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MISSISSIPPI. The name of one of the new states of the United States of
America. This state was admitted into the Union, by a resolution of
congress, passed the 10th day of December, 1817; 3 Story's L. U. S. 1716; by
which it is "Resolved, that the state of Mississippi, 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 these original states, in all respects
2. The constitution of this state was adopted at the town of Washington, the 15th day of August, 1817. It was revised by a convention, and adopted on the 26th day of October, 1832, when it went into operation.
3. By the second article of the constitution, a provision is made for the distribution of powers as follows, namely;
Sec. 1. The powers of the government of the state of Mississippi, shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate body of magistracy; to wit; those which are, legislative to one, those which are judicial to another, and those which are executive to another.
4.-2. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.
5.-1st. The legislative power of this state is vested in two distinct branches the one styled "the senate" the other, "the house of representatives;" and both together, "the legislature of the state of Mississippi.
6. The following regulations, contained in the third article of the constitution, apply to both branches of the legislature.
7.-Sec. 16. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings punish members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the consent of two- thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free and independent state.
8.-Sec. 17. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered on the journal.
9.-Sec. 18. When vacancies happen in either house, the governor, or the person exercising the powers of the governor, shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
10.-Sec. 19. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases, except of treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the legislature and in going to and returning from the same, allowing one day for every twenty miles such member may reside from the place at which the legislature is convened.
11.-Sec. 20. Each house may punish, by imprisonment, during the session, any person, not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behaviour in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings: Provided, such imprisonment shall not, at any one time, exceed forty-eight hours.
12.-Sec. 21. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions of great emergency, as, in the opinion of the house, may require secrecy.
13.-Sec. 22. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.
14.-Sec. 23. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended, altered or rejected by the other, but no bill shall have the force of a law, until on three several days, it be read in each house, and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless four-fifths of the house in which the bill shall be pending, may deem it expedient to dispense with this rule; and every bill having passed both houses, shall be signed by the speaker and president of their respective houses.
15.-Sec. 24. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives, but the senate may amend or reject them as other bills.
16.-Sec. 25. Each member of the legislature shall receive from the public treasury a compensation for his services, which may be increased or diminished by law, but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the session at which such increase shall have been made.
17.-Sec. 26. No senator or representative shall, during the term for which be shall have been elected, nor for one year thereafter, be appointed to any civil office of profit under this state, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during such term, except such offices as may be filled, by elections by the people; and no member of either house of the legislature shall, after the commencement of the first session of the legislature after his election and during the remainder of the term for which he is elected, be eligible to any office or place, the appointment to which may be made in whole or in part by either branch of the legislature.
18.-Sec. 27. No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary of state, attorney general, clerk of any court of record, sheriff or collector, or any, person holding a lucrative office under the United States or this state, shall be eligible to the legislature: Provided, That offices in the militia, to which there is attached no annual salary, and the office of justice of the peace, shall not be deemed lucrative.
19.-Sec. 28. No person who hath heretofore been, or hereafter may be, a collector or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in either house of the legislature, until such person shall have accounted for, and paid into the treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable.
20.-Sec. 29. The first election for senators and representatives shall be general throughout the state, and shall be held on the first Monday and day following in November 1833; and thereafter, there shall be biennial elections for senators to fill the places of those whose term of service may have expired.
21.-Sec. 30. The first and all future sessions of the legislature shall be held in the town of Jackson, in the county of Hinds, until the year 1850. During the first session thereafter, the legislature shall have power to designate by law the permanent seat of government: Provided, however, That unless such designation be then made by law, the seat of government shall continue permanently at the town of Jackson. The first session shall commence on the third Monday in November, in the year 1833. And in every two years thereafter, at such time as may be prescribed by law.
22.-1. The senate. Under this lead will be considered the qualification of senators; their number; by whom they are elected; the time for which they are elected.
1. No person shall be a senator unless he be a citizen of the United States; and shall have been an inhabitant of this state for four years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and have attained the age of thirty years. Art. 3, s. 14.
2. The number of senators shall never be less than one-fourth, nor more than one-third, of the whole number of representatives. Art. 3, s. 10. 3. The qualifications of electors is as follows: every free white male person of the age of twenty-one years or upwards, who shall be a citizen of the United States, and shall have resided in this state one year next preceding an election, and the last four months within the county, city, or town in which he offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector. Art. 3, s. 1. 4. The senators shall be chosen for four years, and on their being convened in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided by lot from their respective districts into two classes, as nearly equal as can be. And the seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year.
