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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.
Declaration of Rights. That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, we declare that,
Section 1. 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.
Sec. 2. All power is inherent in the people, and all free gore ernments 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.
Sec. 3. 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.
Sec. 4. 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.
Sec. 5. 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.
Sec. 6. Trial by jury shall be as heretofore, and the right thereof remain inviolate.
Sec. 7. 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 be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. No conviction shall be had in any prosecution for the publication of papers relating to the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or to any other matter proper for public investigation or information, where the fact that such publication was not maliciously or negli. gently made shall be established to the satisfaction of the jury; and in all indictments for libels the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.
Sec. 8. 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 to by the affiant.
Sec. 9. 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 favors, 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.
Sec. 10. 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 serv. ice, in time of war or in public danger, or by leave of the court for oppression or misdemeanor in office. No person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall private property be taken or applied to public use, without authority of law and without just compensation being first made or secured.
Sec. 11. 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 right 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.
Sec. 12. No power of suspending laws shall be exercised unless by the Legislature or by its authority.
Sec. 13. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.
Sec. 14. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
Sec. 15. No commission of oyer and terminer or jail delivery shall be issued.
Sec. 16. 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 debtors in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
Sec. 17. 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.
Sec. 18. No person shall be attainted of treason or felony by the Legislature.
Sec. 19. No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor, except during the life of the offender, forfeiture of estate to the Commonwealth. The estate of such persons as shall destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in cases of natural death, and if any person shall be killed by casualty there shall be no forfeiture by reason thereof.
Sec. 20. The citizens have a right in a peaceable manner to assemble together for their common good and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.
Sec. 21. The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
Sec. 22. No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up without the consent of the Legislature, and the military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Sec. 23. 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 prescribed by law.
Sec. 24. The Legislature shall not grant any title of nobility or hereditary distinction, nor create any office the appointment to which shall be for a longer term than during good behavior.
Sec. 25. Emigration from the State shall not be prohibited.
Sec. 26. To guard against 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 in violate.
The Legislature. Section 1. The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be vested in a General Assembly which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
Sec. 2. Members of the General Assembly shall be chosen at the general election every second year. Their term of service shall begin on the first day of December next after their election. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in either house, the presiding officer thereof shall issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy for the remainder of the term.
Sec. 3. Senators shall be elected for the term of four years and Representatives for the term of two years.
Sec. 4. The General Assembly shall meet at twelve o'clock, noon, on the first Tuesday of January every second year, and at other times when convened by the Governor, but shall hold no adjourned annual session after the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight. In case of a vacancy in the office of United States Senator from this Commonwealth, in a recess between sessions, the Governor shall convene the two houses, by proclamation on notice not exceeding sixty days, to fill the same.
Sec. 5. Senators shall be at least twenty-five years of age and Representatives twenty-one years of age. They shall have been citizens and inhabitants of the State four years, and inhabitants of their respective districts one year next before their election (unless absent on the public business of the United States or of this State), and shall reside in their respective districts during their terms of office.
Sec. 6. No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this Commonwealth, and no member of Congress, or other person, holding any office (except of attorney-at-law or in the militia) under the United States, or this Commonwealth, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.
Sec. 7. 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.
Sec. 8. The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary or 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 in salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.
Sec. 9. The Senate shall, at the beginning and close of each regular session and at such other times as may be necessary, elect one of its members president pro tempore, who shall perform the duties of the Lieutenant-Governor, in any case of absence or disability of that officer, and whenever the said office of 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.
Sec. 10. 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.
Sec. 11. Each house shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings and punish its members or other persons for con. tempt 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 con. tempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar an indictment for the same offense.