Constitution of Pennsylvania analytically indexed and with index of prohibited legislation online

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MAR 13 1913

Uegtelattoe Reference bureau.

JAMES N. MOORE, Director

Constitution of i Pennsylvania


JAMES McKIRDY, Assistant Director




ww^u* Hegtglatifae deference bureau.

JAMES N. MOORE, Director

Constitution of Pemtfptomtia


JAMES McKIRDY, Assistant Director





The present Constitution of Pennsylvania was adopted De-
cember 16, 1873, by the electors of this State, and went into
effect January 1, 1874. It has been amended three times:
November 5, 1901, November 2, 1909 and November 7, 1911.
These amendments have been noted in their appropriate places.

This edition has been prepared because of the fact that there
is not accessible in separate form an indexed edition of our
State Constitution.

In addition to the index there has been added an analytical
index of subjects upon which legislation is expressly prohibited
by the Constitution of our State. It is intended as an aid to
those who may be called upon to draft legislative bills, and to
those whose duty it may be to pass upon the validity of any
of our Acts of Assembly.

We shall be grateful if our attention is called to any errors
in this pamphlet.


Assistant Director,
Legislative Reference Bureau.
April 1, 1912.





Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of Penn-
sylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and
religions liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain
and establish this Constitution.



Liberty and Free Government. That the general, great and
essential principles of liberty and free government may be
recognized and unalterably established, we declare that —

Sec. 1. Natural Rights of Mankind. All men are born
equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and in-
defeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and de-
fending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting
property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

Sec. 2. Power of People. All power is inherent in the peo-
ple, and all free governments are founded on their authority
and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the
advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable
and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their govern-
ment in such manner as they may think proper.

Sec. 3. Rights of Conscience. Freedom of Religious Wor-
ship. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship
Almighty God according to the dictates of their own con-
sciences ; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or
support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry
against his consent ; no human authority can, in any case what-
ever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience and no
preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establish-
ments or modes of worship.

ARTICLE I.— Sec. 4-9.

Sec. 4. No Disqualification for Religious Belief. No person
who acknowledges the being- of a God, and a future state of re-
wards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sen-
timents, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or
profit under this Commonwealth.

Sec. 5. Freedom of Elections. Elections shall be free and
equal ; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time inter-
fere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

Sec. 6. Trial by Jury. Trial by jury shall be as heretofore,
and the right thereof remain inviolate.

Sec. 7. Freedom of the Press. Libel. The printing press
shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine
the proceedings of the Legislature or any branch of govern-
ment, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right
thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is
one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may
freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible
for the abuse of that liberty. No conviction shall be had in
any prosecution for the publication of papers relating to the
official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or to any
other matter proper for public investigation or information,
where the fact that such publication was not maliciously or
negligently made shall be established to the satisfaction of the
jury; and in all indictments for libels the jury shall have the
right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction
of the court, as in other cases.

Sec. 8. Searches and Seizures. The people shall be secure
in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from uniea-
sonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any
place or to seize any person or things shall issue without de-
scribing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause,
supported by oath or affirmation subscribed to by the affiant.

Sec. 9. Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions. In all
criminal prosecutions the accused hath a right to be heard by
himself and his counsel, to demand the nature and cause of
the accusation against him, to meet the witnesses face to face,
to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his
favor, and, in prosecutions by indictment or information, a

ARTICLE I.— Sec. 10-16.

speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the vicinage; he
cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor can
he be deprived of his life, liberty or property, unless by the
judgment of his peers or the law of the land.

Sec. 10. Criminal Information. Twice in Jeopardy. Emi-
nent Domain. No person shall, for any indictable offense, be
proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases
arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in
actual service, in time of war or public danger, or by leave of
the court for oppression or misdemeanor in office. No person
shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or
limb ; nor shall private property be taken or applied to public
use, without authority of law and without just compensation
being first made or secured.

Sec. 11. Courts to be Open. Suits against Common-
wealth. All courts shall be open ; and every man for an in-
jury done him in his lands, goods, persons or reputation shall
have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice ad-
ministered without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be
brought against the Commonwealth in such manner, in such
courts and in such cases as the Legislature may by law direct.

Sec. 12. Power of Suspending Laws. No power of sus-
pending laws shall be exercised unless by the Legislature or
by its authority.

Sec. 13. Bail. Fines. Punishments. Excessive bail shall
not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punish-
ments inflicted.

Sec. 14. Prisoners to be Bailable. Habeas Corpus. All
prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for
capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption
great ; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not
be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the
public safety may require it.

Sec. 15. Oyer and Terminer. No commission of oyer and
terminer or jail delivery shall be issued.

Sec. 16. Insolvent Debtors. The person of a debtor, where
there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be contin-

ARTICLE I.— Sec. 17-25.

ued in prison after delivering up his estate for the benefit of
his creditors in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

Sec. 17. Ex Post Facto Laws. Impairment of Contracts.
No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of
contracts, or making irrevocable any grant of special privi-
leges or immunities, shall be passed.

