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ARKANSAS. The name of one of the new states of the United States. It was
admitted into the Union by the act of congress of June 15th, 1836, 4 Sharsw.
cont. of Story's L. U. S. 2444, by which it is declared that the state of
Arkansas shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one of the United States
of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the
original states in all respects whatever.
2. A convention assembled at Little Rock, on Monday, the 4th day of January, 1836, for the purpose of forming a constitution, by which it is declared that "We, the people of the Territory of Arkansas, by our representatives in convention assembled, in order to secure to ourselves and our posterity the enjoyments of all the rights of life, liberty and property, and the free pursuit of happiness do mutually agree with each other to form ourselves into a free and independent state, by the name and style of `The State of Arkansas.'" The constitution was finally adopted on the 30th day of January, 1836.
3. The powers of the government are divided into three departments; each of them is confided to a separate body of magistry, to wit; those which are legislative, to one; those which are executive, to another and those which are judicial, to a third.
4.-1. The legislative authority of the state is vested in a general assembly, which consists of a senate and house of representatives. Each house shall appoint its own officers, and shall judge of the qualifications, returns and elections of its own members. Two-thirds of each shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties, as each house shall provide. Sect. 15. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish its own members for disorderly behaviour, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members elected, expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same offence. They shall each from time to time publish a journal of their proceedings, except such parts as, in their opinion, require secrecy; and the yeas and nays shall be entered on the journal, at the desire of any five members. Sect. 16.
5. The doors of each house while in session, or in a committee of the whole shall be kept open, except in cases which may require secrecy; and each house may punish by fine and imprisonment, any person, not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect to the house, by any disorderly or contemptuous behaviour in their presence, during, their session; but such imprisonment shall not extend beyond the final adjournment of that session. Sect. 17.
6. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended or rejected in the other and every bill shall be read on three different days in each house, unless two-thirds of, the house where the same is pending shall dispense with the rules : and every bill having passed both houses shall be signed by the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives. Sect. 81.
7. Whenever an officer, civil or military, shall be appointed by the joint concurrent vote of both houses, or by the separate vote of either house of the general assembly, the vote shall be taken viva voce, and entered on the journal. Sect. 19.
8. The senators and representatives shall, in all cases except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest, during the session of the general assembly, and for fifteen days before the commencement and after the termination of each session; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place. Sect. 20.
9. The members of the general assembly shall severally receive, from the public treasury, compensation for their services, which may be increased or diminished; but no alteration of such compensation of members shall take effect during the session at which it is made. Sect. 21.
10.-1. The senate shall never consist of less than seventeen nor more than thirty-three members. Art. 4, Sect. 31. The members shall be chosen for four years, by the qualified electors of the several districts. Art. 4, Sect. 5. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years; Who shall not be a free white male citizen of the United States; who shall not have been an inhabitant of this state for one year; and who shall not, at the time of his election, have an actual residence in the district he may be chosen to represent. Art. 4, Sect. 6.
11. All impeachments shall be tried by the senate; and when sitting for that purpose, the senators shall be on oath or affirmation to do justice according to law and evidence. When the governor shall be tried, the chief justice of the supreme court shall preside; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators elected. Art. 4, Sect. 27.
12.-2. The house of representatives shall consist of not less than fifty-four, nor more than one hundred representatives, to be apportioned among the several counties in this state, according to the number of free white male inhabitants therein, taking five hundred as the ratio, until the number of representatives amounts to seventy-five; and when they amount to seventy-five, they shall not be further increased until the population of the state amounts to five hundred thousand souls. Provided that each county now organized shall, although its population may not give the existing ratio, always be entitled to one representative. The members are chosen every second year, by the qualified electors of the several counties. Art. 4, Sect. 2.
13. The qualification of an elector is as follows: he must 1, be a free, white male citizen of the United States; 2, have attained the age of twenty- one years; 3, have been a citizen of this state six months; 4, be must actually reside in the county, or district where he votes for an office made elective under this state or the United States. But no soldier, seaman, or marine, in the army of the United States, shall be entitled to vote at any election within this state. Art. 4, Sect. 2.
14. No person shall be a member of the house of representatives, who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years; who shall not be a free, white male citizen of the United States; who shall not have been an inhabitant of this state one year; and who shall not, at the time of his election, have an, actual residence in the county he may be chosen to represent. Art. 4, Sect. 4.
15. The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment. Art. 4, Sect. 27.
16.-2. The supreme executive power of this state is vested in a chief magistrate, who is styled "The Governor of the State of Arkansas." Art. 5, Sect. 1.
17.-1. He is elected by the electors of the representatives.
18.-2. He must be thirty years of age a native born citizen of Arkansas, or a native born citizen of the United States, or a resident of Arkansas ten years previous to the adoption of this constitution, if not a native of the United States; and, shall have been a resident of the same at least four years next before his election. Art. 4, s. 4.
19.-3. The governor holds his office for the term of four years from the time of, his installation, and until his successor shall be duly qualified; but he is not eligible for more than eight years in any term of twelve years. Art. 5, sect. 4.
