- 1 Table of Contents | Part First - Bill of Rights | Part Second - Form of Government
- 2 Part Second - Form of Government
- 2.1 Articles 1 - 8
- 2.2 House of Representatives
- 2.2.1 [Art.] 9. [Representatives Elected Every Second Year; Apportionment of Representatives.]
- 2.2.2 [Art.] 9-a. [Legislative Adjustments of Census with Reference to Non-Residents.]
- 2.2.3 [Art.] 10. [Representation of Small Towns.]
- 2.2.4 [Art.] 11. [Small Towns; Representation by Districts.]
- 2.2.5 [Art.] 11-a. [Division of Town, Ward or Place; Representative Districts.]
- 2.2.6 [Art.] 12. [Biennial Election of Representatives in November.]
- 2.2.7 [Art.] 13. [Qualifications of Electors.]
- 2.2.8 [Art.] 14. [Representatives, How Elected, Qualifications of.]
- 2.2.9 [Art.] 15. [Compensation of the Legislature.]
- 2.2.10 [Art.] 16. [Vacancies in House, How Filled.]
- 2.2.11 [Art.] 17. [House to Impeach Before the Senate.]
- 2.2.12 [Art.] 18. [Money Bills to Originate in House.]
- 2.2.13 [Art.] 18-a [Budget Bills.]
- 2.2.14 [Art.] 19. [Adjournment.]
- 2.2.15 [Art.] 20. [Quorum, What Constitutes.]
- 2.2.16 [Art.] 2l. [Privileges of Members of Legislature.]
- 2.2.17 [Art.] 22. [House to Elect Speaker and Officers, Settle Rules of Proceedings, and Punish Misconduct.]
- 2.2.18 [Art.] 23. [Senate and Executive Have Like Powers; Imprisonment Limited.]
- 2.2.19 [Art.] 24 [Journals and Laws to be Published; Yeas and Nayes; and Protests.]
- 2.3 Senate
- 2.4 Executive Power --- Governor
- 2.5 Council
- 2.6 Secretary, Tresurer, Etc.
- 2.7 County Treasurer, Etc.
- 2.8 Judiciary Power
- 2.9 Clerks of Courts
- 2.10 Encouragement of Literature, Trade, Etc.
- 2.11 Oaths and Subscrptions Exclusion From Offices, Etc.
- 2.12 Reference
Established October 31, 1783 To Take Effect June 2, 1784 As Subsequently Amended and in Force December 1990
Part Second - Form of GovernmentEdit
- Article 1. [Name of Body Politic.]
- [Art.] 2. [Legislature, How Constituted.]
- [Art.] 3. [General Court, When to Meet and Dissolve.]
- [Art.] 4. [Power of General Court to Establish Courts.]
- [Art.] 5. [Power to Make Laws, Elect Officers, Define Their Powers and Duties, Impose Fines and Assess Taxes; Prohibited from Authorizing Towns to Aid Certain Corporations.]
- [Art.] 5-a. [Continuity of Government in Case of Enemy Attack.]
- [Art.] 5-b. [Power to Provide for Tax Valuations Based on Use.]
- [Art.] 6. [Valuation and Taxation.]
- [Art.] 6-a. [Use of Certain Revenues Restricted to Highways.]
- [Art.] 6-b. [Use of Lottery Revenues Restricted to Educational Purposes.]
- [Art.] 7. [Members of Legislature Not to Take Fees or Act as Counsel.]
- [Art.] 8. [Open Sessions of Legislature.]
House of RepresentativesEdit
[Art.] 9. [Representatives Elected Every Second Year; Apportionment of Representatives.]Edit
There shall be in the legislature of this state a house of representatives, biennially elected and founded on principles of equality, and represen tation therein shall be as equal as circumstances will admit. The whole number of representatives to be chosen from the towns, wards, places, and representative districts thereof established hereunder, shall be not less than three hundred seventy-five or more than four hundred. As soon as possible after the convening of the next regular session of the legislature, and at the session in 1971, and every ten years thereafter, the legislature shall make an apportionment of representatives according to the last general census of the inhabitants of the state taken by authority of the United States or of this state. In making such apportionment, no town, ward or place shall be divided nor the boundaries thereof altered.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1877 three times providing for biennial elections; increasing representation from 150 rateable polls to 600; prohibiting towns and wards from being altered so as to increase representation.
