Article XII, Alabama Constitution
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| Text of Section 220:
Consent of Municipal Corporation Prerequisite to Use of Public Property for Public Utility or Private Enterprise Purposes
No person, firm, association, or corporation shall be authorized or permitted to use the streets, avenues, alleys, or public places of any city, town, or village for the construction or operation of any public utility or private enterprise, without first obtaining the consent of the proper authorities of such city, town, or village.
| Text of Section 221:
Payment of State License Tax, Etc., Not to Excuse Payment of Other Privilege and License Taxes
The legislature shall not enact any law which will permit any person, firm, corporation, or association to pay a privilege, license, or other tax to the State of Alabama, and relieve him or it from the payment of all other privilege and license taxes in the state.
| Text of Section 222:
Issuance of Bonds by Counties, Municipal Corporations, Districts and Other Political Subdivisions of Counties
The legislature, after the ratification of this Constitution, shall have authority to pass general laws authorizing the counties, cities, towns, villages, districts, or other political subdivisions of counties to issue bonds, but no bonds shall be issued under authority of a general law unless such issue of bonds be first authorized by a majority vote by ballot of the qualified voters of such county, city, town, village, district, or other political subdivision of a county, voting upon such proposition. The ballot used at such election shall contain the words: "For …bond issue," and "Against … bond issue" (the character of the bond to be shown in the blank space), and the voter shall indicate his choice by placing a cross mark before or after the one or the other. This section shall not apply to the renewal, refunding, or reissue of bonds lawfully issued, nor to the issuance of bonds in cases where the same have been authorized by laws enacted prior to the ratification of this Constitution, nor shall this section apply to obligations incurred or bonds to be issued to procure means to pay for street and sidewalk improvements or sanitary or storm water sewers, the cost of which is to be assessed, in whole or in part, against the property abutting said improvements or drained by such sanitary or storm water sewers.
| Text of Section 223:
Limitation on Assessments for Public Improvements by Municipal Corporations
No city, town, or other municipality shall make any assessment for the cost of sidewalks or street paving, or for the cost of the construction of any sewers against property abutting on such street or sidewalk so paved, or drained by such sewers, in excess of the increased value of such property by reason of the special benefits derived from such improvements.
| Text of Section 224:
Limitation on County Indebtedness
No county shall become indebted in an amount including present indebtedness, greater than three and one-half per centum of the assessed value of the property therein; provided, this limitation shall not affect any existing indebtedness in excess of such three and one-half per centum, which has already been created or authorized by existing law to be created; provided, that any county which has already incurred a debt exceeding three and one-half per centum of the assessed value of the property therein, shall be authorized to incur an indebtedness of one and a half per centum of the assessed value of such property in addition to the debt already existing. Nothing herein contained shall prevent any county from issuing bonds, or other obligations, to fund or refund any indebtedness now existing or authorized by existing laws to be created.
| Text of Section 225:
Indebtedness of Municipal Corporations Limitation; Exception as to Sheffield and Tuscumbia
No city, town, or other municipal corporation having a population of less than six thousand, except as hereafter provided, shall become indebted in an amount including present indebtedness, exceeding five per centum of the assessed value of the property therein, except for the construction of or purchase of water works, gas, or electric lighting plants, or sewerage, or for the improvement of streets, for which purposes an additional indebtedness not exceeding three per centum may be created; provided, this limitation shall not affect any debt now authorized by law to be created, nor any temporary loans to be paid within one year, made in anticipation of the collection of taxes, not exceeding one-fourth of the annual revenues of such city or town. All towns and cities having a population of six thousand or more, also Gadsden, Ensley, Decatur, and New Decatur, are hereby authorized to become indebted in an amount including present indebtedness, not exceeding seven per centum of the assessed valuation of the property therein, provided that there shall not be included in the limitation of the indebtedness of such last described cities and towns the following classes of indebtedness, to wit: Temporary loans, to be paid within one year, made in anticipation of the collection of taxes, and not exceeding one-fourth of the general revenues, bonds, or other obligations already issued, or which may hereafter be issued for the purpose of acquiring, providing, or constructing school houses, water works, and sewers; and obligations incurred and bonds issued for street or sidewalk improvements, where the cost of the same, in whole or in part, is to be assessed against the property abutting said improvements; provided, that the proceeds of all obligations issued as herein provided, in excess of said seven per centum shall not be used for any purpose other than that for which said obligations were issued. Nothing contained in this article shall prevent the funding or refunding of existing indebtedness. This section shall not apply to the cities of Sheffield and Tuscumbia.
