Part 3 out of 5
funds; make by-laws for its own government, and for carrying into
effect the school laws; audit claims payable out of State funds;
arrange for summer normal schools of teachers for instruction in
processes of school organization, discipline, and management;
select text-books and educational appliances for use in the public
schools of the State; appoint (and remove), subject to
confirmation by the Senate, all county and city superintendents,
and regulate all matters arising in the practical administration
of the school system not otherwise provided for.
The three State officers are ex officio members of the Board. The
three experienced educators are elected quadrennially by the
Senate from a list of eligibles consisting of one from each of the
faculties and nominated by the respective boards of visitors or
trustees of the University of Virginia, the Virginia Military
Institute, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the State Female
Normal School at Danville, the School for the Deaf and Blind, and
also of the College of William and Mary so long as the State
continues its annual appropriation to the last-named institution.
The city and county superintendents are selected by the other six
members for terms of two years each.
School funds are moneys set apart or provided for the support of
schools. In Virginia, school funds are provided by the State, the
counties, and the districts (see under School Funds).
By-laws are laws or rules made by any association for the
management of its affairs. The Board of Education makes by-laws
for its own government and for administering the laws relating to
Claims payable out of State funds are claims which by law are to
be paid out of the State funds. Such claims must be audited by the
Board of Education. The salaries and expenses of State education
officers are paid out of the State fund, and portions of the fund
are divided among the counties and cities for the support of
By arranging for meetings of teachers for instruction in the
processes of school organization, discipline, and instruction, the
State Board of Education does much to improve the schools of the
State, and the great yearly institutes are of the highest value to
One of the most important duties of the State Board is in
connection with the selection of text-books and the approval of
educational appliances for the equipment of schools.
The general duties of the State Board of Education consist in
regulating all matters arising in the practical administration of
the school system not otherwise provided for. Uniformity of
practice throughout the schools of the State is of the greatest
importance, and the State Board wisely secures this by keeping in
constant correspondence with officers and teachers throughout the
The State Board of Education chooses its own secretary, who is
entrusted with many important duties in carrying out the plans and
work of the board.
As all division superintendents are appointees of the State Board,
it is provided in the Constitution that the two who are members of
the State Board shall not participate in the election of school
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.
Elected by the people of the State for four years; salary, $2,000,
and necessary traveling expenses; shall have his office at the
capital; shall be the chief executive of the public free school
system; shall determine the true intent and meaning of the school
laws; shall receive reports from school officers; inspect schools,
and decide appeals from the decisions of county superintendents;
apportion State funds among the counties and cities of the State.
The public free school system is the system under which, as
required by the law of Virginia, the public schools are free to
all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years residing
within the school districts.
The superintendent of public instruction is the chief executive
officer of the system, and when any dispute arises among school
officers as to the meaning or application of school laws, it is
his duty to determine--that is, to decide--it.
The superintendent of public instruction is also to a large extent
a judicial officer, and his decisions as to the true intent and
meaning of the school laws have very nearly as much force as the
decisions of the courts.
The reports received from school officers by the State
superintendent are embodied in his report made every two years to
the governor, and by him transmitted to the General Assembly.
This report, in addition to the information received from the
county and city superintendents, contains a large amount of
statistics and reports in regard to private schools, colleges, and
other institutions which are more or less under the care and
subject to the control of the State.
COUNTY.--COUNTY AND CITY SUPERINTENDENTS.
Term, four years, beginning July 1st after appointment; must
reside in the county or city for which he is elected, and shall
hold no elective office; shall explain the school system, examine
teachers and grant certificates, promote the improvement and
efficiency of teachers, advise with and counsel trustees and
teachers, visit and examine schools under his care and inquire
into whatever concerns their usefulness and perfection; decide
appeals and complaints; administer oaths and take testimony;
apportion the school funds among the districts.
The county and city superintendents must hold examinations at
certain times in their counties or cities to examine persons
desiring to become teachers, and if, after examination, such
persons are found qualified, they receive certificates as
In any case of appeal or complaint against any person connected
with the schools in their districts the county or city
superintendents must hold inquiry into the matter and give
decision upon it. In making such inquiry they can call witnesses
and administer oaths to such witnesses before taking their
It is also the duty of the superintendents to prepare annually a
scheme or plan for apportioning the State and county school funds
among the school districts under their supervision.
SCHOOL TRUSTEE ELECTORAL BOARD.
Composed of the County Superintendent of Schools, the
Commonwealth's Attorney, and a resident qualified voter, not a
county or state officer, to be appointed by the Judge of the
Circuit Court; shall fill all vacancies in the district boards of
school trustees. In cities and towns school trustees are appointed
by municipal councils.
A vacancy occurs every year in each district board. The district
board when first formed was composed of three members, one to
serve three years, one to serve two years, and the other to serve
one year, all appointments afterwards to be for three years each.
Thus there is one vacancy every year in the board, and it is the
duty of the School Trustee Electoral Board to appoint a new
trustee to fill the vacancy.
County School Board.
Composed of the County Superintendent (who is ex officio
president) and the District School Trustees of the county--"a body
corporate"; shall make necessary bylaws and regulations, shall
have a regular annual meeting between the 1st and 15th of August;
shall prepare and file with the Superintendent before July 15th an
estimate of the amount of money that will be needed for public
school purposes in the county for the next year, also a similar
list for each school district based on the estimate of the
District Board, which lists the Superintendent shall lay before
the Board of Supervisors; shall make settlement with treasurers
and school officers; shall administer certain properties devoted
to school purposes.
Ex officio is a Latin phrase meaning by virtue of office. The
county superintendent is president of the County School Board, not
by election or appointment, but because of his office as county
A body corporate is a corporation, the meaning of which term is
explained on page 14.
Property of any kind, either public funds or donations from
private persons, set apart or devoted to school purposes in the
county is administered by the County School Board--that is,
managed and used by the board for the support of schools in the
Each county shall be divided into compactly located school
districts, which shall correspond with the magisterial districts,
unless specially subdivided; except that a town of five hundred or
more inhabitants may form a separate school district.
One shall be appointed annually for each district for a term of
three years; must be able to read and write.
School trustees are appointed annually by the School Trustee
Electoral Board, as explained above.
District Board of School Trustees.
"A body corporate"--composed of the three trustees of the
district; shall hold and manage the school property of the
district; provide suitable school houses, etc.; enforce school
laws; employ and dismiss teachers; suspend and dismiss pupils; see
that census of children of school age (5 to 21) is taken every
five years; submit to the County School Board annually an estimate
of the amount of money needed for public school purposes in the
district for the next scholastic year.
In cities the Board is composed of all the trustees in the city,
and its duties and powers are modified and enlarged.
The census of children is the numbering or counting of the
children residing in the district.
The scholastic year is the part of the year during which the
schools are open.
The District Board of School Trustees has the whole care and
administration of the schools in its charge, and is thus the most
important local body in the civil government of the State.
1. State Funds. The interest on the literary fund, the capitation
tax, and a tax on property of one mill on the dollar.
2. County Funds. Such tax as the Board of Supervisors may levy for
county school purposes; fines and penalties imposed on the
Superintendent; donations, or the income arising therefrom.
3. District Funds. Such tax as the Board of Supervisors may levy
for the purposes of the school district; fines and penalties
imposed on district school officers and teachers; donations, or
income arising therefrom.
The County or City Treasurer receives and pays out all school
For explanation of literary fund, see page 37, and for capitation
tax, see page 82. The tax of one mill on the dollar means a tax of
one mill on each dollar of the assessed valuation of the property.
Certain fines and other money penalties may be imposed by the
Board of Education or by the courts or county superintendents for
failing or refusing to perform certain duties Such fines and
penalties are added to the school fund for the county
When district school officers or teachers are fined for neglect of
duty the money goes to the district fund. Donations are
contributions or gifts from private individuals. If such gifts are
real estate, the income arising therefrom is the rent of such real
estate or the interest on the amount realized by its sale.
