CONSTITUTION OF 1901

ENABLING INSTRUMENT


[H. 261

No. 102]

AN ACT

 

To Provide For Holding A Convention To Revise And Amend The Constitution Of This State

 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Alabama, That on Tuesday, the 23rd day of April, 1901, an election shall be held in the several counties of this State, for the purpose of determining whether or not a convention shall be held to revise and amend the constitution of this State, and at that election the question of convention or no convention shall be submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of this State, and if a majority of the voters voting at said election shall approve of the holding of a convention for the purpose stated, said convention shall be held as hereinafter provided.

Section 2. Be it further enacted, That, at the election provided by the first section of this Act, every qualified elector who approves of the holding of such convention shall declare the same by depositing his ballot at the voting place where he may be entitled to vote by making a cross mark before the words "for convention", written or printed, or partly written and partly printed, thereon, and every qualified voter of this State voting at said election, who disapproves of the holding of such convention, shall deposit his ballot, marked with a cross mark before the words "no convention", written or printed, or partly written and partly printed thereon.

Section 3. Be it further enacted, That at the time of said election, delegates to such convention shall be elected as follows: By the several counties of this State, the same number that they are entitled respectively to representatives in the House of Representatives of the General Assembly, and by the State at large, fifty-five. The names of the nominees for delegates from the counties, respectively and for the State at large shall be put upon an official ballot to be prepared for the purpose of the election, which shall be separate and distinct from the ballot on which is printed the words "For convention", and "No convention". The names of all candidates from the State at large shall be printed upon said ballots, who may be nominated by some party convention or caucus, or by petition in the same manner as State officers are nominated under the general laws of this State. The names of all candidates to represent the county in which the voter lives shall be placed upon the official ballot for the county in which the elector casts his vote, who may have been put in nomination by some party convention or caucus or mass meeting or by petition, as now provided by law for the nomination of candidates for county offices in the general election. The voter shall express his choice for such candidates from the State at large by making his cross-mark before the names of fifty-five delegates for whom he desires to vote and shall express his choice of candidate from the county in which he lives by making a cross-mark before the names of the number of delegates to which such county may be entitled in the House of Representatives of the General Assembly. The official ballot containing the names of all candidates shall be prepared as official ballots are prepared in general elections, except that the names of candidates shall not be arranged alphabetically, but by parties who have nominated the same, or independently, if they have been nominated by petition. The names of candidates from the State at large shall be separated from the candidates from the counties respectively. Above the names of the candidates from the State at large shall be printed the words, "For delegates to the constitutional convention from the State at large", and above the list of candidates from the counties respectively shall be printed the words "For delegates to the constitutional convention from the county of _____________."

Section 4. Be it further enacted, That all delegates to said convention shall be citizens of the State and qualified electors; Provided, that thirty-three of the said delegates from the State at large shall be so apportioned that each senatorial district shall be represented by one resident citizen thereof, and eighteen other of said delegates at large shall be so apportioned among the congressional districts that each such district shall be represented by two resident citizens thereof, and the remaining four delegates at large shall be elected from the State without regard to their local residence. No person shall be disqualified from being a delegate on account of the fact that he holds any office of honor or profit under the State or federal government.

Section 5. Be it further enacted, That on Saturday following the election, the county returning board of each county in the State, composed of the judge of probate, clerk and sheriff, respectively, shall meet at the court house of their respective counties for the purpose of canvassing the returns of said election; they shall ascertain how many votes were cast "For convention", and how many "No convention", and how many votes were cast as a whole in the county, and they shall certify such votes immediately to the secretary of State. They shall in like manner ascertain the number of votes received by the candidates for delegates from the State at large, and from the counties respectively, and shall certify such votes to the secretary of State immediately.

Section 6. Be it further enacted, That on Tuesday, May 7, 1901, it shall be the duty of the governor, secretary of State and attorney general to assemble in the office of the secretary of State, and open the returns of said election, and shall count the votes which have been cast "For convention" and "No convention", as appears from such returns, and if it appears that a majority of all persons voting at said election voted for the holding of said convention, they shall then proceed to ascertain from said returns what persons were elected from the State at large, and the fifty-five persons receiving the highest number of votes for delegates from the State at large shall be declared to be elected delegates to said convention from the State at large, and the number of persons receiving the highest number of votes respectively in the counties, to which such counties are entitled, as delegates in said convention under the provisions of this act, shall be declared to be elected delegates to said convention from such counties respectively, and thereupon the secretary of State shall issue certificates of election to the persons so elected from the State at large, and the counties respectively. Thereupon it shall be the duty of the governor to give public notice of the fact that a majority of the electors of the State voting at the election provided for the calling of a convention for the purpose above stated, which shall be by proclamation, published in three daily papers in different portions of the State, and therein he shall call upon the delegates-elect to assemble at the time and place and for thepurpose herein designated. Of such proclamations, the courts of the State shall take judicial notice.

