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27. Each county shall be laid off into districts, not less than three por more than ten in number, and as nearly equal as may be in territory and population. There shall be elected in each district containing a population not exceeding twelve hundred, one justice of the peace, and if the population exceeds that number, two such justices shall be elected therein. Every justice shall reside in the district for which he was elected and hold his office for the term of four years, unless sooner removed in the manner prescribed by law. The districts as they now exist shall remain till changed by the county court.
28. The civil jurisdiction of a justice of the peace shall extend to actions of assumpsit, debt, detinue and trover, if the amount claimed, exclusive of interest, does not exceed three hundred dollars. The jurisdiction of justices of the peace shall extend throughout their county ; they shall be conservators of the peace and have such jurisdiction and powers in criminal cases as may be prescribed by law. And justices of the peace shall have authority to take the acknowledgment of deeds and other writings, administer oaths, and take and certify depositions. And the legislature may give to justices such additional civil jurisdiction and powers within their respective counties as may be deemed expedient, under such regulations and restrictions as may be prescribed by general law, except that in suits to recover money or damages their jurisdiction and powers shall in no case exceed three hundred dollars. Appeals stall be allowed from judgments of justices of the peace in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
29. The legislature shall, upon the application of any county, reform, alter or modify the county court established by this article in such county, and in lieu thereof, with the assent of a majority of the voters of such county voting at an election, create another tribunal for the transaction of the business required to be performed by the county court created by this article ; and in such case all the provisions of this article in relation to the county court shall be applicable to the tribunal established in lieu of said court. And when such tribunal has been established it shall continue to act in lieu of the county court until otherwise provided by law.
30. The office of commissioner and justice of the peace shall be deemed incompatible. Vacancies in the office of commissioner, clerk of the county court and justices of the peace shall be filled by the county court of the county until the next general election.
1. The voters of cach ceunty shall elect a Surveyor of Lands, a Prosecuting Attorney, a Sheriff, and one and not more than two Assessors, who shall hold their respective offices for the term of four Fears.
2. There shall also be elected in each district of the county, by the voters thereof, one constable, and if the population of any district shall exceed twelve hundred, an additional constable, whose term of office shall be four years, and whose powers as such shall extend throughout their county. The assessor shall, with the advice and consent of the county court, have the power to appoint one or more assistants. Coronors, overseers of the poor
surveyors of roads shall be appointed by the county court. The foregoing officers, except the prosecuting attorneys, shall reside in the county and district for which they shall be respectively elected.
3. The same person shall not be elected sheriff for two consecutive full terms; nor shall any person who acted as his deputy be elected successor to such sheriff, nor shall any sheriff act as deputy of his successor; nor shall he, during his term of service, or within one year thereafter, be eligible to any other office. The retiring sherift shall finish all business remaining in his hands, at the expiration of his term ; for which purpose his commission and official bond shall remain in force. The duties of the office of sheriff shall be performed by him in person, or under his superintendence.
4. The presidents of the county courts, the justices of the peace, sheriffs, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of the circuit and of the county courts, and all other county officers shall be subject to indictment for malfeasance, misfeasance, or neglect of official duty and upon conviction thereof their offices shall become vacant.
5. The legislature shall provide for commissioning such of the officers herein mentioned, as it may deem proper, not provided for in this constitution, and may require any class of them to give bond with security for the faithful discharge of the duties of their respective offices,
6. It shall further provide for the compensation, the duties and responsibilities of such officers, and may provide for the appointment of their deputies and assistants by general laws.
7. The president of the county court and every justice and constable shall be a conservator of the peace throughout his county:
8. No new county shall hereafter be formed in this State with an area of less than four hundred square miles; nor with a population of less than six thousand ; nor shall any county, from which a new county, or part thereof shall be taken, be reduced in area below four hundred square miles, nor in population below six thousand. Vor shall any new county be formed without the consent of a majority of the voters residing within the boundaries of the proposed new county, and voting on the question.
TAXATION AND FINANCE.
1. Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State, and all property, both real and personal, shall be taxed in proportion to
its value, to be ascertained as directed by law. No one species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value ; but property used for educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes; all cemeteries and public property may, by law, be exempted from taxation. The Legislature shall have power to tax by uniform and equal laws, all privileges and franchises of persons and corporations.
2. The Legislature shall levy an annual capitation tax of one dollar upon each male inhabitant of the State who has attained the age of twenty-one years, which shall be annually appropriated to the support of free schools. Persons afflicted with bodily infirmity may be exempted from this tax.
3. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in pursuance of an appropriation made by law, and on a warrant issued thereon by the Auditor; nor shall any money or fund be taken for any other purpose than that for which it has been or may be appropriated, or provided. A complete and detailed statement of the receipts and expenditures of the public moneys, shall be published annually.
4. No debt shall be contracted by this State, except to meet casual deficits in the revenue, to redeem a previous liability of the State, to suppress insurrection, repel invasion or defend the State in time of war; but the payment af any liability other than that for the ordinary expenses of the State, shall be equally distributed over a period of at least twenty years.