Must hold a certificate of qualification in full force, issued or
approved by the Superintendent of Schools of the county or city
within which he proposes to teach.
The law requires that a teacher must be at least eighteen years of
age. If the teacher has the necessary education to pass the
required examination, a certain maturity is necessary to insure
good judgment in the government and discipline of the school.
The value and success of all government depend largely upon the
character and ability of those in authority, and this is
especially true in the government of the school.
For teachers' certificates of qualification, see above under
County and City Superintendents.
1. Who compose the Board of Education?
2. Name some of the duties of this board.
3. What is meant by nomination being subject to confirmation by
4. What are school funds?
5. What are by-laws?
6. What are claims payable out of State Funds?
7. What important work is done at the meetings of teachers
arranged by the State board of Education?
8. What very important duty has the State Board to perform in
reference to books?
9. What are the general duties of the board?
10. How is the superintendent of public instruction chosen?
11. What is his salary?
12. What are his duties?
13. What is the public free school system?
14. What is the extent of the power of the superintendent of
15. How often does the superintendent report to the General
Assembly, and what information does his report contain?
16. Who appoints county and city superintendents, and what is
their term of office?
17. Name some of the duties of these officers.
18. Who compose the School Trustee Electoral Board?
19. What are their duties?
20. Who compose the County School Board?
21. Name some of the duties of this board.
22. How are school districts laid out?
23. How are school trustees chosen, and what is their terra of
24. Of whom is the District Board of School Trustees composed?
25. Name some of the powers of this board.
26. Of whom is the City Board of Trustees composed?
27. What is the census of children?
28. What is a scholastic year?
29. Tell what State funds, county funds, and district funds are.
30. Who receives and pays out all school funds?
31. What does the tax of one mill on the dollar mean?
32. From what sources besides the tax on property are school funds
33. What are the qualifications of teachers?
OUTLINE OF COLONIAL AND STATE HISTORY.
1497. John Cabot discovered Labrador, the basis of the English
title to Virginia.
1585. Virginia was so named by Queen Elizabeth in honor of her
1606. Charter granted to the London Company.
1607. Settlement at Jamestown.
John Smith, "the Father of the Colony," rescued from death by
Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, the King of the Pamunkey
1608. John Smith President of the Colony.
1609. The London Company receives its second Charter.
1610. "The Starving Time."
1612. Culture of tobacco commenced.
1613. Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.
1617. Death of Pocahontas at Gravesend, England.
1618. "The Great Charter of Virginia" granted by the London
1619. Slaves landed from a Dutch ship.
First Colonial Assembly meets at Jamestown, July 30.
1621. Formal grant of free government by a written charter.
A Council of State and a General Assembly established--the model
of every subsequent provincial form of government.
1622. Massacre of settlers by Indians under Opechancanough.
1624. Fall of the London Company.
Virginia becomes a royal province.
1644. Second Indian Massacre. Opechancanough captured and killed.
1652-60. Virginia under the Commonwealth.
1660. Called the "Old Dominion."
Navigation Acts put into operation by British Government.
1673. Grant to Lords Culpeper and Arlington of immense estates by
1676. Bacon's Rebellion. 1693. William and Mary College chartered.
Postal System adopted.
1698. The seat of government removed to Williamsburg.
1699. The Huguenots settle in Virginia.
1700. First Commencement of William and Mary College.
1732. Scotch-Irish and Germans settle in the Shenandoah Valley.
George Washington born February 22.
1733. Founding of Richmond at the Falls of the James.
1736. First Virginia Newspaper--"The Virginia Gazette."
1737. Richmond laid out by Col. William Byrd.
1742. Richmond incorporated.
1743. Thomas Jefferson born April 2.
1754. The French and Indian War begun. Battle of Great Meadows.
French defeated by Colonists under George Washington.
1755. Braddock defeated in his attack on Fort Duquesne.
1758. Fort Duquesne captured by English and Virginia troops.
1763. "The Parsons' Case." Patrick Henry's Famous Speech.
End of the French and Indian War.
1764. Battle of Point Pleasant (now in West Virginia).
1765. Resolutions of the House of Burgesses against taxation
1765. The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act.
1766. Stamp Act repealed by Parliament.
1767. Parliament imposes a tax on tea and other articles.
1769. Virginia resolves passed by the House of Burgesses, May 16.
1774. The first Continental Congress met at Philadelphia,
1775. Convention at Richmond "to organize a provincial form of
government and a plan of defense for the Colony."
End of royal government in Virginia. Committee of Safety
1776. Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted.
Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson signed in
Philadelphia, July 4.
1779. The seat of government removed to Richmond.
Conquest of the Northwest Territory by Col. George Rogers Clarke.
1780. Virginia troops defeat the British at King's Mountain,
1781. Richmond captured by British under Benedict Arnold, in
Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, October 19.
Cession of the Northwest Territory to the Federal Government.
1785. Act of Religious Freedom.
1787. Constitution of the United States adopted in convention of
which George Washington was President.
1788. Ratifies the Constitution of the United States.
1789. Washington inaugurated first President of the United States,
1799. George Washington died December 14.
1807. Robert E. Lee born January 19.
1819. University of Virginia established.
1826. Thomas Jefferson died July 1.
1830. Constitution of the State amended.
1852. Constitution of the State again amended.
1859. John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry.
1861. Ordinance of Secession passed by the Convention.
Richmond the Capital of the Southern Confederacy.
Confederate Congress assembled at Richmond, July 20.
First battle of Manassas, July 21.
1861-65. Virginia the principal battle ground of the "War between
1862. Battle between the "Virginia" and the "Monitor," March 9.
1863. West Virginia formed and admitted to the Union.
1865. Provisional Government established in Virginia, May 9.
1869. Constitution amended.
Virginia readmitted to the Union.
1870. State enacts a liberal system of public education.
Robert E. Lee died October 12.
1881. Centennial of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
1902. New Constitution in force July 10.
1607. Capt. Edward Maria Wingfield, President of the Council under
first Charter of the London Company.
Capt. John Ratcliffe, President of the Council.
1608. Capt. John Smith, President of the Council.
1609. Sir George Percy, Acting President of the Council.
1610. Lord Delaware, first Governor under new Charter of 1609. Sir
Thomas Gates, Lieutenant-Governor under Lord Delaware.
1611. Sir Thomas Dale, High Marshal under Lord Delaware.
1616. Sir George Yeardley, Lieutenant-Governor under Lord
1617. Samuel Argall, Lieutenant-Governor under Lord Delaware.
1619. Sir George Yeardley, first Governor under the "Great Charter
of Virginia" granted by the London Company.
1621. Sir Francis Wyatt, second Governor under the "Great
Charter." Put into effect the new constitution.
1626. Sir George Yeardley, third Governor under the "Great
1627. Francis West, fourth Governor under the "Great Charter."
1629. John Potts, fifth Governor under the "Great Charter."
Sir John Harvey, first Royal Governor, appointed by King Charles
1635. John West, acting Governor, in place of Harvey deposed by
1636. Sir John Harvey, reinstated by the King.
1639. Sir Francis Wyatt, Royal Governor.
1642. Sir William Berkeley, Royal Governor. Deposed by the
Commonwealth in 1652.
1652. Richard Bennett, first Governor under the Commonwealth.
1655. Edward Digges, second Governor under the Commonwealth.
1656. Samuel Matthews, third Governor under the Commonwealth.
1660. Sir William Berkeley elected by the House of Burgesses and
reappointed by Charles II. after the Restoration.
1661. Col. Francis Moryson, Acting Governor.
1663. Sir William Berkeley reappointed and continued to act as
Governor until 1677.
1675. Lord Culpeper appointed Royal Governor for life by Charles
II., but did not act as such until 1680.
