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CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

PART ll OF lll

COURTS OTHER THAN IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA AND ALLEGHENY COUNTY

The Supreme Court

Section 1.

The Supreme Court shall exercise all the powers and, until otherwise provided by law, jurisdiction now vested in the present Supreme Court and, until otherwise provided by law, the accused in all cases of felonious homicide shall have the right of appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Superior Court

Section 2.

Until otherwise provided by law, the Superior Court shall exercise all the jurisdiction now vested in the present Superior Court. The present terms of all judges of the Superior Court which would otherwise expire on the first Monday of January in an odd-numbered year shall be extended to expire in the even- numbered year next following.

Commonwealth Court

Section 3.

The Commonwealth Court shall come into existence on January 1, 1970. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this article, the General Assembly shall stagger the initial terms of judges of the Commonwealth Court.

The Courts of Common Pleas

Section 4.

Until otherwise provided by law, the several courts of common pleas shall exercise the jurisdiction now vested in the present courts of common pleas. The courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, quarter sessions of the peace, and orphans courts are abolished and the several courts of common pleas shall also exercise the jurisdiction of these courts. Orphans' courts in judicial districts having separate orphans' courts shall become orphans' court divisions of the courts of common pleas and the court of common pleas in those judicial districts shall exercise the jurisdiction presently exercised by the separate orphans' courts through their respective orphans' court division.

Orphans' Court Judges

Section 5. In those judicial districts having separate orphans' courts, the present judges thereof shall become judges of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas and the present president judge shall become the president judge of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas for the remainder of his term without diminution in salary.

Courts of Common Pleas in Multi-County Judicial Districts

Section 6.

Courts of common pleas in multi-county judicial districts are abolished as separate courts and are hereby constituted as branches of the single court of common pleas established under this article in each such judicial district.

Community Courts

Section 7.

In a Judicial district which establishes a community court, a person serving as a justice of the peace at such time: (a) May complete his term exercising the jurisdiction provided by law with the compensation provided by law, and

(b) Upon completion of his term, his office is abolished and no judicial function of the kind heretofore exercised by a justice of the peace shall thereafter be exercised other than by the community court.

JUSTICES, JUDGES AND JUSTICES OF THE PEACE Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace

Section 8.

Notwithstanding any provision in the article, a present justice, judge or justice of the peace may complete his term of office.

Associate Judges

Section 9.

The office of associate judge not learned in the law is abolished, but a present associate judge may complete his term.

Retention Election of Present Justices and Judges

Section 10.

A present judge who was originally elected to office and seeks retention in 1969 municipal election and is otherwise eligible may file his declaration of candidacy by February 1, 1969.

Selection of President Judges

Section 11.

(a) Except in the City of Philadelphia, section ten (d) of the article shall become effective upon the expiration of the term of the present president judge, or upon earlier vacancy.

(b)Notwithstanding section ten (d) of the article the president judge of the Superior Court shall be the judge longest in continuous service on such court if such judge was a member of such court on the first Monday of January 1977. If no such judge exists or is willing to serve as president judge shall be selected as provided by this article.


MAGISTRATES, ALDERMEN AND JUSTICES OF THE PEACE AND MAGISTERIAL DISTRICTS OTHER THAN IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

Magistrates, Aldermen and Justices of the Peace

Section 12.

An alderman, justice of the peace or magistrate: (a) May complete his term, exercising the jurisdiction provided by law and with the method of compensation provided by law prior to the adoption of this article;

(b) Shall be deemed to have taken and passed the examination required by this article for justices of the peace if he has completed one full term of office before creation of a magisterial district, and

(c) At the completion of his term, his office is abolished.

(d) Except for officers completing their terms, after the first MOnday in January, 1970, no judicial function of the kind heretofore exercised by these officers, by majors and like officers in municipalities shall be exercised by any officer other than the one justice of the peace elected or appointed to serve in that magisterial district.

Magisterial Districts

Section 13.

So that the provisions of this article regarding the establishment of magisterial districts and the instruction and examination of justices of the peace may be self-executing, until otherwise provided by law in a manner agreeable to this article, the following provisions shall be in force:

(a) The Supreme Court or the courts of common pleas under the direction of the Supreme Court shall fix the number and boundaries of magisterial districts of each class within each judicial district by January 1, 1969, and these magisterial districts, except where a community court has been adopted, shall come into existence on January 1, 1970, the justices of the peace thereof to be elected at the municipal election in 1969. These justices of the peace shall retain no fine, costs or any other sum that shall be delivered into their hands for the performance of any judicial duty or for any service connected with their offices, but shall remit the same to the Commonwealth, county, municipal subdivision, school district or otherwise as may be provided by law.

(b) Classes of magisterial districts.

(i) Magisterial districts of the first class shall have a population density of more than five thousand persons per square mile and a population of not less than sixty-five thousand persons.

(ii) Magisterial districts of the second class shall have a population density of between one thousand and five thousand persons per square mile and a population of between twenty thousand persons and sixty-five thousand persons.

(iii) Magisterial districts of the third class shall have a population density of between two hundred and one thousand persons per square mile and a population of between twelve thousand persons and twenty thousand persons.

(iv) Magisterial districts of the fourth class shall have a population density of between seventy and two hundred persons per square mile and a population of between seven thousand five hundred persons and twelve thousand persons.

(v) Magisterial districts of the fifth class shall have a population density of under seventy persons per square mile and a population of between four thousand persons and seven thousand five hundred persons.

(c) Salaries of justices of the peace. The salaries of the justices of the peace shall be as follows:

(i) In first class magisterial districts, twelve thousand dollars per year.

(ii) In second class magisterial districts, ten thousand dollars per year.

(iii) In third class magisterial districts, eight thousand dollars per year.

(iv) In fourth and fifth class magisterial districts, five thousand dollars per year.

(v) The salaries here fixed shall be paid by the State Treasurer and for such payment this article and schedule shall be sufficient warrant.

(d) Course of training, instruction and examination. The course of training and instruction and examination in civil and criminal law and procedure for a justice of the peace shall be devised by the Department of Public Instruction, and it shall administer this course and examination to insure that justices of the peace are competent to perform their duties.

