Front Page Titles (by Subject) Extracts from the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma 1 - The American Commonwealth, vol. 1
Extracts from the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma 1 - Viscount James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 1 
The American Commonwealth, with an Introduction by Gary L. McDowell, 2 vols (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995).
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In America it is always by a convention (i.e., a representative body called together for some occasional or temporary purpose) that a constitution is framed. It was thus that the first constitutions for the thirteen revolting colonies were drawn up and enacted in 1776 and the years following; and as early as 1780 the same plan had suggested itself as the right one for framing a constitution for the whole United States. Recognized in the federal Constitution (art. V.) and in the successive constitutions of the several states as the proper method to be employed when a new constitution is to be prepared, or an existing constitution revised throughout, it has now become a regular and familiar part of the machinery of American government, almost a necessary part, because all American legislatures are limited by a fundamental law, and therefore when a fundamental law is to be repealed or largely recast, it is desirable to provide for the purpose a body distinct from the ordinary legislature. Where it is sought only to change the existing fundamental law in a few specified points, the function of proposing these changes to the people for their acceptance may safely be left, and generally is left, to the legislature. Originally a convention was conceived of as a sovereign body, wherein the full powers of the people were vested by popular election. It is now, however, merely an advisory body, which prepares a draft of a new constitution and submits it to the people for their acceptance or rejection. And it is not deemed to be sovereign in the sense of possessing the plenary authority of the people, for its powers may be, indeed now invariably are, limited by the statute under which the people elect it.
An American constitutional convention, being chosen for the sole purpose of drafting a constitution, and having nothing to do with the ordinary administration of government, no influence or patronage, no power to raise or appropriate revenue, no opportunity of doing jobs for individuals or corporations, is not necessarily elected on party lines or in obedience to party considerations. Hence men comparatively indifferent to party are sometimes elected; while those who seek to enter a legislature for the sake of party advancement or the promotion of some gainful object do not generally care to serve in a convention.
Since a convention assembles for one purpose only, and that a purpose specially interesting to thoughtful and public-spirited citizens, and since its duration is short, men who would not care to enter a legislature, men pressed by professional labours, or averse to the “rough and tumble” of politics, a class large in America and increasing in Europe, are glad to serve on it, while mere jobbers or office-seekers find little to attract them in its functions. Thus the level of honesty, even more than of ability, is higher in conventions than in legislatures.
“That part of the Constitution, which has attracted most notice abroad, is probably its division of Congress into a Senate and a House of Representatives, with the resulting scheme of the Senate as based on the equal representation of the States. It is probably inevitable that the upper or hereditary House in foreign legislative bodies shall disappear in time. And it is not easy to hit on any available substitute; and English writers for example, judging from the difficulty of finding a substitute for the House of Lords, have rated too high the political skill of the Convention in hitting upon so brilliant a success as the Senate. But the success of the Convention was due to the antecedent experience of the States. Excepting Pennsylvania and Vermont, which then gave all legislative powers to one House, and executive powers to a governor and council, all the States had bicameral systems in 1787.
“The (presidential) electoral system was almost the only feature of the Constitution not suggested by State experience, almost the only feature which was purely artificial, not a natural growth; it was the one which met with least criticism from contemporary opponents of the Constitution and most unreserved praise from the Federalist; and democracy has ridden right over it.”
In England a broad distinction is drawn between public bills and local or private bills. The former class includes measures of general application, altering or adding to the general law of the land. The latter includes measures intended to apply only to some particular place or person, as for instance, bills incorporating railway or gas or water companies or extending the powers of such bodies, bills authorizing municipalities to execute public improvements, as well as estate bills, bills relating to charitable foundations, and (for Ireland) divorce bills. Bills of the local and personal class have for many years past been treated differently from public bills. They are brought in, as it is expressed, on petition, and not on motion. Notice is required to be given of such a bill by advertisement nearly three months before the usual date of the meeting of Parliament and copies must be deposited some weeks before the opening of the session. The second reading is usually granted as a matter of course; and after second reading, instead of being, like a public bill, considered in Committee of the Whole House, it goes (if opposed) to a private bill committee consisting (usually) of four members, who take evidence regarding it from the promoters and opponents, and hear counsel argue for and against its preamble and its clauses. In fact, the proceedings on private bills are to some extent of a judicial nature, although of course the committee must have regard to considerations of policy.
“What is known as lobbying by no means implies in all cases the use of money to affect legislation. This corruption is frequently wholly absent in cases where the lobby is most industrious, numerous, persistent, and successful. A measure which it is desired to pass into law, for the benefit of certain interests represented, may be urged upon members of the legislative body in every form of influence except the pecuniary one. By casual interviews, by informal conversation, by formal presentation of facts and arguments, by printed appeals in pamphlet form, by newspaper communications and leading articles, by personal introductions from or through men of supposed influence, by dinners, receptions, and other entertainments, by the arts of social life and the charms of feminine attraction, the public man is beset to look favourably upon the measure which interested parties seek to have enacted. It continually happens that new measures or modifications of old ones are agitated in which vast pecuniary interests are involved. The power of the law, which when faithfully administered is supreme, may make or unmake the fortunes of innumerable corporations, business firms, or individuals. Changes in the tariff duties, in the internal revenue taxes, in the banking system, in the mining statutes, in the land laws, in the extension of patents, in the increase of pensions, in the regulation of mail contracts, in the currency of the country, or proposed appropriations for steamship subsidies, for railway legislation, for war damages, and for experiments in multitudes of other fields of legislation equally or more important, come before Congress. It is inevitable that each class of interests liable to be affected should seek its own advantage in the result. When this is done legitimately, by presentation and proof of facts, by testimony, by arguments, by printed or personal appeals to the reason and sense of justice of members, there can be no objection to it.”
A committee whose action can affect the tariff is of course surrounded by a strong lobby. I remember to have heard an anecdote of a quinine manufacturer, who had kept a lawyer as his agent to “take care of” a committee during a whole session, and prevent them from touching the duty on that drug. On the last day of sitting the agent went home, thinking the danger past. As soon as he had gone, the committee suddenly recommended an alteration of the duty, on the impulse of someone who had been watching all the time for his opportunity.
Efforts have been made to check the practice of lobbying, both in Congress and in state legislatures. Statutes have been passed severely punishing any person who offers any money or value to any member with a view to influence his vote. It has been repeatedly held by the courts that “contracts which have for their object to influence legislation in any other manner than by such open and public presentation of facts, arguments, and appeals to reason, as are recognized as proper and legitimate with all public bodies, must be held void.” It has also been suggested that a regular body of attorneys, authorized to act as agents before committees of Congress, should be created. A bill for this purpose was laid before the Senate in January 1875.
Extracts from the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma
Adopted in Convention at the City of Guthrie in the Territory of Oklahoma on July 10th, 1907, and ratified by the People on Sept. 17th in the same year.
- Section 1.— Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
- Sec. 2.
—Constitution of the United States Supreme.—Section 1. The State of Oklahoma is an inseparable part of the Federal Union, and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.
- Sec. 3.
—Toleration of Religious Sentiment.—Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitants of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.
- Sec. 7.
—Public Schools.—Provisions shall be made for the establishment and maintenance of a system of public schools, which shall be open to all the children of the State and free from sectarian control; and said schools shall always be conducted in English: Provided, That nothing herein shall preclude the teaching of other languages in said public schools: And Provided, Further, That this shall not be construed to prevent the establishment and maintenance of separate schools for white and colored children.
- Sec. 8.
—Right of Suffrage; Abridgment of.—The State shall never enact any law restricting or abridging the right of suffrage on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
- Sec. 9.