1677. Sir Herbert Jeffreys, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting
Governor in absence of Lord Culpeper.
1678. Sir Henry Chickeley, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor
in absence of Lord Culpeper.
1684. Lord Howard of Effingham appointed Governor to succeed Lord
Culpeper, deposed in 1683.
1688. Nathaniel Bacon, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1690. Francis Nicholson, first Royal Governor appointed after the
Revolution of 1688.
1692. Sir Edmund Andros, Royal Governor. Founded William and Mary
1698. Francis Nicholson, Royal Governor. Removed capital to
1704. George Hamilton Douglas, Earl of Orkney, Royal Governor.
1705. Edward Scott, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1706. Edmund Jennings, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1710. Robert Hunter, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1722. Hugh Drysdale, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1726. Robert Carter, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1727. William Gooch, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1737. William A. Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, Royal Governor.
1749. John Robinson, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1750. Thomas Lee, Lieutenant-Governor. Died immediately after his
Louis Burwell, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1752. Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor. First explored the
1756. John Campbell, Earl of Loudoun, Royal Governor.
Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenaut-Governor and Acting Governor.
1758. John Blair, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
Francis Fauqmer, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1763. Jeffrey Amherst, Lord Amherst, Royal Governor.
1768. John Blair, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, Royal Governor.
1770. William Nelson, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.
1772. Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor until the Revolution.
1775. Edmund Pendleton, President of the Committee of Safety.
1776-1779. Patrick Henry.
1779-1781. Thomas Jefferson.
1781. Thomas Nelson.
1781-1784. Benjamin Harrison.
1784-1786. Patrick Henry.
1786-1788. Edmund Randolph.
1788-1791. Beverly Randolph.
1791-1794. Henry Lee.
1794-1796. Robert Brooks.
1796-1799. James Wood.
1799-1802. James Monroe.
1802-1805. John Page
1805-1808. William H. Cabell.
1808-1811. John Tyler.
1811. James Monroe.
1811-1812. George William Smith, Lieutenant-Governor.
1812-1814. James Barbour.
1814-1816. Wilson Cary Nichols.
1816-1819. James P. Preston.
1819-1822. Thomas M. Randolph.
1822-1825. James Pleasants.
1825-1827. John Tyler.
1827-1830. William B. Giles.
1830-1834. John Floyd.
1834-1836. Littleton Waller Tazewell.
1836-1837. Wyndham Robertson, Lieutenant-Governor.
1837-1840. David Campbell.
1840-1841. Thomas Walker Gilmer.
1841. John M. Patton.
1841-1842. John Rutherford. Lieutenant-Governor.
1842-1843. John M. Gregory.
1843-1846. James McDowell.
1846-1849. William Smith.
1849-1852. John B. Floyd.
1852-1856. Joseph Johnson.
1856-1860. Henry Alexander Wise.
1860-1864. John Letcher.
1864-1865. William Smith.
1865-1868. Francis H. Pierpont.
1868-1869. Henry H. Wells.
1869-1873. Gilbert C. Walker.
1873-1877. James L. Kempner.
1877-1881. Frederick W. M. Holliday.
1881-1885. William E. Gameron.
1885-1889. Fitzhugh Lee.
1889-1893. Philip W. McKinney.
1893-1897. Charles T. O'Ferrall.
1897. J. Hoge Tyler.
1901. A. J. Montague.
CONSTITUTION OF VIRGINIA.
Whereas, pursuant to an act of the General Assembly of Virginia,
approved March the fifth, in the year of our Lord nineteen
hundred, the question, "shall there be a convention to revise the
Constitution and amend the same?" was submitted to the electors of
the State of Virginia, qualified to vote for members of the
General Assembly, at an election held throughout the State on the
fourth Thursday in May, in the year nineteen hundred, at--which
election a majority of the electors so qualified voting at said
election did decide in favor of a convention for such purpose;
Whereas, the General Assembly at its next session did provide by
law for the election of delegates to such convention, in pursuance
whereof the members of this Convention were elected by the good
people of Virginia, to meet in convention for such purpose.
We, therefore, the people of Virginia, so assembled in Convention
through our representatives, with gratitude to God for His past
favors, and invoking His blessings upon the result of our
deliberations, do ordain and establish the following revised and
amended Constitution for the government of the Commonwealth:
BILL OF RIGHTS.
A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, made by the representatives of the good
people of Virginia assembled in full and free Convention; which
rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the Basis mid
Foundation of Government.
SECTION 1. That all men are by nature equally free and
independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they
enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact,
deprive or divest their posterity, namely, the enjoyment of life
and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property,
and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
SEC. 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived
from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and
servants, and at all times amenable to them.
SEC. 3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the
common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or
community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that
is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of
happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the
danger of maladministration; and, whenever any government shall be
found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the
community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right
to reform, alter or abolsh it, in such manner as shall be judged
most conducive to the public weal.
SEC. 4. That no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive or
separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in
consideration of public services, which not being descendible,
neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge to be
SEC 5 That the legislative executive, and judicial departments of
the State should be separate and distinct, and that the members
thereof may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and
participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed
periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body
from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be
supplied by regular elections, in which all or any part of the
former members shall be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws
SEC 6 That all elections should be free, and that all men, having
sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and
attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and can
not be taxed, or deprived of, or damaged in, their property for
public uses without their own consent, or that of their
representatives duly elected, or bound by any law to which they
have not, in like manner, assented for the public good
SEC 7 That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws,
by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the
people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be
SEC 8 That no man shall be deprived of his life, or liberty,
except by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers, nor
shall any man be compelled in any criminal proceeding to give
evidence against himself, nor be put twice in jeopardy for the
same offence, but an appeal may be allowed to the Commonwealth in
all prosecutions for the violation of a law relating to the state
That in all criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the
cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the
accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to
a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose
unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, provided, however,
that in any criminal case, upon a plea of guilty, tendered in
person by the accused, and with the consent of the attorney for
the Commonwealth, entered of record, the court shall, and in a
prosecution for an offence not punishable by death, or confinement
in the penitentiary, upon a plea of not guilty, with the consent
of the accused, given in person and of the attorney for the
Commonwealth, both entered of record, the court, in its
discretion, may hear and determine the case, without the
intervention of a jury, and, that the General Assembly may provide
for the trial of offences not punishable by death, or confinement
in the penitentiary, by a justice of the peace, without a jury,
preserving in all such cases, the right of the accused to an
appeal to and trial by jury in the circuit or corporation court,
and may also provide for juries consisting of less than twelve,
but not less than five, for the trial of offences not punishable
by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, and may classify
such cases, and prescribe the number of jurors for each class
SEC 9 That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive
fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted
SEC 10 That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may
be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact
committed, or to seize any person or persons not named or whose
offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence,
are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted
SEC 11 That no person shall be deprived of his property without
due process of law, and in controversies respecting property, and
in suits between man and man, trial by jury is preferable to any
other and ought to be held sacred, but the General Assembly may
limit the number of jurors for civil cases in circuit and
corporation courts to not less than five in cases now cognizable
by justices of the peace, or to not less than seven in cases not
SEC 12 That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks
of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic
governments, and any citizen may freely speak, write and publish
his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of
SEC 13 That a well regulated milita, composed of the body of the
people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence
of a free state, that standing armies, in time of peace, should be
avoided as dangerous to liberty, and that in all cases the
military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by,
the civil power
SEC 14 That the people have a right to uniform government, and,
therefore, that no government separate from, or independent of,
the government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established
within the limits therof
SEC 15 That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be
preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice,
moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent
recurrence to fundamental principles
SEC 16 That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and
the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and
conviction, not by force or violence, and, therefore, all men are
equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to
the dictates of conscience, and that it is the mutual duty of all
to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each
SEC 17 The rights enumerated in this Bill of Rights shall not be
construed to limit other rights of the people not therein
ELECTIVE FRANCHISE AND QUALIFICATIONS FOR OFFICE
SEC 18 Every male citizen of the United States, twenty one years
of age, who has been a resident of the State two years, of the
county, city, or town one year, and of the precinct in which he
offers to vote, thirty days, next preceding the election in which
he offers to vote, has been registered, and has paid his state
poll taxes, as hereinafter required, shall be entitled to vote for
members of the General Assembly and all officers elective by the
people; but removal from one precinct to another, in the same
county, city or town shall not deprive any person of his right to
vote in the precinct from which he has moved, until the expiration
of thirty days after such removal.
