Difference between revisions of "Kentucky Constitution"

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==History==
 
==History==
The first version of the Kentucky Constitution was adopted in April 1792. It was then revised substantially in August 1799, May 1850 and in September 1891 when the current constitution was adopted.<ref name="ky"/><ref>[http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/st.phtml?state=KY#con ''The Green Papers'', "History of the Kentucky Constitution", accessed March 28, 2014]</ref>
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Between 1784 and 1790, Kentucky held nine [[constitutional convention|constitutional conventions]]. A 10th convention was held in April 1792, and it was the document that came out of that final convention that was presented to the [[United States Congress]]. It was accepted on June 1, 1792, admitting Kentucky as the 15th state in the Union.<ref>[http://www.lrc.ky.gov/lrcpubs/ib137.pdf ''Legislative Research Commission'', "Kentucky Government," February 2003]</ref>
  
===Previous constitutions===
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That original constitution was revised substantially in subsequent [[constitutional convention|constitutional conventions]] in August 1799, May 1850 and September 1891.<ref name="ky"/><ref>[http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/st.phtml?state=KY#con ''The Green Papers'', "History of the Kentucky Constitution", accessed March 28, 2014]</ref>
====1792 Constitution====
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The first [[constitutional convention]] of Kentucky was called for December 27, 1784, in [[Danville, Virginia|Danville]], the capital of Kentucky County, Virginia. Over the next eight years, a total of ten constitutional conventions were called, each making some progress toward a viable constitution. The state's [http://books.google.com/books/about/Text_of_the_Kentucky_Constitutions_of_17.html?id=FpFGAQAAIAAJ first constitution] was accepted by the [[U.S. Congress]] on June 1, 1792, making Kentucky the fifteenth state admitted into the Union.<ref name="kygov">[http://www.lrc.ky.gov/lrcpubs/ib137.pdf "Constitutional Background" in ''Kentucky Government: Informational Bulletin No. 137 (Revised)''. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Legislative Research Commission (February 2003)]</ref>
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The 1792 Constitution shared several similarities to the [[United States Constitution]] in that it provided for three branches of government and a [[bicameral]] legislature called the [[Kentucky General Assembly|General Assembly]]. The document contained a Bill of Rights and called for an [[Electoral College|electoral college]] to elect [[Kentucky Senate|senators]] and the [[Kentucky Governor|state's governor]].<ref name="kye">Kleber, John E. (1992). "Constitutions" in ''The Kentucky Encyclopedia'', eds. Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter, Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky</ref>
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On the other hand, some relatively new ideas were included in the 1792 Constitution. For example, one novel idea was the stipulation that the General Assembly vote by [[ballot]] instead of voice. There was also a requirement that representation to the General Assembly be based on population, not geography.<ref name=kygov />
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Overall, the 1792 Constitution was seen as an experiment called for a re-evaluation of the document at the end of the century.<ref name=kye />
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====1799 Constitution====
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A second constitutional convention was called for by the voters of Kentucky in 1799. The [http://books.google.com/books/about/Text_of_the_Kentucky_Constitutions_of_17.html?id=FpFGAQAAIAAJ 1799 Constitution] abolished the electoral college and allowing senators, representatives, the governor and the newly-created office of lieutenant governor to be directly elected. In addition to appointing judges, the governor was given the power to appoint a number of local offices including sheriffs, coroners and justices of the peace.<ref name=kygov /> The 1799 Constitution also placed [[term limits]] on the governor, stipulating that a governor could not succeed himself in office for a period of seven years. Membership in both houses of the General Assembly was also limited.<ref name=kygov />
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In some ways, the 1799 Constitution was a regression. The progressive idea of voting by [[ballot]] in the General Assembly was removed. In addition, neither of the first two Kentucky constitutions provided a method of amending the constitutions, and the 1799 Constitution made it even more difficult to call a constitutional convention.<ref name=kygov />
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====1850 Constitution====
