Alaska Gets a Legislature
After vigorous newspaper editorializing and promotion, the Organic Act of 1912 finally gave Alaska territorial status and a local legislature, which was to convene in Juneau in March of 1913. Of the twenty-four legislators (eight senators and sixteen representatives), ten were involved in mining as either large mine operators, miners or mining engineers. The first act of the First Territorial Legislature was to give women the right to vote - long before the federal government mandated it. They also enacted considerable labor legislation, including the eight hour work day. The preponderance of mining men in the legislature and the public's interest in mining was reflected in mine safety codes, provisions for mine inspection, and the creation of the office of mine inspector. The taking of ore for fraudulent purposes was outlawed, the purchase of ore was regulated, and U.S. mining laws were supplemented to better protect miners and prospectors.
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