SEC. 19. There shall be general registrations in the counties,
cities and towns of the State during the years nineteen hundred
and two and nineteen hundred and three at such times and in such
manner as may be prescribed by an ordinance of this Convention. At
such registrations every male citizen of the United States having
the qualifications of age and residence required in section
Eighteen shall be entitled to register, if he be:
First. A person who, prior to the adoption of this Constitution,
served in time of war in the army or navy of the United States, of
the Confederate States, or of any state of the United States or of
the Confederate States; or,
Second. A son of any such person; or,
Third. A person, who owns property, upon which, for the year next
preceding that in which he offers to register, state taxes
aggregating at least one dollar have been paid; or,
Fourth. A person able to read any section of this Constitution
submitted to him by the officers of registration and to give a
reasonable explanation of the same; or, if unable to read such
section, able to understand and give a reasonable explanation
thereof when read to him by the officers.
A roll containing the names of all persons thus registered, sworn
to and certified by the officers of registration, shall be filed,
for record and preservation, in the clerk's office of the circuit
court of the county, or the clerk's office of the corporation
court of the city, as the case may be. Persons thus enrolled shall
not be required to register again, unless they shall have ceased
to be residents of the State, or become disqualified by section
Twenty-three. Any person denied registration under this section
shall have the right of appeal to the circuit court of his county,
or the corporation court of his city, or to the judge thereof in
SEC. 20. After the first day of January, nineteen hundred and
four, every male citizen of the United States, having the
qualifications of age and residence required in section Eighteen,
shall be entitled to register, provided:
First. That he has personally paid to the proper officer all state
poll taxes assessed or assessable against him, under this or the
former Constitution, for the three years next preceding that in
which he offers to register; or, if he come of age at such time
that no poll tax shall have been assessable against him for the
year preceding the year in which he offers to register, has paid
one dollar and fifty cents, in satisfaction of the first year's
poll tax assessable against him; and,
Second. That, unless physically unable, he make application to
register in his own handwriting, without aid, suggestion, or
memorandum, in the presence of the registration officers, stating
therein his name, age, date and place of birth, residence and
occupation at the time and for the two years next preceding, and
whether he has previously voted, and, if so, the state, county,
and precinct in which he voted last; and,
Third. That he answer on oath any and all questions affecting his
qualifications as an elector, submitted to him by the officers of
registration, which questions, and his answers thereto, shall be
reduced to writing, certified by the said officers, and preserved
as a part of their official records.
SEC. 21. Any person registered under either of the last two
sections, shall have the right to vote for members of the General
Assembly and all officers elective by the people, subject to the
That he, unless exempted by section Twenty-two, shall, as a
prerequisite to the right to vote after the first day of January,
nineteen hundred and four, personally pay, at least six months
prior to the election, all state poll taxes assessed or assessable
against him, under this Constitution, during the three years next
preceding that in which he offers to vote; provided that, if he
register after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and
four, he shall, unless physically unable, prepare and deposit his
ballot without aid, on such printed form as the law may prescribe;
but any voter registered prior to that date may be aided in the
preparation of his ballot by such officer of election as he
himself may designate.
SEC. 22. No person who, during the late war between the States,
served in the army or navy of the United States, or the
Confederate States, or any state of the United States, or of the
Confederate States, shall at any time be required to pay a poll
tax as a prerequisite to the right to register or vote. The
collection of the state poll tax assessed against any one shall
not be enforced by legal process until the same has become three
years past due.
SEC. 23. The following persons shall be excluded from registering
and voting: Idiots, insane persons, and paupers; persons who,
prior to the adoption of this Constitution, were disqualified from
voting, by conviction of crime, either within or without this
State, and whose disabilities shall not have been removed; persons
convicted after the adoption of this Constitution, either within
or without this State, of treason, or of any felony, bribery,
petit larceny, obtaining money or property under false pretences,
embezzlement, forgery, or perjury; persons who, while citizens of
this State, after the adoption of this Constitution, have fought a
duel with a deadly weapon, or sent or accepted a challenge to
fight such duel, either within or without this State, or knowingly
conveyed a challenge, or aided or assisted in any way in the
fighting of such duel.
SEC. 24. No officer, soldier, seaman, or marine of the United
States army or navy shall be deemed to have gained a residence as
to the right of suffrage, in the State, or in any county, city or
town thereof, by reason of being stationed therein; nor shall an
inmate of any charitable institution or a student in any
institution of learning, be regarded as having either gained or
lost a residence, as to the right of suffrage, by reason of his
location or sojourn in such institution.
SEC. 25. The General Assembly shall provide for the annual
registration of voters under section Twenty, for an appeal by any
person denied registration, for the correction of illegal or
fraudulent registration, thereunder, and also for the proper
transfer of all voters registered under this Constitution.
SEC. 26. Any person who, in respect to age or residence, would be
qualified to vote at the next election, shall be admitted to
registration, notwithstanding that at the time thereof he is not
so qualified, and shall be entitled to vote at said election if
then qualified under the provisions of this Constitution.
SEC. 27. All elections by the people shall be by ballot; all
elections by any representative body shall be viva voce, and the
vote recorded in the journal thereof.
The ballot-box shall be kept in public view during all elections,
and shall not be opened, nor the ballots canvassed or counted, in
So far as consistent with the provisions of this Constitution, the
absolute secrecy of the ballot shall be maintained.
SEC. 28. The General Assembly shall provide for ballots without
any distinguishing mark or symbol, for use in all state, county,
city, and other elections by the people, and the form thereof
shall be the same in all places where any such election is held.
All ballots shall contain the names of the candidates, and of the
offices to be filled, in, clear print and in due and orderly
succession; but any voter may erase any name and insert another.
SEC. 29. No voter, during the time of holding any election at
which he is entitled to vote, shall be compelled to perform
military service, except in time of war or public danger; to
attend any court as suitor, juror, or witness; and no voter shall
be subject to arrest under any civil process during his attendance
at election or in going to or returning therefrom.
SEC. 30. The General Assembly may prescribe a property
qualification not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars for
voters in any county or subdivision thereof, or city or town, as a
prerequisite for voting in any election for officers, other than
the members of the General Assembly, to be wholly elected by the
voters of such county or subdivision thereof, or city, or town;
such action, if taken, to be had upon the initiative of a
representative in the General Assembly of the county, city, or
town affected: provided, that the General Assembly in its
discretion may make such exemptions from the operation of said
property qualification as shall not be in conflict with the
Constitution of the United States.
SEC. 31. There shall be in each county and city an electoral
board, composed of three members, appointed by the circuit court
of the county-court--the corporation court of the city, or the
judge of the court in vacation. Of those first appointed, one
shall be appointed for a term of one year, one for a term of two
years, and one for a term of three years; and thereafter their
successors shall be appointed for the full term of three years.
Any vacancy occurring in any board shall be filled by the same
authority for the unexpired term.