23.-2. The house of representatives, will be considered in the same order that has been observed in relation, to the senate. 1. No person shall, be a representative unless he be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been an inhabitant of this state two years next preceeding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the county, city or town for which be shall be chosen; and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years. Art. 3, s. 7. 2. The number of representatives shall not be less than thirty-six, nor more than one hundred. Art. 3, s. 9. 3. They are elected by the same electors who elect senators. Art. 3, s. 1. 4. The representatives are chosen every two years on the first Monday and day following in November. They serve two years from the day of the commencement of the general election and no longer. Art. 3, s. 5, and 6.
24.-2d. The judicial power. By the fourth article of the constitution, the judicial power is distributed as follows, namely:
Sec. 1. The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one high court of errors and appeals, and such other courts of law and equity as are hereafter provided for in this constitution.
25.-Sec. 2. The high court of errors and appeals shall consist of three judges, any two of whom shall form a quorum. The legislature shall divide the state into three districts, and the qualified electors of each district shall elect one of said judges for the term of six years.
26.-Sec. 3. The office of one of said judges shall be vacated in two years, and of one in four years, and of one in six years, so that at the expiration of every two years, one of said judges shall be elected as aforesaid.
27.-Sec. 4. The high court of errors and appeals shall have no jurisdiction, but such as properly belongs to a court of errors and appeals.
28.-Sec. 5. All vacancies that may occur in said court, from death, resignation or removal, shall be filled by election as aforesaid. Provided, however, that if the unexpired term do not exceed one year, the vacancy shall be filled by executive appointment.
29.-Sec. 6. No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the high court of errors and appeals, who shall not have attained, at the time of his election, the age of thirty years.
30.-Sec. 7. The high court of errors and appeals shall be held twice in each year, at such place as the legislature shall direct, until the year eighteen hundred and thirty-six, and afterwards at the seat of government of the state.
31.-Sec. 8. The secretary of state, on receiving all the official returns of the first election, shall proceed, forthwith, in the presence and with the assistance of two justices of the peace, to determine by lot among the three candidates having the highest number of votes, which of said judges elect shall serve for the term of two years, which shall serve for the term of four years, and which shall serve for the term of six years, and having so determined the same, it shall be the duty of the governor to issue commissions accordingly.
32.-Sec. 9. No judge shall sit on the trial of any cause when the parties or either of them shall be connected with him by affinity or consanguinity, or when he may be interested in the same, except by consent of the judge and of the parties; and whenever a quorum of said court are situated as aforesaid, the governor of the state shall in such case specially commission two or more men of law knowledge for the determination thereof.
33.-Sec. 10. The judges of said court shall, receive for their services a compensation to be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
34.-Sec. 11. The judges of the circuit court shall be elected by the qualified electors of each judicial district, and hold their offices for the term of four years, and reside in their respective districts.
35.-Sec. 12. No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the circuit court, who shall not, at the time of his election, have attained the age of twenty-six years.
36.-Sec. 13. The state shall be divided into convenient districts, and each district shall contain not less than three nor more than twelve counties.
37.-Sec. 14. The circuit court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, within this state; but in civil cases only when the principal of the sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars.
38.-Sec. 15. A circuit court shall be held in each county of this state, at least twice in each year; and the judges of said courts shall interchange circuits with each other, in such manner as may be prescribed by law, and shall receive for their services a compensation to be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
39.-Sec. 16. A separate superior court of chancery, shall be established, with full jurisdiction in all matters of equity; Provided, however, the legislature may give to the circuit courts of each county equity jurisdiction in all cases where the value of the thing, or amount in controversy, does not exceed five hundred dollars; also, in all cases of divorce, and for the foreclosure of mortgages. The chancellor shall be elected by the qualified electors of the whole state, for the term of six years, and shall be at least thirty years old at the time of his election.
40.-Sec. 17. The style of all process, shall be "The state of Mississippi," and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of "The state of Mississippi," and shall conclude "against the peace and dignity of the same."
41.-Sec. 18. A court of probates shall be established in each county of this state, with jurisdiction in all matters testamentary and of administration in orphans' business and the allotment of dower, in cases of idiocy and lunacy, and of persons non compos mentis; the judge of said court shall be elected by the qualified electors of the respective counties, for the term of two years.
42.-Sec. 19. The clerk of the high court, of errors and appeals shall be appointed by said court, for the term of four years, and the clerks of the circuit, probate, and other inferior courts, shall be elected by the qualified electors of the respective counties, and shall hold their offices for the term of two years.
43.-Sec. 20. The qualified electors of each county shall elect five persons for the term of two years, who shall constitute a board of police for each county, a majority of whom may transact business; which body shall have full jurisdiction over roads, highways, ferries, and bridges, and all other matters of county police, and shall order all county elections to fill vacancies that may occur in the offices of their respective counties: the clerk of the court of probate shall be the clerk of the board of county police.