20.-4. His principal duties are enumerated in the fifth article of the constitution, and are as follows: He Shall be commander-in-chief of the army of this state, and of the militia thereof, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States; s. 6: He may require information, in writing, from the officers of the executive department, on any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices; s. 7. He may by proclamation, on extraordinary occasions, convene the general assembly, at the seat of government, or at a different place, if that shall have become, since their last adjournment, dangerous from an enemy, or from contagious diseases. In case of disagreement between the two houses, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not beyond the day of the next meeting of the general assembly; s, 8. He shall, from time to time, give to the general assembly information of the state of the government, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient; s. 9. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed s. 10. In all criminal and penal cases, except those of treason and impeachment, he shall have power to grant pardons, after conviction, and remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law in cases of treason, he shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to grant reprieve sand pardons; and he may, in the recess of the senate, respite the sentence until the end of the next session of the general assembly s. 11. He is the keeper of the seal of the' state, which is to be used by him officially; s. 12. Every bill which shall have passed both houses, shall be presented to the governor. If he approve, he shall sign it; but if he shall not approve it, he shall return it, with his objections, to the house in which it Shall have originated, who shall enter his objections at large upon their journals, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, a majority of the whole number elected to that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, with the objections, to the other house, by which, likewise, it shall be reconsidered; and if approved by a majority of the whole number elected to that house it shall be a law; but in such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays; and the names of persons voting for or against the bill, shall be entered on the journals of each house respectively. If the bill shall not be returned by the governor within three days, Sundays excepted, after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if be had signed it, unless the general assembly, by their adjournment, prevent its return; in such case it shall not be a law; s. 16. 5. In case of the impeachment of the governor, his removal from office, death, refusal to qualify, or absence from the state, the president of the senate shall exercise all the authority appertaining to the office of governor, until another governor shall have been elected and qualified, or until the governor absent or impeached, shall return or be acquitted; s. 18. If, during the vacancy of the office of governor, the president of the senate shall be impeached, removed from office, refuse to qualify, resign, die, or be absent from the state, the speaker of the house of representatives shall, in like manner, administer the government; s. 19.
21.-3. The judicial power of this state is vested by the sixth article of the constitution, as follows
22.-1. The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one supreme court, in circuit courts, in county courts, and in justices of the peace. The general assembly may also vest such jurisdiction as may be deemed necessary, in corporation courts; and, when they deem it expedient, may establish courts of chancery.
23.-2. The supreme court shall be composed of three judges, one of whom shall be styled chief justice, any two of whom shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of any two of the said judges shall, in every case, be necessary to a decision. The supreme court, except in cases otherwise directed by this constitution, shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be coextensive with the state, under such rules and regulations as may, from time to time, be prescribed by law; it shall have a general superintending control over all inferior and other courts of law and equity it shall have power to issue writs of error and Supersedeas, certiorari and habeas corpus, mandamus, and quo warranto, and other remedial writs, and to hear and determine the same; said judges shall be conservators of the peace throughout the state, and shall severally have power to issue any of the aforesaid writs.
24.-3. The circuit court shall have jurisdiction over all criminal cases which shall not be otherwise provided for by law and exclusive original jurisdiction of all crimes amounting to felony.at common law; and original jurisdiction of all civil cases which shall not be cognizable before justices of the peace, until otherwise directed by the general assembly; and original jurisdiction in all matters of contract) when the sum in controversy is over one hundred dollars. It shall hold its terms at such place in each county, as may be by law directed.
25.-4. The state shall be divided into convenient circuits, each to consist of not less than five, nor more than seven counties contiguous to each other, for each of which a judge shall be elected, who, during his continuance in office, shall reside and be a conservator of the peace within the circuit for which he shall have been elected.
26.-5. The circuit courts shall exercise a superintending control over the county courts, and over justices of the peace, in each county in their respective circuits; and shall have power to issue all the necessary writs to carry into effect their general and specific powers.
27.-6. Until the general assembly shall deem it expedient to establish courts of chancery, the circuit courts shall have jurisdiction in matters of equity, subject to appeal to the supreme court, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
28.-7. The general assembly shall, by joint vote of both houses, elect the judges of the supreme and circuit courts, a majority of the whole number in joint vote being necessary to a choice. The judges of the supreme court shall be at least thirty years of age; they shall hold their offices for eight years from the date of their commissions. The judges of the circuit courts shall be at least twenty-five years of age, and shall be elected for the term of four years from the date of their commissions.
29.-8. There shall be established in each county, a court to be holden by the justices of the peace, and called the county court, which shall have jurisdiction in all matters relating, to county taxes, disbursements of money for county purposes, and in every other case that may be necessary to the internal improvement and local concerns of the respective counties.
30.-9. There shall be elected by the justices of the peace of the respective counties, a presiding judge of the county court, to be commissioned by the governor, and hold his office for the term of two years, and until his successor is elected or qualified. He shall, in addition to the duties that may be required of him by law, as presiding judge of the county court, be a judge of the court of probate, and have such jurisdiction in matters relative to the estates of deceased persons, executors, administrators, and guardians, as may be prescribed by law, until otherwise directed by the general assembly.
31.-10. No judge shall preside in the trial of any cause, in the event of which he may be interested, or where either of the parties shall be connected with him by affinity or consanguinity, within such degrees as may be proscribed by law, or in which he shall have been of counsel, or have presided in any inferior court, except by consent of all the parties.
32.-11. The qualified voters in each township shall elect the justices of the peace for their respective townships. For every fifty voters there may be elected one justice of the peace, provided, that each township, however small, shall have two justices of the peace. Justices of the peace shall be elected for two years, and shall be commissioned by the governor, and reside in the townships for which they shall have been elected, during their continuance in office. They shall have individually, or two or more of them jointly, exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters of contract, except in actions of covenant, where the sum in controversy is of one hundred dollars and under. Justices of the peace shall in no case have jurisdiction to try and determine any criminal case or penal offence against the state; but may sit as examining courts, and commit, discharge, or recognize to the court having jurisdiction, for further trial, offenders against the peace. For the foregoing purposes they shall have power to issue all necessary process they shall also have power to bind to keep the peace, or for good behaviour.