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Article II, Tennessee Constitution

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Tennessee Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXISchedule
Article II of the Tennessee Constitution is entitled Distribution of Powers.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

The powers of the government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive, and judicial.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

No person or persons belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others, except in the cases herein directed or permitted.

Legislative Department

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives, both dependent on the people. Representatives shall hold office for two years and senators for four years from the day of the general election, except that the speaker of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives each shall hold his office as speaker for two years or until his successor is elected and qualified provided however, that in the first general election after adoption of this amendment senators elected in districts designated by even numbers shall be elected for four years and those elected in districts designated by odd numbers shall be elected for two years. In a county having more than one senatorial district, the districts shall be numbered consecutively.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

The apportionment of senators and representatives shall be substantially according to population. After each decennial census made by the Bureau of Census of the United States is available the General Assembly shall establish senatorial and representative districts. Nothing in this Section nor in this Article II shall deny to the General Assembly the right at any time to apportion one House of the General Assembly using geography, political subdivisions, substantially equal population and other criteria as factors; provided such apportionment when effective shall comply with the Constitution of the United States as then amended or authoritatively interpreted. If the Constitution of the United States shall require that legislative apportionment not based entirely on population be approved by vote of the electorate, the General Assembly shall provide for such vote in the apportionment act.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

The number of representatives shall be ninety-nine and shall be apportioned by the General Assembly among the several counties or districts as shall be provided by law. Counties having two or more representatives shall be divided into separate districts. In a district composed of two or more counties each county shall adjoin at least one other county of such district; and no county shall be divided in forming such a district.

Section 5a

Text of Section 5a:

Each district shall be represented by a qualified voter of that district.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

The number of senators shall be apportioned by the General Assembly among the several counties or districts substantially according to population, and shall not exceed one-third the number of representatives. Counties having two or more senators shall be divided into separate districts. In a district composed of two or more counties, each county shall adjoin at least one other county of such district; and no county shall be divided in forming such a district.

Section 6a

Text of Section 6:

Each district shall be represented by a qualified voter of that district.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

The first election for senators and representatives shall be held on the second Tuesday in November, one thousand eight hundred and seventy; and forever thereafter, elections for members of the General Assembly shall be held once in two years, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Said elections shall terminate the same day.

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Legislative sessions—Governor’s inauguration—the General Assembly shall meet in organizational session on the second Tuesday in January next succeeding the election of the members of the House of Representatives, at which session, if in order, the governor shall be inaugurated. The General Assembly shall remain in session for organizational purposes not longer than fifteen consecutive calendar days, during which session no legislation shall be passed on third and final consideration. Thereafter, the General Assembly shall meet on the first Tuesday next following the conclusion of the organizational session unless the General Assembly by joint resolution of both houses sets an earlier date.

The General Assembly may by joint resolution recess or adjourn until such time or times as it shall determine. It shall be convened at other times by the governor as provided in Article III, Section 9, or by the presiding officers of both Houses at the written request of two-thirds of the members of each House.

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

No person shall be a representative unless he shall be a citizen of the United States, of the age of twenty-one years, and shall have been a citizen of this state for three years, and a resident in the county he represents one year, immediately preceding the election.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

No person shall be a senator unless he shall be a citizen of the United States, of the age of thirty years, and shall have resided three years in this state, and one year in the county or district, immediately preceding the election. No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be eligible to any office or place of trust, the appointment to which is vested in the executive or the General Assembly, except to the office of trustee of a literary institution.

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

The Senate and House of Representatives, when assembled shall each choose a speaker and its other officers; be judges of the qualifications and election of its members, and sit upon its own adjournments from day to day. Not less than two-thirds of all the members to which each house shall be entitled shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized, by law, to compel the attendance of absent members.

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offence, and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free state.

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

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 in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Each House may punish, by imprisonment, during its session, any person not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect to the House, by any disorderly or any contemptuous behavior in its presence.

