Oklahoma Constitution

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Oklahoma Constitution
675px-Flag of Oklahoma.svg.png
Articles
PreambleIIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIAVIIBVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIAXIIIXIIIAXIIIBXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXXXXIXXIIXXIIIXXIVXXVXXVIXXVIIIXXIXSchedule
The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma is the basic governing document of the state of Oklahoma.

Features

The Oklahoma Constitution is superseded only by the United States Constitution and consists of a preamble and twenty-nine articles, with the first eight pertaining to the state’s government.[1]

Preamble

The preamble of the Oklahoma Constitution states:

Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.[1]

Article I: Federal Relations

Article I of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Federal Regulations" and consists of seven sections. Article I establishes how the state of Oklahoma is to relate to the United States federal government, stating that the U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.[1] By this article, religious freedom is established, polygamy is forbidden, the debts of Oklahoma Territory are acquired by the State of Oklahoma, public school are established to be taught only in English and that suffrage shall never be revoked due to “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”[1]

Article II: Bill of Rights

Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Bill of Rights" and consists of 38 sections. Article II enumerates the rights of all citizens of the State of Oklahoma. These include that all political power derives from the people, the inherent rights “to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” the right to peaceful assembly, a ban on the interference with suffrage, the definition of treason, the right to trial by jury, that marriage in the State of Oklahoma is defined as being between a man and a woman, and many others.[1]

Article III: Suffrage

Article III of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Suffrage" and consists of five sections. All peoples of the age of 18 are qualified electors in the state and a State Elector Board is established charged with the supervision of such elections as the Legislature shall direct. No elector in Oklahoma may vote in any election unless previously registered to do so with the state, and all elections must be “free and equal,” as no “power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage,” and “electors shall be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections and while going to and from the same” except in cases of treason against the state.[1]

Article IV: Separation of Powers

Article IV of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Departments of Government - Separation and Distinction" and consists of one section.

Article IV established the Government of Oklahoma under the doctrine of separation of powers and reads:

The powers of the government of the State of Oklahoma shall be divided into three separate departments: The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; and except as provided in this Constitution, the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments of government shall be separate and distinct, and neither shall exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others.[1][2]

Article V: Legislative power

Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Legislative Department" and consists of eleven parts. Article V establishes the legislative branch of government, which includes the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate. The Article establishes the manner of election and qualifications of members of each House. In addition, it provides for free debate in congress and limits self-serving behavior of congressmen, outlines legislative procedure and indicates the powers of the legislative branch.

Article VI: Executive power

Article VI of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Executive Department" and consists of twelve parts. Article VI describes the governorship: procedures for the selection of the governor, qualifications for office, the oath to be affirmed and the powers and duties of the office. It also provides for the office of Lieutenant Governor, and specifies that the Lieutenant Governor succeeds to the governorship if the Governor is incapacitated, dies, or resigns. Other executive offices and departments created in the article are the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Auditor and Inspector, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Insurance Commissioner, the Commissioner of Labor, the Department of Mines, the Board of Agriculture, and the Commissioners of the Land Office.

Article VII: Judicial power

Article VII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Judicial Department" and consists of sixteen sections. Article VII describes the court system, including the Supreme Court. The article requires that there be one court called the Supreme Court; the Legislature, at its discretion, can create lower courts, whose judgments and orders are reviewable by the Supreme Court. However the Article dose created a few lower courts or provides for how such lower courts shall be organized. Article Seven also creates the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary (charged with reviewing Justices and Judges), designates how Justices and Judges are selected, and how and under what circumstances Justices and Judges are removed from office,

Article VIII: Impeachment

Article VIII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Impeachment And Removal From Office" and consists of six sections. Article VIII states that all state elected offices, including Supreme Court Justices, are subject to impeachment for willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, habitual drunkenness, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude committed while in office. The Oklahoma House of Representatives must bring the charges against the individual with the Oklahoma Senate serving as the Court on Impeachment, with the Chief Justice of Oklahoma serving as the court's judge. If charged with impeachment and found guilty, the official’s term is immediately suspended.

Article VIV: Corporations

Article IX of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Corporations" and consists of six parts.

Article X: Taxes and Revenue in General

Article X of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Revenue And Taxation" and consists of two parts.

Article XI: State and School Lands

Article XI of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "State And School Lands" and consists of seven sections.

Article XII: Homestead and Exemptions

Article XII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Homestead and Exemptions" and consists of three sections.

Article XIII: Education

Article XIII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of nine sections.

Article XIV: Banks and Banking

Article XIV of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Banks and Banking" and consists of three sections.

Article XV: Oath of Office

Article XV of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Oath of Office" and consists of two sections.

Article XVI: Public Roads

Article XVI of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Public Roads, Highways, and Internal Improvements" and consists of three sections.

Article XVII: Counties

Article XVII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Counties" and consists of eight sections.

Article XVIII: Municipal Corporations

Article XVIII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Municipal Corporations" and consists of 13 sections.

