Section 1. To meet annually; power of Legislature to convene itself at other times; extent of legislative power. The Legislature shall convene on the first Wednesday of December following the general election in what shall be designated the first regular session of the Legislature; and shall further convene on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday of January in the subsequent even-numbered year in what shall be designated the second regular session of the Legislature; provided, however, that the business of the second regular session of the Legislature shall be limited to budgetary matters; legislation in the Governor's call; legislation of an emergency nature admitted by the Legislature; legislation referred to committees for study and report by the Legislature in the first regular session; and legislation presented to the Legislature by written petition of the electors under the provisions of Article IV, Part Third, Section 18. The Legislature shall enact appropriate statutory limits on the length of the first regular session and of the second regular session. The Legislature may convene at such other times on the call of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, with the consent of a majority of the Members of the Legislature of each political party, all Members of the Legislature having been first polled. The Legislature, with the exceptions hereinafter stated, shall have full power to make and establish all reasonable laws and regulations for the defense and benefit of the people of this State, not repugnant to this Constitution, nor to that of the United States.
Section 1-A. Legislature to establish Apportionment Commission; number of quorum; compensation of commission members; commission's budget; division among political parties. A Legislature which is required to apportion the districts of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or both, under Article IV, Part First, Section 2, or Article IV, Part Second, Section 2, shall establish, within the first 3 calendar days after the convening of that Legislature, a commission to develop in accordance with the requirements of this Constitution, a plan for apportioning the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both.
The commission shall be composed of 3 members from the political party holding the largest number of seats in the House of Representatives, who shall be appointed by the Speaker; 3 members from the political party holding the majority of the remainder of the seats in the House of Representatives, who shall be appointed by the floor leader of that party in the House; 2 members of the party holding the largest number of seats in the Senate, who shall be appointed by the President of the Senate; 2 members of the political party holding the majority of the remainder of the seats in the Senate, to be appointed by the floor leader of that party in the Senate; the chairperson of each of the 2 major political parties in the State or their designated representatives; and 3 members from the public generally, one to be selected by each group of members of the commission representing the same political party, and the third to be selected by the other 2 public members. The Speaker of the House shall be responsible for organizing the commission and shall be chairperson pro tempore thereof until a permanent chairperson is selected by the commission members from among their own number. No action may be taken without a quorum of 8 being present. The commission shall hold public hearings on any plan for apportionment prior to submitting such plan to the Legislature.
Public members of the commission shall receive the same rate of per diem that is paid to Legislators for every day's attendance at special sessions of the Legislature as defined by law. All members of the commission shall be reimbursed for actual travel expenses incurred in carrying out the business of the commission. The Legislature which is required to apportion shall establish a budget for the apportioning commission within the state budget document in the fiscal year previous to the fiscal year during which the apportioning commission is required to convene and shall appropriate sufficient funds for the commission to satisfactorily perform its duties and responsibilities. The budget shall include sufficient funds to compensate the chairperson of the commission and the chairperson's staff. The remainder of the appropriation shall be made available equally among the political parties represented on the commission to provide travel expenses, incidental expenses and compensation for commission members and for partisan staff and operations.
Section 2. Bills to be signed by the Governor; proceedings, in case the Governor disapproves; allowing the Governor 10 days to act on legislation. Every bill or resolution, having the force of law, to which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except on a question of adjournment, which shall have passed both Houses, shall be presented to the Governor, and if the Governor approves, the Governor shall sign it; if not, the Governor shall return it with objections to the House in which it shall have originated, which shall enter the objections at large on its journals, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, 2/3 of that House shall agree to pass it, it shall be sent together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall be reconsidered, and, if approved by 2/3 of that House, it shall have the same effect as if it had been signed by the Governor; but in all such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be taken by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons, voting for and against the bill or resolution, shall be entered on the journals of both Houses respectively. If the bill or resolution shall not be returned by the Governor within 10 days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to the Governor, it shall have the same force and effect as if the Governor had signed it unless the Legislature by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall have such force and effect, unless returned within 3 days after the next meeting of the same Legislature which enacted the bill or resolution; if there is no such next meeting of the Legislature which enacted the bill or resolution, the bill or resolution shall not be a law.
