Article II, Delaware Constitution

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Delaware Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIScheduleClosing
Article II of the Delaware Constitution is entitled Legislature. It contains sections 1-25, and sections 2a., 2b., 17a., and 17b. for a total of 29 sections, as well as a preamble.

Preamble

Text of Preamble:

WE DECLARE THAT EVERYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE IS RESERVED OUT OF THE GENERAL POWERS OF GOVERNMENT HEREINAFTER MENTIONED.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

General Assembly to Hold Legislative Power; Composition

The legislative power of this State shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Composition of House and Senate; Terms of Office; Districts; Election

NOTE

Sections 2 and 2A, Article II of the Constitution relating to the composition of the House and Senate was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States on June 15, 1964. Roman et all. v. Sincock et al. 377 U.S. 395. The composition of the General Assembly is now regulated by statute.

Section 2A

Text of Section 2a:

Additional Representative Districts

See the Note under Section 2, Article II, above.

Section 2B

Text of Section 2b:

Delegates to Constitutional Convention

The number of delegates and the method of electing delegates to the Constitutional Convention as provided in Section 2, Article 16, shall not be affected by the addition of Representatives or Representative Districts, pursuant to Section 2A of this Article. The Representative Districts which shall elect delegates to the Constitutional Convention are as set forth in Section 2 of this Article.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Qualifications of Members

No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the age of twenty-seven years and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding the day of his election and the last year of that term an inhabitant of the Senatorial District in which he shall be chosen, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this State. No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-four years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding the day of his election, and the last year of that term an inhabitant of the Representative District in which he shall be chosen, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this State.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Time and Frequency of Sessions

The General Assembly shall convene on the second Tuesday of January of each calendar year unless otherwise convened by the Governor, or by mutual call of the presiding officers of both Houses.

The General Assembly may continue in session each calendar year so long as, in its judgment, the public interest may require; however, each session shall not extend beyond the last day of June unless the session is recalled by the Governor or the mutual call of the presiding officers of both Houses.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Place of Meeting

The General Assembly shall meet and sit in Dover, the capital of the State; provided, however, that in case of insurrection, conflagration or epidemic disease the General Assembly may temporarily meet and sit elsewhere.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Vacancies; Tenure of Office of Persons Elected to Fill

Whenever there shall be a vacancy in either House of the General Assembly, by reason of failure to elect, ineligibility, death, resignation or otherwise, a writ of election shall be issued by the presiding officer of the House in which the vacancy exists, or in case of necessity in such other manner as shall be provided by law; and the person thereupon chosen to fill such vacancy shall hold office for the residue of the term. And whenever there shall be such vacancy in either House, and the General Assembly is not in session, the Governor shall have power to issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy, which writ shall be executed as a writ issued by the presiding officer of either House in case of vacancy, and the person thereupon chosen to fill such vacancy shall hold office for the residue of the term.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

President Pro Tempore, Speaker and Other Officers; Absence of Presiding Officers

The Senate at the first annual session of every new General Assembly shall choose one of its members president pro tempore, who shall preside in the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor, or in case the latter shall become Governor or while he continues in the exercise of the office of Governor by reason of disability of the Governor. The Senate shall also choose its other officers and in the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor and its president pro tempore may, from time to time, as occasion may require, appoint one of its members to preside. The House of Representatives at such first annual session shall choose one of its members speaker and also choose its other officers, and in the absence of the speaker may from time to time, as occasion may require, appoint one of its members to preside.

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Each House as Judge of Elections and Qualifications of Its Members; Quorum; Adjournments; Compelling Attendance

Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members; and a majority of all the members elected to each House shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and shall have power to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties, as shall be deemed expedient.

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Rules; Punishment and Expulsion of Members; Scope of Powers

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish any of its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected thereto expel a member, and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free and independent State.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Journals; Publication; Entry of Yeas and Nays; Passage of Bills and Resolutions

Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same immediately after every session, except such parts as may require secrecy. The names of the members voting for and against any bill or joint resolution, except in relation to adjournment, shall on the final vote be entered on the journal; and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall, at the desire of any member, be entered on the journal. No bill or joint resolution, except in relation to adjournment, shall pass either House unless the final vote shall have been taken by yeas and nays, nor without the concurrence of a majority of all the members elected to each House.


Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Accessibility to Each House and Committees of the Whole

The doors of each House, and of Committees of the Whole, shall be open unless when the business is such as ought to be kept secret.

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Consent of Each House to Adjournment

Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Immunity from Arrest and Questioning of Speeches

The Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases, except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place.

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Holding Dual Office or Having Interest in Army or Navy Contract

No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this State which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased during such time. No member of Congress, nor any person holding any office under this State, or the United States, except officers usually appointed by the courts of Justice respectively, attorneys-at-law and officers of the militia, holding no disqualifying office, shall during his continuance in Congress or in office be a Senator or Representative; nor shall any person while concerned in any army or navy contract be a Senator or Representative.

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Compensation, Expenses and Allowances of Members

The President of the Senate and members of the General Assembly shall receive an annual salary and an annual expense allowance for transportation and such other necessary and proper purposes as the General Assembly shall by law provide. Funds appropriated hereunder shall be paid out of the Treasury of the State.

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Restriction of Bills and Resolutions to One Subject; Expression in Title; Exception

No bill or joint resolution, except bills appropriating money for public purposes, shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Lotteries and Other Gambling

All forms of gambling are prohibited in this State except the following:

(a) Lotteries under State control for the purpose of raising funds,

(b) Lotteries (other than slot machines, roulette, craps, and baccarat games) provided that each is sponsored and conducted under the limitations of Section 17B by companies, organizations, or societies which have been in existence for at least two years; provided, however, that no person who shall not have attained the age of 18 years shall participate in any lottery (where money is the prize) otherwise authorized by the Article. (6-2-83)

(c) Wagering or betting by the use of pari-mutuel machines or totalizators on horse races conducted at racetracks within or without the State, provided that such wagering or betting may be conducted only either:

(1) within the enclosure of any racetrack licensed under the laws of the State to conduct a race meeting, or
(2) within the enclosure of any racetrack licensed under the laws of the State to receive and accept wagers or bets on electronically televised simulcasts of horse races. (1/24/91)

(d) Bingo games as conducted under the limitations of Section 17A.

The General Assembly shall enforce this Section by appropriate legislation.

Section 17A

Text of Section 17A:

Bingo Games; Organizations Authorized to Conduct; Submission to Referendum; Districts; Regulation; Penalties

The game of Bingo shall be lawful when sponsored and conducted by Volunteer Fire Companies, Veteran's Organizations, Religious or Charitable Organizations, or by Fraternal Societies provided the net receipts or profits arising from the conducting or operating of such Bingo games by the aforementioned Companies, Organizations, or Societies are used solely for the promotion or achievement of the purposes of such Companies, Organization, or Societies, and provided further that the aforementioned Companies, Organizations or Societies are operated in a manner so as to come within the provisions of Section 170 of the U.S. Revenue Code and Regulations promulgated thereunder by the U. S. Secretary of the Treasury.

1. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the submission to the vote of the qualified electors of the several districts of the State, or any of them, mentioned in subparagraph 2 of Section 17A of this article at the General Election held in 1958, the question whether the playing of the game of "Bingo" shall be licensed or prohibited within the limits thereof; and in every district in which there is a majority against license, no organization, mentioned in Section 17A, shall thereafter sponsor or permit the playing of "Bingo", within said district, until at a subsequent submission of such question a majority of votes shall be cast in said district for license. Whenever a majority of all the members elected to each House of the General Assembly by the qualified electors in any district named in subparagraph 2 of Section 17A of this Article shall request the submission of the question of license or no license to a vote of the qualified electors in said district, the General Assembly shall provide for the submission of such question to the qualified electors in such district at the next general election thereafter.

2. Under the provisions of this Article, Sussex County shall comprise one district, Kent County shall comprise one district, the City of Wilmington, as its corporate limits now are or may hereafter be extended, one district, and the remaining part of New Castle County, one district.

3. The General Assembly shall provide necessary laws to carry out and enforce the provisions of this Article, enact laws governing the game of "Bingo" under the limitations of this Article, and may provide such penalties as may be necessary to enforce same.

