WE, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE THAT - Inherent Rights of Mankind
All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.
All power is inherent in the people, 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 government in such manner as they may think proper.
All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; 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 whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.
No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.
Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.
Trial by jury shall be as heretofore, and the right thereof remain inviolate. The General assembly may provide, however, by law, that a verdict may be rendered by not less than five-sixths of the jury in any civil case.
The printing press shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the Legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever by 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.
The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation subscribed by the affiant.
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 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. The use of a suppressed voluntary admission or voluntary confession to impeach the credibility of a person may be permitted and shall not be construed as compelling a person to give evidence against himself.
Except as hereinafter provided 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. Each of the several courts of common pleas may, with the approval of the Supreme Court, provide for the initiation of criminal proceedings therein by information filed in the manner provided by law. 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.
Courts to Be Open; Suits Against the Commonwealth
All courts shall be open; and every man for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law, and eight and justice administered 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.
No power of suspending laws shall be exercised unless by the Legislature or by its authority.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.
All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses when the proof is evident of 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.
No commission shall issue creating special temporary criminal tribunals to try particular individuals or particular classes of cases.
The person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be continued in prison after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making irrevocable any grant of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed.
No person shall be attained of treason or felony by the Legislature.
No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor, except during the life of the offender, forfeiture of estate to the Commonwealth.
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.
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
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.
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 law.
The Legislature shall not grant any title of nobility of hereditary distinction, nor create any office the appointment to which shall be for a longer term than during good behavior.
To guard against the transgressions of the high powers which we have delegated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate.
Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual.
The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
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.
Senators shall be elected for the term of four years and Representatives for the term of two years.
The General Assembly shall be a continuing body during the term for which its Representatives are elected. It shall meet at twelve o'clock noon on the first Tuesday of January each year. Special sessions shall be called by the Governor on petition of a majority of the members elected to each House or may be called by the Governor whenever in his opinion the public interest requires.
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 their respective districts one year next before their election (unless absent on the public business of the United States or of this State) and shall reside in their respective districts during their terms of service.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under this Commonwealth to which a salary, fee of perquisite is attached. No member of Congress or other person holding any office (except of attorney-at law or in the national guard or in a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States) under the United States of this Commonwealth to which a salary, fee or perquisite is attached shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office.
No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to the General Assembly, or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth.
The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.
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 protempore, who shall perform the duties of the Lieutenant Governor shall be vacant. The House of Representatives shall elect one of its members as Speaker. Each House shall choose its other officers, and shall judge of the election and qualifications of its members.
A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members.
Each House shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings and punish its members or other persons for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence, to enforce obedience to its process, to protect its members against violence or offers of bribes or private solicitation, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, to expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause, and shall have all other powers necessary for the Legislature of a free State. A member expelled for corruption shall not thereafter be eligible to either House, and punishment for contempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar an indictment for the same offense.
Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings and from time to time publish the same, except such parts as require secrecy, and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall, at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the journal.
The sessions of each House and of committees of the whole shall be open, unless when the business is such as ought to be kept secret.
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.
The members of the General Assembly shall in all cases, except treason, felony, violation of their oath of office, and breach of 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.
The Commonwealth shall be divided into fifty senatorial and two hundred three representative districts, which shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable. Each senatorial district shall elect one Senator, and each representative district one Representative. Unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district.
(a) In each year following the year of the Federal decennial census, a Legislative Reapportionment Commission shall be constituted for the purpose of reapportioning the Commonwealth. The commission shall act by a majority of its entire membership.
