaching the farmer how to double his productions. Already the efforts of this teaching are manifested. Michigan ranks first in the production of potatoes and our producers are offered 20 cents a bushel for their potatoes, which is below the cost or production. While producers are receiving 20 cents a bushel for potatoes, consumers of these potatoes in southern Michigan are paying as high as 70 cents a bushel.

Michigan is the second State in the Union in the production of apples. It is reported that our production was so great last fall that thousands of bushels of apples rotted on the ground under the trees. Fancy apples, which brought 25 cents a bushel in northern Michigan, sold for 25 cents a peck and upwards in southern Michigan.

If it is the business of the State to educate the farmer to double his production, it is also the business of the State to see that increased production is properly marketed and that it does not become a disaster instead of blessing. There is no sense in raising two blades of grass where one grew before, if no one gets the extra blade. If the State is to continue encouraging an increasing production, it should likewise, by means of a Market Commission take part in disposing of that increased production. Early in 1914, New York established a "Department of Foods and Markets" which is worthy of your careful study. Either a separate commission might be created or the scope of the Dairy and Food Department might be enlarged among these lines.


According to the report of the Secretary of the State Board of Health, the total expenditures of this department have not exceeded $37,000 in the last year. Comparing Michigan with other states, the quality and quantity of health services rendered, this amount is astonishingly low. I am convinced that increased appropriations for this department would bring richer returns, measured in money, than could be procured through any other department of the State. I wish that careful consideration be given to the importance of legislation whereby the State will be divided into districts and an efficient health officer preside over each district. These health officers should be paid out of the general fund of the State. With the entire State under this kind of supervision, we would make positive strides towards increasing the wealth and health of this great State. As an illustration of what efficient work will accomplish, Detroit furnishes a remarkable example in handling the tuberculosis problem. I am most emphatically in favor of conducting a health revival and the best place to begin this revival is in the Michigan Legislature. I wish it were possible for every member of the Legislature to investigate and see for himself what can be accomplished towards stamping out tuberculosis as well as bringing health to those are afflicted. At the State Sanatorium, Howell, provisions should be made for a children's pavilion. It ought not to be necessary for the Governor or citizen to plead for the welfare of the children. I feel confident that ample provisions will be made for the tubercular children who should taken care of at Howell.

The State should also establish, in the Upper Peninsula, a branch laboratory under the immediate direction of the State Board of Health. At the present time it is practically impossible for the Upper Peninsula to submit specimens to the Lansing laboratory and get back a report in suitable time to be of value. This branch laboratory should be under the supervision of a practical bacteriologist of the Michigan State Board of Health. I further suggest that the State Board of Health receive sufficient additional appropriation to enable this board to provide a dental surgeon, whose duty it would be to visit each and every school in this State during the school term, and by lectures, lantern slides and other methods, teach the children the importance of dental hygiene. In other states wonderful results have been achieved through this phase of sanitary education. I could offer scores of other suggestions but I am exceedingly anxious that the things of greatest importance should receive first consideration.


The use of habit forming drugs destroys the body, mind and soul, and their use is increasing in Michigan to an alarming extent. Last month Congress passed laws that make stringent regulations as to interstate shipments.

Since the last Legislature has met, it has developed that we have no law regulating the sale of morphine and its derivatives. Our special law for cocaine with a few additions could be made very effective. The legislature should pass a law, based on our present cocaine law, embracing cocaine, morphine, heroin and all other habit forming drugs which should as near as possible be in uniform with the Federal laws. Such a law should prevent the sale and use of all of these drugs at retail except on the prescription of a reputable physician.


The housing problem is the problem of enabling the great mass of people who want to live in decent surroundings and bring up their children under proper conditions to have such opportunities. It is also to a large extent the problem of preventing other people who either do not care for decent conditions or are unable to achieve them from maintaining conditions that are a menace to their neighbors, to the community and civilization.

The larger cities of Michigan are especially interested in the solution of this problem. Already the states of California, Connnecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have housing laws. I suggest that this Legislature enact a housing law of state wide application. "A Model Housing Law" by Lawrence Vellier, Secretary National Housing Association, furnishes a scientific basis for this much needed law.


For more than a quarter of a century I have made a careful study of the school houses in Michigan. The majority of them are unsanitary and unfit for live-stock to occupy. They rarely furnish adequate light, never furnish a proper supply of pure air and are not comfortably heated, and on the whole are destructive to the health of school children. It should be remembered that the ordinary school room, unlike the ordinary dwelling room, is frequently occupied by a large number of children. Probably one reform would exert a greater influence in reducing the death rate of children than would the construction of sanitary school houses. Ordinary school officers know very little about modern sanitation. It is largely a question of how large a pen is required to protect boys and girls from the inclement weather. A law should be enacted whereby all plans for school houses should be submitted to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Secretary of the State Board of Health. These officials would approve of the heating, ventilating, lighting, in fact of all the sanitary essentials before the contracts could be entered for construction. In states where this plan has been pursued, satisfactory results have been realized.


So far as possible, our educational interests should be divorced entirely from partisan politics. In Michigan, we have not succeeded in doing this. I suggest an enactment of a mandatory law providing for city boards of education not to exceed seven members, elected by the people at large. Such school boards should be supervisory and legislative in their function and should have the appointing of two salaried executives, a superintendent and business manager, each of which shall be responsible for his particular work.


