Imágenes de páginas

an officer shall consist in removal from office and disqualification to hold any State office. If convicted or acquitted the party is liable to prosecution according to law, (Art. III., Sec. 18.) The power to impeach rests in the House of Representatives, that is it prefers the charge of corrupt violation of official duties. The Senate acts as a court and tries the case. A majority of the House can impeach but it takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. If the Governor is to be tried the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court shall preside, (Sec. 17.) When the President of the United States is to be tried the Chief Justice of the United States presides. This provision was made because if the vice-president, who is the president of the Senate should preside at the trial and the President were convicted, the vice-president would succeed to the President's chair. In this way it would place a presiding officer of the court in a position to succeed to the office of the tried party should the court pronounce him guilty. This is one of the safe-guards of national and State government to prevent any action against an officer to profit by his conviction. No one has been impeached in this State. There have been only seven impeachments by Congress, and of this number only two convicted by the Senate.

Bribery—To attempt to influence an officer in the conduct of his duty by the offer of a reward is bribery. The one who gives and the one who receives are equally guilty. Members of the Legislature are prohibited from promising to vote on any measure on condition that some other member will give his influence for or against the proposition. The legislator making such a promise is deemed guilty of solicitation of bribery. The punishment is expulsion and ineligibility to the Legislature, and on conviction in the courts the offender is liable to a further penalty as prescribed by law, (Art III., Sec. 42.) A person offering money or any valuable thing to an executive or judicial officer or member of the Legislature to influence him in the performance of his duty,

is guilty of bribery, and may be punished by law, (Sec. 43.) The punishment for both the one offering the bribe and the officer receiving same is imprisonment in the penitentiary for a period not over fourteen years, (Art. III., Sec. 45 and R. S. 5073.) Bribery by the Governor consists in promising his official influence in return for Legislative votes or his promise to veto bills, or the promise to appoint particular persons to office provided members of the Legislature use their influence to pass certain measures, or if he threatens to remove any persons from office, to exercise an influence on the action of a member. In addition to the penitentiary punishment he shall forfeit all right to hold an office of trust or honor in the State, (Art. IV., Sec. 10.)

Personal and Property Rights—The Declaration of Rights grants all accused persons in criminal cases the right of a trial by a jury of twelve men. This is called the petit jury, and consists of men chosen from the county where the court is held, to decide the issues between the two parties. The grand jury also consists of twelve men chosen to inquire into offences which have been committed. This jury makes a written acquisition, called an indictment, against the alleged offender. It does not try to prove that a crime has been committed, but accuses parties supposed to have committed the offence. While it requires the vote of the entire body of the petit jury to convict a person, nine of the grand jury can find an indictment. (D. R. Sec. 9, R. S. 5280.) The Legislature is prohibited from enacting a law stating what the exact damages shall be given for injury or death to a person. Any contract made with an employee agreeing not to sue for damages is without force, (Art. X., Sec. 4.) Persons injured in mines by the failure to provide protection have a right to bring suit against the person or corporation liable, (Art. IX., Sec. 4.) If private property is needed for public purposes or for private use it cannot be taken from the owner without just compensation, (Dec. R., Sec. 33.)

Every head of a family is entitled to a homestead not exceeding in value the sum of fifteen hundred dollars. This homestead is exempt from forced sale under any process of law. This does not apply to sale for taxes or to the obligation of the purchase price of the premises or erection of the improvements thereon. (Art. XIX, Homestead Sec. 1, R. S. 3901.)

QUESTIONS. 1. What is treason? What is the punishment for treason? 2. Who tries persons guilty of treason? 3. Who can be impeached?

4. Is it wise to give a set of persons control over officials through removal?

5. What is the advantage of depriving one who is guilty of bribery from holding any office of trust in the State rather than making the offender pay a heavy fine?

6. Where is bribery most frequently used?

7. What is the grand jury? How does it differ from the petit jury?

8. Are the sessions of the grand jury held in secret? Why?


Hart, Actual Government, Secs. 571-573.
Fiske, Civil Government, pp. 221, 222.
Bryce, The American Commonwealth, I, pp. 47, 86, 208, 479.



No authority in the State can surrender its power to levy taxes, (Art. XV., Sec. 14.) The State has a right to impose taxes upon its people and their property in order to raise money for public purposes. Indirect taxes are duties upon articles for consumption ; direct taxes are poll tax and taxes upon land. All the taxes must be uniform and distributed equally among the people. “No tax shall be imposed without the consent of the people or their authorized representatives,” (Dec. R., Sec. 28.) The great injustice to the American colonies consisted in England levying taxes upon her people in this country without consulting them or giving them a representative in the tax levying house in England. “Taxation without representation” was the revolutionary watchword and did much toward bringing the war to a successful issue. It was something that not only touched the hearts, but the purse-strings of every colonist. No State tax can be levied except according to law, (Art. XV., Sec. 13.) The law exempts from all taxation all property in the State belonging to the United States, Indian reservations, military posts and reserves, government land and all State property, the State buildings and State land donations; county property, court houses and hospitals, city property, school buildings and property owned for public uses, also secret, benevolent and charitable buildings, (S. L. 1901, Ch. 5); public libraries, the buildings as well as the books; property used for religious purposes and cemeteries, (Art. XV., Sec. 12.) All other property real and personal is subject to assessment and taxation, (Sec. 1, R. S. 1763.) An assessment is the fixing of the proportion of the tax which each person is to pay. Mining and coal lands are taxed, (Art. XV., Secs. 2 and 3.) The gross products of all the

mines are taxed in addition to the tax on the surface improvements, (S. L. 1903, Ch. 81.) For State, county and city revenue the amount of tax that can be levied is limited by law. With the exceptions for educational and charitable purposes and in order to pay public debts the levy limited for State purposes is four mills on the dollar; for county twelve mills, and for city eight mills, (Art. XV., Secs. 4, 5 and 6.) A poll tax of two dollars each year is levied on all citizens between the ages of twenty-one and fifty years. The poll tax goes to the common school fund of the district in which the poll tax is levied, (Sec. 5, R. S. 1193.)

The State has a State Board of Equalization, whose duty it is to fix each year a valuation for assessment on all live stock; to assess all corporations used as common carriers and to equalize the valuation of property in the counties for the State revenue, (Art. XV., Sec. 10.) This board consists of the State Auditor, State Treasurer and Secretary of State, (Sec. 9.)

A debt is an obligation to pay money or other valuable thing. It is usually due through some contract, or for some value received. In former days those people who could not pay their debts and could not meet their obligations, were sent to jail as punishment. Now, except in cases of fraud, no one can be imprisoned for debt, (Dec. R., Sec. 5.) The Legislature cannot release any person or corporation from an obligation or debt held by the State, (Art. III., Sec. 40.) Public indebtedness is all restricted by Constitutional provisions, (Art. XVI., Secs. 1-4 and 8.) The Legislature has power to pass bills to raise revenue. Revenue is the income of the State. It is money necessary to carry on the administration of affairs of the State. Bills for raising revenue can only originate in the lower house. The Senate can propose amendments to these bills, (Art. III., Sec. 33.) All appropriations appear in separate bills, each containing but one subject, except the general appropriation bill which con

« AnteriorContinuar »