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atives; each of which shall have a negative on the other.
time, etc., see
The legislative body shall assemble every year [on the For change of last Wednesday in May, and at such other times as they amendments, shall judge necessary; and shall dissolve and be dissolved on the day next preceding the said last Wednesday in May;] and shall be styled, THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.
items by the
II. No bill or resolve of the senate or house of repre- Governor's sentatives shall become a law, and have force as such, until 99 Mass. 636. it shall have been laid before the governor for his revisal; For right of and if he, upon such revision, approve thereof, he shall return bill or signify his approbation by signing the same. But if he amendment, have any objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he ments, Art. shall return the same, together with his objections thereto, For disapproval in writing, to the senate or house of representatives, in or reduction of whichsoever the same shall have originated; who shall governor in enter the objections sent down by the governor, at large, ating money, on their records, and proceed to reconsider the said bill or ments, Art. resolve. But if after such reconsideration, two-thirds of LXIII, sect. 5. the said senate or house of representatives, shall, notwith- passed by twostanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it house, notshall, together with the objections, be sent to the other withstanding. branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, shall have the force of a law: but in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays; and the names of the persons voting for, or against, the said bill or resolve, shall be entered upon the public records of the commonwealth.
And in order to prevent unnecessary delays, if any bill or resolve shall not be returned by the governor within five days after it shall have been presented, the same shall have the force of a law.
3 Mass. 567.
Bill may be
thirds of each
For exception journment of court within
in case of ad
the five days, see amendments, Art. I. General court
12 Gray, 147,
III. The general court shall forever have full and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and may constitute courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name courts of recof the commonwealth, for the hearing, trying, and deter- Gray, 1. mining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, 154. plaints, actions, matters, causes, and things, whatsoever, See amendarising or happening within the commonwealth, or between XLVIII, The or concerning persons inhabiting, or residing, or brought sect. 2, and The within the same: whether the same be criminal or civil, III, sect. 2. or whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and
Courts, etc., may administer oaths.
may enact laws, etc.
9 Gray, 426. 4 Allen, 473.
12 Allen, 223,
100 Mass. 544, 557.
116 Mass. 467, 470.
For initiative and refer
endum, see amendments, Art. XLVIII.
General court may enact
repugnant to the constitu
whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed; and for the awarding and making out of execution thereupon. To which courts and judicatories are hereby given and granted full power and authority, from time to time, to administer oaths or affirmations, for the better discovery of truth in any matter in controversy or depending before them.
IV. And further, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the said general court, from time to time to make, ordain, and establish, all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, and ordinances, directions and instructions, either with penalties or without; so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of this commonwealth, and for the government and ordering thereof, and of the subjects of the same, and for the necessary support and defence of the government laws, etc., not thereof; and to name and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws for the naming and settling, all civil officers within the said commonwealth, the election and constitution of whom are not hereafter in this form of government otherwise provided for; and to set forth the several duties, powers, and limits, of the several civil and milimay prescribe tary officers of this commonwealth, and the forms of such oaths or affirmations as shall be respectively administered unto them for the execution of their several offices and places, so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution; and to impose and levy proportional and reasonable assessments, rates, and taxes, upon all the inhabitants of, and persons resident, and estates lying, within the said commonwealth; and also to impose and
6 Allen, 358.
for the election
115 Mass. 602.
taxes, etc. See amend
5 Allen, 428.
6 Allen, 558.
10 Allen, 235.
11 Allen, 268.
8 Allen, 247, 253. levy reasonable duties and excises upon any produce, goods, wares, merchandise, and commodities, whatsoever, brought into, produced, manufactured, or being within the to be issued and disposed of by warrant, under the hand of the governor of this commonwealth for the time being, with the advice and consent of the council, for the public service, in the necessary defence and support of the government of the said commonwealth, and the protection and preservation of the subjects thereof, 123 Mass. 493, according to such acts as are or shall be in force within the same.
101 Mass. 575, 585.
103 Mass. 267. 114 Mass. 388, 391.
116 Mass. 461. 118 Mass. 386, 389.
127 Mass. 413.
And while the public charges of government, or any be disposed of part thereof, shall be assessed on polls and estates, in the
taxes, etc., to
manner that has hitherto been practised, in order that for defence, such assessments may be made with equality, there shall Allen, 247, be a valuation of estates within the commonwealth, taken Valuation of anew once in every ten years at least, and as much oftener estates once in as the general court shall order.
For the authority of the general court to charter cities, see amendments, Art. II. For the state wide referendum on bills and resolves of the general court, see amendments, Art. XLII. Art. XLII annulled by initiative and referendum amendment, see amendments, Art. XLVIII, The referendum, VIII.
For the power given the general court to provide by law for absentee and compulsory voting, see amendments, Arts. XLV and LXI.
For the power given the general court to determine the manner of providing and distributing the necessaries of life, etc., during time of war, public distress, etc., by the commonwealth and the cities and towns therein, see amendments, Art. XLVII.
ten years, at
of, and by
which was also
Article I. [There shall be annually elected, by the Senate, number freeholders and other inhabitants of this commonwealth, whom elected. qualified as in this constitution is provided, forty persons amendments, to be councillors and senators for the year ensuing their Art. XIII, election; to be chosen by the inhabitants of the districts superseded by into which the commonwealth may, from time to time, be Art. XXII. divided by the general court for that purpose: and the general court, in assigning the numbers to be elected by the respective districts, shall govern themselves by the proportion of the public taxes paid by the said districts; and timely make known to the inhabitants of the common- For provision as wealth the limits of each district, and the number of coun- see amendcillors and senators to be chosen therein; provided, that ments, Art. the number of such districts shall never be less than thirteen; and that no district be so large as to entitle the same to choose more than six senators.