(b) The commission shall consist of five members: four of whom shall be the majority and minority leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, or deputies appointed by each of them, and a chairman selected as hereinafter provided. No later than 60 days following the official reporting of the Federal decennial census as required by Federal law, the four members shall be certified by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the elections officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall have supervision over elections. The four members within 45 days after their certification shall select the fifth member, who shall serve as chairman of the commission, and shall immediately certify his name to such elections officer. The chairman shall be a citizen of the Commonwealth other than a local, State or Federal official; holding an office to which compensation is attached. If the four members fail to select the fifth member within the time prescribed, a majority of the entire membership of the Supreme Court within thirty days thereafter shall appoint the chairman as aforesaid and certify his appointment to such elections officer. Any vacancy in the commission shall be filled within fifteen days in the same manner in which such position was originally filled.
(c) No later than ninety days after either the commission has been duly certified or the population data for the Commonwealth as determined by the Federal decennial census are available, whichever is later in time, the commission shall file a preliminary reapportionment plan with such elections officer. The commission shall have thirty days after filling the preliminary plan to make corrections in the plan. Any person aggrieved by the preliminary plan shall have the same thirty-day period to file exceptions with the commission in which case the commission shall thirty days after the date the exceptions were filled to prepare and file with such elections officer a revised reapportionment plan. If no exceptions are filled within thirty days, or if filed and acted upon, the commission's plan shall be final and have the force of law.
(d) Any aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final plan directly to the Supreme Court within thirty days after the filing thereof. If the appellant establishes that the final plan is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an order remanding the plan to the commission and directing the commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not inconsistent with such order.
(e) When the Supreme Court has finally decided an appeal or when the last day for filing an appeal has passed with no appeal taken, the reapportionment plan shall have the force of law and the districts therein provided shall be used thereafter in elections to the General Assembly until the next reapportionment as required under this section 17.
(f) The General Assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds for the compensation and expenses of members and staff appointed by the commission, and other necessary expenses. The members of the commission shall be entitled to such compensation for their services as the General Assembly from time to time shall determine but no part thereof shall be paid until a preliminary plan is filed. If a preliminary plan is filed but the commission fails to file a revised or final plan within the time prescribed, the commission members shall forfeit all right to compensation not paid.
(g) If a preliminary, revised or final reapportionment plan is not filed by the commission within the time prescribed by this section, unless the time be extended by the Supreme Court for cause shown, the Supreme Court shall immediately proceed on its own motion to reapportion the Commonwealth.
(h) Any reapportionment plan filed by the commission, or ordered or prepared by the Supreme Court upon the failure of the commission to act, shall be published by the elections officer once in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each senatorial and representative district. The publication shall contain a map of the Commonwealth showing the complete reapportionment of the General Assembly by districts, and a map showing the reapportionment districts in the area normally served by the newspaper in which the publication is male. The publication shall also state the population of the senatorial and representative districts having the smallest and largest population and the percentage variation of such districts from the average population for senatorial and representative districts.
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.
No bill shall be considered unless referred to a committee, printed for the use of the members and returned therefrom.
No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.
Every bill shall be considered 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 before the final vote is taken, upon written request addressed to the presiding officer of either House by at least twenty-five percent of the members elected to that House, any bill shall be read at length in that House. No bill shall become a law, unless on its final passage the vote is taken by yeas and nays, the names of the persons voting for and against it are entered on the journal, and a majority of the members elected to each House is recorded thereon as voting in its favor.
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 recorded upon the journals.
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-enacted and published at length.
No local or special 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 effected may be situated, which notice 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 published, shall be exhibited in the General Assembly, before such act shall be passed.
The presiding 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 signing shall be entered on the journal.
Every order, resolution or vote, to which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except on the question of adjournment, shall be presented to the Governor and before it shall take effect be approved by him, or being disapproved, shall be repassed by two-thirds of both Houses according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.
All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments as in other bills.
The general appropriation bill shall embrace nothing but appropriations for the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the Commonwealth, for the public debt and for public schools. All other appropriations shall be made by separate bills, each embracing but one subject.
When the General Assembly shall be convened in special session, there shall be no legislation upon subjects other than those designated in the proclamation of the Governor calling such session.
A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the General Assembly shall disclose the fact to the House of which he is a member, and shall not vote thereon. B. Education
The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.