Magisterial Districts

Section 14.

Effective immediately upon establishment of magisterial districts and until otherwise prescribed the civil and criminal procedural rules relating to venue shall apply to magisterial districts; all proceedings before aldermen, magistrates and justices of the peace shall be brought in and only in a magisterial district in which occurs an event which would give rise to venue in a court of record; the court of common pleas upon its own motion or on application at any stage of proceedings shall transfer any proceeding in any magisterial district to the justice of the peace for the magisterial district in which proper venue lies.

PROTHONOTARIES AND CLERKS OTHER THAN IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

Prothonotaries, Clerks of Courts, Clerks of Orphans' Courts

Section 15.

Until otherwise provided by law, the offices of prothonotary and clerk of courts shall become the offices of prothonotary and clerk of courts of the court of common pleas of the judicial district, and in multi-county judicial districts of their county's branch of the court of common pleas, and the clerk of the orphans' court in a judicial district now having a separate orphans' court shall become the clerk of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas, and these officers shall continue to perform the duties of the office and to maintain and be responsible for the records, books and dockets as heretofore. In judicial districts where the clerk of the orphans' court is not the register of wills, he shall continue to perform the duties of the office and to maintain and be responsible for the records, books and dockets as heretofore until otherwise provided by law.

THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

Courts and Judges

Section 16.

Until otherwise provided by law: (a) The court of common pleas shall consist of a trial division, orphans' court division and family court division.

(b) The judges of the court of common pleas shall become judges of the trial division of the court of common pleas provided for in this article and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(c) The judges of the county court shall become judges of the family court division of the court of common pleas and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(d) The judges of the orphans' court shall become judges of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(e) As designated by the Governor, twenty-two of the present magistrates shall become judges of the municipal court and six shall become judges of the traffic court, and their tenure shall not otherwise be affected.

(f) One of the judges of the court of common pleas shall be president judge and he shall be selected in the manner provided in section ten (d) of this article. He shall be the administrative head of the court and shall supervise the court's judicial business.

(g) Each division of the court of common pleas shall be presided over by an administrative judge, who shall be one of its judges and shall be elected for a term of five years by a majority vote of the judges of that division. He shall assist the president judge in supervising the judicial business of the court and shall be responsible to him. Subject to the foregoing, the judges of the court of common pleas shall prescribe rules defining the duties of the administrative judges. The president judge shall have the power to assign judges from each division to each other division of court when required to expedite the business of the court.

(h) Until all members of the municipal court are members of the bar of the Supreme Court, the president judge of the court of common pleas shall appoint one of the judges of the municipal court as president judge for a five-year term or at the pleasure of the president judge of the court of common pleas. The president judge of the municipal court shall be eligible to succeed himself as president judge for any number of terms and shall be the administrative head of that court and shall supervise the judicial business of the court. He shall promulgate all administrative rules and regulations and make all judicial assignments. The president judge of the court of common pleas may assign temporarily judges of the municipal court who are members of the bar of the Supreme Court to the court of common pleas when required to expedite the business of the court.

(i) The Governor shall appoint one of the judges of the traffic court as president judge for a term of five years or at the pleasure to the Governor. The president judge of the traffic court shall be eligible to succeed himself as president judge for any number of terms, shall be the executive and administrative head of the traffic court, and shall supervise the judicial business of the court, shall promulgate all administrative rules and regulations, and shall make all judicial assignments.

(j) The exercise of all supervisory and administrative powers detailed in this section sixteen shall be subject to the supervisory and administrative control of the Supreme Court.

(k) The prothonotary shall continue to exercise the duties of that office for the trial division of the court of common pleas and for the municipal court.

(l) The clerk of quarter sessions shall continue to exercise the duties of that office for the trial division of the court of common pleas and for the municipal court.

(m) That officer serving as clerk to the county court shall continue to exercise the duties of that office for the family division of the court of common pleas.

(n) The register of wills shall serve ex officio as clerk of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas.

(o) The court of common pleas shall have unlimited original jurisdiction in all cases except those cases assigned by this schedule to the municipal court and to the traffic court. The court of common pleas shall have all the jurisdiction now vested in the court of common pleas, the court of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, courts of quarter sessions of the peace, orphans' court, and county court. Jurisdiction in all of the foregoing cases shall be exercised through the trial division of the court of common pleas except in those cases which are assigned by this schedule to the orphans' court and family court divisions of the court of common pleas. The court of common pleas through the trial division shall also hear and determine appeals from the municipal court and traffic court.

(p) The court of common pleas through the orphans' court division shall exercise the jurisdiction heretofore exercised by the orphans' court.

(q) The court of common pleas through the family court division of the court of common pleas shall exercise jurisdiction in the following matters:

(i) Domestic Relations: desertion or nonsupport of wives, children and indigent parents, including children born out of wedlock; proceedings for custody of children; divorce and annulment and property matters relating thereto.

(ii) Juvenile Matters: dependent, delinquent and neglected children and children under eighteen years of age, suffering from epilepsy, nervous or mental defects, incorrigible, runaway and disorderly minors eighteen to twenty years of age and preliminary hears in criminal cases where the victim is a juvenile.

(iii) Adoptions and Delayed Birth Certificates

(r) The municipal court shall have jurisdiction in the following matters.

(i) Committing magistrates' jurisdiction in all criminal matters.

(ii) All summary offenses, except those under the motor vehicle laws.

(iii) All criminal offenses for which no prison term may be imposed or which are punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than two years, and indictable offenses under the motor vehicle laws for which no prison term may be imposed or punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than three years. In these cases, the defendant shall have no right of trial by jury in that court, but he shall have the right of appeal for trial de novo including the right to trial by jury to the trial division of the court of common pleas. Until there are a sufficient number of judges who are members of the bar of the Supreme Court serving in the municipal court to handle such matters, the trial division of the court of common pleas shall have concurrent jurisdiction over such matters, the assignment of cases to the respective courts to be determined by rule prescribed by the president judge of the court of common pleas.

(iv) Matters arising under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951.

(vi) As commissioners to preside at arraignments, fix and accept bail, issue warrants and perform duties of a similar nature. The grant of jurisdiction under clauses (iii) and (v) of this subsection may be exercised only by those judges who are members of the bar of the Supreme Court.

