Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/292

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inhuman situation which often develops therefrom have been prohibited in Washington, Oregon and California. Washington and Oregon in 1912 and in 1914, respectively, abolished the death penalty.

It was long ago realized that public schools are foundation stones of efficient democracy. Their maintenace was one of the first extensions of the government’s functions. All the states now have them. The modern social movement is concerned with perfecting the already accepted system. The efficiency of the public school systems of the forty-eight states was recently investigated by the Russell Sage Foundation and a comparative study published in 1912. The measurements of efficiency were based on the following features; children in school, school plant, expense per child, school days per child, school year, attendance, expenditure and wealth, daily cost, high schools, salaries. Ranked according to these standards, Washington stood first of all the states, California fourth and Oregon fifteenth. California and Washington furnish free text-books to the public school children.

In the new science of eugenics, California is one of six states to require the sterilization of such unfit as the confirmed criminals, insane and feeble-minded, who are in institutions. Unfortunately, there are only a few of the feeble-minded confined to institutions. The Oregon legislature passed in 1913 a sterilization measure which was, however, referred to the people and defeated. The sterilization laws are similar to the Indiana law, which provides for a rather novel and simple operation which prevents the conception of offspring and thus safeguards society against the transmission of socially undesirable hereditary traits. These laws have sometimes fared badly with the courts and the changing governors. Oregon requires that the applicant for a marriage license shall present a certificate from a physician stating that he is free from venereal disease.

Oregon and Washington in 1914 voted in favor of prohibiting the sale and manufacture of liquor, making the total number of prohibition states fourteen. In the same year California voted on prohibition, but the measure failed to carry. California, however, has local option.

Immigration is a very serious matter for the Pacific coast states at the present time. Yet little has been done to receive the possibly large number of immigrants who may come and to prevent them from breaking wage scales, from congesting the cities and from developing bad housing conditions. The trade unions of the Pacific coast have held a convention on the subject. The most important step has been taken by California in creating a commission on immigration and housing, with a paid secretary and an annual budget. This commission has made a survey showing the status of housing, the living conditions of labor camps, and the methods of the various exploiters of immigrants. As a result of this survey, it is recommended that the state tenement house Act of 1911 be more strictly enforced, that the commission be given the