| Text of Section 226:
Same Municipal Corporations Whose Present Indebtedness Exceeds Constitutional Limitation; Exception as to Sheffield and Tuscumbia
No city, town, or village, whose present indebtedness exceeds the limitation imposed by this Constitution, shall be allowed to become indebted in any further amount, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, until such indebtedness shall be reduced within such limit; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall prevent any municipality, except the city of Gadsden, from issuing bonds already authorized by law; provided, further, that this section shall not apply to the cities of Sheffield and Tuscumbia.
| Text of Section 227:
Liability of Public Utilities in Municipal Corporations for Damages to Abutting Property Owners
Any person, firm, association, or corporation, who may construct or operate any public utility along or across the public streets of any city, town, or village, under any privilege or franchise permitting such construction or operation, shall be liable to abutting proprietors for the actual damage done to the abutting property on account of such construction or operation.
| Text of Section 228:
Maximum Term of Public Utility Franchises in Cities and Towns Having Population of Six Thousand or More.
No city or town having a population of more than six thousand shall have authority to grant to any person, firm, corporation, or association the right to use its streets, avenues, alleys, or public places for the construction or operation of water works, gas works, telephone or telegraph line, electric light or power plants, steam or other heating plants, street railroads, or any other public utility, except railroads other than street railroads, for a longer period than thirty years.
| Text of Section 229:
Special Laws Conferring Corporate Powers Prohibited; General Law as to Grant or Amendment of Corporate Charters; Corporation Franchise Taxes to Be Paid; Exemption of Benevolent, Educational or Religious Corporations from Franchise Taxes
The legislature shall pass no special act conferring corporate powers, but it shall pass general laws under which corporations may be organized and corporate powers obtained, subject, nevertheless, to repeal at the will of the legislature; and shall pass general laws under which charters may be altered or amended. The legislature shall, by general law, provide for the payment to the State of Alabama of a franchise tax by corporations organized under the laws of this state, which shall be in proportion to the amount of capital stock; but strictly benevolent, educational, or religious corporations shall not be required to pay such a tax. The charter of any corporation shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal under general laws.
| Text of Section 230:
Cancellation of Certain Corporate Charters
All existing charters, under which a bona fide organization shall not have taken place and business commenced in good faith within twelve months from the time of the ratification of this Constitution, shall thereafter have no validity.
| Text of Section 231:
Limitation on Remitting Forfeiture of Corporate Charters
The legislature shall not remit the forfeiture of the charter of any corporation now existing or alter or amend the same, nor pass any general or special law for the benefit of such corporation, other than in execution of a trust created by law or by contract, except upon condition that such corporation shall thereafter hold its charter subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
| Text of Section 232:
Foreign Corporations Doing Business in State
No foreign corporation shall do any business in this state without having at least one known place of business and an authorized agent or agents therein, and without filing with the secretary of state a certified copy of its articles of incorporation or association. Such corporation may be sued in any county where it does business, by service of process upon an agent anywhere in the state. The legislature shall, by general law, provide for the payment to the state of Alabama of a franchise tax by such corporation, but such franchise tax shall be based on the actual amount of capital employed in this state. Strictly benevolent, educational, or religious corporations shall not be required to pay such a tax.
| Text of Section 233:
Corporations Restricted to Business Authorized by Charter
No corporation shall engage in any business other than that expressly authorized in its charter or articles of incorporation.
| Text of Section 234:
Restrictions on Issuance of Corporate Stock and Bonds
No corporation shall issue stocks or bonds except for money, labor done, or property actually received; and all fictitious increase of stock or indebtedness shall be void. The stock and bonded indebtedness of corporations shall not be increased except in pursuance of general laws, nor without the consent of the persons holding the larger amount in value of stock, first obtained at a meeting to be held after thirty days' notice, given in pursuance of law.
| Text of Section 235:
Taking of Property for Public Use by Municipal and Other Corporations
Municipal and other corporations and individuals invested with the privilege of taking property for public use, shall make just compensation, to be ascertained as may be provided by law, for the property taken, injured, or destroyed by the construction or enlargement of its works, highways, or improvements, which compensation shall be paid before such taking, injury, or destruction. The legislature is hereby prohibited from denying the right of appeal from any preliminary assessment of damages against any such corporations or individuals made by viewers or otherwise, but such appeal shall not deprive those who have obtained the judgment of condemnation from a right of entry, provided the amount of damages assessed shall have been paid into court in money, and a bond shall have been given in not less than double the amount of the damages assessed, with good and sufficient sureties, to pay such damages as the property owner may sustain; and the amount of damages in all cases of appeals shall on demand of either party, be determined by a jury according to law.
| Text of Section 236:
Security for Dues from Private Corporations; Liability of Stockholders
Dues from private corporations shall be secured by such means as may be prescribed by law; but in no case shall any stockholder be individually liable otherwise than for the unpaid stock owned by him or her.