Amended 1942 limiting size of House to between 375 and 400.
Amended 1964 providing for equal representation.
[Art.] 9-a. [Legislative Adjustments of Census with Reference to Non-Residents.]Edit
The general court shall have the power to provide by statute for making suitable adjustments to the general census of the inhabitants of the state taken b y the authority of the United States or of this state on account of non-residents temporarily residing in this state.
November 30, 1960
[Art.] 10. [Representation of Small Towns.]Edit
June 2, 1784. Small towns grouped together to provide one representative for 150 rateable polls. The election meeting was to rotate annually between the towns.
Amended 1877 increasing districts to 600 inhabitants; rotation of meeting changed to biennially.
Repealed in 1889. Provisions incorporated into Art. 11.
[Art.] 11. [Small Towns; Representation by Districts.]Edit
When any town, ward, or unincorporated place, according to the last federal decennial census, has less than the number of inhabitants necessary to entitle it to one representative , the legislature shall form those towns, wards, or unincorporated places into representative districts which contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle each district so formed to one or more representatives for the entire district. In forming the districts, the boundaries of towns, wards and unincorporated places shall be preserved and the towns, wards and unincorporated places forming one district shall be reasonably proximate to one another. The legislature shall form the representative di stricts at its next session after approval of this article by the voters of the state, and thereafter at the regular session following every decennial federal census.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 changing General Assembly to General Court.
Amended 1877 changing 150 rateable polls to 600 inhabitants.
Amended 1889 providing that towns of less than 600 should be represented a proportional amount of time instead of being classed as formerly provided in Art. 10.
Amended 1942 deleting reference to 600 and providing that small towns should be represented at least once in every 10 years.
Amended 1964 to permit small towns to be districted for one or more representatives.
[Art.] 11-a. [Division of Town, Ward or Place; Representative Districts.]Edit
Notwithstanding Articles 9 and 11, a law providing for an apportionment to form representative districts under Articles 9 and 11 of Part Second may divide a town , ward or unincorporated place into two or more representative districts if such town, ward or place, by referendum requests such division.
November 22, 1978 (Rejected in 1976 as proposed by convention, but adopted in 1978 as proposed by the general court and including both representative and senate districts.)
[Art.] 12. [Biennial Election of Representatives in November.]Edit
The members of the house of representatives shall be chosen biennially, in the month of November, and shall be the second branch of the legislature.
June 2, 1784
Amended twice in 1877 substituting "biennially" for "annually" and "November" for "March."
[Art.] 13. [Qualifications of Electors.]Edit
June 2, 1784. All persons qualified to vote in the election ofsenators shall be entitled to vote within the town, district, parish,or place where they dwell, in the choice of representatives. Note:The phrase "town, district, parish, or place" ; was shortened to "district" in engrossed copy of 1792, apparently without authority.
Amended in 1976.
[Art.] 14. [Representatives, How Elected, Qualifications of.]Edit
Every member of the house of representatives shall be chosen by ballot; and, for two years, at least, next preceding his election shall have been an inhabitant of this state; shall be, at the time of his election, an inhabitant of the town, ward, place, or district he may be chosen to represent and shall cease to represent such town, ward, place, or district immediately on his ceasing to be qualified as aforesaid.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1852 deleting provision for representatives to have an estate of 100 pounds.
Amended 1877 deleting requirement that representatives be Protestants.
Amended 1956 substituting "ward" for "parish."
Amended 1964 adding word "district."