No money raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school. C. National Guard
The citizens of this Commonwealth shall be armed, organized and disciplined for its defense when and in such manner as may be directed by law. The General Assembly shall provide for maintaining the National Guard by appropriations from the Treasury of the Commonwealth, and may exempt from State military service persons having conscientious scruples against bearing arms. D. Other Legislation Specifically Authorized
The General Assembly shall prescribe by law the number, duties and compensation of the officers and employees 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 employee elected or appointed in pursuance of law.
The General Assembly may enact laws requiring the payment by employers, or employers and employees jointly, of reasonable compensation for injuries to employees arising in the course of their employment, and for occupational diseases of employees, whether or not such injuries or diseases result in death, and regardless of fault of employer or employee, and fixing the basis of ascertainment of such compensation and the maximum and minimum limits thereof, and providing special or general remedies for the collection thereof; but in no other cases shall the General Assembly limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to persons or property, and in case of death from such injuries, the right of action shall survive, and the General Assembly shall prescribe for whose benefit such actions shall be prosecuted. No act shall prescribe any limitations of time within which suits may be brought against corporations for injuries to persons or property, or for other causes different from those fixed by general laws regulating actions against natural persons, and such acts now existing are avoided.
The General Assembly may make appropriations of money to institutions wherein the widows of persons who served in the armed forces are supported or assisted, or the orphans of persons who served in the armed forces are maintained and educated; but such appropriations shall be applied exclusively to the support of such widows and orphans.
The Legislature shall have power to classify counties, cities, boroughs, school districts, and townships according to population, and all laws passed relating to each class, and all laws passed relating to, and regulating procedure and proceedings in court with reference to, any class, shall be deemed general legislation within the meaning of this Constitution.
Laws may be passed providing for a system of registering, transferring, insuring of and guaranteeing land titles by the State, or by the counties thereof, and for settling and determining adverse or other claims to and interest in lands the titles to which are so registered, transferred, insured, and guaranteed; and for the creation and collection of indemnity funds; and for carrying the system and powers hereby provided for into effect by such existing courts as may be designated by the Legislature. Such laws may provide for continuing the registering, transferring, insuring, and guaranteeing such titles after the first or original registration has been perfected by the court, and provision may be made for raising the necessary funds for expenses and salaries of officers, which shall be paid out of the treasury of the several counties.
The General Assembly shall maintain by law a system of competitive bidding under which all purchases of materials, printing, supplies or other personal property used by the government of this Commonwealth shall so far as practicable be made. The law shall provide that no officer or employee of the Commonwealth shall be in any way interested in any purchase made by the Commonwealth under contract or otherwise.
The power to change the venue in civil and criminal cases shall be vested in the courts, to be exercised in such manner as shall be provided by law.
No money shall be paid out of the treasury, except on appropriations made by law and on warrant issued by the proper officers; but cash refunds of taxes, licenses, fees and other charges paid or collected, but not legally due, may be paid, as provided by law, without appropriation from the fund into which they were paid on warrant of the proper officer.
The General Assembly may provide, by law, during any session, for the continuity of the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of the government of the Commonwealth, and its political subdivisions, and the establishment of emergency seats thereof and any such laws heretofore enacted are validated. Such legislation shall become effective in the event of an attack by an enemy of the United States.
No bill shall be passed giving any extra compensation to any public officer, servant, employee, agent or contractor after services shall be rendered or contract made, nor providing for the payment of any claim against the Commonwealth without previous authority of law. Provided, however, that nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the General Assembly from authorizing the increase of retirement allowances or pensions of members of a retirement or pension system now in effect or hereafter legally constituted by the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, after the termination of the services of said member.
No law shall extend the term of any public officer, or increase or diminish his salary or emoluments, after his election or appointment. E. Restrictions on Legislative Power
No law changing the permanent location of the Capital of the State shall be valid until the same shall have been submitted to the qualified electors of the Commonwealth at a general election and ratified and approved by them.