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Vacancies. When the seat of any member of either House becomes vacant, the vacancy shall be filled as follows:

(a) When twelve months or more remain prior to the next general election for legislators, a successor shall be elected by the qualified voters of the district represented, and such successor shall serve the remainder of the original terms. The election shall be held within such time as provided by law. The legislative body of the replaced legislator’s county of residence at the time of his or her election may elect an interim successor to serve until the election.
(b) When less than twelve months remain prior to the next general election for legislators, a successor shall be elected by the legislative body of the replaced legislator’s county of residence at the time of his or her election. The term of any senator so elected shall expire at the next general election for legislators, at which election a successor shall be elected.
(c) Only a qualified voter of the district represented shall be eligible to succeed to the vacant seat.

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Neither house shall, during its session, adjourn without the consent of the other for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Bills may originate in either House; but may be amended, altered or rejected by the other. No bill shall become a law which embraces more than one subject, that subject to be expressed in the title. All acts which repeal, revive or amend former laws, shall recite in their caption, or otherwise, the title or substance of the law repealed, revived or amended.

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

A bill shall become law when it has been considered and passed on three different days in each House and on third and final consideration has received the assent of a majority of all the members to which each House is entitled under this Constitution, when the respective speakers have signed the bill with the date of such signing appearing in the journal, and when the bill has been approved by the governor or otherwise passed under the provisions of this Constitution.

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

After a bill has been rejected, no bill containing the same substance shall be passed into a law during the same session.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

The style of the laws of this state shall be, “Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.” No law of a general nature shall take effect until forty days after its passage unless the same or the caption thereof shall state that the public welfare requires that it should take effect sooner.

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish it, except such parts as the welfare of the state may require to be kept secret; the ayes and noes shall be taken in each House upon the final passage of every bill of a general character, and bills making appropriations of public moneys; and the ayes and noes of the members on any question, shall, at the request of any five of them, be entered on the journal.

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

The doors of each House and of committees of the whole shall be kept open, unless when the business shall be such as ought to be kept secret.

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Each member of the General Assembly shall receive an annual salary of $1,800.00 per year payable in equal monthly installments from the date of his election, and in addition, such other allowances for expenses in attending sessions or committee meetings as may be provided by law. The senators, when sitting as a Court of Impeachment, shall receive the same allowances for expenses as have been provided by law for the members of the General Assembly. The compensation and expenses of the members of the General Assembly may from time to time be reduced or increased by laws enacted by the General Assembly; however, no increase or decrease in the amount thereof shall take effect until the next general election for representatives to the General Assembly. Provided, further, that the first General Assembly meeting after adoption of this amendment shall be allowed to set its own expenses. However, no member shall be paid expenses, nor travel allowances for more than ninety Legislative days of a regular session, excluding the organization session, nor for more than thirty Legislative days of any extraordinary session. This amendment shall take effect immediately upon adoption so that any member of the General Assembly elected at a general election wherein this amendment is approved shall be entitled to the compensation set herein.

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

No public money shall be expended except pursuant to appropriations made by law. Expenditures for any fiscal year shall not exceed the state’s revenues and reserves, including the proceeds of any debt obligation, for that year. No debt obligation, except as shall be repaid within the fiscal year of issuance, shall be authorized for the current operation of any state service or program, nor shall the proceeds of any debt obligation be expended for a purpose other than that for which it was authorized. In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state tax revenues exceed the estimated rate of growth of the state’s economy as determined by law. No appropriation in excess of this limitation shall be made unless the General Assembly shall, by law containing no other subject matter, set forth the dollar amount and the rate by which the limit will be exceeded. Any law requiring the expenditure of state funds shall be null and void unless, during the session in which the act receives final passage, an appropriation is made for the estimated first year’s funding. No law of general application shall impose increased expenditure requirements on cities or counties unless the General Assembly shall provide that the state share in the cost. An accurate financial statement of the state’s fiscal condition shall be published annually.

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

No person who heretofore hath been, or may hereafter be, a collector or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in either House of the General Assembly, or hold any other office under the state government, until such person shall have accounted for, and paid into the Treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable or liable.

