Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 1874/Article 2

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Article II: The Legislature

Section 1: The Legislative power vested.

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

Section 2: Biennial elections.

Members of the General Assembly shall be chosen at the general election every second year. Their term of service shall begin on the first day of December next after their election. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in either House, the presiding officer thereof shall issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy for the remainder of the term.

Section 3: Legislative terms.

Senators shall be elected for the term of four years and Representatives for the term of two years.

Section 4: Biennial meetings. Special sessions.

The General Assembly shall meet at twelve o'clock, noon, on the first Tuesday of January every second year, and at other times when convened by the Governor, but shall hold no adjourned annual session after the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight. In case of a vacancy in the office of United States Senator from this Commonwealth, in a recess between sessions, the Governor shall convene the two Houses, by proclamation on notice not exceeding sixty days, to fill the same.

Amendment of November 3, 1959

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 5: Qualifications of Senators and Representatives.

Senators shall be at least twenty-five years of age and Representatives twenty-one years of age. They shall have been citizens and inhabitants of the State four years, and inhabitants of their respective districts one year next before their election (unless absent on the public business of the United States or of this State,) and shall reside in their respective districts during their terms of service.

Section 6: Disqualification to appointment to office. Members of Congress, etc., ineligible for the General Assembly.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this Commonwealth, and no member of Congress, or other person holding any office (except of attorney-at-law or in the militia) under the United States or this Commonwealth shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 7: Conviction of certain crimes to disqualify.

No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to the General Assembly, or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth.

Section 8: Compensation.

The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall, during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.

Section 9: Presiding officers. Each house to judge of the qualifications of its members.

The Senate shall, at the beginning and close of each regular session and at such other times as may be necessary, elect one of its members President pro tempore, who shall perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor, in any case of absence or disability of that officer, and whenever the said office of Lieutenant Governor shall be vacant. The House of Representatives shall elect one of its members as Speaker. Each House shall choose its other officers, and shall judge of the election and qualifications of its members.

Section 10: Quorum.

A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members.

Section 11: Powers of each house.

Each House shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings and punish its members or other persons for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence, to enforce obedience to its process, to protect its members against violence or offers of bribes or private solicitation, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, to expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause, and shall have all other powers necessary for the Legislature of a free State. A member expelled for corruption shall not thereafter be eligible to either House, and punishment for contempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar an indictment for the same offence.

Section 12: Each house shall keep and publish a journal.

Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings and from time to time publish the same, except such parts as require secrecy, and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall, at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the journal.

Section 13: Sessions to be open.

The sessions 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 14: Adjournments.

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 15: Privileges of members.

The members of the General Assembly shall in all cases, except treason, felony, violation of their oath of office, and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions 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 16: Senatorial districts.

The State shall be divided into fifty senatorial districts of compact and contiguous territory, as nearly equal in population as may be, and each district shall be entitled to elect one Senator. Each county containing one or more ratios of population, shall be entitled to one Senator for each ratio, and to an additional Senator for a surplus of population exceeding three-fifths of a ratio, but no county shall form a separate district, unless it shall contain four-fifths of a ratio, except where the adjoining counties are each entitled to one or more Senators, when such county may be assigned a Senator on less than four-fifths and exceeding one-half of the ratio; and no county shall be divided unless entitled to two or more senators. No city or county shall be entitled to separate representation exceeding one-sixth of the whole number of Senators. No ward, borough or township shall be divided in the formation of a district. The senatorial ratio shall be ascertained by dividing the whole population of the state by the number fifty.

Section 17: Representative districts.

The members of the House of Representatives shall be apportioned among the several counties, on a ratio obtained by dividing the population of the State as ascertained by the most recent United States census by two hundred. Every county containing less than five ratios shall have one representative for every full ratio, and an additional representative when the surplus exceeds half a ratio; but each county shall have at least one representative. Every county containing five ratios or more shall have one representative for every full ratio. Every city containing a population equal to a ratio, shall elect separately its proportion of the representatives allotted to the county in which it is located. Every city entitled to more than four representatives, and every county having more than one hundred thousand inhabitants shall be divided into districts of compact and contiguous territory, each district to elect its proportion of representatives according to its population, but no district shall elect more than four representatives.

Section 18: Apportionments.

The General Assembly at its first session after the adoption of this Constitution, and immediately after each United States decennial census, shall apportion the State into senatorial and representative districts agreeably to the provisions of the two next preceding sections.