—Introduction and Sale of Liquor as Provided in Enabling Act.—The manufacture, sale, barter, giving away, or otherwise furnishing, except as hereinafter provided, of intoxicating liquors within those parts of the State, heretofore known as the Indian Territory and the Osage Indian Reservation, and within any other parts of the State which existed as Indian reservations on the first day of January, Nineteen Hundred and Six, is prohibited for a period of twenty-one years from the date of the admission of the State into the Union, and thereafter until the people of the State shall otherwise provide by amendment of this Constitution and proper State legislation. Any person, individual or corporate, who shall manufacture, sell, barter, give away, or otherwise furnish any intoxicating liquor of any kind, including beer, ale, and wine, contrary to the provisions of this section, or who shall, within the above described portions of the State, advertise for sale or solicit the purchase of any such liquors, or who shall ship or in any way convey such liquors from other parts of the State into the portions hereinbefore described, shall be punished, on conviction thereof, by fine not less than fifty dollars and by imprisonment not less than thirty days for each offense: Provided, That the Legislature may provide by law for one agency under supervision of the State in each incorporated town of not less than two thousand population in the portions of the State hereinbefore described; and if there be no incorporated town of two thousand population in any county in said portions of the State, such county shall be entitled to have one such agency, for the sale of such liquors for medicinal purposes; and for the sale, for industrial purposes, of alcohol which shall have been denaturized by some process approved by the United States Commissioner of Internal Revenue; and for the sale of alcohol for scientific purposes to such scientific institutions, universities, and colleges as are authorized to procure the same free of tax under the laws of the United States; and for the sale of such liquors to any apothecary who shall have executed an approved bond, in a sum not less than one thousand dollars, conditioned that none of such liquors shall be used or disposed of for any purpose other than in the compounding of precriptions or other medicines, the sale of which would not subject him to the payment of the special tax required of liquor dealers by the United States, and the payment of such special tax by any person within the parts of the State hereinabove defined shall constitute prima facie evidence of his intension to violate the provisions of this section. No sale shall be made except upon the sworn statement of the applicant in writing setting forth the purpose for which the liquor is to be used, and no sale shall be made for medicinal purposes except sales to apothecaries as hereinabove provided unless such statement shall be accompanied by a bona fide prescription signed by a regular practicing physician, which prescription shall not be filled more than once. Each sale shall be duly registered, and the register thereof, together with the affidavits and prescriptions pertaining thereto, shall be open to inspection by any officer or citizen of the State at all times during business hours. Any person who shall knowingly make a false affidavit for the purpose aforesaid shall be deemed guilty of perjury. Any physician who shall prescribe any such liquor, except for treatment of disease which, after his own personal diagnosis, he shall deem to require such treatment, shall, upon conviction thereof, by punished for each offense by fine of not less than two hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not less than thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; and any person connnected with any such agency, who shall be convicted of making any sale or other disposition of liquor contrary to these provisions, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year and one day. Upon the admission of the State into the Union these provision shall be immediately enforcible in the courts of the State.
- Sec. 10.
—All Political Power Inherent in People.—Section 1. All political power is inherent in the people; and government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and to promote their general welfare; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it: Provided, Such change be not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.
- Sec. 11.
—Right to Life, Liberty, etc.—All persons have the inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry.
- Sec. 12.
—Right of People to Peaceably Assemble.—The people have the right peaceably to assemble for their own good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition, address, or remonstrance.
- Sec. 13.
—Restriction of Civil and Military Power.—No power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage by those entitled to such right.
- Sec. 14.
—Public Money; Cannot be Appropriated for Any Church, etc.—No public money or property shall ever by appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.
- Sec. 15.
—Courts of Justice Open; Speedy Remedy.—The courts of justice of the State shall be open to every person, and speedy and certain remedy afforded for every wrong and for every injury to person, property, or reputation; and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, delay, or prejudice.
- Sec. 16.
—Due Process of Law.—No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
- Sec. 17.
—All Offenses Bailable Except Capital.—All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof of guilt is evident, or the presumption thereof is great.
- Sec. 18.
—Excessive Bail.—Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.
- Sec. 19.
—Writ of Habeas Corpus.—The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall never be suspended by the authorities of this State.
- Sec. 20.
—Officers; Personal Attention to Duties.—Every person elected or appointed to any office or employment of trust or profit under the laws of the State, or under any ordinance of any municipality thereof, shall give personal attention to the duties of the office to which he is elected or appointed.
- Sec. 21.
—Restriction on Right to Hold Office.—No member of Congress from this State, or person holding any office of trust or profit under the laws of any other State, or of the United States, shall hold any office of trust or profit under the laws of this State.
- Sec. 22.
—Imprisonment for Debt Prohibited.—Imprisonment for debt is prohibited, except for the non-paytment of fines and penalties imposed for the violation of law.
- Sec. 23.
—Military Subordinate to Civil Authority.—The military shall be held in strict subordination to the civil authorities. No soldier shall be quartered in any house, in time of peace, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, except in a manner to be prescribed by law.
- Sec. 24.
—Ex Post Facto Laws: Contracts.—No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed. No conviction shall work a corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate: Provided, That this provision shall not prohibit the imposition of pecuniary penalties.
- Sec. 25.
—Treason.—Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
- Sec. 26.
—Indictment; Information; Examining Trial.—No person shall be prosecuted criminally in courts of record for felony or misdemeanor otherwise than by presentment or indictment or by information. No person shall be prosecuted for a felony by information without having had a preliminary examination before an examining magistrate, or having waived such preliminary examination. Prosecutions may be instituted in courts not of record upon a duly verified complaint.
- Sec. 27.
—Grand Jury.—A grand jury shall be composed of twelve men, any nine of whom concurring may find an indictment or true bill. A grand jury shall be convened upon the order of a judge of a court having the power to try and determine felonies, upon his own motion; or such grand jury shall be ordered by such judge upon the filing of a petition therefor signed by one hundred resident taxpayers of the county; when so assembled such grand jury shall have power to investigate and return indictments for all character and grades of crime, and such other powers as the Legislature may prescribe: Provided, That the Legislature may make the calling of a grand jury compulsory.
- Sec. 28.
—Petit Jury; Trial.—The right of trial by jury shall be and remain inviolate, and a jury for the trial of civil and criminal cases in courts of record, other than county courts, shall consist of twelve men; but, in county courts and courts not of record, a jury shall consist of six men. This section shall not be so construed as to prevent limitations being fixed by law upon the right of appeal from judgments of courts not of record in civil cases concerning causes of action involving less than twenty dollars. In civil cases, and in criminal cases less than felonies, three-fourths of the whole number of jurors concurring shall have power to render a verdict. In all other cases the entire number of jurors must concur to render a verdict. In case a verdict is rendered by less than the whole number of jurors, the verdict shall be in writing and signed by each juror concurring therein.
- Sec. 29.
—Criminal Prosecutions; Change of Venue; To be Confronted with Witnesses.—In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the county in which the crime shall have been committed: Provided, That the venue may be changed to some other county of the State, on the application of the accused, in such manner as may be prescribed by law. He shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him and have a copy thereof, and be confronted with the witnesses against him, and have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his behalf. He shall have the right to be heard by himself and counsel; and in capital cases, at least two days before the case is called for trail, he shall be furnished with a list of the witnesses that will be called in chief, to prove the allegations of the indictment or information, together with their postoffice addresses.
- Sec. 30.
—Evidence Against Oneself; Jeopardy.—No person shall be compelled to give evidence which will tend to incriminate him, except as in this Constitution specifically provided; nor shall any person, after having been once acquitted by a jury, be again put in jeopardy of life or liberty for that of which he has been acquitted. Nor shall any person be twice put in jeopardy of life or liberty for the same offense.
- Sec. 31.
—Right of Free Speech; Libel.—Every person may freely speak, write, or publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions for libel, the truth of the matter alleged to be libelous may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous be true, and was written or published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted.
- Sec. 32.
—Private Property Not to be Taken for Private Use.—No private property shall be taken or damaged for private use, with or without compensation, unless by consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, or for drains and ditches across lands of others for agricultural, mining, or sanitary purposes, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
- Sec. 35.
—Right to Bear Arms: Weapons.—The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.
- Sec. 36.
—Evidence; Compelled to Give; Immunity.—Any person having knowledge or possession of facts that tend to establish the guilt of any other person or corporation charged with an offense against the laws of the State, shall not be excused from giving testimony or producing evidence, when legally called upon so to do, on the ground that it may tend to incriminate him under the laws of the State; but no person shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he may so testify or produce evidence.