Each electoral board shall appoint the judges, clerks, and
registrars of election for its county or city; and, in appointing
judges of election, representation as far as possible shall be
given to each of the two political parties which, at the general
election next preceding their appointment, cast the highest and
next highest number of votes. No person, nor the deputy of any
person, holding any office or post of profit or emolument, under
the United States Government, or who is in the employment of such
government, or holding any elective office of profit or trust in
the State, or in any county, city, or town thereof, shall be
appointed a member of the electoral board, or registrar, or judge
SEC. 32. Every person qualified to vote shall be eligible to any
office of the State or of any county, city, town, or other
subdivision of the State, wherein he resides, except as otherwise
provided in this Constitution, and except that this provision as
to residence shall not apply to any office elective by the people
where the law provides otherwise. Men and women eighteen years of
age shall be eligible to the office of notary public, and
qualified to execute the bonds required of them in that capacity.
SEC. 33. The terms of all officers elected under this Constitution
shall begin on the first day of February next succeeding their
election, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution. All
officers, elected or appointed, shall continue to discharge the
duties of their offices after their terms of service have expired
until their successors have qualified.
SEC. 34. Members of the General Assembly and all officers,
executive and judicial, elected or appointed after this
Constitution goes into effect, shall, before they enter on the
performance of their public duties, severally take and subscribe
the following oath or affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the
Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the
State of Virginia ordained by the Convention which assembled in
the city of Richmond on the twelfth day of June, nineteen hundred
and one, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and
perform all the duties incumbent on me as, according to the best
of my ability; so help me God."
SEC. 35. No person shall vote at any legalized primary election
for the nomination of any candidate for office unless he is at the
time registered and qualified to vote at the next succeeding
SEC. 36. The General Assembly shall enact such laws as are
necessary and proper for the purpose of securing the regularity
and purity of general, local and primary elections, and preventing
and punishing any corrupt practices in connection therewith; and
shall have power, in addition to other penalties and punishments
now or hereafter prescribed by law for such offences, to provide
that persons convicted of them shall thereafter be disqualified
from voting or holding office.
SEC. 37. The General Assembly may provide for the use, throughout
the State or in any one or more counties, cities, or towns in any
election, of machines for receiving, recording, and counting the
votes cast thereat: provided, that the secrecy of the voting be
not thereby impaired.
SEC. 38. After the first day of January, nineteen hundred and
four, the treasurer of each county and city shall, at least five
months before each regular election, file with the clerk of the
circuit court of his county, or of the corporation court of his
city, a list of all persons in his county or city, who have paid
not later than six months prior to such election, the state poll
taxes required by this Constitution during the three years next
preceding that in which such election is held; which list shall be
arranged alphabetically, by magisterial districts or wards, shall
state the white and colored persons separately, and shall be
verified by the oath of the treasurer. The clerk, within ten days
from the receipt of the list, shall make and certify a sufficient
number of copies thereof, and shall deliver one copy for each
voting place in his county or city, to the sheriff of the county
or sergeant of the city, whose duty it shall be to post one copy,
without delay, at each of the voting places, and, within ten days
from the receipt thereof, to make return on oath to the clerk, as
to the places where and dates at which said copies were
respectively posted; which return the clerk shall record in a book
kept in his office for the purpose; and he shall keep in his
office for public inspection, for at least sixty days after
receiving the list, not less than ten certified copies thereof,
and also cause the list to be published in such other manner as
may be prescribed by law; the original list returned by the
treasurer shall be filed and preserved by the clerk among the
public records of his office for at least five years after
receiving the same. Within thirty days after the list has been so
posted, any person who shall have paid his capitation tax, but
whose name is omitted from the certified list, may, after five
days' written notice to the treasurer, apply to the circuit court
of his county, or corporation court of his city, or to the judge
thereof in vacation, to have the same corrected and his name
entered thereon, which application the court or judge shall
promptly hear and decide.
The clerk shall deliver, or cause to be delivered, with the poll-
books, at a reasonable time before every election, to one of the
judges of election of each precinct of his county or city, a like
certified copy of the list, which shall be conclusive evidence of
the facts therein stated for the purpose of voting. The clerk
shall also,--within sixty days after the filing of the list by the
treasurer, forward a certified copy thereof, with such corrections
as may have been made by order of the court or judge, to the
Auditor of Public Accounts, who shall charge the amount of the
poll taxes stated therein to such treasurer unless previously
Further evidence of the prepayment of the capitation taxes
required by this Constitution, as a prerequisite to the right to
register and vote, may be prescribed by law.
DIVISION OF POWERS.
SEC. 39. Except as hereinafter provided, the legislative,
executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and
distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging
to either of the others, nor any person exercise the power of more
than one of them at the same time.
SEC. 40. The legislative power of the State shall be vested in a
General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of
SEC. 41. The Senate shall consist of not more than forty and not
less than thirty-three members, who shall be elected quadrennially
by the voters of the several senatorial districts, on the Tuesday
succeeding the first Monday in November.
SEC. 42. The House of Delegates shall consist of not more than one
hundred and not less than ninety members, who shall be elected
biennially by the voters of the several house districts, on the
Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November.
SEC. 43. The apportionment of the State into senatorial and house
districts, made by the acts of the General Assembly, approved
April the second, nineteen hundred and two, is hereby adopted; but
a re-apportionment may be made in the year nineteen hundred and
six, and shall be made in the year nineteen hundred and twelve,
and every tenth year thereafter.
SEC. 44. Any person may be elected senator who, at the time of
election, is actually a resident of the senatorial district and
qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly; and any
person may be elected a member of the House of Delegates who, at
the time of election, is actually a resident of the house district
and qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly. But no
person holding a salaried office under the state government, and
no judge of any court, attorney for the Commonwealth, sheriff,
sergeant, treasurer, assessor of taxes, commissioner of the
revenue, collector of taxes, or clerk of any court, shall be a
member of either house of the General Assembly during his
continuance in office, and the election of any such person to
either house of the General Assembly, and his qualification as a
member thereof, shall vacate any such office held by him; and no
person holding any office or post of profit or emolument under the
United States Government or who is in the employment of such
government, shall be eligible to either house. The removal of a
senator or delegate from the district for which he is elected,
shall vacate his office.
SEC. 45. The members of the General Assembly shall receive for
their services a salary to be fixed by law and paid from the
public treasury; but no act increasing such salary shall take
effect until after the end of the term for which the members
voting thereon were elected; and no member during the term for
which he shall have been elected, shall be appointed or elected to
any civil office of profit in the State except offices filled by
election by the people.
SEC. 46. The General Assembly shall meet once in two years on the
second Wednesday in January next succeeding the election of the
members of the House of Delegates and not oftener unless convened
in the manner prescribed by this Constitution. No session of the
General Assembly, after the first under this Constitution, shall
continue longer than sixty days; but with the concurrence of
three-fifths of the members elected to each house, the session may
be extended for a period not exceeding thirty days. Except for the
first session held under this Constitution, members shall be
allowed a salary for not exceeding sixty days at any regular
session, and for not exceeding thirty days at any extra session.
Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn to
another place nor for more than three days. A majority of the
members elected to each house shall constitute a quorum to do
business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and
shall have power to compel the attendance of members in such
manner and under such penalty as each house may prescribe.
SEC. 47. The House of Delegates shall choose its own speaker; and,
in the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor, or when he shall
exercise the office of Governor, the Senate shall choose from
their own body a president pro tempore. Each house shall select
its officers, settle its rules of procedure, and direct writs of
election for supplying vacancies which may occur during the
session of the General Assembly; but, if vacancies occur during
the recess, such writs may be issued by the Governor, under such
regulations as may be prescribed by law. Each house shall judge of
the election, qualification, and returns of its members; may
punish them for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of
two-thirds, expel a member.