Section 17B

Text of Section 17B:

Lotteries Not under State Control; Organizations to Conduct; Submission to Referendum; Districts; Regulation; Penalties

Lotteries not under State control shall be lawful when sponsored and conducted by Volunteer Fire Companies, Veterans Organizations, Religious or Charitable Organizations, or by Fraternal Societies provided that said Company, Organization or Society has been in existence a minimum of two years and provided the net receipts or profits arising from the conducting or operating of such lotteries by the aforementioned Companies, Organizations, or Societies are used solely for the promotion or achievement of the purposes of such Companies, Organizations, or Societies, and provided further that the aforementioned Companies, Organizations, or Societies are operated in a manner so as to come within the provisions of Section 170 of the U.S. Revenue Code and Regulations promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

1. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the submission to the vote of the qualified electors of the several districts of the State, or any of them, mentioned in subparagraph 2 of Section 17B of this Article at the General Election held in 1984, the question whether the playing of lotteries not under State control shall be licensed or prohibited within the limits thereof; and in every district in which there is a majority against license, no organization, mentioned in Section 17B, shall thereafter sponsor or permit lotteries not under State control, within said district, until at a subsequent submission of such question a majority of votes shall be cast in said district for license. Whenever a majority of all the members elected to each House of the General Assembly by the qualified electors in any district named in subparagraph 2 of Section 17B of this Article shall request the submission of the question of license or no license to a vote of the qualified electors in said district, the General Assembly shall provide for the submission of such question to the qualified electors in such district at the next general election thereafter.

2. Under the provisions of this Article, Sussex County shall comprise one district, Kent County shall comprise one district, the City of Wilmington, as its corporate limits now are or may hereafter be extended, one district, and the remaining part of New Castle County, one district.

3. The General Assembly shall enact comprehensive legislation providing for licensing for all organizations conducting and regulating the conduct of lotteries under the provisions of this section and may provide such penalties as may be necessary to enforce such legislation. (6-2-83)

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Divorce or Alimony

No divorce shall be granted, nor alimony allowed, except by the judgment of a court, as shall be prescribed by general and uniform law.

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Local or Special Laws Relating to Fences, Live Stock, Ditches, School Districts, and Roads, Highways, Streets, Etc

The General Assembly shall not pass any local or special law relating to fences; the straying of live stock; ditches; the creation or changing the boundaries of school districts; or the laying out, opening, alteration, maintenance or vacation, in whole or in part of any road, highway, street, lane or alley; provided, however, that the General Assembly may by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House pass laws relating to the laying out, opening, alteration or maintenance of any road or highway which forms a continuous road or highway extending through at least a portion of the three counties of the State.

No road, highway or street, intended to be dedicated to public use and maintained at public expense, shall be constructed except in conformance with standards adopted by the agency charged with construction, reconstruction or maintenance of such road, highway, or street. Any road or street, constructed solely for private use, shall only be maintained at State expense after it has been constructed or reconstructed according to the standards established by the agency charged with the duty of maintaining such roads or streets.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Disclosure of Personal or Private Interest of Legislator in Any Pending Measure

Any member of the General Assembly who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill pending in the General Assembly shall disclose the fact to the House of which he is a member and shall not vote thereon.

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Conviction of Crime as Ban to Public Office

No person who shall be convicted of embezzlement of the public money, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the General Assembly, or capable of holding any office of trust, honor or profit under this State.

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Bribery of Executive, Judicial or Legislative Officers

Every person who shall give, offer or promise, directly or indirectly, any money, testimonial, privilege, personal advantage or thing of value to any executive or judicial officer of this State or to any member of either House of the General Assembly for the purpose of influencing him in the performance of any of his official or public duties shall be deemed guilty of bribery, and shall be punished in such manner as shall be provided by law.

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Statutes as Public Laws Unless Otherwise Declared

Every statute shall be a public law unless otherwise declared in the statute itself.

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Settlement of Accounts of State Treasurer; Ineligibility for Legislative Office Until Settlement

The State Treasurer shall settle his accounts annually with the General Assembly or a joint committee thereof, which shall be appointed at every ninety legislative day session. No person who has served in the office of State Treasurer shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the General Assembly until he shall have made a final settlement of his accounts as treasurer and discharged the balance, if any, due thereon.

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Laws Permitting Zoning Ordinances and Use of Land

The General Assembly may enact laws under which municipalities and the County of Sussex and the County of Kent and the County of New Castle may adopt zoning ordinances, laws or rules limiting and restricting to specified districts and regulating therein buildings and structures according to their construction and the nature and extent of their use, as well as the use to be made of land in such districts for other than agricultural purposes; and the exercise of such authority shall be deemed to be within the police power of the State.

References

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