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STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA.
THE SEAL OF THE STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA.
THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT OF NORTH DAKOTA, AND THE DEVELOPMENT AND WORKING OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE.
32. The Preamble to the constitution of the State recognizes the Divine Being and asserts the authority by which the constitution is ordained and established.
33. The Declaration of Rights.-The first article of the constitution is a declaration of those powers which are reserved by the people and which are not delegated to the government. These excepted powers must remain with the people as rights to be for ever inviolate.1
See Art. 1. Sect. 24. Reference is made to the constitution to familiarize the student with the constitution itself and to lead him to seek for information at its source.
34. The Government of the State of North Dakota is vested in three departments-the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.
While these rights are expressly reserved to the people, their regulation is as expressly secured, as will appear from the following examples:
The constitution provides that all laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation (see Art. I. Sect. 11), and prohibits special laws regulating the interest on money. (See Art. II. Sect. 69, Clause 13.)
The legislature having enacted a law exempting building and loan associations from the provisions of the general law regulating the payment of interest, it was claimed that this law was a violation of the constitution.
The state supreme court decided that "laws are uniform in operation if the benefits and burdens of such laws fall equally upon all members of the class or classes upon which they operate. The legislature has the right to classify, provided the basis of classification be natural and necessary, not artificial and arbitrary. The court holds that the law exempting building and loan associations from the provisions of the general usury law, when dealing with their own stockholders, is constitutional."
The constitution declares that "acquiring, possessing, and protecting property are inalienable rights." (See Art. I. Sect. 1.) The legislature having enacted a law declaring that "it shall be unlawful for any individual, firm, or corporation to transact a banking business without having complied with and organized under the provisions of this act," it was claimed that this law was a violation of the constitution.
The state supreme court decided that "the law was not a violation of the constitution, and is upheld as a proper exercise by the legislature of that branch of the internal police power of the State which relates to public safety."
The constitution prohibits special legislation in locating or changing county seats. (See Art. II. Sect. 69, Clause 3.) An act of the legislature relating to the removal of county seats contains the following proviso: Provided, That nothing in this act shall permit the removal or relocation of the county seat of any county wherein the court-house and jail now erected exceed in value the sum of $35,000." The state supreme court decided that this was class legislation, and therefore unconstitutional; the classification was not based upon natural reason, but was the arbitrary fiat of the legislature.
THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.
35. The Legislative Power of the State is vested in the Legislative Assembly, which consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives.1
36. The Legislative Assembly meets in the Capitol building at Bismarck. The session may not exceed sixty days, except when a case of impeachment is being tried. The Assembly makes all the laws of the State, but it may make no laws that conflict with the Constitution of the United States or with that of the State, or they may be declared unconstitutional by the courts, and therefore null and void. The laws made by the Legislative Assembly provide for the dealings of the citizens with each other, such as making contracts and partnerships, buying and selling lands, houses, goods and property of all kinds, making mortgages, deeds, promissory notes, checks, etc.; for the organization and government of corporations, such as insurance, railroad, telegraph, telephone, and manufacturing companies; for the prevention and punishment of crime; for the establishment and support of charitable and educational institutions; for establishing and regulating courts; for the government of counties, cities, incorporated towns, villages, townships, and school districts; for the method of procedure in courts; for the qualifications of electors; and for all other matters in which the citizens of the State may have any interest. It is the duty of the Legislative Assembly to make such laws as will promote the general welfare of the people of the State.
The State is divided by the Legislative Assembly into state senatorial districts and judicial districts. Every tenth year, beginning with the year 1897, and also after
1 See Art. II. Sect. 25.
2 The sessions begin at noon on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of every odd-numbered year (1895, '97, '99, etc.).
each Federal census, the Assembly must, and at any regular session may, re-district the State into senatorial districts and determine the number of senators and representatives that shall constitute the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly determines all matters connected with the taxation required to furnish the income for carrying on the government of the State, and it elects two persons to represent the State in the Senate of the United States. Members of the Assembly are paid five dollars per day as compensation for their services, and they are allowed ten cents for every mile of necessary travel in going to and returning from a session of the Assembly.
37. The Senate consists of thirty-one senators, one for each senatorial district into which the State is divided.2 The senator from each district is chosen by the electors of that district to serve for four years. The lieutenantgovernor of the State is ex-officio president of the Senate. He is not a member of the Senate, and has no right to vote except when the vote of the Senate is equally divided. The Senate elects one of its own members president pro tempore, who appoints its committees unless the Senate orders otherwise, and who acts as president when the lieutenant-governor is absent. The Senate has the sole power to try impeachments and to confirm appointments made by the governor."
38. The House of Representatives consists of sixtytwo members, chosen to serve for two years by the electors in the different senatorial districts into which the State is divided. Each district elects its own representatives." The House elects one of its members as presiding officer or speaker, who appoints all the committees unless the
1 See Art. II. Sect. 35.
3 See Art. II. Sect. 27.
2 See Art. II. Sect. 29.
4 See Art. XIV. Sect. 195.
5 For the qualifications of a senator, see Art. II. Sect. 28.
For the qualifications of a representative, see Art. II. Sect. 34.