The most recent one disqualifies people incarcerated on felony convictions from voting and was approved by a vote of 60.3% to 33.9% in 2000.[13]. ], And the several counties in this commonwealth shall, until the general court shall determine it necessary to alter the said districts, be districts for the choice of councillors and senators, (except that the counties of Dukes County and Nantucket shall form one district for that purpose) and shall elect the following number for councillors and senators, viz. Amendment I (Religion) Document 38. Article XI of the Amendments substituted for this. All commissions shall be in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, signed by the governor and attested by the secretary or his deputy, and have the great seal of the commonwealth affixed thereto. [See Amendments, Article XLVIII, The Initiative, II, sec. And no member of the house of representatives shall be arrested, or held to bail on mesne process, during his going unto, returning from, or his attending the general assembly. ], [The secretary, treasurer and receiver-general, and the commissary-general, notaries public, and naval officers, shall be chosen annually, by joint ballot of the senators and representatives in one room. Said census shall specify the number of inhabitants residing in each precinct of each town and in each precinct and ward of each city. It became effective on October 25, 1780, and remains the oldest functioning written constitution in continuous effect in the world. Elizabeth Freeman (whose slave name was "Bett"), a black slave owned by Colonel John Ashley, sued for her freedom based on this article. The Massachusetts Constitution has four parts: a preamble, a declaration of rights, a description of the framework of government, and articles of amendment. XIII, XXI, LXXI, XCII, CI and CIX. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator, and Preserver of the universe. The general court, by resolution passed as hereinbefore set forth, may provide for grouping and designating upon the ballot as conflicting measures or as alternative measures, only one of which is to be adopted, any two or more proposed constitutional amendments or laws which have been or may be passed or qualified for submission to the people at any one election: provided, that a proposed constitutional amendment and a proposed law shall not be so grouped, and that the ballot shall afford an opportunity to the voter to vote for each of the measures or for only one of the measures, as may be provided in said resolution, or against each of the measures so grouped as conflicting or as alternative. Section 5. Permanent and honorable salaries shall also be established by law for the justices of the supreme judicial court. ", is hereby amended by striking out the sentence "If such petition is completed by filing with the secretary of the commonwealth not later than ninety days after the law which is the subject of the petition has become law the signatures of not less than fifteen thousand qualified voters of the commonwealth, then the operation of such law shall be suspended, and the secretary of the commonwealth shall submit such law to the people at the next state election, if thirty days intervene between the date when such petition is filed with the secretary of the commonwealth and the date for holding such state election; if thirty days do not so intervene, then such law shall be submitted to the people at the next following state election, unless in the meantime it shall have been repealed; and if it shall be approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon, such law shall, subject to the provisions of the constitution, take effect in thirty days after such election, or at such time after such election as may be provided in such law; if not so approved such law shall be null and void; but no such law shall be held to be disapproved if the negative vote is less than thirty per cent of the total number of ballots cast at such state election." Legislative Procedure. II. ], All judicial officers, [the attorney-general,] the solicitor-general, [all sheriffs,] coroners, [and registers of probate,] shall be nominated and appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the council; and every such nomination shall be made by the governor, and made at least seven days prior to such appointment. Article I. The oldest democratic constitution in use today, it has served as the pattern for our Federal Constitution, for those of - A proposal for an amendment to the constitution introduced by initiative petition shall be voted upon in the form in which it was introduced, unless such amendment is amended by vote of three-fourths of the members voting thereon in joint session, which vote shall be taken by call of the yeas and nays if called for by any member. XXXIII, LXXI, XCII, CI and CIX. And no subject shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land. Article II of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, as amended by Article LXX of said Articles of Amendment, is hereby annulled and the following is adopted in place thereof: Section 1. Quock Walker, also known as Kwaku or Quok Walker (b. [For removal of justices of the peace and notaries public, see Amendments, Article XXXVII.] [See Amendments, Articles. 