44.-Sec. 21. No person shall be eligible as a member of said board, who shall not have resided one year in the county: but this qualification shall not extend to such new counties as may hereafter be established until one year after their organization; and all vacancies that may occur in said board shall be supplied by election as aforesaid to fill the unexpired term.
45.-Sec. 22. The judges of all the courts of the state, and also the members of the board of county police, shall in virtue of their offices be conservators of the peace, and shall be by law vested with ample powers in this respect.
46.-Sec. 23. A competent number of justices of the peace and constables shall be chosen in each county by the qualified electors thereof, by districts, who shall hold their offices for the term of two years. The jurisdiction of justices of the peace shall be limited to causes in which the principal of the amount in controversy shall not exceed fifty dollars. In all causes tried by a justice of the peace, the right of appeal shall be secured under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law.
47.-Sec. 24. The legislature may from time to time establish, such other inferior courts as may be deemed necessary, and abolish the same whenever they shall deem it expedient.
48.-Sec. 25. There shall be an attorney general elected by the qualified electors of the state: and a competent number of district attorneys shall be elected by qualified voters of their respective districts, whose compensation and term of service, shall be prescribed by law.
49.-Sec. 26. The legislature shall, provide by law for determining contested elections of judges of the high court of errors and appeals, of the circuit and probate courts, and other officers.
50.-Sec. 27. The judges of the several courts of this state, for willful neglect of duty or other reasonable cause, shall be removed by the governor on the address of two-thirds of both houses of the legislature; the address to be by joint vote of both houses. The cause or causes for which such removal shall be required, shall be stated at length in such address, and on the journals of each house. The judge so intended to be removed, shall be notified and admitted to a hearing in his own defence before any vote for such address shall pass; the vote on such address shall be taken by yeas and nays, and entered on the journals of each house.
51.-Sec. 28. Judges of probate, clerks, sheriffs, and other county officers, for willful neglect of duty, or misdemeanor in office, shall be liable to presentment or indictment by a grand jury, and trial by a petit jury, and upon conviction shall be removed from office.
52.-3d. The chief executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor. It will be proper to consider his qualifications; by whom he is elected; the time for which he is elected; his rights, duties and powers; and how, vacancies are supplied when the office of governor becomes vacant.
53.-1. The governor shall be at least thirty years of age, shall have been a citizen of the United States for twenty years, shall have resided in this state at least five years next preceding the day of his election, and shall not be capable of holding the office more than four in any term of six years. Art. 5, s. 3.
54.-2. The governor shall be elected by the qualified elector's of the state. Art. 5, s. 2.
55.-3. He shall hold his office for two years from the time of his installation. Art 5, s. 1.
56.-4. He shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation which shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which he shall be elected. Art. 5 s. 4.
57.-5. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy in this state, and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States. Art. 5, s. 5.
58.-6. He may require information in writing, from the officers in the executive department, on any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices. Art. 5, s. 6.
59.-7. He may, in cases of emergency, convene the legislature 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 disease; and in case of disagreement between the two houses with respect to the time of adjournment, adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not beyond the day of the next stated meeting of the legislature. Art. 5, s. 7.
60.-8. He shall from time to time give to the legislature information of the state of the government, and recommend to their consideration, such measures as he may deem necessary and expedient. Art. 5, s. 8.
61.-9. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Art. 5, s. 9.
62.-10. In all criminal and penal cases, except in those of treason and impeachment, he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons, and remit fines; and in cases of forfeiture to stay the collection until the end of the next session of the legislature, and to remit forfeitures by and with the advice and consent of the senate. In cases of treason he shall have power to grant reprieves by and with the advice and consent of the senate, but may respite the sentence until the end of the next session of the legislature. Art. 5, s. 10.
63.-11. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of the state of Mississippi; be sealed with the great seal, and signed by the governor, and be attested by the secretary of state. The governor is also invested with the veto power. Art. 5, s. 15 and 16.
64. Whenever the office of governor shall become vacant by death, resignation, removal from office, or otherwise, the president of the senate shall exercise the office of governor until another governor shall be duly qualified; and in case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or other disqualifications of the president of the senate so exercising the office of governor, the speaker of the house of representatives shall exercise the office, until a president of the senate shall have been chosen; and when the office of governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house shall become vacant, in the recess of the senate, the person acting as secretary of state for the time being, shall by proclamation convene the senate, that a president may be chosen to exercise the office of governor. Art. 5, s. 17.