- Sec. 37.
—Records of Corporations Open to Inspection.—The records, books, and files of all corporations shall be, at all times, liable and subject to the full visitoral and inquisitorial powers of the State, notwithstanding the immunities and privileges in this Bill of Rights secured to the persons, inhabitants, and citizens thereof.
- Sec. 38.
—No Person Transported Out of State; Due Process of Law.—No person shall be transported out of the State for any offense committed within the State, nor shall any person be transported out of the State for any purpose, without his consent, except by due process of law; but nothing in this provision shall prevent the operation of extradition laws, or the transporting of persons sentenced for crime, to other states for the purpose of incarceration.
- Sec. 39.
—Search Warrants and Seizures.—The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches or seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, describing as particularly as may be the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.
- Sec. 40.
—State May Engage in Business.—The right of the State to engage in any occupation or business for public purposes shall not be denied nor prohibited, except that the State shall not engage in agriculture for any other than educational and scientific purposes and for the support of its penal, charitable, and educational institutions.
- Sec. 41.
—Perpetuities and Monopolies Prohibited.—Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed, nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State.
- Sec. 42.
—Enumeration of Rights No Denial of Others.—The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.
- Sec. 46.
—Election Board; Direct Vote for Senators.—The Legislature shall enact laws creating an election board (not more than a majority of whose members shall be selected from the same political party), and shall provide the time and manner of holding and conducting all elections; and, at any time the Federal Constitution may permit the election of United States senators by direct vote of the people, the Legislature shall provide for their election as for the election of Governor and other elective officers.
- Sec. 47.
—Mandatory Primary.—The Legislature shall enact laws providing for a mandatory primary system, which shall provide for the nomination of all candidates in all elections for State, District, County, and municipal officers, for all political parties, including United States Senators: Provided, However, this provision shall not exclude the right of the people to place on the ballot by petition any non-partisan candidate.
- Sec. 50.
—Legislative, Executive and Judicial.—Section 1. The powers of the government of the State of Oklahoma shall be divided into three separate departments: The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; and except as provided in this Constitution, the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments of government shall be separate and distinct, and neither shall exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others.
- Sec. 51.
—Reservation of Right of People.—The Legislative authority of the State shall be vested in a Legislature, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives; but the people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and amendments to the Constitution and to enact or reject the same at the polls independent of the Legislature, and also reserve power at their own option to approve or reject at the polls any act of the Legislature.
- Sec. 52.
—Petition; Per Centum Required.—The first power reserved by the people is the initiative, and eight per centum of the legal voters shall have the right to propose any legislative measure, and fifteen per centum of the legal voters shall have the right to propose amendments to the Constitution by petition, and every such petition shall include the full text of the measure so proposed. The second power is the referendum, and it may be ordered (except as to laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety), either by petition signed by five per centum of the legal voters or by the Legislature as other bills are enacted. The ratio and per centum of legal voters hereinbefore stated shall be based upon the total number of votes cast at the last general election for the State office receiving the highest number of votes at such election.
- Sec. 53.
—Referendum; Petition; Veto.—Referendum petitions shall be filed with the Secretary of State not more than ninety days after the final adjournment of the session of the Legislature which passed the bill on which the referendum is demanded. The veto power of the Governor shall not extend to measures voted on by the people. All elections on measures referred to the people of the State shall be had at the next election held throughout the State, except when the Legislature or the Governor shall order a special election for the express purpose of making such reference. Any measure referred to the people by the initiative shall take effect and be in force when it shall have been approved by a majority of the votes cast in such election. Any measure referred to the people by the referendum shall take effect and be in force when it shall have been approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon and not otherwise.
- Sec. 54.
—Style of Bills.—The style of all bills shall be: “Be it Enacted By the People of the State of Oklahoma.”
- Sec. 55.
—Petitions to be Filed.—Petitions and orders for the initiative and for the referendum shall be filed with the Secretary of State and addressed to the Governor of the State, who shall submit the same to the people. The Legislature shall make suitable provisions for carrying into effect the provisions of this article.
- Sec. 56.
—Referendum Against One or More Items.—The referendum may be demanded by the people against one or more items, sections, or parts of any act of the Legislature in the same manner in which such power may be exercised against a complete act. The filing of a referendum petition against one or more items, sections, or parts of an act shall not delay the remainder of such act from becoming operative.
- Sec. 57.
—Reserved to County and District.—The powers of the initiative and referendum reserved to the people by this Constitution for the State at large, are hereby further reserved to the legal voters of every county and district therein, as to all local legislation, or action, in the administration of county and district government in and for their respective counties and districts.
- Sec. 58.
—Prescribed by General Laws; Power of County Commissioners in Local Matters.—The manner of exercising said powers shall be prescribed by general laws, except that Boards of County Commissioners may provide for the time of exercising the initiative and referendum powers as to local legislation in their respective counties and districts.
- Sec. 59.
—Number of Petitioners in County or District.—The requisite number of petitioners for the invocation of the initiative and referendum in counties and districts shall bear twice, or double, the ratio to the whole number of legal voters in such county or district, as herein provided therefor in the State at large.
- Sec. 60.
—Measures Rejected Cannot be Proposed for Three Years.—Any measure rejected by the people, through the powers of the initiative and referendum, cannot be again proposed by the initiative within three years thereafter by less than twenty-five per centum of the legal voters.
- Sec. 61.
—Right of Legislature to Pass or Repeal.—The reservation of the powers of the initiative and referendum in this article shall not deprive the Legislature of the right to repeal any law, propose or pass any measure, which may be consistent with the Constitution of the State and the Constitution of the United States.
- Sec. 62.
—Corruption in Initiative and Referendum.—Laws shall be provided to prevent corruption in making, procuring, and submitting initiative and referendum petitions.
- Sec. 119.
—Limitations upon Power of Legislature to Pass Local or Special Laws.—The Legislature shall not, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, pass any local or special law authorizing:
- Sec. 119a.— The creation, extension, or impairing of liens;
- Sec. 119b.— Regulating the affairs of counties, cities, towns, wards, or school districts;
- Sec. 119c.— Changing the names of persons or places;
- Sec. 119d.— Authorizing the laying out, opening, altering, or maintaining of roads, highways, streets, or alleys;
- Sec. 119e.— Relating to ferries or bridges, or incorporating ferry or bridge companies, except for the erection of bridges crossing streams which form boundaries between this and any other State;
- Sec. 119f.— Vacating roads, town plats, streets, or alleys;
- Sec. 119g.— Relating to cemeteries, graveyards, or public grounds not owned by the State;
- Sec. 119h.— Authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children;
- Sec. 119i.— Locating or changing county seats;
- Sec. 119j.— Incorporating cities, towns, or villages, or changing their charters;
- Sec. 119k.— For the opening and conducting of elections, or fixing or changing the places of voting;
- Sec. 119l.— Granting divorces;
- Sec. 119m.— Creating offices, or prescribing the powers and duties of officers in counties, cities, towns, election or school districts;
- Sec. 119n.— Changing the law of descent or succession;
- Sec. 119o.— Regulating the practice or jurisdiction of, or changing the rules of evidence in judicial proceedings or inquiry before the courts, justices of the peace, sheriffs, commissioners, arbitrators, or other tribunals, or providing or changing the methods for the collection of debts, or the enforcement of judgments or prescribing the effect of judicial sales of real estate;
- Sec. 119p.— Regulating the fees, or extending the powers and duties of aldermen, justices of the peace, or constables;
- Sec. 119q.— Regulating the management of public schools, the building or repairing of school houses, and the raising of money for such purposes;
- Sec. 119r.— Fixing the rate of interest;
- Sec. 119s.— Affecting the estate of minors, or persons under disability;
- Sec. 119t.— Remitting fines, penalties and forfeitures, and refunding moneys legally paid into the treasury;
- Sec. 119u.— Exempting property from taxation;
- Sec. 119v.— Declaring any named person of age;
- Sec. 119w.— Extending the time for the assessment or collection of taxes, or otherwise relieving any assessor or collector of taxes from due performance of his official duties, or his securities from liability;
- Sec. 119x.— Giving effect to informal or invalid wills or deeds;
- Sec. 119y.— Summoning or impaneling grand or petit juries;
- Sec. 119z.— For limitation of civil or criminal actions;
- Sec. 119z1.— For incorporating railroads or other work of internal improvement;
- Sec. 119z2.— Providing for change of venue in civil and criminal cases.