[Art.] 15. [Compensation of the Legislature.]Edit
The presiding officers of both houses of the legislature, shall severally receive out of the state treasury as compensation in full for their services for the term elected the sum of $250, and all other members thereof, seasonably attending and not departing without license, the sum of $200 and each member shall receive mileage for actual daily attendance on legislative days, but not after the legislature shall have been in session for 45 legislative days or after the first day of July following the annual assembly of the legislature, whichever occurs first; provided, however, that, when a special session shall be called by the governor or by a 2/3 vote of the then qualified members of each branch of the general court, such officers and members shall receive for attendance an additional compensation of $3 per day for a period not exceeding 15 days and the usual mileage. Nothing herein shall prevent the payment of additional mileage to m embers attending committee meetings or on other legislative business on nonlegislative days.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 requiring state to pay wages instead of town.
Amended 1889 setting salary for members at $200 and for officers at $250 with $3 per day for special sessions.
Amended 1960 limiting mileage to 90 legislative days.
Amended 1984 limiting mileage to 45 legislative days in each annual session.
[Art.] 16. [Vacancies in House, How Filled.]Edit
All intermediate vacancies, in the house of representatives may be filled up, from time to time, in the same manner as biennial elections are made.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1877 changing "annual" to "biennial" elections.
[Art.] 17. [House to Impeach Before the Senate.]Edit
The house of representatives shall be the grand inquest of the state; and all impeachments made by them, shall be heard and tried by the senate.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 18. [Money Bills to Originate in House.]Edit
All money bills shall originate in the house of representatives; but the senate may propose, or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 18-a [Budget Bills.]Edit
All sections of all budget bills before the general court shall contain only the operating and capital expenses for the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. No section or footnote of any such budget bill shall contain any provision which establishes, amends or repeals statutory law, other than provisions establishing, amending or repealing operating and capital expenses for the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
November 28, 1984
[Art.] 19. [Adjournment.]Edit
The house of representatives shall have the power to adjourn themselves.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1948 substituting "five" for "two" days as length of adjournment.
Amended 1966 removing limitation on adjournment.
[Art.] 20. [Quorum, What Constitutes.]Edit
A majority of the members of the house of representatives shall be a quorum for doing business: But when less than two-thirds of the representatives elected shall be present, the assent of two-th irds of those members shall be necessary to render their acts and proceedings valid.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 2l. [Privileges of Members of Legislature.]Edit
No member of the house of representatives, or senate shall be arrested, or held to bail, on mesne process, during his going to, returning from, or attendance upon, the court.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 22. [House to Elect Speaker and Officers, Settle Rules of Proceedings, and Punish Misconduct.]Edit
The house of representatives shall choose their own speaker, appoint their own officers, and settle the rules of proceedings in their own house; and shall be judge of the returns, elections, and qualifications, of its members, as pointed out in this constitution. They shall have authority to punish, by imprisonment, every person who shall be guilty of disrespect to the house, in its p resence, by any disorderly and contemptuous behavior, or by threatening, or illtreating, any of its members; or by obstructing its deliberations; every person guilty of a breach of its privileges, in making arrests for debt, or by assaulting any member during his attendance at any session; in assaulting or disturbing any one of its officers in the execution of any order or procedure of the house; in assaulting any witness, or other person, ordered to attend, by and during his attendance of the house; or i n rescuing any person arrested by order of the house, knowing them to be such.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 by adding that the House shall be judge of the returns, elections, and qualifications of its members.
[Art.] 23. [Senate and Executive Have Like Powers; Imprisonment Limited.]Edit
The senate, governor and council, shall have the same powers in like cases; provided, that no imprisonment by either, for any offense, exceeds ten days.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 substituting "governor" for "president."
[Art.] 24 [Journals and Laws to be Published; Yeas and Nayes; and Protests.]Edit
The journals of the proceedings, and all public acts of both houses, of the legislature, shall be printed and published immediately after every adjournment or prorogation; and upon motion made by any one member, duly seconded, the yeas and nays, upon any question, shall be entered, on the journal. And any member of the senate, or house of representatives, shall have a right, on motion made at the time for t hat purpose to have his protest, or dissent, with the reasons, against any vote, resolve, or bill passed, entered on the journal.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 permitting protest or dissent with reasons to be entered in the journals.
Amended 1966 requiring roll call requests to be seconded.
- 25. Senate; how constituted.