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There were calls as early as 1828 from the General Assembly for a constitutional convention; however, because the 1799 Constitution made the gathering of a convention such a task, it took more than 20 years and finally convened in [[Frankfort, Kentucky|Frankfort]] on October 1, 1849.<ref name=kygov /> One overarching theme of dissatisfaction with the 1799 Constitution was the appointment of various officials by the governor. This was amended in the [http://books.google.com/books/about/Text_of_the_Kentucky_Constitutions_of_17.html?id=FpFGAQAAIAAJ 1850 Constitution] by making all state officials, even judges, popularly elected and imposing term limits on these offices.<ref name=kye />
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While the Kentucky Constitution had always provided for protection of slave property, pro-slavery forces sought and received even greater protections in the 1850 Constitution. Among the new provisions were a requirement that slaves and their offspring remain in the state and that ministers of religion &ndash; thought to be largely anti-slavery &ndash; were prohibited from holding the office of governor or seats in the General Assembly.<ref name=kygov />
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The bulk of the reforms in the 1850 Constitution, however, were reserved for the General Assembly, whose spending had spiraled out of control. Membership in the Senate was fixed at 38, and in the House, the number was fixed at 100. In addition, sessions of the General Assembly were limited to sixty days biennially, requiring a two-thirds majority to extend them.<ref name=kygov /> The 1850 Constitution also created a sinking fund for the liquidation of the state's debt, which had climbed to $4.5 million. To prevent the debt from climbing even higher in the future, the 1850 Constitution mandated a maximum of $500,000 of indebtedness for the state.<ref name=kye /> At the time, this represented about a year's worth of revenue for the state, but this provision remains in the current Kentucky Constitution, even though receipts in the 2001-02 fiscal year were approximately $6.5 billion.<ref name=kygov />
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Another dated provision of the 1850 Constitution that survives in the present constitution is the ineligibility for public office of anyone who had participated in a duel since the ratification of the 1850 Constitution. While the relevance of this prohibition may be disputed now, it could potentially have derailed Governor William Goebel's eligibility for public office in the 1890's.<ref name="mcqueen">McQueen, Keven (2001). "William Goebel: Assassinated Governor," in ''Offbeat Kentuckians: Legends to Lunatics'', ed. by Keven McQueen, Kuttawa, Kentucky: McClanahan Publishing House</ref>
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====Current, 1891 Constitution====
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Ratification of the [[Amendment XIII, United States Constitution|Thirteenth]], [[Amendment XIV, United States Constitution|Fourteenth]] and [[Amendment XV, United States Constitution|Fifteenth Amendment]]s to the [[United States Constitution|U. S. Constitution]] following the Civil War provided the impetus for another constitutional convention, since much of the existing constitution provided protection for slave property and were now at odds with the U.S. Constitution. However, this required a majority of the voters in the previous two elections to vote in favor of a convention, a measure that failed every two years from 1873 to 1885. finally receiving the necessary majority in 1888 and 1889 after the General Assembly called for a registration of all eligible voters in 1887, the constitutional convention began September 8, 1890.<ref name=kygov />
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For the first time, ratification of the constitution required a vote of the Kentucky electorate.<ref name=kygov /> At the same time, the 1891 Constitution did little to ameliorate the difficult process of calling a constitutional convention. This resulted in failed calls for subsequent constitutional conventions in 1931, 1947, 1960 and 1977. Nevertheless, the 1891 Convention did, for the first time, provide a means of amending itself that has been used by the General Assembly to keep a century-old document more current.<ref name=kye />
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Despite some provisions that some claim are antiquated, the 1891 Constitution (as amended) remains the constitution that governs the Commonwealth of Kentucky today.
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==See also==
 
==See also==

Revision as of 09:05, 18 June 2014

Kentucky Constitution
Flag of Kentucky.png
Articles
Preamble
Bill of Rights
Distribution of Powers
Legislative
County Seats
Impeachments
Executive
Judicial
County Courts
Justices
Fiscal Courts
Elections
Municipalities
Taxation
Education
Corporations
Commerce
Militia
General Provisions
Mode of Revision
Schedule and Ordinance
The Constitution of Kentucky is the basic governing document of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Features

The Kentucky Constitution is divided into a preamble and 20 articles.[1]

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Kentucky Constitution states:

We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution.[1]

Bill of Rights

The "Bill of Rights" of the Kentucky Constitution prescribes the rights of the citizens of Kansas.