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary of state, attorney general, register, clerk of any Court of Record, or person holding any office under the authority of the United States, shall have a seat in the General Assembly; nor shall any person in this state hold more than one lucrative office at the same time; provided, that no appointment in the Militia, or to the Office of Justice of the Peace, shall be considered a lucrative office, or operative as a disqualification to a seat in either House of the General Assembly.

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Any member of either House of the General Assembly shall have liberty to dissent from and protest against, any act or resolve which he may think injurious to the public or to any individual, and to have the reasons for his dissent entered on the journals.

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

In accordance with the following provisions, all property real, personal or mixed shall be subject to taxation, but the Legislature may except such as may be held by the state, by counties, cities or towns, and used exclusively for public or corporation purposes, and such as may be held and used for purposes purely religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational, and shall except the direct product of the soil in the hands of the producer, and his immediate vendee, and the entire amount of money deposited in an individual’s personal or family checking or savings accounts. For purposes of taxation, property shall be classified into three classes, to wit: Real Property, Tangible Personal Property and Intangible Personal Property.

Real property shall be classified into four (4) subclassifications and assessed as follows:

(a) Public Utility Property, to be assessed at fifty­five (55%) percent of its value;
(b) Industrial and Commercial Property, to be assessed at forty (40%) percent of its value;
(c) Residential Property, to be assessed at twenty­five (25%) percent of its value, provided that residential property containing two (2) or more rental units is hereby defined as industrial and commercial property; and
(d) Farm Property, to be assessed at twenty­five (25%) percent of its value.

House trailers, mobile homes, and all other similar movable structures used for commercial, industrial, or residential purposes shall be assessed as real property as an improvement to the land where located. The Legislature shall provide, in such a manner as it deems appropriate, tax relief to elderly, low­income taxpayers through payments by the state to reimburse all or part of the taxes paid by such persons on owner­occupied residential property, but such reimbursement shall not be an obligation imposed, directly or indirectly, upon counties, cities or towns.

By general law, the legislature may authorize the following program of tax relief:

(a) The legislative body of any county or municipality may provide by resolution or ordinance that:
(1) Any taxpayer who is sixty­five (65) years of age or older and who owns residential property as the taxpayer's principal place of residence shall pay taxes on such property in an amount not to exceed the maximum amount of tax on such property imposed at the time the ordinance or resolution is adopted;
(2) Any taxpayer who reaches the age of sixty­five (65) after the time the ordinance or resolution is adopted, who owns residential property as the taxpayer's principal place of residence, shall thereafter pay taxes on such property in an amount not to exceed the maximum amount of tax on such property imposed in the tax year in which such taxpayer reaches age sixty­five (65); and
(3) Any taxpayer who is sixty­five (65) years of age or older, who purchases residential property as the taxpayer's principal place of residence after the taxpayer's sixty­fifth birthday, shall pay taxes in an amount not to exceed the maximum amount of tax imposed on such property in the tax year in which such property is purchased.
(b) Whenever the full market value of such property is increased as a result of improvements to such property after the time the ordinance or resolution is adopted, then the assessed value of such property shall be adjusted to include such increased value and the taxes shall also be increased proportionally with the value.
(c) Any taxpayer or taxpayers who own residential property as their principal place of residence whose total or combined annual income or wealth exceeds an amount to be determined by the General Assembly shall not be eligible to receive the tax relief provided in subsection (a) or (b).

The Legislature may provide tax relief to home owners totally and permanently disabled, irrespective of age, as provided herein for the elderly.

Tangible personal property shall be classified into three (3) subclassifications and assessed as follows:

(a) Public Utility Property, to be assessed at fifty­five (55%) percent of its value;
(b) Industrial and Commercial Property, to be assessed at thirty (30%) percent of its value; and
(c) All other Tangible Personal Property, to be assessed at five (5%) percent of its value; provided, however, that the Legislature shall exempt seven thousand five hundred ($7,500) dollars worth of such Tangible Personal Property which shall cover personal household goods and furnishings, wearing apparel and other such tangible property in the hands of a taxpayer.