- 26. Senatorial districts, how constituted.
- 26-a. Division of town, ward, or lace; senatorial districts.
- 27. Election of senators.
- 28. [Repealed, 1976.]
- 29. Qualifications of senators.
- 30. Inhabitant defined.
- 31. Inhabitants of unincorporated places; their rights, etc.
- 32. Biennial meetings, how warned, governed, and conducted; return of votes, etc.
- 33. Secretary of state to count votes for senators and notify persons elected.
- 34. Vacancies in senate, how filled.
- 35. Senate, judges of their own elections.
- 36. Adjournment.
- 37. Senate to elect their own officers; quorum.
- 38. Senate to try impeachments; mode of proceeding.
- 39. Judgment on impeachment limited.
- 40. Chief justice to preside on impeachment of governor.
- 41. Governor, supreme executive magistrate.
- 42. Election of governor, return of votes; electors; if no choice, legislature to elect one of two highest candidates; qualifications for governor.
- 43. In cases of disagreement, governor to adjourn or prorogue legislature; if causes exist, may convene them elsewhere.
- 44. Veto to bills.
- 45. Resolves to be treated like bills.
- 46. Nomination and appointment of officers.
- 47. Governor and council have negative on each other.
- 48. [Repealed, 1976.]
- 49. President of senate, etc. to act as governor when office vacant; speaker of house to act when office of president of senate also vacant.
- 49-a. Prolonged failure to qualify; vacancy in office of governor due to physical or mental incapacity, etc.
- 50. Governor to prorogue or adjourn legislature, and call extra sessions.
- 51. Powers and duties of governor as commander-in-chief.
- 52. Pardoning power.
- 53. [Repealed, 1976.]
- 54. [Repealed, 1976.]
- 55. [Repealed, 1976.]
- 56. Disbursements from treasury.
- 57. [Repealed, 1950.]
- 58. Compensation of governor and council.
- 59. Salaries of judges.
- 60. Councilors; mode of election, etc.
- 61. Vacancies, how filled, if no choice.
- 62. Subsequent vacancies; governor to convene; duties.
- 63. Impeachment of councilors.
- 64. Secretary to record proceedings of council.
- 65. Councilor districts provided for.
- 66. Elections by legislature may be adjourned from day to day; order thereof.
- 67. Election of secretary and treasurer.
- 68. State records, where kept; duty of secretary.
- 69. Deputy secretary.
- 70. Secretary to give bond.
- 71. County treasurers, registers of probate, county attorneys, sheriffs, and registers of deeds elected.
- 72. Counties may be divided into districts for registering deeds.
- 72-a. Supreme and superior courts.
- 73. Tenure of office to be expressed in commissions; judges to hold office during good behavior, etc.; removal.
- 73-a. Supreme court, administration
- 74. Judges to give opinions, when.
- 75. Justices of peace commissioned for five years.
- 76. Divorce and probate appeals, where tried.
- 77. Jurisdiction of justices in civil causes.
- 78. Judges and sheriffs, when disqualified by age.
- 79. Judges and justices not to act as counsel.
- 80. Jurisdiction and term of probate courts.
- 81. Judges and registers of probate not to act as counsel.
- 82. Clerks of courts, by whom appointed.
- 83. Encouragement of literature, etc.; control of corporations, monopolies, etc.
- 84. Oath of civil officers.
- 85. Before whom taken.
- 86. Form of commissions.
- 87. Form of writs.
- 88. Form of indictments, etc.
- 89. Suicides and deodands.
- 90. Existing laws continued if not repugnant.
- 91. Habeas corpus.
- 92. Enacting style of statutes.
- 93. Governor and judges prohibited from holding other offices.
- 94. Incompatibility of offices; only two offices of profit to be holden at same time.
- 95. Incompatibility of certain offices.
- 96. Bribery and corruption disqualify for office.
- 97. [Repealed, 1950.]
- 98. Constitution, when to take effect.
- 99. [Repealed, 1980.]
- 100. Alternate methods of Proposing amendments.
- 101. Enrollment of constitution.