Michigan cities whose population is 5000 and upwards are not using their school equipment more than 50% of the available time. During the vacations, long and short, during Saturdays and six nights of every week educational training should be offered to those who are not of "school age." Many men and women who work during the day are eager for an opportunity to acquire more knowledge and skill along their occupational lines. The city or community that uses its school equipment all of the available time invests a little more money only to realize magnificent dividends. Possibly this Legislature can see its way clear to encourage this extension of our public work.


A careful study of social conditions in Michigan as revealed through the industrial schools, the prisons, the asylums and the homes of epileptics and feeble minded is not altogether encouraging. Most of these institutions are growing larger. True the State is growing larger but this fact should not blind us to the necessity of stopping, if possible, the source of the unfit. Whenever a radical cure is suggested the cry goes up that the State is endangering the cause of personal liberty. Sooner or later the problem of restricting the production of the unfit must be met. The Legislature of 1913 faced this problem and attempted the solution. At the Industrial Home for Girls, we have at the least calculation 15% to 20% who are mental defectives. The majority of the 15% to 20% should be transferred to the Michigan Home and Training School. Under existing laws, a girl cannot be detained at Adrian after she is twenty-one. IF she belongs to the distinctly mental defective class, she leaves the institution to become a menace to society.

Incidentally, I wish to say that 25%-50% of the criminals who are repeaters belong to the mentally defective class. In the better day coming these defectives will not be given their freedom until they have received such treatment as will make the propagation of their kind impossible. No greater work can occupy the attention of lawmakers than first how to prevent crime, second how to treat crimes.

In Michigan we have no suitable reformatory for women. Ordinarily the treatment of women and children furnishes a fair measure of the quality of the state's civilization. I believe that this Legislature should lose no time in providing for a modern reformatory for women. This reformatory should not be made an annex to any of our present institutions. It should be constructed on the cottage plan whereby the principle of segregation can be observed. Furthermore, organized industry in reformatories under the best sanitary conditions indoors and out of doors should constitute the open road to reformation.

Such a reformatory, favorably located would relieve our jails, the Detroit House of Correction and the Industrial Home for Girls. When you have relieved the Industrial Home for Girls of those seriously defective mentally and those who belong in a woman's reformatory, you have remaining the girls who can be trained for lives of noble service. Under these provision no additional cottage or cottages would be needed immediately at the Industrial Home. Best of all with these provisions the girls at this Home could be treated as the boys at the Industrial School for Boys are treated. The penitentiary features could be eliminated and through wholesome freedom, wholesome living and wholesome training the worth of womanhood could be recognized.


My attention has been called to the fact that our various state departments scattered about Lansing have in their possessions many very important records. Nearly all of these records are in grave danger.

To illustrate: The Michigan Railroad Commission has records that have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These records involve valuations, copies of which do not exist, in fact if they were destroyed they could not be duplicated for a quarter of a million dollars and many of them could not be duplicated at all. Beyond a reasonable doubt, other departments have equally important records.

The destruction of records in the department of the Railroad Commission would be a greater loss than the construction of a modern office building with ample room for safe storage for all. I most earnestly urge that this Legislature arrange for the construction of an modern office building with ample room for safe storage of records; or if this undertaking is considered too expensive, by all means make provision for taking care of all important records now in the possession of the various State departments.

I do not hesitate to recommend the construction of a modern office building whereby all of our departments outside of the Capitol can be housed under one roof, and their records preserved against their possible destruction by fire.


The Michigan-Ohio boundary, as defined by Congress in 1836, was surveyed in 1837 and resurveyed in 1842. With the disappearance of many of the wooden posts and bearing trees originally marking the position of this line, its location has in many places become uncertain. Questions of jurisdiction have consequently arisen which can be satisfactorily settled only by a relocation of the line in strict accordance with the original survey.

It has been officially represented that an early relocation and imperishable marking of the joint boundary is of much concern to Ohio and I believe it must also be to Michigan. I, therefore, recommend to your favorable consideration an authorization of the Board of Geological Survey to execute with the authorized representatives of Ohio a relocation and imperishable marking of the Michigan-Ohio boundary with the proviso that half of the cost thereof shall be bourne by Ohio and that the total cost to Michigan shall not exceed the State Geologist's estimate of $3,600.00.


Economy is a fundamental factor in every successful business enterprise. The State is a great business corporation. A great business corporation employs skillful managers. Skillful managers command large salaries. The State, on account of its prescribed limitations, cannot always use this form of business sense. There are features of government that cannot be fully measured in dollars and cents. The big side of government is always the human side. Our state institutions continue to increase in magnitude and in possibilities for usefulness. Michigan is one of the greatest states in the Union. If she is to keep pace with the needs of her citizenship, these appropriations must necessarily increase. On this account there is the greater necessity for watchful supervision. No longer is there any excuse for fictitious expenses that originate through political friendship. I am sure that the Legislature will co-operate with me in maintaining the utmost economy consistent with efficient service.

Source: Second Inaugural Message to the Legislature of Woodbridge N. Ferris. (Lansing, Mich: Wynkoop, Halenbeck, Crawford Co., 1915).