5. The power of taxation of the Legislature shall extend to provisions for the payment of the State debt, and interest thereon, the support of Free Schools, and the payment of the annual estimated expenses of the State ; but whenever any deficiency in the revenue shall exist in any year, it shall, at the regular session thereof held next after the deficiency occurs, levy a tax for the ensuing year, sufficient, with the other sources of income, to meet such deficiency, as well as the estimated expenses of such year.
6. The credit of the State shall not be granted to, or in aid of any county, city, township, corporation or person; nor shall the State ever assume, or become responsible for the debts or liabilities of any county, city, town, township, corporation or person; nor shall the State ever hereafter become a joint owner, or stockholder in any company or association in this State or elswhere, formed for any purpose whatever.
7. County authorities shall never assess taxes, in any one year, the aggregate of which shall exceed ninety-five cents per one hundred dollars valuation, except for the support of Free Schools; payment of indebtedness existing at the time of the adoption of this Constitution; and for the payment of any indebtedness with the interest thereon, created under the succeeding section, unless such assessment, with all questions involving the increase of such aggregate, shall have been submitted to the vote of the people of the county, and have received three-fifths of all the votes cast for and against ii.
8. No county, city, school district, or municipal corporation, except in cases where such corporations have already authorized their bonds to be issued, shall hereafter be allowed to become indebted, in any manner, or for any purpose, to an amount, including existing indebtedness, in the aggregate, exceeding five per centum on the value of the taxable property therein to be ascertained by the last assessment for State and county taxes, previous to the incurring of such indebtedness; por without, at the same time, providing for the collection of a direct annual tax, sufficient to pay, annually, the interest on such debt, and the principal thereof, within, and not exceeding thirty-four years ; Provided, That no debt shall be contracted under this section, unless all questions connected with the same, shall have been first submitted to a vote of the people, and have received three-fifths of all the votes cast for and against the same.
9. The Legislature may, by law, authorize the corporate authorities of cities, towns and villages, for corporate purposes, to assess and collect taxes; but such taxes shall be uniform, with respect to persons
and property within the jurisdiction of the authority imposing the same.
CORPORATIONS. 1. The Legislature shall provide for the organization of all corporations hereafter to be created, by general laws, uniform as to the class to which they relate; but no corporation shall be created by special law : Provided, that nothing in this section contained, shall prevent the Legislature from providing by special laws for the connection, by canal, of the waters of the Chesapeake with the Ohio river by line of the James river, Greenbrier, New river and Great Kanawha.
2. The stockholders of all corporations and joint stock companies, except banks and banking institutions, created by laws of this State, shall be liable for the indebtedness of such corporations to the amount of their stock subscribed and unpaid, and no more.
3. All existing charters or grants of special or exclusive privileges under which organization shall not have taken place, or which shall not have been in operation within two years from the time this Constitution takes effect, shall thereafter have no validity or effect whatever : Provided, that nothing herein shall prevent the execution of any bona fide contract heretofore lawfully made in relation to any existing charter or grant in this State.
4. The Legislature shall provide by law that in all elections for directors or managers of incorporated companies, every stockholder shall have the right to vote, in person or by proxy, for the number of shares of stock owned by him, for as many persons as there are directors or managers to be elected, or to cumulate said shares, and give one candidate as many votes as the number of directors multiplied by the number of his shares of stock, shall equal, or to distribute them on the same principle among as many candidates as he shall think fit; and such directors or managers shall not be elected in any other manner.
5. No law shall be passed by the Legislature, granting the right to construct and operate a street railroad within any city, town or incorporated village, without requiring the consent of the local authorities having the control of the street or highway, proposed to be occupied by such street railroad.
BANKS. 6. The Legislature may provide, by a general banking law, for the creation and organization of banks of issue or circulation, but the stock-holders of any bank hereafter authorized by laws of this State, whether of issue, deposit or discount, shall be personally liable to the creditors thereof, over and above the amount of stock held by them respectively to an amount equal to their respective shares so held, for all its liabilities accruing while they are such stockholders.
RAILROADS. 7. Every railroad corporation organized or doing business in this State shall annually, by their proper officers, make a report under oath, to the auditor of public accounts of this State, or some officer to be designated by law, setting forth the condition of their affairs, the operations of the year, and such other matters relating to their respective railroads as may be prescribed by law, The Legislature shall pass laws enforcing by suitable penalties the provisions of this section.
8. The rolling stock and all other movable property belonging to any railroad company or corporation in this Ŝtate shall be considered personal property and shall be liable to execution and sale in the same manner as the personal property of individuals; and the Legislature shall pass no law exempting any such property from execution and sale,
9. Railroads heretofore constructed, or that may hereafter be constructed in this State, are hereby declared public highways and shall be free to all persons for the transportation of their persons and property thereon, under such regulations as shall be prescribed by law; and the Legislature shall, from time to time, pass laws, applicable to all railroad corporations in the State, establishing reasonable maximum rates of charges for the transportation of passengers and freights, and providing for the correction of abuses, the prevention of unjust discriminations between through and local or way freight and passenger tariffs, and for the protection of the just rights of the public, and shall enforce such laws by adequate penalties.