The legislature, consisting of a senate and a house of repre sentatives, meets in regular session at Topeka, the capital, on the second Tuesday of January in odd-numbered years. The mem bership of the senate is limited to 40, and that of the house of representatives to 125. Senators are elected for four years, and representatives for two years. The judicial power is vested in one supreme court, 39 district courts, one probate court and a juvenile court for each county and two or more justices of the peace for each township. All justices are elected : those of the supreme court, seven in number, for six years, two or three of them every two years ; those of the district courts for f our years; and those of the probate courts and the justices of the peace for two years. An act of 1913 provides for the nomination and elec tion of judges by separate ballots without party designation.
The more important affairs of each county,are managed by a board of three commissioners, who are elected by districts for four years, lAtt each county elects also a clerk, a treasurer, a pro bate judge, a register of deeds, a sheriff, a superintendent of pub lic instruction, an assessor, a coroner, an attorney, a clerk of the district court and a surveyor, for terms of two years. A county
auditor is appointed by the district court for each county having a population in excess of 45,00o. The township officers, all elected for two years, are a trustee, a clerk, a treasurer, two or more justices of the peace, two constables and one road overseer for each road district. Cities are divided into three classes according to size, and the government is different for each class. Those hav ing a population of more than 15,000 constitute the first class; those having a population of more than 2,000 but not more than 15,000 constitute the second class; and those having a population not exceeding 2,000 constitute the third class. Municipal elec tions are far removed from those of the State, being held in odd numbered years in April. A great number of municipalities have abandoned the old city-council form of government. An act passed in 1907 and amended in 1909 and 1913 authorized the adoption of a commission form of government in cities of the first and second class. Until 1917 54 cities reorganized under this law. In 1917 the legislature authorized the city-manager plan. All cities that have reorganized since then have adopted this plan. In 1908 a direct primary law was passed, applicable to all nomi nations except for presidential electors, school district officers, and officers in cities of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants; like public elections, the primaries are made a public charge; nomination is by petition, signed by a certain percentage of the party vote. Since 1910 the administration of the State has become centralized to a high degree. The first step was taken in 1913 in reference to the various educational institutions. In 1916, during the adminis tration of Governor Capper, all of the State educational, charita ble and penal institutions were brought under a single board called the board of administration, and in 1925 all the higher ed ucational institutions were put under the control of a single board called a board of regents, consisting of nine members ap pointed by the governor for terms of four years and electing their own chairman. A provision that part of the board retire annually is intended to give it permanence and remove it from political control. An attempt, made by Governor Capper in 1917 and renewed by Governor Allen in 1921, to consolidate on a similar plan the various bureaux that composed the State board of agri culture, did not succeed. In 1911 the State board of railroad com missioners was superseded by a public utilities commission, modelled on the commissions already established in New York and Wisconsin, to which was given supervision of all public utilities in the State. The legislature in 192o created a court of industrial relations, consisting of three members. The act de clared the manufacture of food and clothing, the mining of fuel and transport to be essential industries and "affected with a public interest" to such a degree as to justify public control. The right of collective bargaining was recognized, but strikes were prohibited, and the court was given authority, either on its own initiative or on complaint, to investigate and to issue orders regulating limita tion of production, hours and conditions of labour and rates of wages. Originally the public utilities commission was merged in the industrial court, but in 1921 the public utilities commission was re-established as a separate body, and the labour bureau and the industrial commission were merged in the industrial commis sion. Finally, in 1924, the tax commission, the public utilities commission and court of industrial relations, including the depart ment of labour, were consolidated in a single board of five mem bers called the public service commission. The power of the court to fix wages was annulled by the courts, but in other respects the court was allowed to function satisfactorily, operating with the bureau of labour as a department of the public service com mission. In 1929 there was created a commission on labour and industry, and in 1933 a legislative council to examine existing laws and recommend amendments thereto.