(t) the courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, quarter sessions of the peace, the county court, the orphans' court and the ten separate courts of common pleas are abolished and their jurisdiction and powers shall be exercised by the court of common pleas provided for in this article through the divisions established by this schedule.

(u) The office of magistrate, the board of magistrates and the present traffic court are abolished.

(v) Those judges appointed to the municipal court in accordance with subsection (e) of this section who are not members of the bar of the Supreme Court shall be eligible to complete their present terms and to be elected to and serve for one additional term, but not thereafter.

(w) The causes, proceedings, books, dockets and records of the abolished courts shall become those of the court or division thereof to which, under this schedule, jurisdiction of the proceedings or matters concerned has been transferred, and that court or division thereof shall determine and conclude such proceedings as if it had assumed jurisdiction in the first instance.

(x) The present president judges of the abolished courts and chief magistrate shall continue to receive the compensation to which they are now entitled as president judges and chief magistrate until the end of their present terms as president judges and chief magistrate respectively.

(y) The offices of prothonotary and register of wills in the City of Philadelphia shall no longer be considered constitutional offices under this article, but their powers and functions shall continue as at present until these offices are covered in the Home Rule Charter by a referendum in the manner provided by law.

(z) If a community court is established in the City of Philadelphia, a person serving as a judge of the municipal or traffic court at that time:

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (v) of this section, may complete his term exercising the jurisdiction provided by law and with the compensation provided by law; and

(ii) At the completion of his term, his office is abolished and no jurisdiction of the kind exercised by those officers immediately after the effective date of this article and schedule shall thereafter be exercises other than by the community court.


ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Courts

Section 17.

Until otherwise provided by law:

(a) The court of common pleas shall consist of a trial division, an orphans' court division and a family court division; the courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery and quarter sessions of the peace, the county court, the orphans' court, and the juvenile court are abolished and their present jurisdiction shall be exercised by the court of common pleas. Until otherwise provided by rule of the court of common pleas and, except as otherwise provided in this schedule,the court of common pleas shall exercise the jurisdiction of the present court of common pleas and the present county court through the trial division. Until otherwise provided by rule of the court of common pleas, the jurisdiction of the present orphans' court, except as otherwise provided in this schedule, shall be exercised by the court of common pleas through the orphans' court division.

(b) Until otherwise provided by rule of the court of common pleas, the court of common pleas shall exercise jurisdiction in the following matters through the family court division:

(i) Domestic Relations: Desertion or nonsupport or nonsupport of wives, children and indigent parents, including children born out of wedlock; proceedings, including habeas corpus, for custody of children; divorce and annulment and property matters relating thereto.

(ii) Juvenile Matters: All matters now within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

(iii) Adoptions and Delayed Birth Certificates.

Judges

Section 18.

Until otherwise provided by law, the present judges of the court of common pleas shall continue to act as the judges of that court; the present judges of the county court shall become judges of the court of common pleas; the present judges of the orphans' court shall become judges of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas; the present judges of the juvenile court shall become judges of the family court division of the court of common pleas.

President Judges

Section 19.

The present president judge of the court of common pleas may complete his term as president judge; the present president judge of the orphans' court shall be the president judge of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas for the remainder of his term as president judge, and the present president judge of the county court shall be the president judge of the family court division of the court of common pleas for the remainder of his term as president judge, all these without diminution of salary as president judge. The president judge of the trial division shall be selected pursuant to section twenty of this schedule.

President Judges; Court Division

Section 20.

Until otherwise provided by law, the trial division, the orphans' court division and the family court division of the court of common pleas shall each be presided over by a president judge, who shall be one of the judges of such division and shall be elected for a term of five years by a majority vote of the judges of that division. He shall assist the president judge of the court of common pleas in supervising the judicial business of the court and shall be responsible to him. Subject to the foregoing, the judges of the court of common pleas shall prescribe rules defining the duties of the president judges. The president judge of the court of common pleas shall have the power to assign judges from one division to another division of the court when required to expedite the business of the court. The exercise of these supervisory and administrative powers, however, shall be subject to the supervisory and administrative powers of the Supreme Court.

THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH

Inferior Courts

Section 21.

Upon the establishment of magisterial districts pursuant to this article and schedule, and unless otherwise provided by law, the police magistrates, including those serving in the traffic court, the housing court and the city court shall continue as at present. Such magistrates shall be part of the unified judicial system and shall be subject to the general supervisory and administrative authority of the Supreme Court. Such magistrates shall be subject to the provisions of this article and schedule regarding educational requirements and prohibited activities of justices of the peace.

CAUSES, PROCEEDINGS, BOOKS AND RECORDS

Causes, Proceedings, Books and Records

Section 22.

All causes and proceedings pending in any abolished court or office of the justice of the peace shall be determined and concluded by the court to which jurisdiction of the proceedings has been transferred under this schedule and all books, dockets and records of any abolished court or office of the justice of the peace shall become those of the court to which, under this schedule, jurisdiction of the proceedings concerned has been transferred.

COMMISSION AND BOARD

Judicial Qualifications Commission

Section 23.

The selection of the first members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission provided for in section fourteen (a) of this article shall be made as follows: The Governor shall appoint the four non-lawyer members for terms of, respectively, one year, three years, five years and seven years, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party. The Supreme Court shall appoint the three non-judge members of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for terms, respectively, of two years, four years and six years, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party.

Judicial Inquiry and Review Board

Section 24.

The selection of the first members of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board shall be made as follows: one judge of the Superior Court, one non-judge member of the bar of the Supreme Court, and one non-lawyer member shall be selected for two-year terms; one judge of the Superior Court, one non-judge member of the bar of the Supreme Court, and one non-lawyer member shall be selected for four years terms; one judge of the court of common pleas shall be selected for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, and one for a term of four years.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Dispensing with Trial by Jury

Section 25.

Until otherwise provided by law, the parties, by agreement filed, may in any civil case dispense with trial by jury, and submit the decision of such case to the court having jurisdiction thereof, and such court shall hear and determine the same; and the judgment thereon shall be subject to writ of error as in other cases.

