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This State has also passed an excellent statute for the regulation and inspection of mines; careful provision is made for the safety and comfort of miners.
I have already mentioned that Nebraska had passed a law to prohibit non-resident aliens from acquiring real estate ; this State has also enacted that when a divorce is decreed upon any ground, or when the husband is sentenced to the penitentiary, the real estate of the wife shall come to her immediate
possession, the same as if the husband were dead; and when a divorce is granted upon the ground of adultery by the wife, the husband may hold such of her personal property as the court may deem just under the circumstances. The exemption law has been amended so that none of the property of a debtor is exempt from seizure when the claim is for wages due to clerks, laborers, or mechanics, or for money collected by an attorney-at-law for his client. A debt contracted for the necessaries of life is deemed to be due by both husband and wife, and all their property is liable to seizure, except five hundred dollars worth of personal effects.
A very stringent law has been passed to prevent the sale of obscene books and pictures, or magazines made up of criminal news, police reports, or accounts of immoral deeds, lust, or crime, or so exhibiting such books or papers that they may be seen by a minor child.
The law of criminal libel has been amended so as to make the publication of a libel in a paper of general circulation a crime punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than three years.
The use of vile and insulting language intended to provoke an assault upon the person using it, or upon another, is made a misdemeanor, punishable by fine or imprisonment. Gambling is a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary.
Mining for gold, silver, copper, lead, cinnabar, and other valuable minerals is declared by Nevada to be a paramount interest of the State and to be a public use, for which improvements on lands may be expropriated.
The sinking of artesian wells is encouraged by payment of a bounty of $1.25 per foot for any well which yields seven thousand gallons of water per day, flowing continuously for thirty days. The bounty is not to be paid to more than three wells in each county, and they must not be located within ten miles of each other. An act has been passed to prevent the importation or sale of any domestic animal affected with contagious or infectious disease; also an act to prohibit the sale of tobacco in any form to any minor under eighteen years of age without the written consent of parents or guardian.
A comprehensive conspiracy act has been enacted. It embraces a conspiracy to commit any offense, or to maliciously procure an indictment or an arrest for a criminal offense, or to falsely maintain a civil suit, or to cheat or defraud any person of property by means which, if executed, would amount to a cheat, or to obtaining money or property by false pretenses, or to cheat or defraud any person of property by means in themselves criminal, or to commit any act injurious to the public health, to public morals, or to trade or commerce, or for the perversion or obstruction of justice, or the due administration of law, and to procure conviction it is not necessary to prove any overt act done in pursuance of the conspiracy ; but it does not prohibit the orderly and peaceable assemblage or co-operation of persons employed in any trade, profession, or handicraft for the purpose of securing an advance in the rate of wages or for the inaintenance of such rate.
The manufacture or the possession of dynamite or other device for the destruction of life or property, with the intent
to use or to attempt to use the same for such purposes, is declared a felony, punishable in the penitentiary for not less than ten nor more than twenty-five years, and in case life is taken by the use thereof, the penalty is death.
In the year 1885 the Legislature of Nevada passed an act to promote habits of temperance and to prohibit the practice of treating. This law cast such a shadow over the State and was so repugnant to the good nature of the people, that the first thing which the Legislature did, after providing for the mileage and per diem of its members, was to repeal the preventive treating law and to substitute in its place a punitive act making it a misdemeanor for a civil officer to become so intoxicated as to render him unfit to discharge the duties of his office. The penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year and removal from office. It appears to me that much difficulty will be encountered in the execution of this law.
But few laws of general interest have been enacted by the Legislature of New Jersey. Habitual drunkards, like idiots and lunatics, may be put under the guardianship of a commission. Women are allowed to vote in school meetings; the tax-gatherer may intrude into the sacred precincts of the Court of Chancery and assist in the depletion of litigated estates by the collection of taxes from moneys or property in the custody of the court; representatives of successions, who, at sales to foreclose mortgages, forming part of the assets of the estate, purchase for the succession the mortgaged property, hold the title as joint tenants, and are authorized to sell and convey the same without any order of court, the proceeds of sale to be accounted for as other moneys which come into their hands; guardians are allowed, with the approval of the Chancellor, to mortgage the lands of minors, lunatics, and insane persons when it is not for the interest of their wards to sell the same.
New Jersey has authorized the formation of companies for mutual protection against damage to glass by hail. It has established a State Board of Agriculture, and expended money to increase the production of fish in its waters; it has fixed twelve consecutive hours, with reasonable time for meals, as a day's labor for employees of street railways and elevated railroads; it has prohibited the transportation of dynamite or other explosives in any boat on the lakes or ponds of the State in a greater quantity than fifty pounds. A law has been passed which makes it unlawful for the Governor to commission as a State detective or policeman any person who has been convicted of and served a term of imprisonment for having committed the crime of forgery, or perjury, or burglary, or arson, or highway robbery, or counterfeiting money, but to prevent trespassers and malicious mischief in the rural districts, the Township Committee may appoint any one a policeman who will perform the duties of the office for nothing
No marriage can be registered in New York unless solemnized by a minister of the gospel, a judge or justice of the peace, or a mayor, recorder, or alderman of a city, but all lawful marriages contracted in the manner heretofore in use are valid. The Quakers are excepted from the act, nor is the manner of solemnization prescribed in the act necessary to the validity of the marriage,
A husband or wife is not competent to testify against the other in the trial of an action founded upon an allegation of adultery, except to prove the marriage or disprove adultery; nor can either without the consent of the other be compelled to disclose confidential communications made during the marriage by one to the other; in an action for criminal conversation the plaintiff's wife is not a competent witness for the plaintiff, but she is for the defendant, except she cannot, without the consent of the plaintiff, disclose confidential conversa
tions. Conveyances of real estate may now be made directly from one spouse to the other.
Corporations and joint stock companies, created by general or special law of the State, except literary, scientific, medical, and religious corporations, are required to pay a special tax of one-eighth of one per cent. upon the amount of their capital stock, and a like tax upon every subsequent increase thereof, for the privilege of exercising corporate powers, and such powers cannot be exercised until the tax is paid. Banking corporations and building, mutual loan, and accumulating fund associations are exempted from the tax. The incorporation of Bar associations is authorized, and the trustees who consent to the contracting of any debt are jointly and severally liable for the same.
An act has been passed to encourage free libraries in the villages and smaller cities of the State. This act authorizes appropriations to be made by villages and cities having a population not exceeding thirty thousand for the support of free libraries, and to raise by taxation the sum necessary for that purpose.
Public school boards are empowered, with the consent of the proper municipal authority, to establish and maintain evening schools for free instruction in industrial drawing
Provision is made for the amicable adjustment of disputes between employers and employees by arbitrators selected by the parties in interest, and by an appeal to, or the mediation of, a State board of arbitration. One arbitrator is selected by the employer, the other by the employees, or some labor organization which represents them, and the two thus selected choose a third person as chairman. These arbitrators have power to examine witnesses, and their decision is final, unless an appeal be taken to the State Board of Arbitration and Mediation, which is created by the act, and is composed of three persons appointed by the Governor for the term of three years; one of the members of the Board is to be selected from the political party which at the last general election cast the