- Sec. 120.
—No Officer to be Retired on Pay.—The Legislature shall not retire any officer on pay or part pay, or make any grant to such retiring officer.
- Sec. 121.
—Bureau of Immigration; No Money Appropriated For.—The Legislature shall have no power to appropriate any of the public money for the establishment and maintenance of a Bureau of Immigration in this State.
- Sec. 122.
—Employees of Legislature; Number and Emolument.—The legislature shall not increase the number or emolument of its employes, or the employes of either House, except by general law, which shall not take effect during the term at which such increase was made.
- Sec. 123.
—No Property Exempt from Taxation.—The legislature shall pass no law exempting any property withis [within] this State from taxation, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution.
- Sec. 124.
—No Exclusive Rights Granted.—The Legislature shall pass no law granting to any association, corporation, or individual any exclusive rights, privileges, or immunities within the State.
- Sec. 125.
—No Power to Revive or Take Away Right of Action.—The Legislature shall have no power to revive any right or remedy which may have become barred by lapse of time, or by any statute of this State. After suit has been commenced on any cause of action, the Legislature shall have no power to take away such cause of action, or destroy any existing defense to each suit.
- Sec. 126.
—No Power to Release Indebtedness of Corporation or Individual.—The Legislature shall have no power to release or extinguish, or to authorize the releasing or extinguishing, in whole or in part, the indebtedness, liabilities, or obligations of any corporation, or individual, to the State, or any county or other municipal corporation thereof.
- Sec. 127.
—Repeal of Statute Does Not Affect Vested Rights.—The repeal of a statute shall not revive a statute previously repealed by such statute, nor shall such repeal affect any accrued right, or penalty incurred, or proceedings begun by virtue of such repealed statute.
- Sec. 130.
—Acts to Embrace One Subject; Amendments.—Every act of the Legislature shall embrace but one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except general appropriation bills, general revenue bills, and bills adopting a code, digest, or revision of statutes; and no law shall be revised, amended, or the provisions thereof extended or conferred, by reference to its title only; but so much thereof as is revised, amended, extended, or conferred shall be re-enacted and published at length: Provided, That if any subject be embraced in any act contrary to the provisions of this section, such act shall be void only as to so much of the law as may not be expressed in the title thereof.
- Sec. 131.
—Acts to Take Effect in Ninety Days; Franchises; Emergency.—No act shall take effect until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was passed, except enactments for carrying into effect provisions relating to the initiative and referendum, or a general appropriation bill, unless, in case of emergency, to be expressed in the act, the Legislature, by a vote of two-thirds of all members elected to each House, so directs. An emergency measure shall include only such measures as are immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, and shall not include the granting of franchises or license to a corporation or individual, to extend longer than one year, nor provision for the purchase or sale of real estate, nor the renting or encumbrance of real property for a longer term than one year. Emergency measures may be vetoed by the Governor, but such measures so vetoed may be passed by a three-fourths vote of each House, to be duly entered on the journal.
- Sec. 132.
—General Laws to Have Uniform Operation.—Laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation throughout the State, and where a general law can be made applicable, no special law shall be enacted.
- Sec. 133.
—System of Checks and Balances Between Officials.—The Legislature shall provide by law for the establishment and maintenance of an efficient system of checks and balances between the officers of the Executive Department, and all commissioners and superintendents, and boards of control of State institutions, and all other officers entrusted with the collection, receipt, custody, or disbursement of the revenue or moneys of the State whatsoever.
- Sec. 134.
—Officials Constituting Executive Authority.—The Executive authority of the State shall be vested in a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Examiner and Inspector, Chief Mine Inspector, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Charities and Corrections, Commissioner of Insurance, and other offices provided by law and this Constitution, each of whom shall keep his office and public records, books, and papers at the seat of government, and shall perform such duties as may be designated in this Constitution or prescribed by law.
- Sec. 153.
—Term and Duties.—A Department of Labor is hereby created to be under the control of a Commissioner of Labor who shall be elected by the people, whose term of office shall be four years, and whose duties shall be prescribed by law.
- Sec. 154.
—Board of Arbitration and Conciliation.—The Legislature shall create a Board of Arbitration and Conciliation in the Department of Labor and the Commissioner of Labor shall be ex-officio chairman.
- Sec. 168.
—Seal of the State.—In the center shall be a five pointed star, with one ray directed upward. The center of the star shall contain the central device of the seal of the Territory of Oklahoma, including the words, “Labor Omnia Vincit.” The upper left hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Cherokee Nation, namely: A seven pointed star partially surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. The ray directed upwards shall contain the symbol of the ancient-seal of the Chickasaw Nation, namely: An Indian warrior standing upright with bow and shield. The lower left hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Creek Nation, namely: A sheaf of wheat and a plow. The upper right hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Choctaw Nation, namely: A tomahawk, bow, and three crossed arrows. The lower right and ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Seminole Nation, namely: A village with houses and a factory beside a lake upon which an Indian is paddling a canoe. Surrounding the central star and grouped between its rays shall be forty-five small stars, divided into five clusters of nine stars each, representing the forty-five states of the Union, to which the forty-sixth is now added. In a circular band surrounding the whole device shall be inscribed, “Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma, 1907.”
- Sec. 193.
—Trial by Jury Waived.—In all issues of fact joined in any court, all parties may waive the right to have the same determined by jury; in which case the finding of the judge, upon the facts, shall have the force and effect of a verdict by jury.
- Sec. 194.
—Jury to Return General Verdict; Court May Direct Special Findings.—In all jury trials, the jury shall return a general verdict, and no law in force, nor any law hereafter enacted, shall require the court to direct the jury to make findings on particular questions of fact; but the court may, in its discretion, direct such special findings.
- Sec. 205.
—Have All Powers not Possessed by Individuals.—As used in this article, the term “corporation” or “company” shall include all associations and joint stock companies, having any power or privileges, not possessed by individuals, and exclude all municipal corporations and public institutions owned or controlled by the State; the term “charter” shall mean the charter of incorporation, by or under which any corporation is formed. The term “license” shall mean the authority under which all foreign corporations are permitted to transact business in this State.
- Sec. 206.
—Common Carriers; Right to Construct and Operate Lines.—Every railroad, oil pipe, car, express, telephone or telegraph corporation or association organized or authorized to do a transportation of transmission business under the laws of this State for such purpose, shall, each respectively, have the right to construct and operate its line between any points in this State, and as such to connect at the State line with like lines; and every such company shall have the right with its road or line, to intersect, connect with, or cross any railroad or such line.
- Sec. 207.
—To transport Each Other’s Cars and Passengers.—Every railroad, car, or express company, shall each, respectively, receive and transport without delay or discrimination each other’s cars, loaded or empty, tonnage, and passengers, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law or any commission created by this Constitution or by act of the Legislature for that purpose.
- Sec. 208.
—Oil Pipe Companies Subject to Control of Commission.—All oil pipe companies shall be subject to the reasonable control and regulation of the Corporation Commission, and shall receive and transport each other’s tonnage or oils, or commodities, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law, or such commission.
- Sec. 209.
—Telephone and Telegraph Lines to Transmit Each Other’s Messages.—All telephone and telegraph lines, operated for hire, shall each, respectively, receive and transmit each other’s messages without delay or discrimination, and make physical connections with each other’s lines, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law, or by any commission created by this Constitution, or any act of the Legislature, for that purpose.
- Sec. 210.
