|1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15|
- 1 Features
- 2 Preamble
- 3 Article 1
- 4 Article 2
- 5 Article 3
- 6 Article 4
- 7 Article 5
- 8 Article 6
- 9 Article 7
- 10 Article 8
- 11 Article 9
- 12 Article 10
- 13 Article 11
- 14 Article 12
- 15 Article 13
- 16 Article 14
- 17 Amending the constitution
- 18 History
- 19 See also
- 20 External links
- 21 Additional reading
- 22 References
The Mississippi Constitution is divided into 15 articles, and each of the articles is divided into sections. Unlike most other state constitutions, the numbering of the sections does not begin again at "1" with each article. Instead, the Mississippi Constitution ends at Section 285.
- See also: Preambles to state constitutions
The preamble to the Mississippi Constitution states:
Article 1, labeled "Distribution of Powers," has two sections. Theses two sections state that the Mississippi government shall have three distinct divisions, the executive, legislative and judiciary, and that the powers cannot encroach on each other. In addition, the anti-encroachment section specifically states that an official cannot hold an office in more than one branch simultaneously.
Article 2, labeled "Boundaries of the State," had two sections, but now has only one after the state's voters repealed its first section in 1990. The remaining section of Article 2 states that the Mississippi State Legislature has the power to acquire additional territory and settle territorial disputes with other states.
Article III, Section 18 of the Mississippi Constitution discusses "Freedom of Religion." It contains a unique clause which states that this right shall not be construed as to exclude the use of the Bible from any public school.
Further more, Article 3 originally banned dueling, under Section 19:
The repeal of Section 19 was proposed by Laws of 1977, and upon ratification by the electorate on November 7, 1978, was deleted from the constitution by proclamation of the Secretary of State on December 22, 1978.
Article 4 is the lengthiest article of the Mississippi Constitution, with 83 sections. It is labeled "Legislative Department" and defines in detail the rights, privileges, responsibilities and rules governing the Mississippi State Legislature.
Article 5 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Executive" and consists of 28 sections.
Article 6 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Judiciary."
Article 7 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Corporations" and consists of 24 sections.
Article 8 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of 16 sections.
Article 9 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Militia" and consists of nine sections.
Article 10 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "The Penitentiary and Prisons." It has four sections, one of which has been repealed.
Article 11 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Levees" and consists of 13 sections.
Article 12 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Franchise." It has 16 sections, three of which have been repealed.
Article 13 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "Apportionment." It has three sections, two of which have been repealed.
Article 14 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled "General Provisions" and consists of 17 sections.
Amending the constitution
The Mississippi Constitution can be amended via two different paths:
- For a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment to go on the ballot, two-thirds (2/3) of each house of the Mississippi State Legislature must vote to put it there. The absolute number of those voting in favor must be equal to at least a majority of the members elected to each house.
- More than one amendment can be submitted for an election, and voters must be able to vote on them separately.
- The legislature can call a special election for the purposes of voting on one of its proposed amendments.
- Proposed amendments that are approved by a simple majority become part of the constitution.
Through an initiated constitutional amendment. Mississippi is one of 18 states were the people are allowed to initiate constitutional amendments, but its requirements are so burdensome that it is virtually impossible to qualify an initiated constitutional amendment. Some of the requirements are:
- Signatures equalling 12% of the vote for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election must be collected in a period not to exceed a year.
- A tough distribution requirement such that signatures of the qualified electors from any congressional district shall not exceed one-fifth (1/5) the total number of signatures required to qualify the measure for the ballot.
- Initiated constitutional amendments cannot be about altering in any way the Bill of Rights of the Mississippi Constitution.
- They also can't be about the Mississippi Public Employees' Retirement System.
- They can't be about amending or repealing the constitutional guarantee that the right of any person to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or organization.
- They can't modify the initiative process for proposing amendments to the Constitution (for example, to make it easier).
- The state legislature can place a competing measure on the ballot.
- To pass, an initiative must receive a majority of the votes thereon and not less than forty percent (40%) of the total votes cast at the election at which the measure was submitted to be approved.
- No more than five initiatives can appear on any one ballot.
- If an initiative is rejected, it (or a similar measure) can't go on the ballot again for at least two years.
Note: Mississippi has no provision for a constitutional convention.
The State of Mississippi has had four state constitutions: the original Constitution of 1817, the Constitution of 1832, the Constitution of 1868 and the present-day Constitution of 1890.
Each of these constitutions marked major changes in Mississippi’s history. The Constitution of 1817 was the states first constitution written when Mississippi entered the Union as a state. Only 15 years later in 1832, however, a new Mississippi constitution was written to replace the original one. After Mississippi’s defeat in the Civil War, a third constitution was written and adopted. Called the Constitution of 1868, this constitution made great change in Mississippi’s government. Slavery was renounced, and the former slaves received basic civil rights. Mississippi’s current constitution was adopted more than a century ago in 1890.
- State constitution
- Constitutional article
- Constitutional amendment
- Constitutional revision
- Constitutional convention
- Mississippi SOS, "Mississippi Constitution" (HTML)
- Mississippi SOS, "Mississippi Constitution" (PDF)
- Mississippi Department of Archives and History, "Mississippi History Timeline"
- Mississippi History Now, "Constitutions of Mississippi"
- Mississippi History Now, "Mississippi Constitution of 1890"
- Mississippi History Now, "Mississippi Constitution of 1868"
- Mississippi History Now, "Mississippi Constitution of 1832"
- Mississippi History Now, "Mississippi Constitution of 1817"
- Winkle, John W. (2014). The Mississippi State Constitution, New York, New York: Oxford University Press
- L.A. Times, "148 years later, Mississippi ratifies amendment banning slavery"