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.]
- 9. Representatives elected every second year; apportionment of representatives.
- 9-a. Legislative adjustments of census with reference to non-residents.
- 10. [Repealed, 1889.]
- 11. Small towns, representation by districts.
- 11-a. Division of town, ward, or place; representative districts.
- 12. Biennial election of representatives in November.
- 13. [Repealed, 1976.]
- 14. Representatives, how elected, qualifications of.
- 15. Compensation of the legislature.
- 16. Vacancies in house, how filled.
- 17. House to impeach before the senate.
- 18. Money bills to originate in house.
- 18-a. Budget bills.
- 19. Adjournment.
- 20. Quorum, what constitutes.
- 21. Privileges of members of the legislature.
- 22. House to elect speaker and officers, settle rules of proceedings, and punish misconduct.
- 23. Senate and executive have like powers; imprisonment limited.
- 24. Journals and laws to be pub lished; yeas and nays, and protests.
[Art.] 25. [Senate, How Constituted.]Edit
The senate shall consist of twenty-four members.
June 2, 1784. Provided for 12 senators. Amended 1792. Generally rephrased specifying term as one year from the first Wednesday in June. Amended 1877 increasing senators to 24 and providing for 2 year term. Amended 1889 so that term started in January instead of June. Amended 1974 deleting reference to term.
[Art.] 26. [Senatorial Districts, How Constituted.]Edit
And that the state may be equally represented in the senate, the legislature shall divide the state into single-member districts, as nearly equal as may be in population, each consisting of contiguous towns, city wards and unincorporated places, without dividing any town, city ward or unincorporated place. The legislature shall form the single-member districts at its next session after approval of this article by the voters of the state and thereafter at the regular session following each decennial federal census.
June 2, 1784. Number of senators elected from each district (county) proportioned to taxes paid by each district. Amended 1792 dividing the state into l2 senatorial districts still based on proportion of taxes paid by the district. Amended 1877 increasing senate to 24 members from single member districts. Amended 1964 providing for election of senators on basis of population.
[Art.] 26-a. [Division of Town, Ward or Place; Senatorial Districts.]Edit
Notwithstanding Article 26 or any other article, a law providing for an apportionment to form senatorial districts under Article 26 of Part Second may divide a t own, ward or unincorporated place into two or more senatorial districts if such town, ward or place by referendum requests such division.
November 22, 1978
[Art.] 27. [Election of Senators.]Edit
The freeholders and other inhabitants of each district, qualified as in this constitution is provided shall biennially give in their votes for a senator, at some meeting holden in the month of November.
June 2, 1784. Annual election of senators at annual meeting in March. Amended 1792 rewording phrases but not changing the meaning. Amended 1877 twice substituting biennial election and sessions for annual elections and sessions and providing for elections in November instead of March.
[Art.] 28. [Senators, How and by Whom Chosen; Right of Suffrage.]Edit
June 2, 1784. Senate, first branch of the legislature, elected by male inhabitants 2l years of age and older who pay their own poll tax. Amended 1792 changing wording but not the meaning. Amended 1877 twice, substituting "biennially" for "annually" and "November" for "March." Amended 1958 removing obsolete reference to "male" inhabitants as being the only ones allowed to vote. Repealed 1976. Provisions covered by Article 11.
[Art.] 29. [Qualifications of Senators.]Edit
Provided nevertheless, that no person shall be capable of being elected a senator, who is not of the age of thirty years, and who shall not have been an inhabitant of this state for seven ye ars immediately preceding his election, and at the time thereof he shall be an inhabitant of the district for which he shall be chosen. Should such person, after election, cease to be an inhabitant of the district for which he was chosen, he shall be dis qualified to hold said position and a vacancy shall be declared therein.
June 2, 1784 Amended 1852 deleting property qualifications. Amended 1877 deleting requirements that senators be Protestant. Amended 1976 adding provision that a senator is disqualified if he moves from his district.
[Art.] 30. [Inhabitant Defined.]Edit
And every person, qualified as the constitution provides, shall be considered an inhabitant for the purpose of being elected into any office or place within this state, in the town, or ward, where he is domiciled.
June 2, 1784 Amended 1958 substituting "ward" for "parish, and plantation." Amended 1976 twice deleting reference to electing and substituting "is domiciled" for "dwelleth and hath his home."
[Art.] 31. [Inhabitants of Unincorporated Places; Their Rights, etc.]Edit
June 2, 1784. Procedure and qualifications for inhabitants of unincorporated places to vote.Amended 1877 twice providing for biennial instead of annual elections in November instead of March. Amended 1958 deleting reference to plantations and substituting "wards" for "parishes." Repealed 1976. Provisions covered by Part I, Art. 11.
[Art.] 32. [Biennial Meetings, How Warned, Governed, and Conducted; Return of Votes, etc.]Edit
The meetings for the choice of governor, council and senators, shall be warned by warrant from the selectmen, and governed by a moderator, who shall, in the presence of the selectmen (whose duty it shall be to attend) in open meeting, receive the votes of all the inhabitants of such towns and wards present, and qualified to vote for senators; and shall, in said meetings, in presence of the sa id selectmen, and of the town or city clerk, in said meetings, sort and count the said votes, and make a public declaration thereof, with the name of every person voted for, and the number of votes for each person; and the town or city clerk shall make a fair record of the same at large, in the town book, and shall make out a fair attested copy thereof, to be by him sealed up and directed to the secretary of state, within five days following the election, with a superscription expressing the purport there of.