SEC. 48. Members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases,
except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from
arrest during the sessions of their respective houses; and for any
speech or debate in either house shall not be questioned in any
other place. They shall not be subject to arrest, under any civil
process, during the sessions of the General Assembly, or the
fifteen days next before the beginning or after the ending of any
SEC. 49. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, which
shall be published from time to time, and the yeas and nays of the
members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of
one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
SEC. 50. No law shall be enacted except by bill. A bill may
originate in either house, to be approved or rejected by the
other, or may be amended by either, with the concurrence of the
No bill shall become a law unless, prior to its passage, it has
(a) Referred to a committee of each house, considered by such
committee in session, and reported;
(b) Printed by the house, in which it originated, prior to its
(c) Read at length on three different calendar days in each house;
(d) A yea and nay vote has been taken in each house upon its final
passage, the names of the members voting for and against entered
on the journal, and a majority of those voting, which shall
include at least two-fifths of the members elected to each house,
recorded in the affirmative.
And only in the manner required in subdivision (d) of this section
shall an amendment to a bill by one house be concurred in by the
other, or a conference report be adopted by either house, or
either house discharge a committee from the consideration of a
bill and consider the same as if reported; provided that the
printing and reading, or either, required in subdivisions (b) and
(c) of this section, may be dispensed with in a bill to codify the
laws of the State, and in any case of emergency by a vote of four-
fifths of the members voting in each house taken by the yeas and
nays, the names of the members voting for and against, entered on
the journal; and provided further, that no bill which creates, or
establishes a new office, or which creates, continues, or revives
a debt or charge, or makes, continues or revives any appropriation
of public or trust money, or property, or releases, discharges or
commutes any claim or demand of the State, or which imposes,
continues or revives a tax, shall be passed except by the
affirmative vote of a majority of all the members elected to each
house, the vote to be by the yeas and nays, and the names of the
members voting for and against, entered on the journal. Every law
imposing, continuing or reviving a tax shall specifically state
such tax and no law shall be construed as so stating such tax,
which requires a reference to any other law or any other tax. The
presiding officer of each house shall, in the presence of the
house over which he presides, sign every bill that has been passed
by both houses and duly enrolled. Immediately before this is done,
all other business being suspended, the title of the bill shall be
publicly read. The fact of signing shall be entered on the
SEC. 51. There shall be a joint committee of the General Assembly,
consisting of seven members appointed by the House of Delegates,
and five members appointed by the Senate, which shall be a
standing committee on special, private, and local legislation.
Before reference to a committee, as provided by section Fifty, any
special, private, or local bill introduced in either house shall
be referred to and considered by such joint committee and returned
to the house in which it originated with a statement in writing
whether the object of the bill can be accomplished under general
law or by court proceeding; whereupon, the bill, with the
accompanying statement, shall take the course provided by section
Fifty. The joint committee may be discharged from the
consideration of a bill by the house in which it originated in the
manner provided in section Fifty for the discharge of other
SEC. 52. No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be
expressed in its title; nor shall any law be revived or amended
with reference to its title, but the act revived or the section
amended shall be re-enacted and published at length.
SEC. 53. No law, except a general appropriation law, shall take
effect until at least ninety days after the adjournment of the
session of the General Assembly at which it is enacted, unless in
case of an emergency (which emergency shall be expressed in the
body of the bill), the General Assembly shall otherwise direct by
a vote of four-fifths of the members voting in each house, such
vote to be taken by the yeas and nays, and the names of the
members voting for and against entered on the journal.
SEC. 54. The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Attorney-General,
judges, members of the State Corporation Commission, and executive
officers at the seat of government, and all officers appointed by
the Governor or elected by the General Assembly, offending against
the State by malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty,
or other high crime or misdemeanor, may be impeached by the House
of Delegates, and prosecuted before the Senate which shall have
the sole power to try impeachment. When sitting for that purpose,
the senators shall be on oath or affirmation, and no person shall
be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators
present. Judgment in case of impeachment shall not extend further
than removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy
any office of honor, trust, or profit under the State; but the
person convicted shall nevertheless be subject to indictment,
trial, judgment, and punishment according to law. The Senate may
sit during the recess of the General Assembly for the trial of
SEC. 55. The General Assembly shall by law apportion the State
into districts, corresponding with the number of representatives
to which it may be entitled in the House of Representatives of the
Congress of the United States; which districts shall be composed
of contiguous and compact territory containing, as nearly as
practicable, an equal number of inhabitants.
SEC. 56. The manner of conducting and making returns of elections,
of determining contested elections, and of filling vacancies in
office, in cases not specially provided for by this Constitution,
shall be prescribed by law, and the General Assembly may declare
the cases in which any office shall be deemed vacant where no
provision is made for that purpose in this Constitution.
SEC. 57. The General Assembly shall have power, by a two-thirds
vote, to remove disabilities incurred under section Twenty-three,
of Article Two, of this Constitution, with reference to duelling.
SEC. 58. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be
suspended unless when in cases of invasion or rebellion, the
public safety may require. The General Assembly shall not pass any
bill of attainder, or any ex post facto law, or any law impairing
the obligation of contracts, or any law abridging the freedom of
speech or of the press. It shall not enact any law whereby private
property shall be taken or damaged for public uses, without just
compensation. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any
religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be
enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods,
nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or
belief; but all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to
maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and the same
shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil
capacities. And the General Assembly shall not prescribe any
religious test whatever, or confer any peculiar privileges or
advantages on any sect or denomination, or pass any law requiring
or authorizing any religious society, or the people of any
district within this State, to levy on themselves or others any
tax for the erection or repair of any house of public worship, or
for the support of any church or ministry; but it shall be left
free to every person to select his religious instructor, and to
make for his support such private contract as he shall please.
SEC. 59. The General Assembly shall not grant a charter of
incorporation to any church or religious denomination, but may
secure the title to church property to an extent to be limited by
SEC. 60. No lottery shall hereafter be authorized by law; and the
buying, selling, or transferring of tickets or chances in any
lottery shall be prohibited.
SEC. 61. No new county shall be formed with an area of less than
six hundred square miles; nor shall the county or counties from
which it is formed be reduced below that area; nor shall any
county be reduced in population below eight thousand. But any
county, the length of which is three times its mean breadth, or
which exceeds fifty miles in length, may be divided at the
discretion of the General Assembly.
SEC. 62. The General Assembly shall have full power to enact local
option or dispensary laws, or any other laws controlling,
regulating, or prohibiting the manufacture or sale of intoxicating
SEC. 63. The General Assembly shall confer on the courts power to
grant divorces, change the names of persons, and direct the sale
of estates belonging to infants and other persons under legal
disabilities, and shall not, by special legislation, grant relief
in these or other cases of which the courts or other tribunals may
have jurisdiction. The General Assembly may regulate the exercise
by courts of the right to punish for contempt. The General
Assembly shall not enact any local, special, or private law in the
1. For the punishment of crime.
2. Providing a change of venue in civil or criminal cases.
3. Regulating the practice in, or the jurisdiction of, or changing
the rules of evidence in any judicial proceedings or inquiry
before, the courts or other tribunals, or providing or changing
the methods of collecting debts or enforcing judgments, or
prescribing the effect of judicial sales of real estate.
4. Changing or locating county seats.
5. For the assessment and collection of taxes, except as to
animals which the General Assembly may deem dangerous to the
6. Extending the time for the assessment or collection of taxes.
7. Exempting property from taxation.
8. Remitting, releasing, postponing, or diminishing any obligation
or liability of any person, corporation, or association, to the
State or to any political subdivision thereof.
9. Refunding money lawfully paid into the treasury of the State or
the treasury of any political subdivision thereof.
10. Granting from the treasury of the State, or granting or
authorizing to be granted from the treasury of any political
subdivision thereof, any extra compensation to any public officer,
servant, agent, or contractor.
11. For conducting elections or designating the places of voting.
12. Regulating labor, trade, mining or manufacturing, or the rate
of interest on money.
13. Granting any pension or pensions.
14. Creating, increasing, or decreasing, or authorizing to be
created, increased, or decreased, the salaries, fees, percentages,
or allowances of public officers during the term for which they
are elected or appointed.