—Railroads Public Highways; Office in State; Meetings of Directors, etc.—Railroads heretofore constructed, or which may hereafter be constructed in this State, are hereby declared public highways. Every railroad or other public service corporation organized or doing business in this State, under the laws or authority thereof, shall have and maintain a public office or place in this State, for the transaction of its business, where transfers of stock shall be made, and where shall be kept, for inspection by the stockholders of such corporation, books, in which shall be recorded the amount of capital stock subscribed, the names of the owners of stock, the amounts owned by them, respectively; the amount of stock paid, and by whom; the transfer of said stock, with the date of transfer; the amount of its assets and liabilities, and the names and places of residence of its officers, and such other matters required by law or by order of the Corporation Commission. The directors of every railroad company, or other public service corporation, shall hold at least one meeting annually in this State, public notice of which shall be given thirty days previously, and the president or superintendent of every railroad company and other public service corporation organized or doing business in this state under the laws of this State, or the authority thereof, shall report annually under oath, and make such other reports as may be required by law or order of the Corporation Commission, to said Commission, their acts and doings, which report shall include such matters relating to railroads and other public service corporations as may be prescribed by law. The Legislature shall pass all necessary laws enforcing, by suitable penalties, all the provisions in this section.
- Sec. 211.
—Rolling Stock Considered Personal Property, Subject to Sale.—The rolling stock and all other movable property belonging to any railroad, transportation, transmission, or other public corporation in this State, shall be considered personal property, and its real and personal property, or any part thereof, shall be liable to execution and sale in the same manner as the property of individuals; and the Legislature shall pass no laws exempting any such property from execution and sale.
- Sec. 212.
—Must not Consolidate with Competing Lines.—No public service corporation, or the lessees, purchasers, or managers thereof shall consolidate the stock, property, or franchises, of such corporation with, or lease or purchase the works of franchisers of, or in any way control, any other public service corporation owning or having under its control a parallel or competing line; except by enactment of the Legislature upon the recommendation of the Corporation Commission: Provided, however, That the Legislature shall never enact any law permitting any public service corporation, the lessees, purchasers, or managers thereof, when such public service corporation is organized under the laws of any other State or of the United States, to consolidate the stock, property, or franchise, of such corporation with, or lease, or purchase, the works of, franchises of, or in any way control, any other public service corporation, organized under the laws of any other State, or of the United States, owning or having under its control in this State, a parallel or competing line; nor shall any officer of such corporation act as an officer of any other corporation owning or controlling a parallel or competing line.
- Sec. 213.
—Must not Consolidate with Company Organized in Another State.—Neither shall any railroad company, transportation company, or transmission company, organized under the laws of this State, consolidate by private or judicial sale, or otherwise, with any railroad company, transportation company, or transmission company organized under the laws of any other State, or of the United States.
- Sec. 214.
—Street Railroad; Consent of Local Authorities Required.—No law shall be passed by the legislature granting the right to construct and operate a street railroad within any city, town, or village, or upon any public highway, without first acquiring the consent of the local authorities having control of the street or highway proposed to be occupied by such street railroad.
- Sec. 215.
—Must Accept Provision of Constitution.—No railroad, transportation, transmission, or other public service corporation in existence at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall have the benefit of any future legislation, except on condition of complete acceptance of all the provisions of this Constitution, applicable to railroads, transportation companies, transmission companies, and other public service corporations: Provided, That nothing herein shall be construed as validating any charter which may be invalid, or waiving any of the conditions contained in any charter.
- Sec. 216.
—No Railroad to Transport Articles Manufactured by it.—No railroad company shall transport, within this State, any article or commodity manufactured, mined, or produced by it, or under its authority, or which it may own, in whole or in part, or in which it may have any interest, direct or indirect, except such articles or commodities as may be necessary and intended for its use in the conduct of its business as a common carrier.
- Sec. 217.
—No Free Transportation; Exceptions; Penalty for Violation.—No railroad corporation or transportation company, or transmission company shall, directly or indirectly, issue or give any free frank or free ticket, free pass or other free transportation, for any use, within this State, except to its employes and their families, its officers, agents, surgeons, physicians, and attorneys at law; to ministers of religion, traveling secretaries for railroad Young Men’s Christian Associations, inmates of hospitals and charitable and eleemosynary institutions and persons exclusively engaged in charitable and eleemosynary work; to indigent, destitute, and homeless persons, and to such persons when transported by charitable societies or hospitals, and the necessary agents, employed in such transportations; to inmates of the National Homes, or State Homes for disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and of Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Homes, including those about to enter and those returning home after discharge, and boards of managers of such Homes; to members of volunteer fire departments and their equipage while traveling as such; to necessary caretakers of live stock, poultry, and fruit; to employes of sleeping cars, of express cars, and to linemen of telegraph and telephone companies; to Railway Mail Service employes, postoffice inspectors, customs inspectors, and immigration inspectors; to newsboys on trains, baggage agents, witnesses attending any legal investigation in which the railroad company or transportation company is interested, persons injured in wrecks, and physicians and nurses attending such persons: Provided, That this provision shall not be construed to prohibit the interchange of passes for the officers, agents, and employes of common carriers and their families; nor prohibit any common carriers from carrying passengers free with the object of providing relief in cases of general epidemic, pestilence, or other calamitous visitation; nor to prevent them from transporting, free of charge, to their places of employment persons entering their service, and the interchange of passes to that end; and any railroad, transportation, or transmission company or any person, other than the persons excepted in this provision, who grants or uses any such free frank, free ticket, free pass, or free transportation within this State, shall be deemed guilty of a crime, and the Legislature shall provide proper penalties for the violation of any provision of this section by the railroad or transportation or transmission company, or by any individual: Provided, That nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from extending these provisions so as to exclude such free transportations or franks from other persons.
- Sec. 218.
—Railroads to Pass Through County Seats.—No railroad hereafter constructed in this State shall pass within a distance of four miles of any county seat without passing through the same and establishing and maintaining a depot therein, unless prevented by natural obstacles such as streams, hills, or mountains: Provided, Such town, or its citizens, shall grant the right-of-way through its limits and sufficient ground for ordinary depot purposes.
- Sec. 219.
—Election; Terms; Vacancy.—A Corporation Commission is hereby created, to be composed of three persons, who shall be elected by the people at a general election for State officers, and their terms of office shall be six years: Provided, Corporation Commissioners first elected under this Constitution shall hold office as follows: One shall serve until the second Monday in January, nineteen hundred and nine; one until the second Monday in January, nineteen hundred and eleven; and one until the second Monday in January, nineteen hundred and thirteen; their terms to be decided by lot immediately after they shall have qualified: In case of a vacancy in said office, the Governor of the State shall fill such vacancy by appointment until the next general election, when a successor shall be elected to fill out any unexpired term.
- Sec. 231.
—Appeals to Supreme Court; Acts of Commission Not to be Suspended Except by Supreme Court.—From any action of the Commission prescribing rates, charges of classifications of traffic, or affecting the train schedule of any transportation company, or requiring additional facilities, conveniences, or public service of any transportation or transmission company, or refusing to approve a suspending bond, or requiring additional security thereon as hereinafter provided for, an appeal (subject to such reasonable limitations as to time, regulations as to procedure and provisions as to cost, as may be prescribed by law) may be taken by the corporation whose rates, charges, or classifications of traffic, schedule, facilities, conveniences, or service, are effected, or by any person deeming himself aggrieved by such action, or (if allowed by law) by the State. Until otherwise provided by law, such appeal shall be taken in the manner in which appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court from the District Courts, except that such an appeal shall be of right.
- Sec. 242.