5, SEC. On or before January first, nineteen hundred twenty-one, the executive and administrative work of the commonwealth shall be organized in not more than twenty departments, in one of which every executive and administrative office, board and commission, except those officers serving directly under the governor or the council, shall be placed. The jury agreed that slavery was inconsistent with the Massachusetts Constitution and awarded Freeman £5 in damages and her freedom. Section 2 of that part of said Article XLVIII, under the heading "THE INITIATIVE. [Amended and superseded by Amendments, Article LXXXV. [See Amendments, Articles. [Annulled and superseded by Amendments, Articles. From 1780 to 1824 these democratically selected parish churches were considered the only churches with full legal rights, as "voluntary" churches ran against the Federalist ideal of a commonwealth. [Annulled by Amendments, Article CVII.]. Article LXII of the Amendments to the Constitution is hereby amended by striking out section 1 and inserting in place thereof the following section: -, Article II of Chapter III of the constitution of the commonwealth is hereby annulled and the following is adopted in place thereof:--. This article was the subject of a landmark case in 1781 before a Massachusetts court sitting in Great Barrington, Brom and Bett v. Ashley. [See Amendments, Articles. XIII, XVI, XXII, LXIV, LXXI, CXII, CI and CIX. No person holding the office of judge of the supreme judicial court -- secretary -- attorney-general -- solicitor-general -- treasurer or receiver-general -- judge of probate -- commissary-general -- [president, professor, or instructor of Harvard College] -- sheriff -- clerk of the house of representatives -- register of probate -- register of deeds -- clerk of the supreme judicial court -- clerk of the inferior court of common pleas -- or officer of the customs, including in this description naval officers -- shall at the same time have a seat in the senate or house of representatives; but their being chosen or appointed to, and accepting the same, shall operate as a resignation of their seat in the senate or house of representatives; and the place so vacated shall be filled up. ], The senate shall be the final judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of their own members, as pointed out in the constitution; and shall, [on the said last Wednesday in May] [annually,] determine and declare who are elected by each district, to be senators [by a majority of votes; and in case there shall not appear to be the full number of senators returned elected by a majority of votes for any district, the deficiency shall be supplied in the following manner, viz. For the power given the general court to provide by law for absentee and compulsory voting, see Amendments, Article XLV, Amendments, Article LXI and Amendments, Article LXXVI. [For provision as to appointment of notaries public and the commisary-general, see Amendments, Articles. If it is a legislative amendment proposed by a legislator, the threshold is 50% of the members. XLV and LXXVI.]. Article II of the articles of amendment to the constitution of the commonwealth is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof the following new paragraph: --. Part the First. XXI, XXII LXXI, XCII, CI and CIX]. Provided that no imprisonment on the warrant or order of the governor, council, senate, or house of representatives, for either of the above described offences, be for a term exceeding thirty days. The Senate shall consist of forty members. The general court may, for the purpose of protecting the general welfare of the citizens, authorize the imposition of the punishment of death by the courts of law having jurisdiction of crimes subject to the punishment of death. Reference to Committee. Any class of property the income from which is taxed under the provisions of this article may be exempted from the imposition and levying of proportional and reasonable assessments, rates and taxes as at present authorized by the constitution. This article was also the basis for the 2003 Supreme Judicial Court's ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health required the Commonwealth to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples on an equal basis with different-sex couples. [See Amendments, Articles. And the order of elections shall be as follows: the vacancies in the senate, if any, shall first be filled up; the governor and lieutenant governor shall then be elected, provided there should be no choice of them by the people: and afterwards the two houses shall proceed to the election of the council.] Article IX and Article XLII of the amendments of the constitution are hereby annulled. ], The senate shall be the first branch of the legislature; and the senators shall be chosen in the following manner, viz. But previous to the trial of every impeachment the members of the senate shall respectively be sworn, truly and impartially to try and determine the charge in question, according to evidence. And provided also, that all by-laws made by such municipal or city government shall be subject, at all times to be annulled by the general court.] As the public good requires that the governor should not be under the undue influence of any of the members of the general court by a dependence on them for his support, that he should in all cases, act with freedom for the benefit of the public, that he should not have his attention necessarily diverted from that object to his private concerns -- and that he should maintain the dignity of the commonwealth in the character of its chief magistrate, it is necessary that he should have an honorable stated salary, of a fixed and permanent value, amply sufficient for those purposes, and established by standing laws: and it shall be among the first acts of the general court, after the commencement of this constitution, to establish such salary by law accordingly. 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