June 2, 1784 Amended 1792 generally rewording section. Amended 1889 substituting "January" for "June" regarding notification to secretary of state. Amended 1958 substituting "wards" for "parishes" and added reference to city clerks. Amended 1974 substituting "December" for "January" and "twenty" and "thirty" regarding notification to secretary of state. Amended 1976 changing notification to 5 days after the election.
[Art.] 33. [Secretary of State to Count Votes for Senators and Notify Persons Elected.]Edit
And that there may be a due meeting of senators and representatives on the first Wednesday of December, biennially, the secretary of state shal l, as soon as may be, examine the returned copy of such records; and fourteen days before the first Wednesday of December, he shall issue his summons to such persons as appear to be chosen senators and representatives, by a plurality of votes, to attend a nd take their seats on that day.
June 2, 1784. President and 3 of the council to issue summons to senators to take their seats.
Amended 1792 changing president to governor and specific number of councilors to majority of councilors.
Amended 1877 changing annually to biennially.
Amended 1889 changing June to January for beginning of session.
Amended 19l2 substituting "plurality of votes" for "majority of votes."
Amended 1968 deleting proviso relating to the first year.
Amended 1974 changing meeting to first Wednesday of December.
Amended 1976 providing that the secretary of state should examine the returns and notify those elected instead of governor.
[Art.] 34. [Vacancies in Senate, How Filled.]Edit
And in case there shall not appear to be a senator elected, by a plurality of votes, for any district, the deficiency shall be supplied in the following manner, viz. The members of the house of representatives, and such senators as shall be declared elected, shall take the names of the two persons having the highest number of votes in the district, and out of them shall elect, by joint ballot, the senator wanted for such district; and in this manner all such vacancies shall be filled up, in every district of the state and in case the person receiving a plurality of votes in any district is found by the Senate not to be qualified to be seated, a new election shall be held forthwith in said district. All vacancies in the senate arising by death, removal out of the state, or otherwise, except from failure to elect, shall be filled by a new election by the people of the district upon the requisition of the governor and council, as soon as may be after such vacancies shall happen.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 generally rewording section.
Amended 1889 adding provisions for new elections in case of vacancies.
Amended 19l2 providing for plurality of votes instead of majority.
Amended 1968 providing for new election if person elected is not qualified.
[Art.] 35. [Senate, Judges of Their Own Elections.]Edit
The senate shall be final judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications, of their own members, as pointed out in this constitution.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 36. [Adjournment.]Edit
The senate shall have power to adjourn themselves, and whenever they shall sit on the trial of any impeachment, they may adjourn to such time and place as they may think proper although the legislature be not assembled on such day, or at such place.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 adding proviso relating to impeachment.
Amended 1948 increasing adjournment from 2 days to 5 days.
Amended 1966 deleting limitation on adjournment.
[Art.] 37. [Senate to Elect Their Own Officers; Quorum.]Edit
The senate shall appoint their president and other officers, and determine their own rules of proceedings: And not less than thirteen members of the senate shall make a quorum f or doing business; and when less than sixteen senators shall be present, the assent of ten, at least, shall be necessary to render their acts and proceedings valid.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 adding "president."
Amended 1877 increasing quorum from 7 to 13 and changing assent of 5 when less than 8 present to assent of l0 when less than l6 present.
[Art.] 38. [Senate to Try Impeachments; Mode of Proceeding.]Edit
The senate shall be a court, with full power and authority to hear, try, and determine, all impeachments made by the house of representatives against any officer or offic ers of the state, for bribery, corruption, malpractice or maladministration, in office; with full power to issue summons, or compulsory process, for convening witnesses before them: But previous to the trial of any such impeachment, the members of the sen ate shall respectively be sworn truly and impartially to try and determine the charge in question, according to evidence. And every officer, impeached for bribery, corruption, malpractice or maladministration in office, shall be served with an attested copy of the impeachment, and order of the senate thereon with such citation as the senate may direct, setting forth the time and place of their sitting to try the impeachment; which service shall be made by the sheriff, or such other sworn officer as the s enate may appoint, at least fourteen days previous to the time of trial; and such citation being duly served and returned, the senate may proceed in the hearing of the impeachment, giving the person impeached, if he shall appear, full liberty of producing witnesses and proofs, and of making his defense, by himself and counsel, and may also, upon his refusing or neglecting to appear hear the proofs in support of the impeachment, and render judgment thereon, his nonappearance notwithstanding; and such judgm ent shall have the same force and effect as if the person impeached had appeared and pleaded in the trial.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 adding mode of proceeding.
[Art.] 39. [Judgment on Impeachment Limited.]Edit
Their judgment, however, shall not extend further than removal from office, disqualification to hold or enjoy any place of honor, trust, or profit, under this state, but the party so co nvicted, shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to the laws of the land.
June 2, 1784
[Art.] 40. [Chief Justice to Preside on Impeachment of Governor.]Edit
Whenever the governor shall be impeached, the chief justice of the supreme judicial court, shall, during the trial, preside in the senate, but have no vote therein.
September 5, 1792
- 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.