Chapter 1, Massachusetts Constitution
|Part the First|
|Part the Second:|
|Articles of Amendment|
| Text of Section 1:
The General Court
| Text of Article I:
The department of legislation shall be formed by two branches, a Senate and House of Representatives: each of which shall have a negative on the other.
The legislative body shall assemble every year [on the last Wednesday in May, and at such other times as they shall judge necessary; and shall dissolve and be dissolved on the day next preceding the said last Wednesday in May;] and shall be stiled, The General Court of Massachusetts.
[See Amendments, Arts. X, LXXII, and LXXV.]
| Text of Article II:
No bill or resolve of the senate or house of representatives shall become a law, and have force as such, until it shall have been laid before the governor for his revisal; and if he, upon such revision, approve thereof, he shall signify his approbation by signing the same. But if he have any objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he shall return the same, together with his objections thereto, in writing, to the senate or house of representatives, in whichsoever the same shall have originated; who shall enter the objections sent down by the governor, at large, on their records, and proceed to reconsider the said bill or resolve. But if after such reconsideration, two thirds of the said senate or house of representatives, shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of the members present, shall have the force of a law: but in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays; and the names of the persons voting for, or against, the said bill or resolve, shall be entered upon the public records of the commonwealth.
[And in order to prevent unnecessary delays, if any bill or resolve shall not be returned by the governor within five days after it shall have been presented, the same shall have the force of a law.]
[See Amendments, Arts. I, XLVIII, LIV, LXIII, sec. 5, and XC, sec. 1.]
| Text of Article III:
The general court shall forever have full power and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of the commonwealth, for the hearing, trying, and determining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things, whatsoever, arising or happening within the commonwealth, or between or concerning persons inhabiting, or residing, or brought within the same, whether the same be criminal or civil, or whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed; and for the awarding and making out of execution thereupon. To which courts and judicatories are hereby given and granted full power and authority, from time to time, to administer oaths or affirmations, for the better discovery of truth in any matter in controversy or depending before them.
[See Amendments, Art. XLVIII, The Initiative, II, sec. 2, and The Referendum, III, sec. 2.]
| Text of Article IV:
And further, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the said general court, from time to time, to make, ordain, and establish, all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, and ordinances, directions and instructions, either with penalties or without; so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of this commonwealth, and for the government and ordering thereof, and of the subjects of the same, and for the necessary support and defence of the government thereof; and to name and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws, for the naming and settling all civil officers within the said commonwealth; the election and constitution of whom are not hereafter in this form of government otherwise provided for; and to set forth the several duties, powers, and limits, of the several civil and military officers of this commonwealth, and the forms of such oaths or affirmations as shall be respectively administered unto them for the execution of their several offices and places, so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution; and to impose and levy proportional and reasonable assessments, rates, and taxes, upon all the inhabitants of, and persons resident, and estates lying, within the said commonwealth; and also to impose and levy, reasonable duties and excises, upon any produce, goods, wares, merchandise, and commodities, whatsoever, brought into, produced, manufactured, or being within the same; to be issued and disposed of by warrant, under the hand of the governor of this commonwealth for the time being, with the advice and consent of the council, for the public service, in the necessary defence and support of the government of the said commonwealth, and the protection and preservation of the subjects thereof, according to such acts as are or shall be in force within the same.
And while the public charges of government, or any part thereof, shall be assessed on polls and estates, in the manner that has hitherto been practiced, in order that such assessments may be made with equality, there shall be a valuation of estates within the commonwealth taken anew once in every ten years at least, and as much oftener as the general court shall order.
- [See Amendments, Arts. XLI, XLIV, XCIX and CXII.]
- [For the authority of the general court to charter cities and establish limited town meeting form of government, see Amendments, Arts. II and LXX.
- For power of the general court to establish voting precincts in towns, see Amendments. Art. XXIX.
- For additional taxing power given to the general court, see Amendments, Arts. XLI and XLIV.
- For the authority of the general court to take land, etc., for relieving congestion of population and providing homes for citizens, see Amendments, Art. XLIII.
- For the power given the general court to provide by law for absentee and compulsory voting, see Amendments, Art. XLV, Amendments, Art. LXI and Amendments, Art. LXXVI.
- For the power of the general court to determine the manner of providing and distributing the necessaries of life, etc., during time of war, public distress, etc., by the Commonwealth and the cities and towns, therein, see Amendments, Art. LXVII.
- For provisions relative to taking the vote on emergency measures, see Amendments, Arts. XLVIII, The Referendum, II, and LXVII.
- For new provisions authorizing the general court to provide for the taking of lands for certain public uses, see Amendments, Art. XLIX.
- For provisions authorizing the general court to take a recess or recesses amounting to not more than thirty days, see Amendments, Art. LII.
- For new provision authorizing the governor to return a bill with a recommendation of amendment, see Amendments, Art. LVI.
- For the power of the general court to limit the use of construction of buildings, see Amendments, Art. LX.
- For new provisions relative to the biennial election of senators and representatives and their terms of office, see Amendments, Art. LXIV.
- For new provisions that no person elected to the general court shall be appointed to any office which was created or the emoluments of which were increased during the term for which he was elected, nor received additional salary or compensation for service upon recess committees or commissions, see Amendments, Art. LXV.
- For the power of the general court to prescribe the terms and conditions upon which a pardon may be granted in the case of a felony, see Amendments, Art. LXXIII.]