And the several counties in this commonwealth shall, Counties to be until the general court shall determine it necessary to etc. alter the said districts, be districts for the choice of councillors and senators, (except that the counties of Dukes County and Nantucket shall form one district for that purpose) and shall elect the following number for councillors and senators, viz.:- Suffolk, six; Essex, six; Middlesex, five; Hampshire, four; Plymouth, three; Barnstable, one; Bristol, three; York, two; Dukes County and Nantucket, one; Worcester, five; Cumberland, one; Lincoln, one; Berkshire, two.]
time of choosing
senators and councillors.
ments, Arts. X,
LXIV, sect. 1.
voters, superseded by amendments,
Arts. III, XX,
II. The senate shall be the first branch of the legislature; and the senators shall be chosen in the following manner, viz.: there shall be a meeting on the [first Monday in XV. XLV and April,] [annually,] forever, of the inhabitants of each town in the several counties of this commonwealth; to be called by the selectmen, and warned in due course of law, at Provisions as to least seven days before the [first Monday in April,] for qualifications of the purpose of electing persons to be senators and councillors; [and at such meetings every male inhabitant of twenty-one years of age and upwards, having a freehold estate within the commonwealth, of the annual income of three pounds, or any estate of the value of sixty pounds, shall have a right to give in his vote for the senators for the district of which he is an inhabitant.] And to remove all doubts concerning the meaning of the word “inhabitant" in this constitution, every person shall be considered as an inhabitant, for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office, or place within this state, in that town, district, or plantation where he dwelleth, or hath his home.
XXVIII, XXX, XXXI and XXXII.
ant" defined. See also amendments, Art. XXIII, which was annulled by Art. XXVI. 12 Gray, 21. 122 Mass. 595, 597.
Selectmen to preside at town meetings.
Return of votes.
The selectmen of the several towns shall preside at such meetings impartially; and shall receive the votes of all the inhabitants of such towns present and qualified to vote for senators, and shall sort and count them in open town meeting, and in presence of the town clerk, who shall make a fair record, in presence of the selectmen, and in open town meeting, of the name of every person voted for, and of the As to cities, see number of votes against his name: and a fair copy of this
to firet Wednes
record shall be attested by the selectmen and the town clerk, and shall be sealed up, directed to the secretary of the commonwealth for the time being, with a superscription, expressing the purport of the contents thereof, and delivered by the town clerk of such towns, to the sheriff of the county Time changed in which such town lies, thirty days at least before [the last day of January. Wednesday in May] [annually;] or it shall be delivered into ments, Art. X. the secretary's office seventeen days at least before the said [last Wednesday in May:] and the sheriff of each county 'shall deliver all such certificates by him received, into the secretary's office, seventeen days before the said [last Wednesday in May.]
[And the inhabitants of plantations unincorporated, qualified as this constitution provides, who are or shall be empowered and required to assess taxes upon themselves toward the support of government, shall have the
same privilege of voting for councillors and senators in the plantations where they reside, as town inhabitants have in their respective towns; and the plantation meetings for that Plantation purpose shall be held annually [on the same first Monday Time of elecin April], at such place in the plantations, respectively, as by amendthe assessors thereof shall direct; which assessors shall have ments, Art. like authority for notifying the electors, collecting and Assessors to returning the votes, as the selectmen and town clerks have in their several towns, by this constitution. And all other persons living in places unincorporated (qualified as aforesaid) who shall be assessed to the support of government by the assessors of an adjacent town, shall have the privilege of giving in their votes for councillors and senators in the town where they shall be assessed, and be notified of the place of meeting by the selectmen of the town where they shall be assessed, for that purpose, accordingly.]
Governor and council to ex
amine and count votes,
III. And that there may be a due convention of senators on the [last Wednesday in May] annually, the governor with five of the council, for the time being, shall, as soon as may and issue be, examine the returned copies of such records; and four- summonses. teen days before the said day he shall issue his summons to to first such persons as shall appear to be chosen by [a majority of] January by voters, to attend on that day, and take their seats accord- Art. X. ingly: provided, nevertheless, that for the first year the Majority, said returned copies shall be examined by the president and plurality by five of the council of the former constitution of govern- Art. XIV. ment; and the said president shall, in like manner, issue his summons to the persons so elected, that they may take their seats as aforesaid.
final judge of
IV. The senate shall be the final judge of the elections, Senate to be returns and qualifications of their own members, as pointed elections, etc., out in the constitution; and shall, [on the said last Wednes- of its own day in May] [annually,] determine and declare who are Time changed elected by each district to be senators [by a majority of Wednesday of votes; and in case there shall not appear to be the full amendments, number of senators returned elected by a majority of votes Majority for any district, the deficiency shall be supplied in the fol- changed to lowing manner, viz.: The members of the house of repre- amendments, sentatives, and such senators as shall be declared elected, shall take the names of such persons as shall be found to have the highest number of votes in such district, and not elected, amounting to twice the number of senators wanting, if there be so many voted for; and out of these shall elect by ballot a number of senators sufficient to fill up the vacan