Article XIX: Insurance

Article XIX of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Insurance" and consists of four sections.

Article XX: Manufacture and Commerce

Article XX of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Manufacture and Commerce" and consists of two sections.

Article XXI: Public Institutions

Article XXI of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Public Institutions" and consists of one section.

Article XXII: Alien and Corporate Ownership of Lands

Article XXII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Alien and Corporate Ownership of Lands" and consists of two sections.

Article XXIII: Miscellaneous

Article XXIII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous" and consists of 11 sections.

Article XXIV: Constitutional Amendments

Article XXIV of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Constitutional Amendments" and consists of three sections.

Article XXV: Social Security

Article XXV of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Social Security" and consists of five sections.

Article XXVI: Department of Wildlife Conservation

Article XXVI of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Department of Wildlife Constitution" and consists of four sections.

Article XXVII: Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Board

Repealed.

Article XXVIII: Alcoholic Beverage Laws And Enforcement

Article XXVIII of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Alcoholic Beverage Laws and Enforcement" and consists of 12 sections.

Article XXIX: Ethics Commission

Article XXIX of the Oklahoma Constitution is entitled "Ethics Commission" and consists of seven sections. This final section of the Oklahoma Constitution deals with laws and other ordinances in place in the Territory of Oklahoma before its admission to the Union in 1907.

Section Attestations

The Oklahoma Constitution ends with the officers and delegates to the Constitutional Convention signing the documents. It reads:[1]

Done in open Convention at the City of Guthrie, in the Territory of Oklahoma, on this, the sixteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seven, and the Independence of the United States of America one hundred and thirty-first.
  • John McLain Young, Secretary.
  • William H. Murray, President of the Constitutional Convention of the proposed State of Oklahoma and Delegate from District No. 104.
  • Pete Hanraty, Vice President
  • Chas. H. Filson, Secretary of Oklahoma.
  • Albert H. Ellis, Second Vice President and Delegate 14" District.

Territory of Oklahoma, Logan County:

I, Wm. H. Murray, President of the Constitutional Convention of the proposed State of Oklahoma, do hereby certify that the within and foregoing is the original parchment enrollment of the Constitution and the several articles thereof adopted by the Constitutional Convention of the proposed State of Oklahoma, to be submitted to the people of the proposed State of Oklahoma for ratification, and that all the interlineations therein contained and all the erasures and words stricken out, were made and done before the same was signed by the President, the Vice-Presidents, and the members of said Convention.
Witness my hand this the sixteenth day of July, A. D., Nineteen Hundred and Seven.
William H. Murry, President of the Constitutional Convention of the proposed State of Oklahoma
John McLain Young, Secretary

[2]

Amending the constitution

See also: Section 1, Article V, Oklahoma Constitution, Article XXIV, Oklahoma Constitution and Laws governing ballot measures in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Constitution lays out three different paths, in two different articles, for how to go about changing the state's constitution.

Sections 1 and 2 of Article V say that citizens of the state have the right to amend their constitution through the process of initiated constitutional amendments.

  • Signatures equalling 15% of "legal voters" must sign a petition to put a proposed amendment on the ballot. The number of "legal voters" is defined as based on "the total number of votes cast at the last general election for the State office receiving the highest number of votes at such election."
  • Petitions that are circulated for this purpose must include "the full text of the measure so proposed."

According to Section 1 of Article XXIV, the Oklahoma State Legislature can propose amendments:

  • By a simple majority vote.
  • If the legislature wants the proposed amendment to go on a special election ballot, it has to approve the amendment by a 2/3rds vote.
  • Proposed amendments must observe the single-subject rule.

Section 2 of Article XXIV says that constitutional conventions can only be held if approved by a statewide vote. Section 2 also says a question about whether to hold a convention shall automatically appear on the state's ballot every 20 years. The section does not specify any way other than the every-20-years automatic referral, but is worded in such a way as to suggest that there could be other ways for a constitutional convention question to go on the ballot. Other ways could include the state legislature voting to put it there or citizens petitioning to put such a question on the ballot.

History

The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 added land that would later become the state of Oklahoma as well as Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and parts of eight other states. In the 19th century, many Native American tribes were relocated to the area that is now Oklahoma by the U.S. government. By 1900, over 30 different tribes resided in present day Oklahoma, which was then called the Indian Territories.[3]

The territory put together a constitutional convention to draft soon-to-be Oklahoma's first constitution. The convention drew up a plan for government, constructed a map of counties to establish and elected delegates to present their petition to the United States Congress. Oklahoma became the 47th state on November 17, 1907.[3]

In 1907, Oklahoma's constitution was the longest governing document in the world. It was regularly amended, the first time being in the same election in which the constitution was ratified. The constitution currently has over 150 amendments.[4]

See also

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External links

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Additional reading

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Oklahoma State Legislature, "Oklahoma Constitution," accessed March 30, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. 3.0 3.1 History.com, "Oklahoma," accessed March 30, 2014
  4. Patriot Action Network, "Oklahoma," accessed March 30, 2014