15. Declaring streams navigable, or authorizing the construction
of booms or dams therein, or the removal of obstructions
16. Affecting or regulating fencing or the boundaries of land, or
the running at large of stock.
17. Creating private corporations, or amending, renewing or
extending the charters thereof.
18. Granting to any private corporation, association, or
individual any special or exclusive right, privilege or immunity.
19. Naming or changing the name of any private corporation or
20. Remitting the forfeiture of the charter of any private
corporation except upon the condition that such corporation shall
thereafter hold its charter subject to the provisions of this
Constitution and the laws passed in pursuance thereof.
SEC. 64. In all the cases enumerated in the last section, and in
every other case which, in its judgment, may be provided for by
general laws, the General Assembly shall enact general laws. Any
general law shall be subject to amendment or repeal, but the
amendment or partial repeal thereof shall not operate directly or
indirectly to enact, and shall not have the effect of the
enactment of a special, private, or local law.
No general or special law shall surrender or suspend the right and
power of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, to tax
corporations or corporate property, except as authorized by
Article Thirteen. No private corporation, association, or
individual shall be specially exempted from the operation of any
general law, nor shall its operation be suspended for the benefit
of any private corporation, association, or individual.
SEC. 65, The General Assembly may by general laws, confer upon the
boards of supervisors of counties, and the councils of cities and
towns, such powers of local and special legislation, as it may
from time to time deem expedient, not inconsistent with the
limitations contained in this Constitution.
SEC. 66. The Clerk of the House of Delegates shall be Keeper of
the Rolls of the State but shall receive no compensation from the
State for his services as such.
The General Assembly by general law shall prescribe the number of
employees of the Senate and House of Delegates, including the
clerks thereof, and fix their compensation at a per diem for the
time actually employed in the discharge of their duties.
SEC. 67. The General Assembly shall not make any appropriation of
public funds, of personal property, or of any real estate, to any
church, or sectarian society, association, or institution of any
kind whatever, which is entirely or partly, directly or
indirectly, controlled by any church or sectarian society; nor
shall the General Assembly make any like appropriation to any
charitable institution, which is not owned or controlled by the
State; except that it may, in its discretion, make appropriations
to non-sectarian institutions for the reform of youthful
criminals; but nothing herein contained shall prohibit the General
Assembly from authorizing counties, cities, or towns to make such
appropriations to any charitable institution or association.
SEC. 68. The General Assembly shall, at each regular session,
appoint a standing committee, consisting of two members of the
Senate and three members of the House of Delegates, which shall be
known as the Auditing Committee. Such committee shall annually, or
oftener in its discretion, examine the books and accounts of the
First Auditor, the State Treasurer, the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, and other executive officers at the seat of
government whose duties pertain to auditing or accounting for the
state revenue, report the result of its investigations to the
Governor, and cause the same to be published in two newspapers of
general circulation in the State. The Governor shall, at the
beginning of each session, submit said reports to the General
Assembly for appropriate action. The committee may sit during the
recess of the General Assembly, receive such compensation as may
be prescribed by law, and employ one or more accountants to assist
in its investigations.
SEC. 69. The chief executive power of the State shall be vested in
a Governor. He shall hold office for a term of four years, to
commence on the first day of February next succeeding his
election, and be ineligible to the same office for the term next
succeeding that for which he was elected, and to any other office
during his term of service.
SEC. 70. The Governor shall be elected by the qualified voters of
the State at the time and place of choosing members of the General
Assembly. Returns of the election shall be transmitted, under
seal, by the proper officers, to the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, who shall deliver them to the Speaker of the House
of Delegates on the first day of the next session of the General
Assembly. The Speaker of the House of Delegates shall, within one
week thereafter, in the presence of a majority of the Senate and
of the House of Delegates, open the returns, and the votes shall
then be counted. The person having the highest number of votes
shall be declared elected; but if two or more shall have the
highest and an equal number of votes, one of them shall lie chosen
Governor by the joint vote of the two houses of the General
Assembly. Contested elections for Governor shall be decided by a
like vote, and the mode of proceeding in such cases shall be
prescribed by law.
SEC. 71. No person except a citizen of the United States shall be
eligible to the office of Governor; and if such person be of
foreign birth, he must have been a citizen of the United States
for ten years next preceding his election; nor shall any person be
eligible to that office unless he shall have attained the age of
thirty years, and have been a resident of the State for five years
next preceding his election.
SEC. 72. The Governor shall reside at the seat of government;
shall receive five thousand dollars for each year of his service,
and while in office shall receive no other emolument from this or
any other government.
SEC. 73. The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully
executed; communicate to the General Assembly, at every session,
the condition of the State; recommend to its consideration such
measures as he may deem expedient, and convene the General
Assembly on application of two-thirds of the members of both
houses thereof, or when, in his opinion, the interest of the State
may require. He shall be commander-in-chief of the land and naval
forces of the State; have power to embody the militia to repel
invasion, suppress insurrection and enforce the execution of the
laws; conduct, either in person or in such manner as shall be
prescribed by law, all intercourse with other and foreign states;
and, during the recess of the General Assembly, shall have power
to suspend from office for misbehavior, incapacity, neglect of
official duty, or acts performed without due authority of law, all
executive officers at the seat of government except the
Lieutenant-Governor; but, in any case in which this power is so
exercised, the Governor shall report to the General Assembly, at
the beginning of the next session thereof, the fact of such
suspension and the cause therefor, whereupon the General Assembly
shall determine whether such officer shall be restored or finally
removed; and the Governor shall have power, during the recess of
the General Assembly, to appoint, pro tempore, successors to all
officers so suspended, and to fill, pro tempore, vacancies in all
offices of the State for the filling of which the Constitution and
laws make no other provision; but his appointments to such
vacancies shall be by commissions to expire at the end of thirty
days after the commencement of the next session of the General
Assembly. He shall have power to remit fines and penalties in such
cases, and under such rules and regulations, as may be prescribed
by law, and except when the prosecution has been carried on by the
House of Delegates, to grant reprieves and pardons after
conviction; to remove political disabilities consequent upon
conviction for offences committed prior or subsequent to the
adoption of this Constitution, and to commute capital punishment;
but he shall communicate to the General Assembly, at each session,
particulars of every case of fine or penalty remitted, of reprieve
or pardon granted, and of punishment commuted, with his reasons
for remitting, granting, or commuting the same.
SEC. 74. The Governor may require information in writing, under
oath, from the officers of the executive department and
superintendents of state institutions upon any subject relating to
the duties of their respective offices and institutions; and he
may inspect at any time their official books, accounts and
vouchers, and ascertain the condition of the public funds in their
charge, and in that connection may employ accountants. He may
require the opinion in writing of the Attorney-General upon any
question of law affecting the official duties of the Governor.
SEC. 75. Commissions and grants shall run in the name of the
Commonwealth of Virginia, and be attested by the Governor, with
the seal of the Commonwealth annexed.
SEC. 76. Every bill which shall have passed the Senate and House
of Delegates, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the
Governor. If he approve, he shall sign it; but, if not, he may
return it with his objections to the house in which it originated,
which shall enter the objections at large on its journal and
proceed to reconsider the same. If, after such consideration, two-
thirds of the members present, which two-thirds shall include a
majority of the members elected to that house, shall agree to pass
the bill it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the
other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if
approved by two-thirds of all the members present, which two-
thirds shall include a majority of the members elected to that
house, it shall become a law, notwithstanding the objections. The
Governor shall have the power to veto any particular item or items
of an appropriation bill, but the veto shall not affect the item
or items to which he does not object. The item or items objected
to shall not take effect except in the manner heretofore provided
in this section as to bills returned to the General Assembly
without his approval. If he approve the general purpose of any
bill, but disapprove any part or parts thereof, he may return it,
with recommendations for its amendment, to the house in which it
originated, whereupon the same proceedings shall be had in both
houses upon the bill and his recommendations in relation to its
amendment, as is above provided in relation to a bill which he
shall have returned without his approval, and with his objections
thereto: provided, that if after such reconsideration, both
houses, by a vote of a majority of the members present in each,
shall agree to amend the bill in accordance with his
recommendations in relation thereto, or either house by such vote
shall fail or refuse to so amend it, then, and in either case the
bill shall be again sent to him, and he may act upon it as if it
were then before him for the first time. But in all the cases
above set forth the votes of both houses shall be determined by
ayes and noes, and the names of the members voting for and against
the bill, or item or items of an appropriation bill, shall be
entered on the journal of each house. If any bill shall not be
returned by the Governor within five days (Sunday excepted) after
it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in
like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly
shall, by final adjournment, prevent such return; in which case it
shall be a law if approved by the Governor in the manner and to
the extent above provided, within ten days after such adjournment,
but not otherwise.