Writs of Certiorari

Section 26.

Unless and until changed by rule of the Supreme Court, in addition to the right of appear under section nine of this article, the judges of the courts of common pleas, within their respective judicial districts, shall have power to issue writs of certiorari to the municipal court in the City of Philadelphia, justices of the peace and inferior courts not of record and to cause their proceedings to be brought before them, and right and justice to be done.

Judicial Districts

Section 27.

Until changed in accordance with section eleven of this article, the number and boundaries of judicial districts shall remain as at present.

Referendum

Section 28.

The officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall have supervision over elections shall cause the question provided for in section thirteen (d) of this article to be placed on the ballot in the 1969 primary election throughout the Commonwealth.

Persons Specially Admitted by Local Rules

Section 29.

Any person now specially admitted to practice may continue to practice in the court of common pleas or in that division of the court of common pleas and the municipal court in the City of Philadelphia which substantially includes the practice for which such person was previously specially admitted.

Article VI

PUBLIC OFFICERS

Section of Officers Not Otherwise Provided for in Constitution

Section 1.

All officers, whose selection is not provided for in this

Constitution, shall be elected or appointed as may be directed by law.

Incompatible Offices

Section 2.

No member of Congress from this State, nor any person holding or exercising any office or appointment of trust or profit under the United States, shall at the same time hold or exercise any office in this State to which a salary, fees or perquisites shall be attached.

The General Assembly may be law declare what offices are incompatible.

Oath of Office

Section 3.

Senators, Representatives and all judicial, State and county officers shall, before entering on the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation before a person authorized to administer oaths. "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity." The oath or affirmation shall be administered to a member of the Senate or to a member of the House of Representatives in the hall of the House to which he shall have been elected. Any person refusing to take the oath or affirmation shall forfeit his office.

Power of Impeachment

Section 4.

The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment.

Trial of Impeachments

Section 5.

All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate. When sitting for that purpose the Senators shall be upon oath or affirmation. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.

Officers Liable to Impeachment

Section 6.

The Governor and all other civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for any misbehavior in office, but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of trust or profit under this Commonwealth. The person accused, whether convicted or acquitted, shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.

Removal of Civil Officers

Section 7.

All civil officers shall hold their offices on the condition that they behave themselves well while in office, and shall be removed on conviction of misbehavior in office or of any infamous crime. Appointed civil officers, other than judges of the courts of record, may be removed at the pleasure of the power by which they shall have been appointed. All civil officers elected by the people, except the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, members of the General Assembly and judges of the courts of record, shall be removed by the Governor for reasonable cause, after due notice and full hearing, on the address of two-thirds of the Senate.


Article VII

ELECTIONS

Qualifications of Electors

Section 1.

Every citizen 21 years of age, possessing the following qualifications, shall be entitled to vote at all elections subject, however, to such laws requiring and regulating the registration of electors as the General Assembly may enact. 1. He or she shall have been a citizen of the United States at least one month. 2. He or she shall have resided in the State ninety (90) days immediately preceding the election. 3. He or she shall have resided in the election district where he or she shall offer to vote at least sixty (60) days immediately preceding the election, except that if qualified to vote in an election district prior to removal of residence, he or she may, if a resident of Pennsylvania, vote in the election district from which he or she removed his or her residence within sixty (60) days preceding the election.

General Election Day

Section 2.

The general election shall be held biennially on the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November in each even- numbered year, but the General Assembly may be law fix a different day, two-thirds of all the members of each House consenting thereto: Provided, that such election shall always be held in an even-numbered year.

Municipal Election Day; Offices to Be Filled on Election Days

Section 3.

All judged elected by the electors of the State at large may be elected at either a general or municipal election, as circumstances may require. All elections for judges of the courts for the several judicial districts, and for county, city, ward, borough, and township officers, for regular terms of service, shall be held on the municipal election day; namely, the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November in each odd-numbered year, but the General Assembly may by law fix a different day, two-thirds of all the members of each House consenting thereto: Provided, That such elections shall be held in an odd-numbered year: Provided further, That all judges for the courts of the several judicial districts holding office at the present time, whose terms of office may end in an odd-numbered year, shall continue to hold their offices until the first Monday of January in the next succeeding even-numbered year.

Method of Elections; Secrecy in Voting

Section 4.

All elections by the citizens shall be by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law; Provided, That secrecy in voting be preserved.

Electors Privileged from Arrest

Section 5.

Electors shall in all cases except treason, felony and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections and in going to and returning therefrom.

Election and Registration Laws

Section 6.

All laws regulating the holding of elections by the citizens, or for the registration of electors, shall be uniform throughout the State, except that laws regulating and requiring the registration of electors may be enacted to apply to cities only, provided that such laws be uniform for cities of the same class, and except further, that the General Assembly shall by general law, permit the use of voting machines, or other mechanical devices for registering or recording and computing the vote, at all elections or primaries, in any county, city, borough, incorporated town or township of the Commonwealth, at the option of the electors of such county, city, borough, incorporated town or township, without being obliged to require the use of such voting machines or mechanical devices in any other county, city, borough, incorporated town or township, under such regulations with reference thereto as the General Assembly may from time to time prescribe. The General Assembly may, from time to time, prescribe the number and duties of election officers in any political subdivision of the Commonwealth in which voting machines or other mechanical devices authorized by this section may be used.

Bribery of Electors

Section 7.

Any person who shall give, or promise or offer to give, to an elector, any money, reward or other valuable consideration for his vote at an election, or for withholding the same, or who shall give or promise to give such consideration to any other person or party for such elector's vote for the withholding thereof, and any elector who shall receive or agree to receive, for himself or for another, any money, reward or other valuable consideration for his vote at an election, or for withholding the same, shall thereby forfeit the right to vote at such election, and any elector whose right to vote shall be challenged for such cause before the election officers, shall be required to swear or affirm that the matter of the challenge is untrue before his vote shall be received.

Witnesses in Contested Elections

Section 8.

In trials of contested elections and in proceedings for the investigation of elections, no person shall be permitted to withhold his testimony upon the ground that it may criminate himself or subject him to public infamy; but such testimony shall not afterwards be used against him in any judicial proceedings except for perjury in giving such testimony.