Section 2-A. Line-item veto of dollar amounts appearing in appropriation or allocation sections of legislative documents. The Governor has power to disapprove any dollar amount appearing in an appropriation section or allocation section, or both, of an enacted legislative document. Unless the Governor exercises the line-item veto power authorized in this section no later than one day after receiving for signature the enacted legislation, the powers of the Governor as set out in section 2 apply to the entire enacted legislation. For any disapproved dollar amount, the Governor shall replace the dollar amount with one that does not result in an increase in an appropriation or allocation or a decrease in a appropriation or reallocation. When disapproving a dollar amount pursuant to this section, the Governor may not propose an increase in an appropriation or allocation elsewhere in the legislative document. The Governor shall specify the distinct dollar amounts that are revised, and the part or parts of the legislative document not specifically revised become law. The dollar amounts in an appropriation or allocation that have been disapproved become law as revised by the Governor, unless passed over the Governor's veto by the Legislature as the dollar amounts originally appeared in the enacted bill as presented to the Governor; except that, notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution for dollar amounts vetoed pursuant to this section, a majority of all the elected members in each House is sufficient to override the veto, and each dollar amount vetoed must be voted on separately to override the veto. Except as provided in this section, the Governor may not disapprove, omit or modify any language allocated to the statutes or appearing in an unallocated section of law.
Section 3. Each House the judge of its elections; majority, a quorum. Each House shall be the judge of the elections and qualifications of its own members, and a majority 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 shall provide.
Section 4. May punish and expel members. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of 2/3, expel a member, but not a 2nd time for the same cause.
Section 5. Shall keep a journal; yeas and nays. Each House shall keep a journal, and from time to time publish its proceedings, except such parts as in their judgment may require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question, shall, at the desire of 1/5 of those present, be entered on the journals.
Section 6. May punish for contempt. Each House, during its session, may punish by imprisonment any person, not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behavior in its presence, for obstructing any of its proceedings, threatening, assaulting or abusing any of its members for anything said, done, or doing in either House; provided, that no imprisonment shall extend beyond the period of the same session.
Section 7. Compensation; traveling expenses. The Senators and Representatives shall receive such compensation, as shall be established by law; but no law increasing their compensation shall take effect during the existence of the Legislature, which enacted it. The expenses of the members of the House of Representatives in traveling to the Legislature, and returning therefrom, once in each week of each session and no more, shall be paid by the State out of the public treasury to every member, who shall seasonably attend, in the judgment of the House, and does not depart therefrom without leave.
Section 8. Members exempt from arrest; freedom of debate. The Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at, going to, and returning from each session of the Legislature, and no member shall be liable to answer for anything spoken in debate in either House, in any court or place elsewhere.
Section 9. Either House may originate bills; revenue bills. Bills, orders or resolutions, may originate in either House, and may be altered, amended or rejected in the other; but all bills for raising a revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments as in other cases; provided, that they shall not, under color of amendment, introduce any new matter, which does not relate to raising a revenue.
Section 10. Members not to be appointed to certain offices. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which the Senator or Representative shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office of profit under this State, which requires the approval of the Legislature for appointment or which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which increased during such term, except such offices as may be filled by elections by the people.
Section 11. Persons disqualified to be members. No member of Congress, nor person holding any office under the United States (post officers excepted) nor office of profit under this State, justices of the peace, notaries public, coroners and officers of the militia excepted, shall have a seat in either House while a member of Congress, or continuing in such office.
Section 12. Adjournments. Neither House shall during the session, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than 2 days, nor to any other place than that in which the Houses shall be sitting.
Section 13. Special legislation. The Legislature shall, from time to time, provide, as far as practicable, by general laws, for all matters usually appertaining to special or private legislation.
Section 14. Corporations, formed under general laws. Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State.
Section 15. Constitutional conventions. The Legislature shall, by a 2/3 concurrent vote of both branches, have the power to call constitutional conventions, for the purpose of amending this Constitution.
Section 16. Acts become effective in 90 days after recess; exception; emergency bill defined. No Act or joint resolution of the Legislature, except such orders or resolutions as pertain solely to facilitating the performance of the business of the Legislature, of either branch, or of any committee or officer thereof, or appropriate money therefor or for the payment of salaries fixed by law, shall take effect until 90 days after the recess of the session of the Legislature in which it was passed, unless in case of emergency, which with the facts constituting the emergency shall be expressed in the preamble of the Act, the Legislature shall, by a vote of 2/3 of all the members elected to each House, otherwise direct. An emergency bill shall include only such measures as are immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety; and shall not include (1) an infringement of the right of home rule for municipalities, (2) a franchise or a license to a corporation or an individual to extend longer than one year, or (3) provision for the sale or purchase or renting for more than 5 years of real estate.