No appropriation shall be made for charitable, educational or benevolent purposes to any person or community nor to any denomination and sectarian institution, corporation or association: Provided, that appropriations may be made for pensions of gratuities for military service and to blind persons twenty-one years of age and upwards and for assistance to mothers having dependent children and to aged persons without adequate means of support and in the form of scholarship grants or loans for higher educational purposes to residents of the Commonwealth enrolled in institutions of higher learning except that no scholarship, grants or loans for higher educational purposes shall be given to persons enrolled in a theological seminary or school of theology.
No appropriation shall be made to any charitable or educational institution not under the absolute control of the Commonwealth, other than normal schools established by law for the professional training of teachers for the public schools of the State, except by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House.
The General Assembly shall not delegate to any special commission, private corporation or association, any power to make, supervise or interfere with any municipal improvement, money, property or effects, whether held in trust or otherwise, or to levy taxes or perform any municipal function whatever. Notwithstanding the foregoing limitation or any other provision of the Constitution, the General Assembly may enact laws which provide that the findings of panels or commissions, selected and acting in accordance with law for the adjustment or settlement of grievances or disputes or for collective bargaining between policemen and firemen and their public employers shall be binding upon all parties and shall constitute a mandate to the head of the political subdivision which is the employer or to the appropriate officer of the Commonwealth if the Commonwealth is the employer, with respect to matters which can be remedied by administrative action, and to the lawmaking body of such political subdivision or of the Commonwealth, with respect to matters which require legislative action, to take the action necessary to carry out such findings.
The General Assembly shall pass no local or special law in any case which has been or can be provided for by general law and specifically the General assembly shall not pass any local or special law.
1. Regulating the affairs of counties, cities, townships, wards, boroughs, or school districts.
2. Vacating roads, town plats, streets or alleys.
3. Locating or changing county seats, erecting new counties or changing county lines.
4. Erecting new townships or boroughs, changing township lines, borough limits or school districts.
5. Remitting fines, penalties and forfeitures, or refunding moneys legally paid into the treasury.
6. Exempting property from taxation.
7. regulating labor, trade, mining or manufacturing.
8. Creating corporations, or amending, renewing or extending the charters thereof. Nor shall the General Assembly indirectly enact any special or local law by the partial repeal of a general law; but laws repealing local or special acts may be passed.
The Executive Department of this Commonwealth shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer, and Superintendent of Public Instruction and such other officers as the General Assembly may from time to time prescribe.
The supreme executive power shall be vested in the Governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed; he shall be chosen on the day of the general election, by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth, at the places where they shall vote for Representatives. The returns of every election for Governor shall be sealed up and transmitted to the seat of government, directed to the President of the Senate, who shall open and publish them in the presence of the members of both Houses of the General Assembly. The person having the highest number of votes shall be Governor, but if two or more be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen Governor by the joint vote of the members of both Houses. Contested elections shall be determined by a committee, to be selected from both Houses of the General Assembly, and formed and regulated in such manner as shall be directed by law. General Assembly. The person having the highest number of votes shall be Governor, but if two or more be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen Governor by the joint vote of members of both Houses. Contested elections shall be determined by a committee, to be selected from both Houses of the General Assembly, and formed and regulated in such manner as shall be directed by law.
The Governor shall hold his office during four years from the third Tuesday of January new ensuing his election. Except for the Governor who may be in office when this amendment is adopted, he shall be eligible to succeed himself for one additional term.
A Lieutenant Governor shall be chosen jointly with the Governor by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both offices, for the same term, and subject to the same provisions as the Governor; he shall be President of the Senate. As such, he may vote in case of a tie on any question except the final passage of a bill or joint resolution, the adoption of a conference report or the concurrence in amendments made by the House of Representatives.