SEC. 77. A Lieutenant-Governor shall be elected at the same time
and for the same term as the Governor, and his qualifications and
the manner and ascertainment of his election, in all respects,
shall be the same.
SEC. 78. In case of the removal of the Governor from office, or of
his death, failure to qualify, resignation, removal from State, or
inability to discharge the powers and duties of the office, the
said office, with its compensation, shall devolve upon the
Lieutenant-Governor; and the General Assembly shall provide by law
for the discharge of the executive functions in other necessary
SEC. 79. The Lieutenant-Governor shall be president of the Senate,
but shall have no vote except in case of an equal division; and
while acting as such, shall receive a compensation equal to that
allowed to the Speaker of the House of Delegates.
SEC. 80. A Secretary of the Commonwealth shall be elected by the
qualified voters of the State at the same time and for the same
term as the Governor; and the fact of his election shall be
ascertained as in the case of the Governor. He shall keep a daily
record of the official acts of the Governor, which shall be signed
by the Governor and attested by the Secretary, and, when required,
he shall lay the same, and any papers, minutes and vouchers
pertaining to his office, before either house of the General
Assembly. He shall discharge such other duties as may be
prescribed By law. All fees received by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall be paid into the treasury monthly.
SEC. 81. A State Treasurer shall be elected by the qualified
voters of the State at the same time and for the same term as the
Governor; and the fact of his election shall be ascertained in the
same manner. His powers and duties shall be prescribed by law.
SEC. 82. An Auditor of Public Accounts shall be elected by the
joint vote of the two houses of the General Assembly for the term
of four years. His powers and duties shall be prescribed by law.
SEC. 83. The salary of each officer of the Executive Department,
except in those cases where the salary is determined by this
Constitution, shall be fixed by law; and the salary of no such
officer shall be increased or diminished during the term for which
he shall have been elected or appointed.
SEC. 84. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the
establishment and maintenance of an efficient system of checks and
balances between the officers at the seat of government entrusted
with the collection, receipt, custody, or disbursement of the
revenues of the State.
SEC. 85. All State officers, and their deputies, assistants or
employees, charged with the collection, custody, handling or
disbursement of public funds, shall be required to give bond for
the faithful performance of such duties; the amount of such bond
in each case, and the manner in which security shall be furnished,
to be specified and regulated by law.
SEC. 86. The General Assembly shall have power to establish and
maintain a Bureau of Labor and Statistics, under such regulations
as may be prescribed by law.
SEC. 87. The Judiciary Department shall consist of a Supreme Court
of Appeals, circuit courts, city courts, and such other courts as
are hereinafter authorized. The jurisdiction of these tribunals
and the judges thereof, except so far as conferred by this
Constitution, shall be regulated by law.
SEC. 88. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall consist of five
judges, any three of whom may hold a court. It shall have original
jurisdiction in cases of habeas corpus, mandamus, and prohibition;
but in all other cases, in which it shall have jurisdiction, it
shall have appellate jurisdiction only.
Subject to such reasonable rules, as may be prescribed by law, as
to the course of appeal, the limitation as to time, the security
required, if any, the granting or refusing of appeals, and the
procedure therein, it shall, by virtue of this Constitution, have
appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving the
constitutionality of a law as being repugnant to the Constitution
of this State or of the United States, or involving the life or
liberty of any person; and it shall also have appellate
jurisdiction in such other cases, within the limits hereinafter
denned, as may be prescribed by law; but no appeal shall be
allowed to the Commonwealth in any case involving the life or
liberty of a person, except that an appeal by the Commonwealth may
be allowed by law in any case involving the violation of a law
relating to the state revenue. No bond shall be required of any
accused person as a condition of appeal, but a supersedeas bond
may be required where the only punishment imposed in the court
below is a fine.
The court shall not have jurisdiction in civil cases where the
matter in controversy, exclusive of costs and of interest accrued
since the judgment in the court below, is less in value or amount
than three hundred dollars, except in controversies concerning the
title to, or boundaries of land, the condemnation of property, the
probate of a will, the appointment or qualification of a personal
representative, guardian, committee, or curator, or concerning a
mill, roadway, ferry, or landing, or the right of the State,
county, or municipal corporation, to levy tolls or taxes, or
involving the construction of any statute, ordinance or county
proceeding imposing taxes; and, except in cases of habeas corpus,
mandamus, and prohibition, the constitutionality of a law, or some
other matter not merely pecuniary. After the year nineteen hundred
and ten the General Assembly may change the jurisdiction of the
court in matters merely pecuniary. The assent of at least three of
the judges shall be required for the court to determine that any
law is, or is not, repugnant to the Constitution of this State or
of the United States; and if, in a case involving the
constitutionality of any such law, not more than two of the judges
sitting agree in opinion on the constitutional question involved,
and the case cannot be determined, without passing on such
question, no decision shall be rendered therein, but the case
shall be reheard by a full court; and in no case where the
jurisdiction of the court depends solely upon the fact that the
constitutionality of a law is involved, shall the court decide the
ease upon its merits, unless the contention of the appellant upon
the constitutional question be sustained. Whenever the requisite
majority of the judges sitting are unable to agree upon a
decision, the case shall be reheard by a full bench, and any
vacancy caused by any one or more of the judges being unable,
unwilling, or disqualified to sit, shall be temporarily filled in
a manner to be prescribed by law.
SEC. 89. The General Assembly may, from time to time, provide for
a Special Court of Appeals to try any cases on the docket of the
Supreme Court of Appeals in respect to which a majority of the
judges are so situated as to make it improper for them to sit; and
also to try any cases on said docket which cannot be disposed of
with convenient dispatch. The said special court shall be composed
of not less than three nor more than five of the judges of the
circuit courts and city courts of record in cities of the first
class, or of the judges of either of said courts, or of any of the
judges of said courts together with one or more of the judges of
the Supreme Court of Appeals.
SEC. 90. When a judgment or decree is reversed or affirmed by the
Supreme Court of Appeals the reasons therefor shall be stated in
writing and preserved with the record of the case.
SEC. 91. The judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be
chosen by the joint vote of the two houses of the General
Assembly. They shall, when chosen, have held a judicial station in
the United States, or shall have practiced law in this or some
other state for five years. At the first election under this
Constitution, the General Assembly shall elect the judges for
terms of four, six, eight, ten, and twelve years respectively; and
thereafter they shall be elected for terms of twelve years.
SEC. 92. The officers of the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be
appointed by the court or by the judges in vacation. Their duties,
compensation, and tenure of office shall be prescribed by law.
SEC. 93. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall hold its sessions at
two or more places in the State, to be fixed by law.
SEC. 94. The State shall be divided into twenty-four judicial
circuits, as follows:
The counties of Norfolk, Princess Anne, and the city of
Portsmouth, shall constitute the first circuit.
The counties of Nansemond, Southampton, Isle of Wight, and the
city of Norfolk, shall constitute the second circuit.
The counties of Prince George, Surry, Sussex, Greenesville, and
Brunswick, shall constitute the third circuit.