Fixing Election Districts

Section 9.

Townships and wards of cities or boroughs shall form or be divided into election districts of compact and contiguous territory and their boundaries fixed and changed in such manner as may be provided by law.

Viva Voce Elections

Section 10.

All elections by persons in a representative capacity shall be viva voce or by automatic recording device publicly indicating how each person voted.

Election Officers

Section 11.

District election boards shall consist of a judge and two inspectors, who shall be chosen at municipal elections for such terms as may be provided by law. Each elector shall have the right to vote for the judge and one inspector, and each inspector shall appoint one clerk. The first election board for any new district shall be selected, and vacancies in election boards filled, as shall be provided by law. Election officers shall be privileged from arrest upon days of election, and while engaged in making up and transmitting returns, except upon warrant of a court of record or judge thereof, for an election fraud, for felony, or for wanton breach of the peace. In cities they may claim exemption from jury during their terms of service.

Disqualifications for Service as Election Officer

Section 12.

No person shall be qualified to serve as an election officer who shall hold, or shall within two months have held any office, appointment or employment in or under the government of the United States, or of this State, or of any city, or county, or of any municipal board, commission or trust in any city, save only notaries public and persons in the National Guard or in a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States; nor shall any election officer be eligible to any civil office to be filled at an election at which he shall serve, save only to such subordinate municipal or local offices, below the grade of city or county offices, as shall be designated by general law.

Contested Elections

Section 13.

The trial and determination of contested elections of electors of President and Vice-President, members of the General Assembly, and of all public officers, whether State, judicial, municipal or local, and contests involving questions submitted to the electors at any election shall be by the courts of law, or by one or more of the law judges thereof. The General Assembly shall, by general law, designate the courts and judges by whom the several classes of election contests shall be tried and regulate the manner of trial and all matters incident thereto; but no such law assigning jurisdiction, or regulating its exercise, shall apply to any contest arising out of an election held before its passage.

Absentee Voting

Section 14.

The Legislature shall, by general law, provide a manner in which, and the time and place at which, qualified electors who may, on the occurrence of any election, be absent from the State or county of their residence, because their duties, occupation or business require them to be elsewhere or who, on the occurrence of any election, are unable to attend at their proper polling places because of illness or physical disability or who will not attend a polling place because of the observance of a religious holiday or who cannot vote because of election day duties, in the case of a county employee, may vote, and for the return and canvass of their votes in the election district in which they respectively reside.

Article VIII

TAXATION AND FINANCE

Uniformity of Taxation

Section 1.

All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected under general laws.

Exemptions and Special Provisions

Section 2.

(a) The General Assembly may by law exempt from taxation:

(i) Actual places of regularly states religious worship:

(ii) Actual places of burial, when used or held by a person or organization deriving no private or corporate profit therefrom and no substantial part of whose activity consists of selling personal property in connection therewith;

(iii) That portion of public property which is actually and regularly used for public purposes;

(iv) That portion of the property owned and occupied by any branch, post or camp of honorably discharged servicemen or servicewomen which is actually and regularly used for benevolent, charitable or patriotic purposes; and

(v) Institutions of purely public charity, but in the case of any real property tax exemptions only that portion of real property of such institution which is actually and regularly used for the purposes of the institution.

(b) The General Assembly may, by law:

(i) Establish standards and qualifications for private forest reserves, agriculture reserves, and land actively devoted to agriculture use, and make special provision for the taxation thereof;

(ii) Establish as a class or classes of subjects of taxation the property or privileges of persons who, because of age, disability, infirmity or poverty are determined to be in need of tax exemption or of special tax provisions, and for any such class or classes and standards and qualifications,and except as herein provided may impose taxes, grant exemptions, or make special tax provisions in accordance therewith. No exemption or special provision shall be made under this clause with respect to taxes upon the sale or use of personal property, and no exemption from any tax upon real property shall be granted by the General Assembly under this clause unless the General Assembly shall provide for the reimbursement of local taxing authorities by or through the Commonwealth for revenue losses occasioned by such exemption;

(iii) Establish standards and qualifications by which local taxing authorities may make uniform special tax provisions applicable to a taxpayer for a limited period of time to encourage improvement of deteriorating property or areas by an individual, association or corporation, or to encourage industrial development by a non- profit corporation; and

(iv) Make special tax provisions on any increase in value of real estate resulting from residential construction. Such special tax provisions shall be applicable for a period not to exceed two years.

(v) Establish standards and qualifications by which local taxing authorities in counties of the first and second class make uniform special real property tax provisions applicable to taxpayers who are long-time owner-occupants as shall be defined by the General Assembly of residences in areas where real property values have risen markedly as a consequence of the refurbishing or renovating of other deteriorating residences or the construction of new residences.

(c) Citizens and residents of this Commonwealth, who served in any war or armed conflict in which the United States was engaged and were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service, shall be exempt from the payment of all real property taxes upon the residence occupied by the said citizens and residents of this Commonwealth imposed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any of its political subdivisions if, as a result of military service, they are blind, paraplegic or double or quadruple amputees or have a service-connected disability declared by the United States Veterans' Administration or its successor to be a total or 100% permanent disability, and if the State Veterans' Commission determines that such persons are in need of the tax exemptions granted herein. This exemption shall be extended to the unmarried surviving spouse upon the death of an eligible veteran provided that the State Veterans' Commission determines that such person is in need of the exemption.


Reciprocal Exemptions

Section 3.

Taxation laws may grant exemptions or rebates to residents, or estates of residents, of other States which grant similar exemptions or rebates to residents, or estates of residents, of Philadelphia.

Public Utilities

Section 4.

The real property of public utilities is subject to real estate taxes imposed by local taxing authorities. Payment to the Commonwealth of gross receipts taxes or other special taxes in replacement of gross receipts taxes by a public utility and the distribution by the Commonwealth to the local taxing authorities of the amount as herein provided shall, however, be in lieu of local taxes upon its real property which is used or useful in furnishing its public utility service. The amount raised annually by such gross receipts or other special taxes shall not be less than the gross amount of real estate taxes which the local taxing authorities could have imposed upon such real property but for the exemption herein provided. This gross amount shall be determined in the manner provided by law. An amount equivalent to such real estate taxes shall be distributed annually among all local taxing authorities in the proportion which the total tax receipts of each local taxing authority bear to the total tax receipts of all local taxing authorities, or in such other equitable proportions as may be provided by law. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any law which presently subjects real property of public utilities to local real estate taxation by local taxing authorities shall remain in full force and effect.