—Commission to Ascertain Cost, Indebtedness, Bonds, and Salaries; Annual Report of Information.—The Commission shall ascertain, and enter of record, the same to be a public record, as early as practicable, the amount of money expended in construction and equipment per mile of every railroad and other public service corporation in Oklahoma, the amount of money expended to procure the right of way, and the amount of money it would require to reconstruct the roadbed, track, depots, and transportation facilities, and to replace all the physical properties belonging to the railroad or other public service corporation. It shall also ascertain the outstanding bonds, debentures, and indebtedness, and the amount, respectively thereof, when issued, and the rate of interest, when due, for what purposes issued, how used, to whom issued, to whom sold, and the price in cash, property, or labor, if any, received therefor, what became of the proceeds, by whom the indebtedness is held, the amount purporting to be due thereon, the floating indebtedness of the company, to whom due, and his address, the credits due on it, the property on hand belonging to the railroad company or other public service corporation, and the judicial or other sales of said road, its property or franchises, and the amounts purporting to have been paid, and in what manner paid therefor. The Commission shall also ascertain the amounts paid for salaries to the officers of the railroad, or other public service corporation, and the wages paid its employees.
- Sec. 245.
—Duty of Commission to Investigate Rates; May Make Corrections and Notify Interstate Commerce Commission.—The said Commission shall have power, and it is hereby made its duty, to investigate all through freight or passenger rates on railroads in this State, and when the same are, in the opinion of the Commission, excessive or levied or laid in violation of the Interstate Commerce Law, or the rules and regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the proper officials of the railroads are to be notified of the facts and requested to reduce them or make the proper corrections, as the case may be. When the rates are not changed, or the proper corrections are not made according to the request of the Commission, it shall be the duty of the latter to notify the Interstate Commerce Commission and to make proper application to it for relief, and the Attorney General or such other persons as may be designated by law shall represent the Commission in all such matters.
- Sec. 251.
—Two Cents Per Mile Rate.—No person, company, or corporation, receiver, or other agency, operating a railroad, other than street railroad or electric railroad, in whole or in part, within this State, shall demand or receive for first-class transportation for each passenger, between points within this State on the portion of its road operated within this State, more than two cents per mile, until otherwise provided by law: Provided, However, The Corporation Commission shall have the power to exempt any railroad from the operation of this section upon satisfactory proof that it cannot earn a just compensation for the services rendered by it to the public, if not permitted to charge more than two cents per mile for the transportation of passengers within the State.
- Sec. 254.
—Must Not Contribute to Elections.—No corporation organized or doing business in this State shall be permitted to influence elections or official duty by contributions of money or anything of value.
- Sec. 255.
—Shall Not Own Stock of Another Corporation.—No corporation chartered or licensed to do business in this State shall own, hold, or control, in any manner whatever, the stock of any competitive corporation or corporations engaged in the same kind of business, in or out of the State, except such stock as may be pledged in good faith to secure bona fide indebtedness acquired upon foreclosure, execution, sale, or otherwise for the satisfaction of debt.
- Sec. 256.
—Must Dispose of Stock in Twelve Months; Bank and Trust Company.—In all cases where any corporation acquires stock in any other corporation, as herein provided, it shall be required to dispose of the same within twelve months from the date of acquisition; and during the period of its ownership of such stock it shall have no right to participate in the control of such corporation, except when permitted by order of the Corporation Commission. No trust company, or bank or banking company shall own, hold, or control, in any manner whatever, the stock of any other trust company, or bank or banking company, except such stock as may be pledged in good faith to secure bona fide indebtedness, acquired upon foreclosure, execution sale, or otherwise for the satisfaction of debt; and such stock shall be disposed of in the time and manner hereinbefore provided.
- Sec. 257.
—Must Submit to Arbitration.—Every license issued or charter granted to a mining or public service corporation, foreign or domestic, shall contain a stipulation that such corporation will submit any difference it may have with employes in reference to labor, to arbitration, as shall be provided by law.
- Sec. 260.
—Monopoly; Must Not Discriminate.—Until otherwise provided by law, no person, firm, association, or corporation engaged in the production, manufacture, distribution, or sale of any commodity of general use, shall, for the purpose of creating a monopoly or destroying competition in trade, discriminate between different persons, associations, or corporations, or different sections, communities, or cities of the State, by selling such commodity at a lower rate in one section, community, or city than in another, after making due allowance for the difference, if any, in the grade, quantity, or quality, and in the actual cost of transportation from the point of production or manufacture.
revenue and taxation
- Sec. 271.
—Exemptions; Manufacturing Establishments.—The Legislature may authorize any incorporated city or town, by a majority vote of its electors voting thereon, to exempt manufacturing establishments and public utilities from municipal taxation, for a period not exceeding five years, as an inducement to their location.
- Sec. 272.
—Assessments for Local Improvements.—The Legislature may authorize county and municipal corporations to levy and collect assessments for local improvements upon property benefited thereby, homesteads included, without regard to a cash valuation.
- Sec. 273.
—Property Assessed at Fair Cash Value; Penalty.—All property which may be taxed ad valorem shall be assessed for taxation at its fair cash value, estimated at the price it would bring at a fair voluntary sale; and any officer, or other person authorized to assess values, or subjects, for taxation, who shall commit any wilful error in the performance of his duty, shall be deemed guilty of malfeasance, and upon conviction thereof shall forfeit his office, and be otherwise punished as may be provided by law.
- Sec. 281.
—Credit of State Not Given.—The credit of the State shall not be given, pledged, or loaned to any individual, company, corporation, or association, municipality, or political subdivision of the State; nor shall the State become an owner or stockholder in, nor make donation by gift, subscription to stock, by tax or otherwise, to any company, association, or corporation.
- Sec. 289.
—State May Control Debts; Limitation.—The State may, to meet casual deficits or failure in revenues, or for expenses not provided for, contract debts; but such debts, direct and contingent, singly or in the aggregate, shall not, at any time, exceed four hundred thousand dollars, and the moneys arising from the loans creating such debts shall be applied to the purpose for which they were obtained or to repay the debts so contracted, and to no other purpose whatever.
- Sec. 290.
—May Contract Debts; to Repel Invasion.—In addition to the above limited power to contract debts, the State may contract debts to repel invasion, suppress insurrection or to defend the State in war; but the money arising from the contracting of such debts shall be applied to the purpose for which it was raised, or to repay such debts, and to no other purpose whatever.
- Sec. 291.
—Debts; Limitations; Submitted to People.—Except the debts specified in sections twenty-three and twenty-four of this article, no debts shall hereafter be contracted by or on behalf of this State, unless such debt shall be authorized by law for some work or object, to be distinctly specified therein; and such law shall impose and provide for the collection of a direct annual tax to pay, and sufficient to pay, the interest on such debt as it falls due and also to pay and discharge the principal of such debt within twenty-five years from the time of the contracting thereof. No such law shall take effect until it shall, at a general election, have been submitted to the people and have received a majority of all the votes cast for and against it at such election. On the final passage of such bill in either House of the Legislature, the question shall be taken by yeas and nays, to be duly entered on the journals thereof, and shall be: “Shall this bill pass, and ought the same to receive the sanction of the people?”
- Sec. 292.
—Limitation Upon Debts of City, County, etc.; Vote by People; Sinking Fund.—No county, city, town, township, school district, or other political corporation, or subdivision of the State, shall be allowed to become indebted, in any manner, or for any purpose, to an amount exceeding, in any year, the income and revenue provided for such year, without the assent of three-fifths of the voters thereof, voting at an election, to be held for that purpose, nor in cases requiring such assent, shall any indebtedness be allowed to be incurred to an amount including existing indebtedness, in the aggregate exceeding five per centum of the valuation of the taxable property therein, to be ascertained from the last assessment for State and county purposes previous to the incurring of such indebtedness: Provided, That any county, city, town, township, school district, or other political corporation, or subdivision of the State, incurring any indebtedness, requiring the assent of the voters as aforesaid, shall, before or at the time of doing so, provide for the collection of an annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on such indebtedness as it falls due, and also to constitute a sinking fund for the payment of the principal thereof within twenty-five years from the time of contracting the same.
- Sec. 293.