Section 17. Proceedings for people's veto.
1. Petition procedure; petition for people's veto. Upon written petition of electors, the number of which shall not be less than 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of such petition, and addressed to the Governor and filed in the office of the Secretary of State by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on or before the 90th day after the recess of the Legislature, or if such 90th day is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on the preceding day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, requesting that one or more Acts, bills, resolves or resolutions, or part or parts thereof, passed by the Legislature but not then in effect by reason of the provisions of the preceding section, be referred to the people, such Acts, bills, resolves, or resolutions or part or parts thereof as are specified in such petition shall not take effect until 30 days after the Governor shall have announced by public proclamation that the same have been ratified by a majority of the electors voting thereon at a statewide or general election.
2. Effect of referendum. The effect of any Act, bill, resolve or resolution or part or parts thereof as are specified in such petition shall be suspended upon the filing of such petition. If it is later finally determined, in accordance with any procedure enacted by the Legislature pursuant to the Constitution, that such petition was invalid, such Act, bill, resolve or resolution or part or parts thereof shall then take effect upon the day following such final determination.
3. Referral to electors; proclamation by Governor. As soon as it appears that the effect of any Act, bill, resolve, or resolution or part or parts thereof has been suspended by petition in manner aforesaid, the Governor by public proclamation shall give notice thereof and of the time when such measure is to be voted on by the people, which shall be at the next statewide or general election, whichever comes first, not less than 60 days after such proclamation. If the Governor fails to order such measure to be submitted to the people at the next statewide or general election, the Secretary of State shall, by proclamation, order such measure to be submitted to the people at such an election and such order shall be sufficient to enable the people to vote.
Section 18. Direct initiative of legislation.
1. Petition procedure. The electors may propose to the Legislature for its consideration any bill, resolve or resolution, including bills to amend or repeal emergency legislation but not an amendment of the State Constitution, by written petition addressed to the Legislature or to either branch thereof and filed in the office of the Secretary of State by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on or before the 50th day after the date of convening of the Legislature in first regular session or on or before the 25th day after the date of convening of the Legislature in second regular session, except that the written petition may not be filed in the office of the Secretary of State later than 18 months after the date the petition form was furnished or approved by the Secretary of State. If the applicable deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period runs until the hour of 5:00 p.m., of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
2. Referral to electors unless enacted by the Legislature without change; number of signatures necessary on direct initiative petitions; dating signatures on petitions; competing measures. For any measure thus proposed by electors, the number of signatures shall not be less than 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of such petition. The date each signature was made shall be written next to the signature on the petition. A signature is not valid if it is dated more than one year prior to the date that the petition was filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The measure thus proposed, unless enacted without change by the Legislature at the session at which it is presented, shall be submitted to the electors together with any amended form, substitute, or recommendation of the Legislature, and in such manner that the people can choose between the competing measures or reject both. When there are competing bills and neither receives a majority of the votes given for or against both, the one receiving the most votes shall at the next statewide election to be held not less than 60 days after the first vote thereon be submitted by itself if it receives more than 1/3 of the votes given for and against both. If the measure initiated is enacted by the Legislature without change, it shall not go to a referendum vote unless in pursuance of a demand made in accordance with the preceding section. The Legislature may order a special election on any measure that is subject to a vote of the people.
3. Timing of elections; proclamation by Governor. The Governor shall, by proclamation, order any measure proposed to the Legislature as herein provided, and not enacted by the Legislature without change, referred to the people at an election to be held in November of the year in which the petition is filed. If the Governor fails to order a measure proposed to the Legislature and not enacted without change to be submitted to the people at such an election by proclamation within 10 days after the recess of the Legislature to which the measure was proposed, the Secretary of State shall, by proclamation, order such measure to be submitted to the people at an election as requested, and such order shall be sufficient to enable the people to vote.
Section 19. Effective date of measures approved by people; veto power limited. Any measure referred to the people and approved by a majority of the votes given thereon shall, unless a later date is specified in said measure, take effect and become a law in 30 days after the Governor has made public proclamation of the result of the vote on said measure, which the Governor shall do within 10 days after the vote thereon has been canvassed and determined; provided, however, that any such measure which entails expenditure in an amount in excess of available and unappropriated state funds shall remain inoperative until 45 days after the next convening of the Legislature in regular session, unless the measure provides for raising new revenues adequate for its operation. The veto power of the Governor shall not extend to any measure approved by vote of the people, and any measure initiated by the people and passed by the Legislature without change, if vetoed by the Governor and if the veto is sustained by the Legislature shall be referred to the people to be voted on at the next general election. The Legislature may enact measures expressly conditioned upon the people's ratification by a referendum vote.