| Text of Section 237:
Issuance of Preferred Stock by Corporations
No corporation shall issue preferred stock without the consent of the owners of two-thirds of the stock of said corporation.
| Text of Section 238:
Authority of Legislature to Revoke Charters of Incorporation
The legislature shall have the power to alter, amend, or revoke any charter of incorporation now existing and revocable at the ratification of this Constitution, or any that may be hereafter created, whenever, in its opinion, such charter may be injurious to the citizens of this state, in such manner, however, that no injustice shall be done to the stockholders.
| Text of Section 239:
Telegraph and Telephone Companies
Any association or corporation organized for the purpose, or any individual, shall have the right to construct and maintain lines of telegraph and telephone within this state, and connect the same with other lines; and the legislature shall, by general law of uniform operation, provide reasonable regulations to give full effect to this section. No telegraph or telephone company shall consolidate with or hold a controlling interest in the stock or bonds of any other telegraph or telephone company owning a complete line, or acquire, by purchase or otherwise, any other competing line of telegraph or telephone.
| Text of Section 240:
Corporations May Sue and Be Sued Like Natural Persons
All corporations shall have the right to sue, and shall be subject to be sued, in all courts in like cases as natural persons.
| Text of Section 241:
The term "corporation," as used in this article shall be construed to include all joint stock companies, and all associations having any of the powers or privileges of corporations, not possessed by individuals or partnerships.
| Text of Section 242:
When Railroads and Canals Deemed Public Highways; Railroad and Canal Companies; Common Carriers; Rights of Railroad Companies Generally
All railroads and canals not constructed and used exclusively for private purposes, shall be public highways, and all railroad and canal companies shall be common carriers. Any association or corporation organized for the purpose shall have the right to construct and operate a railway between any points in this state, and connect at the state line, with railroads of other states. Every railroad company shall have the right with its road to intersect, connect with, or cross any other railroad, and each shall receive and transport the freight, passengers, and cars, loaded or empty, of the others, without delay or discrimination.
| Text of Section 243:
Regulation of Railroad Companies Vested in Legislature
The power and authority of regulating railroad freight and passenger tariffs, the locating and building of passenger and freight depots, correcting abuses, preventing unjust discrimination and extortion and requiring reasonable and just rates of freight and passenger tariffs, are hereby conferred upon the legislature, whose duty it shall be to pass laws from time to time regulating freight and passenger tariffs, to prohibit unjust discrimination on the various railroads, canals, and rivers of the state, and to prohibit the charging of other than just and reasonable rates and enforce the same by adequate penalties.
| Text of Section 244:
Giving Free Passes or Discount Tickets to Members of Legislature or Officers Exercising Judicial Functions
No railroad or other transportation company or corporation shall grant free passes or sell tickets or passes at a discount, other than as sold to the public generally, to any member of the legislature or to any officer exercising judicial functions under the laws of this state; and any such member or officer receiving such a pass or ticket for himself, or procuring the same for another, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars, and at the discretion of the court trying the case, in addition to such fine, may be imprisoned for a term not exceeding six months, and upon conviction, shall be subject to impeachment and removal from office. The courts having jurisdiction shall give this law specially in charge to the grand juries, and when the evidence is sufficient to authorize an indictment, the grand jury must present a true bill. The circuit court or any other court of like jurisdiction in any county into or through which such member or officer is transported by the use of such prohibited pass or ticket, shall have jurisdiction of the case, provided only one prosecution shall be had for the same offense; and, provided further, that the trial and judgment for one offense shall not bar a prosecution for another offense when the same pass or ticket is used; and, provided further, that nothing herein shall prevent a member of the legislature who is a bona fide employe of a railroad or other transportation company or corporation at the time of his election, from accepting or procuring for himself or another, not a member of the legislature, or officer exercising judicial functions, a free pass over the railroads or other transportation company or corporation by which he is employed.
| Text of Section 245:
Railroad Companies Not to Give Rebates or Bonuses in Nature Thereof; Deceiving or Misleading Public as to Rates
No railroad company shall give or pay any rebate, or a bonus in the nature thereof, directly or indirectly, or do any act to mislead or deceive the public as to the real rates charged or received for freights or passage; and any such payments shall be illegal and void, and these prohibitions shall be enforced by suitable penalties.
| Text of Section 246:
Acceptance of Article Prerequisite to Benefits of Future Legislation
No railroad, canal, or transportation company in existence at the time of the ratification of this Constitution, shall have the benefit of any future legislation by general or special laws other than in execution of a trust created by law or by contract, except on the condition of complete acceptance of all the provisions of this article.