Sec. 18. Attainder. No person shall be attainted of trea-
son or felony by the Legislature.

Sec. 19. Attainder Limited. Estates o'f Suicides. De-
odands. No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor, ex-
cept during the life of the offender, forfeiture of estate to the
Commonwealth. The estate of such persons as shall destroy
their own lives shall descend or vest as in cases of natural
death, and if any person shall be killed by casualty there shall
be no forfeiture by reason thereof.

Sec. 20. Right of Petition. The citizens have a right in a
peaceable manner to assemble together for their common good,
and to apply to those invested with the powers of government
for redress of grievances Or other proper purposes, by petition,
address or remonstrance.

Sec. 21. Right to Bear Arms. The right of the citizens to
bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be

Sec. 22. Standing Army. Military Power Subordinate to
Civil. No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up
without the consent of the Legislature, and the military shall
in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the
civil power.

Sec. 23. Quartering of Troops. No soldier shall in time of
peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the
owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by

Sec. 24. Titles. Offices. The Legislature shall not grant
any title of nobility or hereditary distinction, nor create any
office the appointment to which shall be for a longer term than
during good behavior.

Sec. 25. Emigration. Emigration from the State shall not
be prohibited.


ARTICLE I.— Sac. 26
ARTICLE II.— Sec. 1-5.

Sec. 26. Reservation of Powers in People. To guard
against transgressions of the high powers which we have dele-
gated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted
out of the general powers of government and shall forever re-
main inviolate.


Sec. 1. Legislative Power. The legislative power of this
Commonwealth shall be vested in a General Assembly which
shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Sec. 2. Election of Members. Vacancies. 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.

Sec. 3. Terms of Members. Senators shall be elected for
the term of four years and Representatives for the term of two

Sec. 4. Sessions. United States Senators. The General
Assembly shall meet at twelve o'clock, noon, on the first Tues-
day 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 Sena-
tor 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.

Sec. 5. Qualifications of Members. 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


ARTICLE II.— Sec. 6-11.

Sec. 6. Disqualification to Hold Other Office. 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.

Sec. 7. 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 As-
sembly, or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in
this Commonwealth.

Sec. 8. Compensation. The members of the General As-
sembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and
special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compen-
sation whatever, whether for service upon committee or other-
wise. No member of either House shall during the term for
which he may have been elected, receive any increase of sal-
ary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.

Sec. 9. Presiding Officers. Other Officers. Election and
Qualifications of 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 Gov-
ernor, in any case of absence or disability of that officer, and
whenever the said office of Lieutenant Governor shall be va-
cant. 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.

Sec. 10. Quorum. A majority of each House shall consti-
tute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day
to day and compel the attendance of absent members.

Sec. 11. Powers of Each Branch. Expulsion. Each House
shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings and
punish its members or other persons for contempt or disor-
derly behavior in its presence, to enforce obedience to its pro-
cess, to protect its members against violence or offers of


ARTICLE II.— Sec. 12-16.

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 corrup-
tion shall not thereafter be eligible to either House, and pun-
ishment for contempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar an
indictment for the same offense.

Sec. 12. Journals. Yeas and Nays. Each House shall
keep a journal of its proceedings and from time to time pub-
lish the same, except such parts as require secrecy, and the
yeas and nays of the members on any question shall, at the de-
sire of any two of them, be entered on the journal.

Sec. 13. Sessions. The sessions of each House and of com-
mittees of the whole shall be open, unless when the business
is such as ought to be kept secret.

Section 14. 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. !

Sec. 15. Privileges of Members. The members of the Gen-
eral Assembly shall in all cases, except treason, felony, viola-
tion 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.

Sec. 16. Senatorial Districts. Ratio. The State shall be
divided into fifty senatorial districts of compact and contigu-
ous 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 Sen-
ator 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 a ratio; and no county shall be divided


ARTICLE II.— Sec. 17-18.
ARTICLE III.— Sec. 1-2.

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.

Sec. .17. Representative Districts. The members of the
House of Representatives shall be apportioned among the sev-
eral 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 lo-
cated. Every city entitled to more than four representatives,
and every county having over one hundred thousand in-
habitants shall be divided into districts of compact and con-
tiguous territory, each district to elect its proportion of rep-
resentatives, according to its population, but no district shall
elect more than four representatives.

Sec. 18. Legislative Apportionment. The General Assem-
bly 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 dis-
tricts agreeeably to the provisions of the two next preceding



Sec. 1. Passage of Bills. Change of Purpose. No law
shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be so altered
or amended, on its passage through either House, as to change
its original purpose.

Sec. 2. Reference to Committee. Printing. No bill shall


ARTICLE III.— Sec. 3-7.

be considered unless referred to a committee, returned there-
from, and printed for the use of the members.

Sec. 3. Subject of Bills. Title. No bill, except general
appropriation bills, shall be passed containing more than one
subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.

