West Virginia Constitution
|West Virginia Constitution|
|I • II • III • IV • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • X • XI • XII • XIII • XIV|
- 1 Features
- 2 Preamble
- 3 Article I: Relations to the U.S. Government
- 4 Article II: The State
- 5 Article III: Bill of Rights
- 6 Article IV: Election & Officers
- 7 Article V: Division of Powers
- 8 Article VI: The Legislature
- 9 Article VII: Executive Department
- 10 Article VIII: Judicial Power
- 11 Article IX: County Organization
- 12 Article X: Taxation & Finance
- 13 Article XI: Corporations
- 14 Article XII: Education
- 15 Article XIII: Land Titles
- 16 Article XIV: Amendments
- 17 Amending the constitution
- 18 History
- 19 See also
- 20 External links
- 21 Additional reading
- 22 References
The West Virginia Constitution consists of a preamble followed by 14 articles
- See also: Preambles to state constitutions
The preamble to the West Virginia Constitution states:
Article I of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Relations to the U.S. Government" and consists of four sections.
Article II of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "The State" and consists of eight sections.
Article III of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Bill of Rights" and consists of 22 sections.
Article IV of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Election & Officers" and consists of twelve sections.
Article V of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Division of Powers" and consists of one section.
Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "The Legislature" and consists of 57 sections.
Article VII of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Executive Department" and consists of 19 sections.
Article VIII of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Judicial Power" and consists of 16 sections.
Article IX of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "County Organization" and consists of 13 sections.
Article X of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Taxation & Finance" and consists of 14 sections.
Article XI of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Corporations" and consists of 12 sections.
Article XII of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of 12 sections.
Article XIII of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Land Titles" and consists of six sections, four of which have been repealed.
Article XIV of the West Virginia Constitution is entitled "Amendments" and consists of two sections.
Amending the constitution
- See also: Amending state constitutions
Section 1 of Article XIV of the West Virginia Constitution addresses how constitutional conventions can be called:
- A majority vote of both chambers of the West Virginia State Legislature is required to put a question before the voters on a statewide ballot as to whether they wish a convention to be held.
- If the voters agree to a convention by a simple majority vote, it is to be called.
- Any proposed amendments that come out of a convention must go on a statewide ballot for possible ratification by the state's voters.
Section 2 of Article XIV of the West Virginia Constitution lays out how legislatively-referred constitutional amendments are to be implemented.
- Amendments can be proposed in either house of the state legislature.
- The membership of both houses must support a proposed amendment by a two-thirds vote.
- A vote on the proposed amendment may take place at a general or a special election. West Virginia has a unique requirement with regard to voting on amendments at special elections: "Whenever one or more amendments are submitted at a special election, no other question, issue or matter shall be voted upon at such special election."
- A simple majority vote is required for ratification.
- Proposed amendments must be placed on the ballot in such a way that they can be voted on separately.
- "An amendment may relate to a single subject or to related subject matters and may amend or modify as many articles and as many sections of the constitution as may be necessary and appropriate in order to accomplish the objectives of the amendment."
West Virginia has had two constitutions, one ratified in 1863 and a second in 1872. It also has not undergone a holistic revision since it was first adopted.
The writing of a constitution was an essential step toward the creation of the new state. Voters in Western Virginia had authorized the convention and elected the delegates following Virginia’s decision to secede from the United States. The delegates relied heavily on the Virginia Constitution of 1851 but made several significant reforms to address inequities that had long provoked Western Virginians. On November 26, 1861, delegates met in Wheeling, West Virginia to create a constitution for the new state. Some of the issues they addressed include the name of the new state, boundaries and slavery.
The new constitution was approved in a unanimous vote by the delegates on February 18, 1862. It was then submitted to the voters of West Virginia, who, on April 3, overwhelming approved the constitution, 18,862 to 514.
- State constitution
- Constitutional article
- Constitutional amendment
- Constitutional revision
- Constitutional convention
- Bastress, Robert M. (2011). The West Virginia Constitution, New York, New York: Oxford University Press
- Stealey III, John E. (2013). West Virginia’s Civil War–Era Constitution, Kent State University Press
- West Virginia Legislature, "West Virginia Constitution," accessed March 30, 2014
- West Virginia SOS, "Ballot issues in West Virginia," accessed March 30, 2014
- West Virginia Encyclopedia, "The Constitution of West Virginia," accessed March 30, 2014
- West Virginia Culture.org, "West Virginia Constitutional Convention: 1861-1863," accessed March 30, 2014