Section 20. Meaning of words "electors," "people," "recess of Legislature," "statewide election," "measure," "circulate," and "written petition"; written petitions for people's veto; written petitions for direct initiative. As used in any of the 3 preceding sections or in this section the words "electors" and "people" mean the electors of the State qualified to vote for Governor; "recess of the Legislature" means the adjournment without day of a session of the Legislature; "statewide election" means any election held throughout the State on a particular day; "measure" means an Act, bill, resolve or resolution proposed by the people, or 2 or more such, or part or parts of such, as the case may be; "circulate" means a person who solicits signatures for written petitions, and who must be a resident of this State and whose name must appear on the voting list of the city, town or plantation of the circulation's residence as qualified to vote for Governor; "written petition" means one or more petitions written or printed, or partly written and partly printed, with the original signatures of the petitioners attached, verified as to the authenticity of the signatures by the oath of the circulate that all of the signatures to the petition were made in the presence of the circulate and that to the best of the circulation's knowledge and belief each signature is the signature of the person whose name it purports to be, and accompanied by the certificate of the official authorized by law to maintain the voting list or to certify signatures on petitions for voters on the voting list of the city, town or plantation in which the petitioners reside that their names appear on the voting list of the city, town or plantation of the official as qualified to vote for Governor. The oath of the circulate must be sworn to in the presence of a person authorized by law to administer oaths. Written petitions for a people's veto pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 17 must be submitted to the appropriate officials of cities, towns or plantations, or state election officials as authorized by law, or state election officials as authorized by law, for determination of whether the petitioners are qualified voters by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on the 5th day before the petition must be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, or, if such 5th day is a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday, by 5:00 p.m., on the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday. Written petitions for a direct initiative pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 must be submitted to the appropriate officials of cities, towns or plantations, or state election officials as authorized by law, for determination of whether the petitioners are qualified voters by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on the 10th day before the petition must be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, or, if such 10th day is a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday, by 5:00 p.m., on the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday. Such officials must complete the certification of only those petitions submitted by these deadlines and must return them to the circulates or their agents within 2 days for a petition for a people's veto and within 5 days for a petition for a direct initiative, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays excepted, of the date on which such petitions were submitted to them. Signatures on petitions not submitted to the appropriate local or state officials by these deadlines may not be certified. The petition shall set forth the full text of the measure requested or proposed. Petition forms shall be furnished or approved by the Secretary of State upon written application signed and notarized and submitted to the office of the Secretary of State by a resident of this State whose name must appear on the voting list of the city, town or plantation of that resident as qualified to vote for Governor. The full text of a measure submitted to a vote of the people under the provisions of the Constitution need not be printed on the official ballots, but, until otherwise provided by the Legislature, the Secretary of State shall prepare the ballots in such form as to present the question or questions concisely and intelligibly.
Section 21. City council of any city may establish direct initiative and people's veto. The city council of any city may establish the direct initiative and people's veto for the electors of such city in regard to its municipal affairs, provided that the ordinance establishing and providing the method of exercising such direct initiative and people's veto shall not take effect until ratified by vote of a majority of the electors of said city, voting thereon at a municipal election. Provided,however, that the Legislature may at any time provide a uniform method for the exercise of the initiative and referendum in municipal affairs.
Section 22. Election officers and officials, how governed. Until the Legislature shall enact further laws not inconsistent with the Constitution for applying the people's veto and direct initiative, the election officers and other officials shall be governed by the provisions of this Constitution and of the general law, supplemented by such reasonable action as may be necessary to render the preceding sections self executing. The Legislature may enact laws not inconsistent with the Constitution to establish procedures for determination of the validity of written petitions. Such laws shall include provision for judicial review of any determination, to be completed within 100 days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State.
Section 23. Municipalities reimbursed annually. The Legislature shall annually reimburse each municipality from state tax sources for not less than 50% of the property tax revenue loss suffered by that municipality during the previous calendar year because of the statutory property tax exemptions or credits enacted after April 1, 1978. The Legislature shall enact appropriate legislation to carry out the intent of this section.
This section shall allow, but not require, reimbursement for statutory property tax exemptions or credits for extracted minerals.