—Public Utilities; Indebtedness for; Sinking Fund.—Any incorporated city or town in this State may, by a majority of the qualified property tax paying voters of such city or town, voting at an election to be held for that purpose, be allowed to become indebted in a larger amount than that specified in section twenty-six for the purpose of purchasing or constructing public utilities, or for repairing the same, to be owned exclusively by such city: Provided, That any such city or town incurring any such indebtedness requiring the assent of the voters as aforesaid, shall have the power to provide for, and, before or at the time of incurring such indebtedness, shall provide for the collection of an annual tax in addition to the other taxes provided for by this Constitution, sufficient to pay the interest on such indebtedness as it falls due, and also to constitute a sinking fund for the payment of the principal thereof within twenty-five years from the time of contracting the same.
homestead and exemptions
- Sec. 304.
—What to Consist of.—The homestead of any family in this State, not within any city, town, or village, shall consist of not more than one hundred and sixty acres of land, which may be in one or more parcels, to be selected by the owner. The homestead within any city, town, or village, owned and occupied as a residence only, shall consist of not exceeding one acre of land, to be selected by the owner: Provided, That the same shall not exceed in value the sum of five thousand dollars, and in no event shall the homestead be reduced to less than one-quarter of an acre, without regard to value: And Provided Further, That in case said homestead is used for both residence and business purposes, the homestead interest therein shall not exceed in value the sum of five thousand dollars: Provided, That nothing in the laws of the United States, or any treaties with the Indian Tribes in the State, shall deprive any Indian or other allottee of the benefit of the homestead and exemption laws of the State: And Provided Further, That any temporary renting of the homestead shall not change the character of the same when no other homestead has been acquired.
- Sec. 305.
—Protected from Forced Sale; Consent of Wife.—The homestead of the family shall be, and is hereby protected from forced sale, for the payment of debts, except for the purchase money therefor or a part of such purchase money, the taxes due thereon, or for work and material used in constructing improvements thereon; nor shall the owner, if married, sell the homestead without the consent of his or her spouse, given in such manner as may be prescribed by law: Provided, Nothing in this article shall prohibit any person from mortgaging his homestead, the spouse, if any, joining therein; nor prevent the sale thereof on foreclosure to satisfy any such mortgage.
- Sec. 316.
—Legal Rate of Interest.—The legal rate of interest shall not exceed six per centum per annum in the absence of any contract as to the rate of interest, and, by contract, parties may agree upon any rate not to exceed ten per centum per annum, and until reduced by the Legislature, said rates of six and ten per centum shall be, respectively, the legal and the maximum contract rates of interest.
- Sec. 411.
—Legislature May Provide for Organization.—Section 1. Municipal corporations shall not be created by special laws, but the Legislature, by general laws shall provide for the incorporation and organization of cities and towns and the classification of same in proportion to population, subject to the provisions of this article.
- Sec. 413.
—Procedure for Obtaining Special Charter; Election.—Any city containing a population of more than two thousand inhabitants may frame a charter for its own government, consistent with and subject to the Constitution and laws of this State, by causing a board of freeholders, composed of two from each ward, who shall be qualified electors of said city, to be elected by the qualified electors of said city, at any general or special election, whose duty it shall be, within ninety days after such election, to prepare and propose a charter for such city, which shall be signed in duplicate by the members of such board or a majority of them, and returned, one copy of said charter to the chief executive officer of such city, and the other to the Register of Deeds to the county in which said city shall be situated. Such proposed charter shall then be published in one or more newspapers published and of general circulation within said city, for at least twenty-one days, if in a daily paper, or in three consecutive issues, if in a weekly paper, and the first publication shall be made within twenty days after the completion of the charter; and within thirty days, and not earlier than twenty days after such publication, it shall be submitted to the qualified electors of said city at a general or special election, and if a majority of such qualified electors voting thereon shall ratify the same, it shall thereafter be submitted to the Governor for his approval, and the Governor shall approve the same if it shall not be in conflict with the Constitution and laws of this State. Upon such approval it shall become the organic law of such city and supersede any existing charter and all amendments thereof and all ordinances inconsistent with it. A copy of such charter, certified by the chief executive officer, and authenticated by the seal of such city, setting forth the submission of such charter to the electors and its ratification by them shall after the approval of such charter by the Governor, be made in duplicate and deposited, one in the office of the Secretary of State, and the other, after being recorded in the office of said Register of Deeds, shall be deposited in the archives of the city; and thereafter all courts shall take judicial notice of said charter. The charter so ratified may be amended by proposals therefor, submitted by the legislative authority of the city to the qualified electors thereof (or by petition as hereinafter provided) at a general or special election, and ratified by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereion, and approved by the Governor as herein provided for the approval of the charter.
- Sec. 414.
—Board of Freeholders to Draft Charter.—An election of such board of freeholders may be called at any time by the legislative authority of any such city, and such election shall be called by the chief executive officer of any such city within ten days after there shall have been filed with him a petition demanding the same, signed by a number of qualified electors residing within such city, equal to twenty-five per centum of the total number of votes cast at the next preceding general municipal election; and such election shall be held not later than thirty days after the call therefor. At such election a vote shall be taken upon the question of whether or not further proceedings toward adopting a charter shall be had in pursuance to the call, and unless a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon shall vote to proceed further, no further proceeding shall be had and all proceedings up to that time shall be of no effect.
initiative and referendum
- Sec. 415.
—Reserved to Every Municipality.—The powers of the initiative and referendum, reserved by this Constitution to the people of the State and the respective counties and districts therein, and hereby reserved to the people of every municipal corporation now existing or which shall hereafter be created within this State, with reference to all legislative authority which it may exercise, and amendments to charters for its own government in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
- Sec. 416.
—Petition for; Requisite Number.—Every petition for either the initiative or referendum in the goverment of a municipal corporation shall be signed by a number of qualified electors residing within the territorial limits of such municipal corporation, equal to twenty-five per centum of the total number of votes cast at the next preceding election, and every such petition shall be filed with the chief exective officer of such municipal corporation.
- Sec. 417.
—Initiative; Enactment of Ordinance.—When such petition demands the enactment of an ordinance or other legal act other than the grant, extension, or renewal of a franchise, the chief executive officer shall present the same to the legislative body of such corporation at its next meeting, and unless the said petition shall be granted more than thirty days before the next election at which any city officers are to be elected, the chief executive officer shall submit the said ordinance or act so petitioned for, to the qualified electors at said election; and if a majority of said electors voting thereon shall vote for the same, it shall thereupon become in full force and effect.
- Sec. 418.
—Referendum on Ordinance.—When such petition demands a referendum vote upon any ordinance or any other legal act other than the grant, extension, or renewal of a franchise, the chief executive offier shall submit said ordinance or act to the qualified electors of said corporation at the next succeeding general municipal election, and if, at said election, a majority of the electors voting thereon shall not vote for the same, it shall thereupon stand repealed.
- Sec. 419.
—Amendment to Charter; How Made.—When such petition demands an amendment to a charter, the chief executive officer shall submit such amendment to the qualified electors of said municipal corporation at the next election of any officer of said corporation, and if, at said election, a majority of said electors voting thereon shall vote for such amendment, the same shall thereupon become an amendment to and a part of said charter, when approved by the Governor and filed in the same manner and form as an original charter is required by the provisions of this article to be approved and filed.
- Sec. 420.
—Vote by People; Election.—No municipal corporation shall ever grant, extend, or renew a franchise, without the approval of a majority of the qualified electors residing within its corporate limits, who shall vote thereon at a general or special election; and the legislative body of any such corporation may submit any such matter for approval or disapproval to such electors at any general municipal election, or call a special election for such purpose at any time upon thirty days’ notice; and no franchise shall be granted, extended, or renewed for a longer term than twenty-five years.
- Sec. 421.
—Petition for Election.—Whenever a petition signed by a number of qualified electors of any municipal corporation equal to twenty-five per centum of the total number of votes cast at the next preceding general municipal election, demanding that a franchise be granted, extended, or renewed, shall be filed with the chief executive officer of said corporation, the chief executive officer shall, within ten days thereafter, call a special election, at which he shall submit the question of whether or not such franchise shall be granted, extended, or renewed, and if, at said election, a majority of the said electors voting thereon shall vote for the grant, extension, or renewal of such franchise the same shall be granted by the proper authorities at the next succeeding regular meeting of the legislative body of the city.
