THE CONSTITUTION OF 1865


ARTICLE IV.

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.

Section 1. The legislative power of this State shall be vested in two distinct branches ; the one to be styled the "Senate," and the other the "House of Representatives." And both together the "General Assembly of the State of Alabama."

Section 2. All laws shall be passed by original bill ; and their style shall be, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representative of the State of Alabama, in General Assembly convened." Each law shall embrace but one subject, which shall be described in the title ; and no law, nor any section of any law, shall be revised or amended by reference only to its title and number, but the law or section revised or amended shall itself be set forth at full length.

Section 3. Members of both houses of the General Assembly shall be chosen by the qualified electors ; and the regulations for holding such elections shall, as to time, place, and manner, be the same for each house, and shall be prescribed by law. After the special election to be held on the first Monday in November, 1865, such elections shall, until otherwise directed by law, take place on the first Monday in August.

Section 4. No person who holds any lucrative office under the United States, or under this State, or under any other State or government (except post-masters, officers in the militia, to whose office no annual salary is attached, justices of the peace, members of the court of county commissioners, notaries public, and commissioners of deeds, excepted); no person who has been convicted of having given or offered any bribe to procure his election ; no person who has been convicted of bribery, forgery, perjury, or other high crime or misdemeanor which may be by law declared to disqualify him ; and no person who has been a collector or holder of public moneys and has failed to account for and pay over into the treasury all sums for which he may be by law accountable, shall be eligible to the General Assembly.

Section 5. Representatives shall be chosen for the term of two years ; and no person shall be a representative, who is not a white man, twenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States and who has not been an inhabitant of this State for the two years next preceding the election, and for the last year thereof a resident of the county for which he is chosen.

Section 6
. The house of representatives shall consist of not more than one hundred members, who shall be apportioned by the General Assembly among the several counties of the State according to the number of white inhabitants in them respectively ; and, to this end, the General Assembly shall cause an enumeration of all the inhabitants of the State to be made in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, and again in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, and every ten years thereafter, and shall make an apportionment of the representatives among the several counties at the first regular session after each enumeration ; which apportionment, when made, shall not be subjected to alteration, until after the next census shall have been taken, Provided, that each county shall be entitled to at least one representative. Provided further, that where two or more adjoining counties shall each have a residuum or fraction over and above the ratio then fixed by law, which fractions, when added together, equal or exceed that ratio, in that case, the county having the largest fraction shall be entitled to one additional representative.

Section 7. The whole number of senators shall be not less than one fourth, nor more than one third, of the whole number of representatives ; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, at its first session after the making of each enumeration, as provided by the last preceding section, to fix by law the number of senators, and to divide the State into as many senatorial districts as there are senators ; which districts shall be as nearly equal to each other as may be in the number of white inhabitant, and each shall be entitled to one senator and no more. Provided, that, in the formation of said districts, no county shall be divided, and no two or more counties, which are separated entirely by a county belonging to another district, shall be joined into one district. And provided further, that the senatorial districts, when formed, shall not be changed until after the next census shall have been taken.

Section 8. No person shall be a senator, who is not a white man, at least twenty-seven years of age, a citizen of the United States, and who has not been an inhabitant of this State for two years next preceding the election, and for the last year thereof a resident in the district for which he is chosen.

Section 9. Senators shall be chosen for the term of four years ; yet, at the first general election after each new apportionment, elections shall be held anew in all the senatorial districts ; and the senators elected, when convened at the next ensuing session of the General Assembly, shall be divided by lot into two classes, as nearly equal to each other as may be ; the seats of the senators 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 from the day of election, so that (except as above provided) one half of the senators may be chosen biennially.

Section 10. The General Assembly shall meet annually, on such day as may be by law prescribed ; and shall not remain in session longer than thirty days, unless by a vote of two thirds of each house.

Section 11. At the first regular or called session after each general election for representatives, the senate shall choose a president and its other officers, and the house of representatives shall choose a speaker and its other officers ; and the officers so chosen shall be entitled to hold their respective offices until the next general election for representatives. 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 may be by law provided.

Section 12. A majority of each house shall 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 13. 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 offence ; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free and independent state.

Section 14. Each house may, during the session, punish by imprisonment any person, not a member, for disrespectful 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 15. Each house shall keep a journal of its own proceedings, and cause the same to be published immediately after its adjournment, excepting such parts as, in its judgement, may require secrecy ; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall, at the desire of any two members present, be entered on the journals. Any member of either house shall have liberty to dissent from, and protest against, any act or resolution which he may think injurious to the public or to an individual, and have the reasons of his dissent entered on the journals.

Section 16. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions as, in the opinion of the house, may require secrecy.

Section 17. 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 18. 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 it be read in each house on three several days, and free discussion thereon be allowed ; unless, in case of urgency, four fifths of the house in which the bill may be depending shall deem it expedient to dispense with this rule ; and every bill, having passed both houses, shall be signed by the speaker and president of the respective houses. Provided, that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives, but may be amended or rejected by the senate as other bills.

Section 19. In all elections by the General Assembly, the members shall vote viva voce, and the votes shall be entered on the journals.

Section 20. No senator or representative shall, during the term for which he was elected, be elected or appointed to any civil office of profit under this State, except such offices as may be filled by elections by the people.

Section 21. 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 or 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 anything spoken in debate in either house, in any court or place elsewhere.