The Legislature shall have power to classify Intangible Personal Property into subclassifications and to establish a ratio of assessment to value in each class or subclass, and shall provide fair and equitable methods of apportionment of the value of same to this state for purposes of taxation. Banks, insurance companies, loan and investment companies, savings and loan associations, and all similar financial institutions, shall be assessed and taxed in such manner as the Legislature shall direct; provided that for the year 1973, or until such time as the Legislature may provide otherwise, the ratio of assessment to value of property presently taxed shall remain the same as provided by law for the year 1972; provided further that the taxes imposed upon such financial institutions, and paid by them, shall be in lieu of all taxes on the redeemable or cash value of all of their outstanding shares of capital stock, policies of insurance, customer savings and checking accounts, certificates of deposit, and certificates of investment, by whatever name called, including other intangible corporate property of such financial institutions.

The ratio of assessment to value of property in each class or subclass shall be equal and uniform throughout the state, the value and definition of property in each class or subclass to be ascertained in such manner as the Legislature shall direct. Each respective taxing authority shall apply the same tax rate to all property within its jurisdiction.

The Legislature shall have power to tax merchants, peddlers, and privileges, in such manner as they may from time to time direct, and the Legislature may levy a gross receipts tax on merchants and businesses in lieu of ad valorem taxes on the inventories of merchandise held by such merchants and businesses for sale or exchange. The portion of a merchant’s capital used in the purchase of merchandise sold by him to nonresidents and sent beyond the state, shall not be taxed at a rate higher than the ad valorem tax on property. The Legislature shall have power to levy a tax upon incomes derived from stocks and bonds that are not taxed ad valorem.

This amendment shall take effect on the first day of January, 1973.

Amendments

Approved:

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

The General Assembly shall have power to authorize the several counties and incorporated towns in this state, to impose taxes for county and corporation purposes respectively, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law; and all property shall be taxed according to its value, upon the principles established in regard to state taxation. But the credit of no county, city or town shall be given or loaned to or in aid of any person, company, association or corporation, except upon an election to be first held by the qualified voters of such county, city or town, and the assent of three-fourths of the votes cast at said election. Nor shall any county, city or town become a stockholder with others in any company, association or corporation except upon a like election, and the assent of a like majority. But the counties of Grainger, Hawkins, Hancock, Union, Campbell, Scott, Morgan, Grundy, Sumner, Smith, Fentress, Van Buren, and the new county herein authorized to be established out of fractions of Sumner, Macon and Smith Counties, White, Putnam, Overton, Jackson, Cumberland, Anderson, Henderson, Wayne, Cocke, Coffee, Macon, Marshall, and Roane shall be excepted out of the provisions of this section so far that the assent of a majority of the qualified voters of either of said counties voting on the question shall be sufficient when the credit of such county is given or loaned to any person, association or corporation; provided, that the exception of the counties above named shall not be in force beyond the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty: and after that period they shall be subject to the three-fourths majority applicable to the other counties of the state.

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

No article manufactured of the produce of this state, shall be taxed otherwise than to pay inspection fees.

Section 31

Text of Section 30:

The credit of this state shall not be hereafter loaned or given to or in aid of any person, association, company, corporation or municipality; nor shall the state become the owner in whole or in part of any bank or a stockholder with others in any association, company, corporation or municipality.

Section 32

Text of Section 32:

No convention or general assembly of this state shall act upon any amendment of the Constitution of the United States proposed by Congress to the several states; unless such convention or general assembly shall have been elected after such amendment is submitted.

Section 33

Text of Section 33:

No bonds of the state shall be issued to any rail road company which at the time of its application for the same shall be in default in paying the interest upon the state bonds previously loaned to it or that shall hereafter and before such application sell or absolutely dispose of any state bonds loaned to it for less than par.

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