- Sec. 422.
—May Engage in Any Business.—Every municipal corporation within this State shall have the right to engage in any business or enterprise which may be engaged in by a person, firm, or corporation by virtue of a franchise from said corporation.
- Sec. 423.
—Reservation of Control Over Public Highways; Charges Regulated; Exclusive Franchises Prohibited.—No grant, extension or renewal of any franchise or other use of the streets, alleys, or other public grounds or ways of any municipality, shall divest the State, or any of its subordinate subdivisions, of their control and regulation of such use and enjoyment.Nor shall the power to regulate the charges for public services be surrendered; and no exclusive franchise shall ever be granted.
- Sec. 435.
—Eight Hours.—Eight hours shall constitute a day’s work in all cases of employment by and on behalf of the State or any county or municipality.
- Sec. 436.
—Contracting for.—The contracting of convict labor is hereby prohibited.
- Sec. 437.
—Employment Prohibited.—The employment of children, under the age of fifteen years, in any occupation, injurious to health or morals or especially hazardous to life or limb, is hereby prohibited.
- Sec. 438.
—Underground Work Prohibited; Eight Hours a Day.—Boys under the age of sixteen years, and women and girls, shall not be employed, underground, in the operation of mines; and, except in case of emergency, eight hours shall constitute a day’s work underground in all mines in the State.
- Sec. 439.
—Health and Safety of Employes.—The Legislature shall pass laws to protect the health and safety of employes in factories, in mines, and on railroads.
- Sec. 440.
—Defense of.—The defense of contributory negligence or of assumption of risk shall, in all cases whatsoever, be a question of fact, and shall, at all times, be left to the jury.
- Sec. 441.
—Rights of Action; Damages.—The right of action to recover damages for injuries resulting in death and shall never be abrogated, and the amount recoverable shall not be subject to any statutory limitation.
waiver of rights
- Sec. 442.
—Contracts Void.—Any provision of a contract, express or implied, made by any person, by which any of the benefits of this Constitution is sought to be waived, shall be null and void.
- Sec. 443.
—Void Provisions in Contract.—Any provision of any contract or agreement, express or implied, stipulating for notice or demand other than such as may be provided by law, as a condition precedent to estabish any claim, demand, or liability, shall be null and void.
definition of races
- Sec. 447.
—Convention; Referendum Vote.—No convention shall be called by the Legislature to propose alterations, revisions, or amendments to this Constitution, or to propose a new Constitution, unless the law providing for such convention shall first be approved by the people on a referendum vote at a regular or special election, and any amendments, alterations, revisions, or new Constitution, proposed by such convention, shall be submitted to the electors of the State at a general or special election and be approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, before the same shall become effective: Provided, That the question of such proposed convention shall be submitted to the people at least once in every twenty years.
- Sec. 448.
—Initiative Petition.—Sec. 3. This article shall not impair the right of the people to amend this Constitution by a vote upon an initiative petition therefor.
Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, § 374.
The difficulty does not arise with stock or shares even when held in a company outside a state, because all states now tax corporations or companies within their jurisdiction, and the principle is generally (though not universally) adopted, that where stocks in a corporation outside the state have been so taxed, they shall not be again taxed in the hand of the holder of the stock, who may reside within the state. State laws and tax assessors can in each state succeed in reaching the property of the corporation itself.
“A person, formerly assessor in one of our leading cities, reported that he had made efforts when in office to get this kind of property into the ‘grand list,’ and succeeded during his last two years in finding out and adding over $200,000 of it; but he adds, ‘That may have had something to do with my defeat when election came around.’ ” So in West Virginia when an assessor objecting to a merchant’s declaration threatened to swear the merchant, the latter replied, “If you swear me, I’ll vote against you next time.”
The six are Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Georgia—all original states. Where the meetings are biennial or quadrennial, the legislature by adjourning sometimes gives itself a second session.
The members, however, being usually new to the work, are rawer and positively more dangerous when their term includes only one session than they are during the second session in those states which allow two.
It is found in a private letter of Alexander Hamilton (then only twenty-three years of age) of that year.
As to Kentucky, see p. 384.
The state conventions which carried, or rather affected to carry, the seceding slave states out of the Union, acted as sovereign bodies. Their proceedings, however, though clothed with legal forms, were practically revolutionary.
The questions of practical importance to the states with which a state convention would deal are very often not in issue between the two state parties, seeing that the latter are formed on national lines.
Many of the men conspicuous in the public life of Massachusetts during the succeeding thirty years first made their mark in the Constitutional Convention of 1853. The draft framed by that convention was, however, rejected by the people. The new constitution for New York, framed by the Convention of 1867, was also lost at the polls. That convention was remarkable as being (according to Judge Jameson) the only one in which the requirement that a delegate must be resident in the district electing him was dispensed with (Constit. Conventions, § 267).
Georgia, however, had not till 1789 a true second chamber, her constitution of 1777 having merely created an executive council elected by the assembly from among its own members.
Vermont was not one of the thirteen original states, but was a semi-independent commonwealth, not a member of the Confederation of 1781, not represented in the Convention of 1787, and not admitted to the Union till 1791.
But it is well observed by Mr. J. H. Robinson (Original and Derived Features of the United States Constitution, p. 29) that this system may have been suggested by the Constitution of Maryland (1776), which provided for a choice of the state senators by a body of electors chosen every five years by the people for this purpose. Mr. Robinson rightly disapproves Sir H. Maine’s comparison of the electoral system of the Romano-Germanic Empire.
The official distinction in the yearly editions of the statutes is into Public General Acts, Public Acts of a local character (which include Provisional Order Acts and Local Acts), and Private Acts. But in ordinary speech, those measures which are brought in at the instance of particular persons for a local purpose are called private.
Mr. A. R. Spofford (formerly Librarian of Congress) in American Cyclopædia of Political Science, Article “Lobby.”
The phrase one often hears “there was a strong lobby” (i.e., for or against such and such a bill) denotes that the interests and influences represented were numerous and powerful.
As to Congress, see § 5450 of Revised Statutes of the United States. The provisions of state statutes are too numerous to mention. See p. 410. Massachusetts endeavoured by statute to regulate her state lobby, by requiring every person promoting a bill to state whom he has employed for the purpose and what he has paid. New York, Missouri, and other states have also passed laws designed to regulate and check lobbying. Some good has been done, but the evils do not seem to have been extirpated.
Cooley, Constit. Limit., p. 166. He refers to the observations of Justice Chapman, in Frost v. Belmont, 6 Allen, 152:
“Though Committees properly dispense with many of the rules which regulate hearings before judicial tribunals, yet common fairness requires that neither party shall be permitted to have secret consultations and exercise secret influences that are kept from the knowledge of the other party. The business of ‘lobby members’ is not to go fairly and openly before the committees and present statements, proofs, and arguments, that the other side has an opportunity to meet and refute if they are wrong, but to go secretly to the members and ply them with statements and arguments that the other side cannot openly meet, however erroneous they may be, and to bring illegitimate influences to bear upon them. If the ‘lobby member’ is selected because of his political or personal influence, it aggravates the wrong. If his business is to unite various interests by means of projects that are called ‘log-rolling,’ it is still worse. The practice of procuring members of the legislature to act under the influence of what they have eaten and drunk at houses of entertainment tends to render those who yield to such influences wholly unfit to act in such cases.”
This constitution is the latest adopted by a new state up to 1910. Attention is specially called to the following provisions given in the extracts quoted, viz., Bill of Rights § § 3, 8, 10–35, 38–42; Sale of intoxicants § 9; Primaries § 47; Initiative and Referendum § § 51–62, 291–92, 415–19, 447–48; Limitations on the power of the legislature (35 restrictions specified) § § 119–36; Corporations § § 205–19, 231–42, 245, 251, 254–57, 260, 422–23; State Debts § 281, 289–93; Power to cities to make their own charters § § 413–14; Homestead and Exemptions § § 304–5; Making void contracts § § 442–43.