Exemption from Taxation Restricted

Section 5.

All laws exempting property from taxation, other than the property above enumerated, shall be void.

Taxation of Corporations

Section 6.

The power to tax corporations and corporate property shall not be surrendered or suspended by any contract or grant to which the Commonwealth shall be a party.

Commonwealth Indebtedness

Section 7.

(a) No debt shall be incurred by or on behalf of the Commonwealth except by law and in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(1) Debt may be incurred without limit to suppress insurrection, rehabilitate areas affected by man-made or natural disaster, or to implement unissued authority approved by the electors prior to the adoption of this article.

(2) The Governor, State Treasurer and Auditor General, acting jointly, may

(i) issue tax anticipation notes having a maturity within the fiscal year of issue and payable exclusively from revenues received in the same fiscal year, and (ii) incur debt for the purpose of refunding other debt, if such refunding debt matures within the term of the original debt.

(3) Debt may be incurred without limit for purposes specifically itemized in the law authorizing such debt, if the question whether the debt shall be incurred has been submitted to the electors and approved by a majority of those voting on the question.

(4) Debt may be incurred without the approval of the electors for capital projects specifically itemized in a capital budget, if such debt will not cause the amount of all net debt outstanding to exceed one and three-quarters times the average of the annual tax revenues deposited in the previous five fiscal years as certified by the Auditor General. For the purposes of this subsection, debt outstanding shall not include debt incurred under clauses (1) and (2) (i), or debt incurred under clause (2) (ii) if the original debt would not be so considered, or debt incurred under subsection (3) unless the General Assembly shall so provide in the law authorizing such debt.

(b) All debt incurred for capital projects shall mature within a period not to exceed the estimated useful life of the projects as stated in the authorizing law, and when so stated shall be conclusive. All debt, except indebtedness permitted by clause (2) (i), shall be amortized in substantial and regular amounts, the first of which shall be due prior to the expiration of a period equal to one-tenth the term of the debt.

(c) As used in this section, debt shall mean the issued and outstanding obligations of the Commonwealth and shall include obligations of its agencies or authorities to the extent they are to be repaid from lease rentals or other charges payable directly or indirectly from revenues of the Commonwealth. debts shall not include either (1) that portion of obligations to be repaid from charges made to the public for the use of the capital projects financed, as determined by the Auditor General, or (2) obligations to be repaid from lease rentals or other charges payable by a school district or other local taxing authority, (3) obligations to be repaid by agencies or authorities created for the joint benefit of the Commonwealth and one or more other State governments.

(d) If sufficient funds are not appropriated for the timely payment of the interest upon and installments of principal of all debt, the State Treasurer shall set apart from the first revenues thereafter received applicable to the appropriate fund a sum sufficient to pay such interest and installments of principal, and shall so apply the money so set apart. The State Treasurer may be required to set aside and apply such revenues at the suit of any holder of Commonwealth obligations.

Commonwealth Credit Not to Be Pledged

Section 8.

The credit of the Commonwealth shall not be pledged or loaned to any individual, company, corporation or association nor shall the Commonwealth become a joint owner or stockholder in any company, corporation or association.

Municipal Debt Not to be Assumed by Commonwealth

Section 9.

The Commonwealth shall not assume the debt,or any part thereof, of any county, city,borough, incorporated town, township or any similar general purpose unit of government unless such debt shall have been incurred to enable the Commonwealth to suppress insurrection or to assist the Commonwealth in the discharge of any portion of its present indebtedness.

Audit

Section 10.

The financial affairs of any entity funded or financially aided by the Commonwealth, and all departments, boards, commissions, agencies, instrumentalities, authorities and institutions of the Commonwealth, shall be subject to audits made in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. Any Commonwealth officer whose approval is necessary for any transaction relative to the financial affairs of the Commonwealth shall not be charged with the function of auditing that transaction after its occurrence.

Gasoline Taxes and Motor License Fees Restricted

Section 11.

(a) All proceeds from gasoline and other motor fuel excise taxes, motor vehicle registration fees and license taxes, operators' license fees and other excise taxes imposed on products used in motor transportation after providing therefrom for (a) cost of administration and collection, (b) payment of obligations incurred in the construction and reconstruction of public highways and bridges shall be appropriated by the General Assembly to agencies of the State or political subdivisions thereof; and used solely for construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of and safety on public highways and bridges and costs and expenses incident thereto, and for the payment of obligations incurred for such purposes, and shall not be diverted by transfer or otherwise to any other purpose, except that loans may be made by the State from the proceeds of such taxes and fees for a single period not exceeding eight months, but no such loan shall be made within the period of one year from any preceding loan, and every loan made in any fiscal year shall be repayable within one month after the beginning of the next fiscal year.

(b) All proceeds from aviation fuel excise taxes, after providing therefrom for the cost of administration and collection, shall be appropriated by the General Assembly to agencies of the State or political subdivisions thereof and used solely for: the purchase, construction, reconstruction, operation and maintenance of airports and other air navigation facilities; aircraft accident investigation; the operation, maintenance and other costs of aircraft owned or leased by the Commonwealth; any other purpose reasonable related to air navigation including but not limited to the reimbursement of airport property owners for property tax expenditures; and costs and expenses incident thereto and for the payment of obligations incurred for such purposes, and shall not be diverted by transfer or otherwise to any other purpose.

Governor's Budgets and Financial Plan

Section 12.