1. An Attorney General shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth on the day the general election is held for the Auditor General and State Treasurer; he shall hold his office during four years from the third Tuesday of January next ensuing his election and shall not be eligible to serve continuously for more than two successive terms; he shall be the chief law officer of the Commonwealth and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be imposed by law.
No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Attorney General except a citizen of the United States, who shall have attained the age of thirty years, and have been seven years next preceding his election an inhabitant of this Commonwealth, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this Commonwealth. No person shall be eligible to the office of Attorney General except a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
No member of Congress or person holding any office (except of attorney-at-law or in the National Guard or in a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States) under the United States or this Commonwealth shall exercise the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Attorney General.
The Governor shall be commander-in-chief of the military forces of the Commonwealth, except when they shall be called into actual service of the United States.
(a) The Governor shall appoint a Secretary of Education and such other officers as he shall be authorized by law to appoint. The appointment of the Secretary of Education and of such other officers as may be specified by law, shall be subject to the consent of two-thirds or a majority of the members elected to the Senate as is specified by law.
(b) The Governor shall fill vacancies in offices to which he appoints by nominating to the Senate a proper person to fill the vacancy within 90 days of the first day of the vacancy and not thereafter. The Senate shall act on each executive nomination within 25 legislative days of its submission. If the Senate has not voted upon a nomination within 15 legislative days following such submission, any five members of the Senate may, in writing, request the presiding officer of the Senate to place the nomination before the entire Senate body whereby the nomination must be voted upon prior to the expiration of five legislative days or 25 legislative days following submission by the Governor, whichever occurs first. If the nomination is made during a recess or after adjournment sine die, the Senate shall act upon it within 25 legislative days after its return or reconvening. If the Senate for any reason fails to act upon a nomination submitted to it within the required 25 legislative days, the nominee shall take office as if the appointment had been consented to by the Senate. The Governor shall in a similar manner fill vacancies in the offices of Auditor General, State Treasurer, justice, judge, justice of the peace and in any other elective office he is authorized to fill. In the case of a vacancy in an elective office, a person shall be elected to the office on the next election day appropriate to the office unless the first day of the vacancy is within two calendar months immediately preceding the election day in which case the election shall be held on the second succeeding election day appropriate to the office.
(c) In acting on executive nominations, the Senate shall sit with open doors. The votes shall be taken by yeas and nays and shall be entered on the journal.
(a) In all criminal cases except impeachment, the Governor shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, to grant reprieves, commutation of sentences and pardons; but no pardon shall be granted, nor sentence commuted, except on the recommendation in writing of a majority of the Board of Pardons, after full hearing in open session, upon due public notice. The recommendation, with the reasons therefor at length, shall be delivered to the Governor and a copy thereof shall be kept on file in the office of the Lieutenant Governor in a docket kept for that purpose.
(b) The Board of Pardons shall consist of the Lieutenant Governor who shall be chairman, the Attorney General and three members appointed by the Governor with the consent of two-thirds or a majority of the members elected to the Senate as is specified by law for terms of six years. The three members appointed by the Governor shall be residents of Pennsylvania and shall be recognized leaders in their fields; one shall be a member of the bar, one a penologist, and the third a doctor of medicine, psychiatrist or psychologist. The board shall keep records of its actions, which shall at all times be open for public inspection.
The Governor may require information in writing from the officers of the Executive Department, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.
He shall, from time to time, give to the General Assembly information of the state of the Commonwealth, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may judge expedient.
He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly, and in case of disagreement between the two Houses, with respect to the time of adjournment, adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not exceeding four months. He shall have power to convene the Senate in extraordinary session by proclamation for the transaction of Executive business.
In the case of the death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify or resignation of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor for the remainder of the term and in the case of the disability of the Governor, the powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve upon the Lieutenant Governor until the disability is removed.