Section 22. 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 23. When vacancies happen in either house, the Governor, or the person exercising the powers of Governor for the time being, shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

Section 24. The house of representatives shall have the sole power of preferring impeachments ; all impeachments shall be tried by the senate ; the senators, when sitting for that purpose, shall be on oath or affirmation ; and no person shall be convicted under an impeachment, without the concurrence of two thirds of the senators present.

Section 25. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass such laws as may be necessary and proper to decide differences by arbitrators, to be appointed by the parties, who may choose that summary mode of adjustment.

Section 26. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly, from time to time, as circumstances may require, to frame and adopt a penal code, founded on principles of reformation.

Section 27. It shall also be the duty of the General Assembly, within five years after the adoption of this constitution, and within every subsequent period of ten years, to make provision by law for the revision, digesting, and promulgation of all the public statutes of this State, both civil and criminal.

Section 28. The General Assembly shall have power to pass such penal laws as they may deem expedient to suppress the evil practice of duelling, extending to disqualification to hold office.

Section 29. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to regulate by law the cases in which deductions shall be made from the salaries of public officers, for neglect of duty in their official capacities, and the amount of such deductions.

Section 30. Divorces from the bonds of matrimony shall not be granted, but in the cases by law provided for, and by suit in chancery ; but decrees in chancery for divorce shall be final, unless appealed from, in the manner prescribed by law, within three months from the date of the enrollment thereof.

Section 31. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly, at its next session, and from time to time thereafter as it may deem proper, to enact laws prohibiting the intermarriage of white persons with negroes, or with persons of mixed blood, declaring such marriages null and void ab initio, and making the parties to any such marriage subject to criminal prosecutions, with such penalties as may be by law prescribed.

Section 32. The General Assembly shall make provision by law for obtaining correct knowledge of the several objects proper for improvement in relation to the roads and navigable waters in this State, and for making a systematic and economical application of the means appropriated to those objects.

Section 33. The General Assembly shall, from time to time, enact necessary and proper laws for the encouragement of schools and the means of education ; shall take proper measures to preserve from waste or damage such lands as have been or may be granted by the United States for the use of schools in each township in this State, and apply the funds which may be raised from such lands in strict conformity with the object of such grant ; shall take like measures for the improvement of such lands as have been or may hereafter be granted by the United States to this State for the support of a seminary of learning ; and the money which may be raised from such lands, by rent, lease, or sale, or from any other quarter, for the purpose aforesaid, shall be and forever remain a fund for the exclusive support of a State university for the promotion of the arts, literature, and the sciences ; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide by law effectual means for the improvement and permanent security of the funds of such institution.

Section 34. Not more than one bank shall be established nor more than one bank charter be renewed, at any one session of the General Assembly ; nor shall any bank be established, nor any bank charter be renewed, without the concurrence of two thirds of each house of the General Assembly, and in conformity with the following rules-that is to say :

Rule 1. The stockholders shall be respectively liable for the debts of the bank in proportion to the amount of their stock.
 
Rule 2. The remedy for the collection of debts shall be reciprocal for and against the bank.
 
Rule 3. No bank shall commence operations, until one half of the capital stock subscribed for be actually paid in gold and silver ; which amount shall, in no case, be less than one hundred thousand dollars.
 
Rule 4. If any bank shall neglect or refuse to pay, on demand, any bill, note, or obligation issued by the corporation, according to the promise therein expressed, the holder of such bill, note or obligation, shall be entitled to receive and recover interest thereon until paid, or until specie payments are resumed by the bank, at the rate of twelve per centum per annum from the date of such demand ; unless the General Assembly shall, by a vote of two thirds of each house thereof , sanction such suspension of specie payments.
 
Rule 5. Whenever any bank suspends specie payments, its charter is thereby forfeited ; unless such suspension shall be sanctioned and legalized, at the next session of the General Assembly, by a vote of two thirds of each house thereof.

Section 35. The General Assembly shall provide by law for organizing and disciplining the militia of this State, in such manner as they may deem expedient, not incompatible with the constitution and laws of the United States ; shall fix the rank of all staff officers, and prescribe the manner in which all officers shall be appointed or elected. Provided, that no other officers than adjutant-generals and quartermaster-generals shall be appointed by the General Assembly. And provided further, that major-generals shall appoint their aids and all division and staff officers, brigadier-generals shall appoint their aids and all other brigade staff officers, and colonels shall appoint their regimental staff officers.

Section 36. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly, at its next session , and from time to time thereafter, to enact such laws as will protect the freedmen of this State in the full enjoyment of all their rights of person and property , and guard them and the State against any evils that may arise from their sudden emancipation.

Section 37. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in pursuance of an appropriation made by law ; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public moneys shall be published annually, in such manner as may be by law directed.

Section 38. No special law shall be enacted for the benefit of individuals or 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 39. All lands liable to taxation in this State, shall be taxed in proportion to their value.

Section 40. No power to levy taxes shall be delegated to individuals or private corporations.

Section 41. 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), without the concurrence of two thirds of the members of each house ; nor shall the debts or liabilities of any corporation, person, or persons, or other State, be guarantied, nor any money, credit, or other thing, be loaned or given away, except by a like concurrence of each house; and the votes shall in each case, be taken by yeas and nays, and be entered on the journals.

Section 42. In the event of the annexation of any foreign territory to this State, the General Assembly shall enact laws, extending to the inhabitants of the acquired territory all the rights and privileges which may be required by the terms of the acquisition ; anything in this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.

 


HOME | HISTORY | CONSTITUTIONS | 1865