Sec. 4. Three Readings. Amendments. Final Vote. Every
bill shall be read at length on three different days in each
House; all amendments made thereto shall be printed for the
use of the members before the final vote is taken on the bill,
and no bill shall become a law, unless on its final passage the
vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the persons vot-
ing for and against the same be entered on the journal, and a
majority of the members elected to each House be recorded
thereon as voting in its favor.

Sec. 5. Concurring in Amendments. Conference Commit-
tee Reports. No amendment to bills by one House shall be
concurred in by the other, except by the vote of a majority of
the members elected thereto, taken by yeas and nays, and the
names of those voting for and against recorded upon the jour-
nal thereof; and reports of committees of conference shall be
adopted in either House only by the vote of a majority of the
members elected thereto, taken by yeas and nays, and the
names of those voting recorded upon the journals.

Sec. 6. Revival and Amendment of Laws. No law shall
be revived, amended, or the provisions thereof extended or
conferred, by reference to its title only, but so much thereof
as is revived, amended, extended or conferred shall be re-en-
acted and published at length.

vSec. 7. Special and Local Legislation Limited. The Gen-
eral Assembly shall not pass any local or special law :

Authorizing the creation, extension or impairing of liens :

Regulating the affairs of counties, cities, townships, wards,
boroughs or school districts :

Changing the names of persons or places :

Changing the venue in civil or criminal cases :

Authorizing the laying out, opening, altering or maintain-
ing, roads, highways, streets or alleys :

Relating to ferries or bridges, or incorporating ferry or


ARTICLE III.— Sec. 7 (ContJ

bridge companies, except for the erection of bridges crossing
streams which form boundaries between this and any other
State :

Vacating roads, town plats, streets or alleys :

Relating to cemeteries, giaveyards or public grounds not of
the State:

Authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children :

Locating or changing county seats, erecting new counties
or changing county lines :

Incorporating cities, towns or villages, or changing their
charters :

For the opening and conducting of elections, or fixing or
changing the place of voting:

Granting divorces :

Erecting new townships or boroughs, changing township
lines, borough limits or school districts :

Creating offices, or prescribing the powers and duties of of-
ficers in counties, cities, boroughs, townships, election or
school districts !

Changing the law of descent or succession :

Regulating the practice or jurisdiction of, or changing the
rules of evidence in, any judicial proceeding or inquiry before
courts, aldermen, justices of the peace, sheriffs, commission-
ers, arbitrators, auditors, masters in chancery or other tribu-
nals, or providing or changing methods for the collection of
debts, or the enforcing of judgments, or prescribing the
effect of judicial sales of real estate :

Regulating the fees or extending the powers and duties of
aldermen, justices of the peace, magistrates or constables:

Regulating the management of public schools, the building
or repairing of school houses, and the raising of money for
such purposes :

Fixing the rate of interest :

Affecting the estates of minors or persons under disability,
except after due notice to all parties in interest, to be recited
in the special enactment :

Remitting fines, penalties and forfeitures, or refunding
moneys legally paid into the treasury:


ARTICLE III.— Sec. 8-li.

Exempting property from taxation :

Regulating labor, trade, mining or manufacturing :

Creating corporations, or amending, renewing or extending
the charters thereof:

Granting to any corporation, association or individual any
special or exclusive privilege or immunity, or to any corpora-
tion, association or individual the right to lay down a railroad
track :

Nor shall the General Assembly indirectly enact such special
or local law by the partial repeal of a general law ; but laws re-
pealing local or special acts may be passed :

Nor shall any law be passed granting powers or privileges
in any case where the granting of such powers and privileges
shall have been provided for by general law, nor where the
courts have jurisdiction to grant the same or give the relief
asked for.

Sec. 8. Notice of Local and Special Bills. No local or spe-
cial bill shall be passed unless notice of the intention to apply
therefor shall have been published in the locality where the
matter or the thing to be affected may be situated, which no-
tice shall be at least thirty days prior to the introduction into
the General Assembly of such bill and in the manner to be
provided by law ; the evidence of such notice having been pub-
lished shall be exhibited in the General Assembly before such
act shall be passed.

Sec. 9. Signing of Bills by Presiding Officers. The presid-
ing officer of each House shall, in the presence of the House
over which- he presides, sign all bills and joint resolutions
passed by the General Assembly, after their titles have been
publicly read immediately before signing; and the fact of sign-
ing snail be entered on the journal.

Sec. 10. Officers and Employes. Payments. The General
Assembly shall prescribe by law the number, duties and com-
pensation of the officers and employes of each House, and no
payment shall be made from the State Treasury, or be in any
way authorized, to any person, except to an acting officer or
employe elected or appointed in pursuance of law.

Sec. 11. Extra Compensation Prohibited. Claims Against


ARTICLE III.— Sec. 12-17.

the State. No bill shall be passed giving any extra compensa-
tion to any public officer, servant, employe, agent or con-
tractor, after services shall have been rendered or contract
made, nor providing for the payment of any claim against the

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