Annually, at the times set by law, the Governor shall submit to the General Assembly:

(a) A balanced operating budget for the ensuing fiscal year setting forth in detail (i) proposed expenditures classified by department or agency and by program and (ii) estimated revenues from all sources. If estimated revenues and available surplus are less than proposed expenditures, the Governor shall recommend specific additional sources of revenue sufficient to pay the deficiency and the estimated revenue to be derived from each source;

(b) A capital budget for the ensuing fiscal year setting forth in detail proposed expenditures to be financed from the proceeds of obligations of the Commonwealth or of its agencies or authorities or from operating funds; and

(c) A financial plan for not less than the next succeeding five fiscal years, which plan shall include for each such fiscal year:

(i) Projected operating expenditures classified by department or agency and by program, in reasonable detail, and estimated revenues, by major categories, from existing and additional sources, and

(ii) Projected expenditures for capital projects specifically itemized by purpose, and the proposed sources of financing each.

Appropriations

Section 13.

(a) Operating budget appropriations made by the General Assembly shall not exceed the actual and estimated revenues and surplus available in the same fiscal year.

(b) The General Assembly shall adopt a capital budget for the ensuing fiscal year.

Surplus

Section 14.

All surplus of operating funds at the end of the fiscal year shall be appropriated during the ensuing fiscal year by the General

Assembly.

Project "70"

Section 15.

In addition to the purposes stated in Article VIII, section seven of this Constitution, the Commonwealth may be authorized by law to create debt and to issue bonds to the amount of $70,000,000 for the acquisition of land for State parks, reservoirs and other conservation and recreation and historical preservation purposes, and for participation by the Commonwealth with political subdivisions in the acquisition of land for parks, reservoirs and other conservation and recreation and historical preservation purposes, subject to such conditions and limitations as the General Assembly may prescribe.

Land and Water Conservation and Reclamation Fund

Section 16.

In addition to the purposed stated in Article VIII, section seven of this Constitution, the Commonwealth may be authorized by law to create a debt and issue bonds in the amount of $500,000,000 for a Land and Water Conservation and reclamation Fund to be used for the conservation and reclamation of land and water resources of the Commonwealth, including the elimination of acid mine drainage, sewage, and other pollution from the streams of the Commonwealth, the provision of State financial assistance to political subdivisions and municipal authorities of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the construction of sewage treatment plants,t he restoration of abandoned strip-mined areas, the control and extinguishment of surface and underground mine fires, the alleviation and prevention of subsidence resulting from mining operations, and the acquisition of additional lands and the reclamation and development of part and recreational lands acquired pursuant to the authority of Article VII, section 15 of this Constitution, subject to such conditions and liabilities as the General Assembly may prescribe.

Special Emergency Legislation

Section 17.

(a) Notwithstanding any provisions of this Constitution to the contrary, the General Assembly shall have the authority to enact laws providing for tax rebates, credits exemptions, grants-in-aid, State supplementations, or otherwise provide special provisions for individuals, corporations, associations or nonprofit institutions, including nonpublic schools (whether sectarian or nonsectarian) in order to alleviate the danger, damage, suffering or hardship faced by such individuals, corporations, associations, institutions or nonpublic schools as a result of Great Storms or Floods of September 1971, of June 1972, or of 1974, or of 1975 or of 1976.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of Article III, section 29 subsequent to a Presidential declaration of an emergency or of a major disaster in any part of this Commonwealth, the General Assembly shall have the authority by a vote of two-thirds of all members elected to each House to make appropriations limited to moneys required for Federal emergency or major disaster relief. This subsection may apply retroactively to any Presidential declaration of an emergency or of a major disaster in 1976 or 1977.

Article IX

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local Government

Section 1.

The General Assembly shall provide by general law for local government within the Commonwealth. Such general law shall be uniform as to all classes of local government regarding procedural matters.

Home Rule

Section 2.

Municipalities shall have the right and power to frame and adopt home rule charters. Adoption, amendment or repeal of a home rule charter shall be by referendum. The General Assembly shall provide the procedure by which a home rule charter may be framed and its adoption, amendment or repeal presented to these electors. If the General Assembly does not so provide, a home rule charter or a procedure for framing and presenting a home rule charter may presented to the electors by initiative or by the governing body of the municipality. A municipality which has a home rule charter may exercise any power or perform any function not denied by this Constitution, by its home rule charter or by the General Assembly at any time.

Optional Plans

Section 3.

Municipalities shall have the right and power to adopt optional forms of government as provided by law. The General Assembly shall provide optional forms of government for all municipalities. An optional form of government shall be presented to the electors by initiative, by the governing body of the municipality, or by the General Assembly. Adoption or repeal of an optional form of government shall be by referendum.

County Government

Section 4.

County officers shall consist of commissioners, controllers, or auditors, district attorneys, public defenders, treasurers, sheriffs, registers of wills, recorders of deeds, prothonotaries, clerks of the courts, and such others as may from time to time be provided by law. County officers, except for public defenders who shall be appointed as shall be provided by law, shall be elected at the municipal elections and shall hold their offices for the term of four years, beginning on the first Monday of January next after their election, and until their successors shall be duly qualified; all vacancies shall be filled in such a manner as may be provided by law. County officers shall be paid only by salary as provided by law for services performed for the county or any other governmental unit. Fees incidental to the conduct of any county office shall be payable directly to the county or the Commonwealth, or as otherwise provided by law. Three county commissioners shall be elected in each county. In the election of these officers each qualified elector shall vote for no more than two persons, and the three persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. Provisions for county government in this section shall apply to every county except a county which has adopted a home rule charter or an optional form of government. One of the optional forms of county government provided by law shall include the provisions of this section.

Intergovernmental Cooperation

Section 5.

A municipality by act of its governing body may, or upon being required by initiative and referendum in the area affected shall, cooperate or agree in the exercise of any function, power or responsibility with, or delegate or transfer any function, power or responsibility to, one or more other governmental unit including other municipalities or districts, the Federal government, any other state or its governmental units, or any newly created governmental unit.

Area Government

Section 6.

The General Assembly shall provide for the establishment and dissolution of government of areas involving two or more municipalities or parts thereof.

Area-wide Powers

Section 7.

The General Assembly may grant powers to area governments or to municipalities within a given geographical area in which there exists intergovernmental cooperation or area government and designate the classes of municipalities subject to such legislation.

Consolidation, Merger or Boundary Change

Section 8.