Section 7. Be it further enacted, That if the holding of said convention be approved by the qualified electors of this State, as hereinbefore provided for, the delegates elected thereto shall convene in hall of the House of Representatives in the city of Montgomery, on Tuesday, the 21st day of May, 1901, at twelve meridian of said day, and then and there proceed to organize said convention by the election of a president from among themselves, and such other officers (who need not be delegates) as said convention may deem necessary for the proper performance of the duty assigned to the convention. Said convention shall continue in session until it shall, by careful revision and amendment of the present constitution, frame and adopt a revised constitution for this State; Provided, that said convention may, in its discretion, adjourn to any other place it may see fit.

Section 8. Be it further enacted, That in case any dispute occurs as to the right of any person to sit in said convention as a delegate thereto, the question shall be decided by said convention, which shall be the exclusive judge of the election, qualification and returns of its own members. Any person desiring to contest the election of a person certified as being elected a delegate to said convention, may do so in the same manner as the election of a member of the House of Representatives of the General Assembly is contested, and by giving the same bond, and testimony shall be taken in the same method.

Section 9. Be it further enacted, That the delegates to said convention shall be supplied with stationery and the use of the books, statutes, reports and documents the same as members of the General Assembly. The officers of said convention shall receive the same compensation, payable out of the treasury of the State, as corresponding officers of the House of Representatives are by law allowed. The chief justice of the supreme court, or in his absence, one of the associate justices shall call the convention to order and preside until temporary officers are elected. The said delegates shall receive for their services the same per diem and mileage from the treasury of this State as is allowed to members of the General Assembly. These payments shall be made on the certificates of the president and secretary or clerk of the convention, to the auditor of the State, as payment of the compensation to members of the General Assembly is by law directed to be made; Provided, that per diem compensation shall not be allowed or paid to any member of the convention for a longer time than fifty days.

Section 10. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of said convention to cause to be filed with the secretary of State, within one week after its adjournment, certified by the hand of the president and secretary or clerk, a clean and correct copy of the constitution which said convention may adopt. Said convention shall cause a correct journal of its proceedings to be kept, and cause the same, certified by the hand of the president and secretary or clerk, to be filed on its adjournment, with the secretary of State.

Section 11. Be it further enacted, That if an epidemic or pestilence prevail at the place for the assembling of such convention at the time appointed, the governor may convene same to any other city or town in this State, which shall be free from disease; and said convention, at its discretion, may adjourn to any other city or town in this State in case an epidemic or pestilence occur during the session at the place where it may be assembled.

Section 12. Be it further enacted, That before entering upon the discharge of his duties as a member of said convention under this act, each delegate shall, before a chancellor or judge of the circuit or supreme court of this State, take the following oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will support the constitution of the United States, and I will honestly and faithfully perform the duties which are now to devolve on me as a delegate of this convention, so help me God."

Section 13. Be it further enacted, That except as herein otherwise provided, the general election laws of this State shall apply fully to the elections provided for under this act; this includes all things preliminary to the holding of the elections as well as the holding of them and things subsequent thereto, as may be found in the general laws of this State. Registration on the day of the elections shall be provided for and required in the same cases only as are required and provided for under the general laws, but other registration shall not be necessary.

Section 14. Be it further enacted, That the judges of probate of the several counties shall cause to be prepared and furnished to the officers of the election of each voting place in the county a sufficient number of official ballots, not less than twice the number of registered voters in the precincts respectively. The ballots shall be prepared as provided under existing laws, and shall contain the names of the persons who have been nominated and certified as hereinbefore provided.

Section 15. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called it shall incorporate in any constitution it may form and adopt the same basis of representation in the General Assembly as is now provided in the present constitution of the State.

Section 16. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called it shall incorporate and adopt the following as a part or parcel or section of any constitution it may frame and adopt, to-wit: "No county in this State shall be authorized to levy a larger rate of taxation in any one year, on the value of the taxable property therein, than one-half of one per centum; Provided, that to pay the debts existing on the 6th day of December, 1875, an additional rate one-fourth of one per centum may be levied and collected, which shall be exclusively appropriated to the payment of such debt, or the interest thereon; Provided, further, that to pay any debt or liability now existing against any county, incurred for the erection of necessary public buildings or other ordinary county purposes, or may hereafter be created for the erection of necessary bridges or buildings, any county may levy and collect such special taxes as may have been, or may hereafter be, authorized by law, which taxes so levied and collected shall be applied exclusively to the purposes, for which the same were so levied and collected.