Distribution of Powers

The article entitled "Distribution of the Powers of Government" of the Kentucky Constitution divides the government into three branches.

Legislative

The article entitled "Legislative Department" of the Kentucky Constitution establishes the legislature as the law-making body of government.

County Seats

The article entitled "Counties and County Seats" of the Kentucky Constitution has three sections.

Impeachments

The article entitled "Impeachments" of the Kentucky Constitution has three sections.

Executive

The article entitled "Executive Department" of the Kentucky Constitution has 40 sections.

Judicial

The article entitled "Judicial Department" of the Kentucky Constitution established the court system of the state.

County Courts

The article entitled "County Courts" of the Kentucky Constitution has two sections, one of which has been repealed.

Justices

The article entitled "Justices of the Peace" of the Kentucky Constitution has two sections.

Fiscal Courts

The article entitled "Fiscal Courts" of the Kentucky Constitution contains only one section.

Elections

The article entitled "Suffrage and Elections" of the Kentucky Constitution has 11 sections.

Municipalities

The article entitled "Municipalities" of the Kentucky Constitution has 17 sections.

Taxation

The article entitled "Revenue and Taxation" of the Kentucky Constitution has 16 sections.

Education

The article entitled "Education" of the Kentucky Constitution consists of sections 183-189.

Corporations

The article entitled "Corporations" of the Kentucky Constitution consists of sections 190-208.

Commerce

The article entitled "Railroads and Commerce" of the Kentucky Constitution consists of sections 209-218.

Militia

The article entitled "Militia" of the Kentucky Constitution consists of sections 219-223.

General Provisions

The article entitled "General Provisions" consists of sections 224-255.

Mode of Revision

The article entitled "Mode of Revision" of the Kentucky Constitution includes Section 256-Section 263 and a Schedule. Sections 256-263 lay out how the constitution can be changed over time.

Schedule and Ordinance

The article entitled "Schedule and Ordinance" of the Kentucky Constitution follows twenty articles, as well as a preamble. This section itself is composed of six sections and an ordinance.

Amending the constitution

Main article: Mode of Revision, Kentucky Constitution

There are two ways to amend the Kentucky Constitution:

A legislatively-referred constitutional amendment can be proposed in either house of the Kentucky General Assembly.

  • If 60 percent of the membership of each chamber approves, the proposed amendment goes on the ballot at the next general election during which members of the state legislature are up for election.
  • If a proposed amendment is approved by a simple majority of those voting on the question, it becomes part of the constitution.
  • The state legislature is not allowed to put more than four proposed amendments on any one ballot.
  • Proposed amendments "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."

A constitutional convention can be called if:

  • A majority of all the members of each of the two chambers of the state legislature agree to place a question before the state's voters about whether to have a constitutional convention.
  • In the next session of the legislature, a majority of the members again agree to place this question before the state's voters.
  • A majority of those voting on the question say "yes" and if the number of voters voting "yes" is "equal to one-fourth of the number of qualified voters who voted at the last preceding general election."

Notable amendments

1992

See also: Kentucky Proposed Amendment 2, Allowable Length of Service for Governors (1992)

Two amendments to the Kentucky Constitution were enacted in 1992. The first allowed charities to run lotteries, and the second changed the nature of both the office of the governor and the office of the lieutenant governor by giving state officers the right to hold office for one consecutive term after their first, putting the governor and lieutenant governor on the same ticket and changing the duties assigned to the lieutenant governor.[2]

2004

See also: Kentucky Marriage Amendment (2004)

In 2004, Kentucky became the fourth state to send a marriage amendment to voters.[3] Voters passed it by a three-to-one margin.[4][5] The text of the amendment reads:[1]

Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.[6]

History

Between 1784 and 1790, Kentucky held nine constitutional conventions. A 10th convention was held in April 1792, and it was the document that came out of that final convention that was presented to the United States Congress. It was accepted on June 1, 1792, admitting Kentucky as the 15th state in the Union.[7]

That original constitution was revised substantially in subsequent constitutional conventions in August 1799, May 1850 and September 1891.[1][8]

See also

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External links

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Suggest a link

Additional reading

References