CONSTITUTION OF 1861


ARTICLE II

DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS


Section 1. The powers of the government of the State of Alabama shall be divided into three distinct departments; and each of them confided to a separate body of magistracy, to-wit: those which are legislative to one; those which are executive, to another; and those which are judicial to another.

Section 2. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of those departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.


ARTICLE III

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT


Section 1.
The legislative power of this State shall be vested in two distinct branches; the one to be styled the Senate, the other the House of Representatives, and both together "The General Assembly of the State of Alabama"; and the style of their laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama in General Assembly convened."

Section 2. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by the qualified electors, and shall serve for the term of two years from the day of the commencement of the general election, and no longer.

Section 3. The representatives shall be chosen every two years, on the first Monday in August, until otherwise directed by law.

Section 4. No person shall be a representative, unless he be a white man, a citizen of the State of Alabama, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof, a resident of the county, city, or town, for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.

Section 5. Every male white person of the age of twenty-one years, or upwards, who shall be a citizen of this State, and shall have resided therein one year next preceding an election, and the last three months within a county, city, or town, in which he offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector, but no elector shall be entitled to vote except in the county, city, or town, (entitled to separate representation) in which he may reside at the time of the election.

Section 6. Electors shall, in all cases, except in those of treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, and in going to and returning from the same.

Section 7. In all elections by the people, the electors shall vote by ballot, until the general assembly shall otherwise direct.

Section 8. Elections for representatives for the several counties shall be held at the place of holding their respective courts, and at such other places as may be prescribed by law: Provided, That when it shall appear to the general assembly, that any city or town shall have a number of white inhabitants equal to the ratio then fixed, such city or town shall have a separate representation, according to the number of white inhabitants therein; which shall be retained so long as such city or town shall contain a number of white inhabitants, equal to the ratio which may from time to time be fixed by law; and thereafter, and during the existence of the right of separate representation, in such city or town, elections for the county in which such city or town (entitled to such separate representation) is situated, shall not be held in such city or town: but it is understood, and hereby declared, that no city or town shall be entitled to separate representation , unless the number of white inhabitants in the county in which such city or town is situated, residing out of the limits of such city or town, be equal to the existing ratio or unless the residuum or fraction of such city or town shall, when added to the white inhabitants of the county, residing out of the limits of said city or town, be equal to the ratio fixed by law for one representative; and, provided, that, if the residuum or fraction of any city or town, entitled to separate representation, shall, when added to the residuum of the county in which it may lie, be equal to the ratio fixed by law for one representative, then the aforesaid county, city or town, having the largest residuum, shall be entitled to such representation: and, provided, also, that where there are two or more counties adjoining, which have residuums or fractions over and above the ratio then fixed by law, if said residuums or fractions, when added together, will amount to such ratio, in that case one representative shall be added to that county having the largest residuum.

Section 9. The General Assembly shall cause an enumeration to made in the year eighteen hundred and fifty, and eighteen hundred and fifty-five, and every ten years thereafter, of all the white inhabitants of this State; and the whole number of representatives shall, at the first regular session after such enumeration, be apportioned among the several counties, cities, or towns, entitled to separate representation, according to their respective number of white inhabitants, and the said apportionment, when made, shall not be subject to alteration until after the next census shall be taken.

Section 10. The general assembly shall, at the first session after making every such enumeration, fix by law the whole number of senators, and shall divide the State into the same number of districts, as nearly equal in the number of white inhabitants as may be, each of which districts shall be entitled to one senator, and no more: Provided , that the whole number of senators shall never be less than one-fourth, nor never more than one-third, of the whole number of representatives.

Section 11. When a senatorial district shall be composed of two or more counties, the counties of which such district consists, shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to another district; and no county shall be divided in forming a district.
Section 12. Senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors, for the term of four years, at the same time, and in the same manner, and at the places where they may vote for members of the House of Representatives; and no person shall be a senator, unless he be a white man, a citizen of the State, and an inhabitant thereof two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof, a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen; and shall have attained to the age of twenty-seven years.