In case of the death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify or resignation of the Lieutenant Governor, or in case he should become Governor under section 13 of this article, the President pro tempore of the Senate shall become Lieutenant Governor for the remainder of the term. In case of the disability of the Lieutenant Governor, the powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve upon the President pro tempore of the Senate until the disability is removed. Should there be no Lieutenant Governor, the President pro tempore of the Senate shall become Governor if a vacancy shall occur in the office of Governor and in case of the disability of the Governor, the powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve upon the President pro tempore of the Senate until the disability is removed. His seat as Senator shall become vacant whenever he shall become Governor and shall be filled by election as any other vacancy in Senate.
Every bill which shall have passed both Houses shall be presented to the Governor; if he approves he shall sign it, but if he shall not approve he shall return it with his objections to the House in which it shall have originated, which House shall enter the objections at large upon their journal, and proceed to re-consider it. If after such re-consideration, two-thirds of all the members elected to that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other House by which likewise it shall be re-considered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to that House it shall be a law; but in such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journals of each House, respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days 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, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless he shall file the same, with his objections, in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and give notice thereof by public proclamation within thirty days after such adjournment.
The Governor shall have power to disapprove of any item of any bill, making appropriations of money, embracing distinct items, and the part or parts of the bill approved shall be the law, and the item or items of appropriation disapproved shall be void, unless re-passed according to the rules and limitations prescribed for the passage of other bills over the Executive veto.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside upon the trial of any contested election of Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Attorney General and shall decide questions regarding the admissibility of evidence, and shall, upon request of the committee, pronounce his opinion upon other questions of law involved in the trial. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General shall exercise the duties of their respective offices until their successors shall be duly qualified.
The terms of the Auditor General and of the State Treasurer shall each be four years from the third Tuesday of January next ensuing his election. They shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth at general elections but shall not be eligible to serve continuously for more than two successive terms. The State Treasurer shall not be eligible to the office of Auditor General until fours years after he has been State Treasurer.
The present Great Seal of Pennsylvania shall be the seal of the State. All commissions shall be in the name and by authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and be sealed with the State seal and signed by the Governor.
The judicial power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a unified judicial system consisting of the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, courts of common pleas, community courts, municipal and traffic courts in the City of Philadelphia, such other courts as may be provided by law and justices of the peace. All courts and justices of the peace and their jurisdiction shall be in this unified judicial system.
(a) shall be the highest court of the Commonwealth and in this court shall be reposed the supreme judicial power of the Commonwealth;
(b) shall consist of seven justices, one of whom shall be the justice; and
(c) shall have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by law.
The Superior Court shall be a statewide court, and shall consist of the number of judges, which shall be not less than seven judges, and have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by this Constitution or by the General Assembly. One of its judges shall be the president judge.
The Commonwealth Court shall be a statewide court, and shall consist of the number of judges and have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by law. One of its judges shall be the president judge.
There shall be one court of common pleas for each judicial district
(a) having such divisions and consisting of such number of judges as shall be provided by law, one of whom shall be the president judge; and
(b) having unlimited original jurisdiction in all cases except as may otherwise be provided by law.
(a) in any judicial district a majority of the electors voting thereon may approve the establishment or discontinuance of a community court. Where a community court is approved, one community court shall be established; its divisions, number of judges and jurisdiction shall be as provided by law.
(b) The question whether a community court shall be established or discontinued in any judicial district shall be placed upon the ballot in a primary election by petition which shall be in the form prescribed by the officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall have supervision over elections. The petition shall be filed with that officer and shall be signed by a number of electors equal to five percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for the office occupied by a single official for which the highest number of votes was cast in that judicial district at the last preceding general or municipal election. The manner of signing such petitions, the time of circulating them, the affidavits of the persons circulating them and all other details not contained herein shall be governed by the general laws relating to elections. The question shall not be placed upon the ballot in a judicial district more than once in any five-year period.
(c) In the City of Philadelphia there shall be a municipal Court and a traffic court. The number of judges and the jurisdiction of each shall be as provided by law. These courts shall exist so long as a community court has not been established or in the event one has been discontinued under this section.
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