A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

History: Frelinghuyser Amendment to the Automobile Act of 1906 (1908)

The 13 Feb 1908 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 7) remarked that several NJ senators spoke ill of the prospects for the Ackerman Civil Service Act, being discussed in Trenton on 11 Feb 1908. (The bill passed the Senate as New Jersey's first civil service law, according to Scannell's New Jersey's First Citizens and State Guide (1917 - 1918), pg 1. Ernest R Ackerman (1863 - 1931) went on to serve in the US House of Representatives serving the NJ 5th District from 1919 until his death.)

The Journal (same article, pg 7) was much more interested in the NJ Senate's discussion of a proposed revision to fees associated with automobile inspection and registration and the licensing of drivers. (So that's when it started, eh?) Joseph S Frelinghuysen (1869 - 1948) proposed to amend the Automobile Act of 1906 to establish eight vehicle classes for vehicle registration and the licensing of drivers.
  • First Class (1-10 horsepower) - $3.00 registration; $1.00 license
  • Second Class (11-20 horsepower) - $5.00 registration; $2.00 license
  • Third Class (21-25 horsepower) - $10.00 registration; $3.00 license
  • Fourth Class (26-35 horsepower) - $15.00 registration; $4.00 license
  • Fifth Class (36-50 horsepower) - $20.00 registration; $5.00 license
  • Sixth Class (51-70 horsepower) - $25.00 registration; $10.00 license
  • Seventh Class (71-90 horsepower) - $35.00 registration; $15.00 license
  • Eighth Class (91-120 + horsepower) - $100.00 registration; $25.00 license
Cab companies could receive a blanket license if they served a ferry landing and they didn't travel more than a mile from the docks into the State.

The licensing of manufacturers would be eliminated because there was so much abuse of the law anyway. (What's the point if they won't adhere to the law? lol)

Motorcycles would have a $2.00 licensing fee.

Tourists would have to register their vehicles and pay for a license at 50 cents for each increment of six days they plan to visit, not to exceed thirty days in a year. (Can you imagine having to register your vehicle in every state you travel through? Now we just have tolls.)

The 9 Apr 1908 edition of The Matawan Journal praised Ackerman's honesty and his efforts to pass his Civil Service bill and condemned the evil machinations of bosses and their obstructionists inside the NJ Senate. Below is an excerpt from the Journal's editorial.

Ackerman'a Righteous Wrath

Senator Ackerman, of Union, an organization Republican but a clean man, is discouraged, disgusted, indignant and full of righteous wrath, because of the audacity, the insolent assumptions and the power of the bosses in matters of legislation. He declares that as things now stand at Trenton the Legislature might as well be abolished, for a commission of the political bosses could do the work just as well as the present body of lawmakers. In point of fact the bosses are legislating and the legislators are going through the motions like puppets, as the bosses pull the strings.

Senator Ackerman's indignation has been aroused primarily because of the treatment given his civil service bill. He spent much time and care in perfecting it, calling to his aid the best and most experienced counsel that could be obtained. No man sincerely desirous of abolishing tho iniquitous spoils system and establishing civil service in this State, as it has been established for many years in the United States Government, could find any fault with the Ackerman civil service bill. It was as nearly perfect as such a measure could be made; it was in direct fulfilment of the Republican platform p1edge, and the Senate passed it by an overwhelming vote.

But when it went to the House, "Davy" Baird and "Dory" Strong and the other Republican bosses began their iniquitous work. As Senator Ackerman says, it was impossible to find out just where they stood. They would say that if a certain provision was changed they would not oppose the bill, but when the suggested change was made they found other grounds for opposition, kept up an endless fight against the civil service policy, and finally defeated it.


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