Section 17. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called, it shall incorporate and adopt the following as a part or section of any constitution it may frame and adopt, to-wit: "No city, town or other municipal corporation other than provided for in this article, shall levy or collect a larger rate of taxation in any one year on the property thereof, than one-half of one per centum of the value of such property, as assessed for the State taxation during the preceding year; Provided, that for the payment of debts existing on the 6th day of December, 1875, and the interest thereon, an additional rate of one per centum may be collected, to be applied exclusively to such indebtedness; and provided this section shall not apply to the city of Mobile, which city may levy a tax not to exceed the rate of three-fourths of one per centum, to pay expenses of the city government, and may also levy a tax not to exceed the rate of three-fourths of one per centum to pay the indebtedness of said city, existing on the 6th day of December, 1875, and the interest thereon.

"And provided further, that this section shall not apply to the city of Birmingham, which city may levy and collect a tax not to exceed one-half of one per centum in addition to the tax of one-half of one per centum as hereinabove allowed to be levied and collected, such special tax to be applied exclusively to the payment of interest on the bonds of said city of Birmingham as heretofore issued in pursuance of law, and for a sinking fund to pay off said bonds at the maturity thereof."

Section 18. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called it shall incorporate and adopt the following as a part or parcel of a section of any constitution it may frame and adopt, to-wit: "The property of private corporations, associations and individuals of this State, shall forever be taxed at the same rate; provided, this section shall not apply to institutions or enterprises devoted exclusively to religious, educational or charitable purposes."

Section 19. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called it shall incorporate and adopt the following as a part or section of any constitution it may frame and adopt, to-wit: "No power to levy taxes shall be delegated to individuals or private corporations."

Section 20. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called, it shall incorporate in any constitution it may frame and adopt, any and all other limitations upon the rights of taxation that are in the present constitution.

Section 21. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called, it shall not incorporate in any constitution it may adopt, any clause or matter looking to the removal of the State Capitol.

Section 21 1/2. Be it further enacted, That if such convention be called, it shall not incorporate in any constitution it may adopt any clause or matter making any change in the present exemption laws of this State.

Section 22. Be it further enacted, That in the event of the framing of such constitution by said convention, it shall be the duty of the governor, within one week after the filing of the same with the Secretary of State, to issue his proclamation, published as heretofore required for the proclamation to assemble the convention, to make known the fact that such constitution has been framed; and thereby requires an election to be held in the several counties of this State, in the same manner and by the same officers as general elections are required to be held for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of this State for ratification or rejection of said constitution. This election shall be held not less than twenty days nor more than sixty days after the date of said proclamation.

Section 23. Be it further enacted, That at the election provided for by the preceding section, every qualified voter who is in favor of the ratification of the constitution so framed by said convention shall declare the same by depositing his ballot at the voting place where he may be entitled to vote, by making a cross mark before the words "For Constitution", written or printed, or party written and partly printed thereon, and every qualified voter of this State, voting at said election who is against the ratification of said constitution shall deposit his ballot, marked with a cross mark before the words "Against Constitution", written or printed, or partly written and partly printed thereon. That the returns of this election shall be made in the same manner and within the same time and by the same officers and certified by them to the same officer and in the same form as herein provided in section five of this act.

Section 24. Be it further enacted, That within fifteen days after the day on which the election shall be held for the ratification or rejection of said constitution, it shall be the duty of the governor, secretary of State and attorney-general to assemble in the office of the secretary of State, and open the returns of said election, and they shall count the votes which may have been cast "For Constitution" and "Against Constitution", as appears from such returns, and the result shall be certified to the governor by the secretary of State and attorney-general, and by him made known to the people of this State by his proclamation, published as provided by section six in this act; and from and after a day to be made known in such proclamation, not more than ten days from the date thereof, if the said constitution shall be found to have been ratified by a majority of all the qualified electors voting at said election, the said new constitution so ratified shall go into immediate effect as the constitution of the State of Alabama, and shall thenceforth be binding and obligatory as such upon all the people of this State.

Section 25. Be it further enacted, That at the time of the publication of the proclamation by the governor causing said proposed constitution to be submitted for ratification or rejection to the qualified voters of this State, it shall be the duty of the governor to cause a copy of said proposed constitution to be published as his proclamation, by section six of this act is directed to be published, or to be printed upon a separate sheet and circulated with the newspapers in which the proclamation required by said election shall be published.

Section 26. Be it further enacted, That if an election shall be called as required under section 22 of this act, it shall be the duty of the probate judges of each county in the State to prepare and furnish the official ballots to be voted at such election as now required under the general election laws of the State, and which official ballot shall be prepared according to the requirements of section 23 of this act, and no other than an official ballot shall be cast and counted in said election, and such elections shall be held and conducted as general elections are held except so far as changed by the provisions of this act.

Approved Dec. 11, 1900.


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