Uniform Legislation. -- The General Assembly shall, within two years following the adoption of this article, enact uniform legislation establishing the procedure for consolidation, merger or change of the boundaries of municipalities. Initiative. -- The electors of any municipality shall have the right, by initiative and referendum, to consolidate, merge and change boundaries by a majority vote of those voting thereon in each municipality, without the approval of any governing body. Study. -- The General Assembly shall designate an agency of the Commonwealth to study consolidation, merger and boundary changes, advise municipalities on all problems which might be connected therewith, and initiate local referendum. Legislative Power. -- Nothing herein shall prohibit or prevent the General Assembly from providing additional methods for consolidation, merger or change of boundaries.

Appropriation for Public Purposes

Section 9.

The General Assembly shall not authorize any municipality or incorporated district to become a stockholder in any company, association or corporation, or to obtain or appropriate money for, or to loan its credit to, any corporation, association, institution or individual. The General Assembly may provide standards by which municipalities or school districts may give financial assistance or lease property to public service, industrial or commercial enterprises if it shall find that such assistance or leasing is necessary to the health, safety or welfare of the Commonwealth or any municipality or school district. Existing authority of any municipality or incorporated district to obtain or appropriate money for, or to loan its credit to, any corporation, association, institution or individual, is preserved.

Local Government Debt

Section 10.

Subject only to the restrictions imposed by this section, the General Assembly shall prescribe the debt limits of all units of local government including municipalities and school districts. For such purposes, the debt limit base shall be a percentage of the total revenue, as defined by the General Assembly, of the unit of local government computed over a specific period immediately preceding the year of borrowing. The debt limit to be prescribed in every such case shall exclude all indebtedness (1) for any project to the extent that it is self-liquidating or self-supporting or which has heretofore been defined as self- liquidating or self-supporting, or (2) which has been approved by referendum held in such manner sa shall be provided by law. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to the City or County of Philadelphia. Any unit of local government, including municipalities and school districts, incurring any indebtedness, shall at or before the time of so doing adopt a covenant, which shall be binding upon it so long as any such indebtedness shall remain unpaid, to make payments out of its sinking fund or any other of its revenues or funds at such time and in such annual amounts specified in such covenant as shall be sufficient for the payment of the interest thereon and the principal thereof when due.

Local Reapportionment

Section 11.

Within the year following that in which the Federal decennial census is officially reported as required by Federal law, and at such other times as the governing body of any municipality shall deem necessary, each municipality having a governing body not entirely elected at large shall be reapportioned, by its governing body or as shall otherwise be provided by uniform law, into districts which shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable, for the purpose of describing the districts for those not elected at large.

Philadelphia Debt

Section 12

.

The debt of the City of Philadelphia may be increased in such amount that the total debt of said city shall not exceed thirteen and one-half percent of the average of the annual assessed valuations of the taxable realty therein, during the ten years immediately preceding the year in which such increase is made, but said city shall not increase its indebtedness to an amount exceeding three percent upon such average assessed valuation of realty, without the consent of the electors thereof at a public election held in such manner as shall be provided by law. In ascertaining the debt-incurring capacity of the City of Philadelphia at any time, there shall be deducted from the debt of said city so much of such debt as shall have been incurred, or is about to be incurred, and the proceeds thereof expended, or about to be expended, upon any public improvement, or in construction, purchase or condemnation of any public utility, or part thereof, or facility therefor, if such public improvement or public utility, or part thereof, or facility therefor, may reasonable be expected to yield revenue in excess of operating expenses sufficient to pay the interest and sinking fund charges thereon. The method of determining such amount, so to be deducted, shall be as now prescribed, or which may hereafter be prescribed by law. In incurring indebtedness for any purpose the City of Philadelphia may issue its obligations maturing not later than fifty years from the date thereof, with provision for a sinking fund to be in equal or graded annual or other periodical installments. Where any indebtedness shall be or shall have been incurred by said City of Philadelphia for the purpose of the construction or improvement of public works or utilities of any character, from which income or revenue is to be derived by said city, or for the reclamation of land to be used in the construction of wharves or docks owned or to be owned by said city, such obligations may be in an amount sufficient to provide for, and may include the amount of the interest and sinking fund charges accruing and which may accrue thereon throughout the period of construction, and until the expiration of one year after the completion of the work for which said indebtedness shall have been incurred. No debt shall be incurred by, or on behalf of, the County of Philadelphia.

Abolition of County Offices in Philadelphia

Section 13.

(a) In Philadelphia all county offices are hereby abolished, and the city shall henceforth perform all functions of county government within its area through officers selected in such manner as may be provided by law.

(b) Local and special laws, regulating the affairs of the City of Philadelphia and creating offices or prescribing the powers and duties of officers of the City of Philadelphia, shall be valid notwithstanding the provisions of section thirty-two of Article III of this Constitution.

(c) All laws applicable to the County of Philadelphia shall apply to the City of Philadelphia.

(d) The City of Philadelphia shall have, assume and take over all powers, property, obligations and indebtedness of the County of Philadelphia.

(e) The provisions of section two of this article shall apply with full force and effect to the functions of the county government hereafter to be performed by the city government.

(f) Upon adoption of this amendment all county officers shall become officers of the City of Philadelphia, and until the General Assembly shall otherwise provide, shall continue to perform their duties and be elected, appointed, compensated and organized in such manner as may be provided by the provisions of this Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth in effect at the time this amendment becomes effective, but such officers serving when this amendment becomes effective shall be permitted to complete their terms.

Definitions

Section 14.

As used in this article, the following words shall have the following meanings:

"Municipality" means a county, city, borough, incorporated town, township or any similar general purpose unit of government which shall hereafter be created by the General Assembly. "Initiative" means the filing with the applicable election officials at least ninety days prior to the next primary or general election of a petition containing a proposal for referendum signed by electors comprising five percent of the number of electors voting for the office of Governor in the last gubernatorial general election in each municipality or area affected. The applicable election official shall place the proposal on the ballot in a manner fairly representing the content of the petition for decision by referendum at said election. Initiative on a similar question shall not be submitted more than once in five years. No enabling law shall be required for initiative. "Referendum" means approval of a question placed on the ballot, by initiative or otherwise, by a majority vote of the electors voting thereon.

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