Executive Department


7-1. Executive department.
The executive department shall consist of a governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general, who shall be ex officio reporter of the court of appeals. Their terms of office shall be four years, and shall commence on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of January next after their election. They shall reside at the seat of government during their terms of office, keep there the public records, books and papers pertaining to their respective offices, and shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law.

7-2. Election.
An election for governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general shall be held at such times and places as may be prescribed by law.

7-3. Certification of election returns -- Contests.
The returns of every election for the above named officers shall be sealed up and transmitted by the returning officers to the secretary of state, directed "to the speaker of the House of Delegates," who shall, immediately after the organization of the House, and before proceeding to business, open and publish the same, in the presence of a majority of each house of the Legislature, which shall for that purpose assemble in the hall of the House of Delegates. The person having the highest number of votes for either of said offices, shall be declared duly elected thereto; but if two or more have an equal and the highest number of votes for the same office, the Legislature shall, by joint vote, choose one of such persons for said office. Contested elections for the office of governor shall be determined by both houses of the Legislature by joint vote, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.

7-4. Eligibility.
None of the executive officers mentioned in this article shall hold any other office during the term of his service. A person who has been elected or who has served as governor during all or any part of two consecutive terms shall be ineligible for the office of governor during any part of the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms. The person holding the office of governor when this section is ratified shall not be prevented from holding the office of governor during the term immediately following the term he is then serving.

7-5. Chief executive -- Powers.
The chief executive power shall be vested in the governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

7-6. Governor's message.
The governor shall at the commencement of each session, give to the Legislature information by message, of the condition of the state, and shall recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient. He shall accompany his message with a statement of all money received and paid out by him from any funds, subject to his order, with vouchers therefor; and at the commencement of each regular session, present estimates of the amount of money required by taxation for all purposes.

7-7. Extraordinary legislative sessions.
The governor may, on extraordinary occasions convene, at his own instance, the Legislature; but when so convened it shall enter upon no business except that stated in the proclamation by which it was called together.

7-8. Governor to nominate certain officers.
The governor shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, (a majority of all the senators elected concurring by yeas and nays) appoint all officers whose offices are established by this constitution, or shall be created by law, and whose appointment or election is not otherwise provided for; and no such officer shall be appointed or elected by the Legislature.

7-9. Recess vacancies -- How filled.
In case of a vacancy, during the recess of the Senate, in any office which is not elective, the governor shall, by appointment, fill such vacancy, until the next meeting of the Senate, when he shall make a nomination for such office, and the person so nominated, when confirmed by the Senate, (a majority of all the senators elected concurring by yeas and nays) shall hold his office during the remainder of the term, and until his successor shall be appointed and qualified. No person, after being rejected by the Senate, shall be again nominated for the same office, during the same session, unless at the request of the Senate; nor shall such person be appointed to the same office during the recess of the Senate.

7-10. Governor's power of removal.
The governor shall have power to remove any officer whom he may appoint in case of incompetency, neglect of duty, gross immorality, or malfeasance in office; and he may declare his office vacant and fill the same as herein provided in other cases of vacancy.

7-11. Executive may remit fines and forfeitures.
The governor shall have power to remit fines and penalties in such cases and under such regulations as may be prescribed by law; to commute capital punishment and, except where the prosecution has been carried on by the House of Delegates to grant reprieves and pardons after conviction; but he shall communicate to the Legislature at each session the particulars of every case of fine or penalty remitted, or punishment commuted and of reprieve or pardon granted, with his reasons therefor.

7-12. Governor commander-in-chief of military forces.
The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the military forces of the state, (except when they shall be called into the service of the United States) and may call out the same to execute the laws, suppress insurrection and repel invasion.

7-13. Official bond of state officers.
When any state officer has executed his official bond, the governor shall, for such causes and in such manner as the Legislature may direct, require of such officer reasonable additional security; and if the security is not given as required, his office shall be declared vacant, in such manner as may be provided by law.

7-14. Governor's approval or disapproval of bills passed by the Legislature.
Subject to the provisions of section fifteen of this article, every bill passed by the Legislature shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor. If he approves, he shall sign it, and thereupon it shall become a law; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to the house in which it originated, which house shall enter the objections at large upon its journal, and may proceed to reconsider the returned bill. Notwithstanding the provisions of section fifty-one, article six of this constitution, any such bill may be reconsidered even if the Legislature is at the time in extended session for the sole purpose of considering the budget bill, as specified in said section fifty-one. If after any such reconsideration, a majority of the members elected to that house agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections of the governor to the other house, by which it may likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by a majority of the members elected to that house, it shall become a law, notwithstanding the objections of the governor. If upon any such reconsideration the bill is amended and reenacted, then it shall be again sent to the governor and he shall act upon it as if it were before him for the first time. In all cases, the vote of each house shall be determined by yeas and nays to be entered on the journal. Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall have been presented to him shall be a law, in the same manner as if he had signed it, unless the Legislature shall, by adjournment sine die, prevent its return, in which case it shall be filed with his objections in the office of the secretary of state within fifteen days, Sundays excepted, after such adjournment, or become a law.

7-15. Governor's approval or disapproval of bills making appropriations of money.
A bill passed by the Legislature making appropriations of money must be submitted to the governor for his approval or disapproval to the extent and only to the extent required by section fifty-one, article six of this constitution, and any provision therein contained as to such approval or disapproval shall govern and control as to any such bill.

7-16. Vacancy in governorship, how filled.
In case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability removed; and if the president of the Senate, for any of the above named causes, shall become incapable of performing the duties of governor, the same shall devolve upon the speaker of the House of Delegates; and in all other cases where there is no one to act as governor, one shall be chosen by joint vote of the Legislature. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy.

7-17. Vacancies in other executive departments.
If the office of secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture or attorney general shall become vacant by death, resignation, or otherwise, it shall be the duty of the governor to fill the same by appointment, and the appointee shall hold his office until his successor shall be elected and qualified in such manner as may be prescribed by law. The subordinate officers of the executive department and the officers of all public institutions of the state shall keep an account of all moneys received or disbursed by them, respectively, from all sources, and for every service performed, and make a semiannual report thereof to the governor under oath or affirmation; and any officer who shall wilfully make a false report shall be deemed guilty of perjury.

7-18. Executive heads to make reports.
The subordinate officers of the executive department and the officers of all the public institutions of the state, shall, at least ten days preceding each regular session of the Legislature, severally report to the governor, who shall transmit such report to the Legislature; and the governor may at any time require information in writing, under oath, from the officers of his department, and all officers and managers of state institutions, upon any subject relating to the condition, management and expenses of their respective offices.

7-19. Salaries of Officials.
The officers named in this article shall receive for their services a salary to be established by law, which shall not be increased or diminished during their official terms, and they shall not, after they shall not, after the expirations of the terms of those in office at the adoption of this amendment, receive to their own use any fees, costs, perquisites of office or other compensation, and all fees that may hereafter be payable by law, for any service performed by any officer provided for in this article of the Constitution, shall be paid in advance into the state treasury.