Section 13. Senators shall be chosen for the term of four years; yet, at the general election after every new apportionment, elections shall be held anew in every senatorial district; and the senators elected, when convened at the first session, shall be divided by lot into two classes, as nearly equal as may be: the seats of those of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of two years, and those of the second class at the expiration of four years, dating in both cases from the day of election, so that one half may be biennially chosen, except as above provided.

Section 14. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall choose a speaker, and its other officers; and the Senate shall choose a President and its other officers, biennially: each house shall judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its own members; but a contested election shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law.

Section 15. A majority of each house constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties, as each house may provide.

Section 16. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly behavior, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free and independent State.

Section 17. Each house, during the session, may punish by imprisonment, any person, not a member, for disrepectful or disorderly behavior in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings: Provided , that such imprisonment shall not at any one time, exceed forty-eight hours.

Section 18. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and cause the same to be published immediately after its adjournment, excepting such parts as, in its judgment, may require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall at the desire of one tenth of the members, be entered on the journals. Any member of either house shall have liberty to dissent from, or protest against, any act or resolution, which he may think injurious to the public or an individual, and have the reasons of his dissent entered on the journals.

Section 19. Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases, except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest, during the session of the General Assembly, and in going to and returning from the same; allowing one day for every twenty miles such member may reside from the place at which the General Assembly is convened; nor shall any member be liable to answer for any thing spoken in debate in either house, in any court or place elsewhere.

Section 20. When vacancies happen in either house, the Governor, or the person exercising the powers of the Governor, shall issue writs of election to fill vacancies.

Section 21. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions, as in the opinion of the house, may require secrecy.

Section 22. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.

Section 23. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended, altered, or rejected, by the other; but no bill shall have the force of a law, until on three several days it be read in each house; and free discussion be allowed thereon; unless, in case of urgency, four-fifths of the house, in which the bill shall be depending, may deem it expedient to dispense with this rule: and every bill, having passed both houses, shall be signed by the Speaker and President of their respective houses: Provided , that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may amend or reject them as other bills.

Section 24. Each member of the General Assembly shall receive from the public treasury, such compensation for his services, as may be fixed by law; but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the session at which such increase shall have been made.

Section 25. No Senator or Representative shall during the term for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office of profit under this State; except such offices as may be filled by elections by the people.

Section 26. No person holding any lucrative office under this State, or any other power, the office of Postmaster, offices in the militia to which there is attached no annual salary, justices of the peace, commissioners of the Court of County Commissioners, notary public, and commissioner of deeds excepted, shall be eligible to the General Assembly of this State.

Section 27. No person who may hereafter be a collector or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in either house of the General Assembly, or be eligible to any office of trust or profit under this State, until he shall have accounted for, and paid into the treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable.

Section 28. The General Assembly shall meet annually, on such day as may be provided by law, and may continue in session not more than thirty days. The next session of the General Assembly shall commence on the second Monday in November, eighteen hundred and sixty-one.

Section 29. No special law shall be enacted for the benefit of individuals or private corporations, in cases which are provided for by a general law, or where the relief sought, can be given by any court of this State.

Section 30. Private property shall not be taken for private use, or for the use of corporations, other than municipal, without the consent of the owner; but the right of way may be secured by law, to persons and corporations, over the lands of persons and corporations; also, the right to establish depots, stations and turn-outs to works of public improvement: Provided , just compensation is made to the owner of such land.

Section 31. No power to levy taxes shall be delegated to individuals or private corporations.

Section 32. Taxes shall not be levied for the benefit of individuals or corporations, other than municipal corporations, without the consent of the tax-payer; but this section shall not be so construed as to effect the power of the General Assembly to perfect or secure any right or privilege arising under any existing law of this State; and no right or privilege arising under any existing law of this State, shall be affected by this section.

Section 33. The General Assembly shall not borrow or raise money on the credit of the State, except for purposes of military defense against actual or threatened invasion, rebellion, or insurrection, unless two-thirds of the members elected to each house, shall concur; nor shall the debts or liabilities of any corporation, person or persons, or other State be guaranteed; or any money, credit or thing loaned, or given away, unless by a like concurrence of each house, voting, in cases provided for in this section, by ayes and nays to be placed upon the journals.


HOME | HISTORY | CONSTITUTIONS | 1861