THE THREE BRANCHES OF STATE GOVERNMENT 479 government. The power of impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives, while the power to try impeachment cases lies in the Senate. The House has the duty to elect the governor if no candidate for the office receives a majority of both the popular vote and the electoral vote in the general election of state officials. At its most central reason for being, the legislative branch is responsible for writing laws for the State of Mississippi. It dictates public policy and controls the state’s operating budget through a complex system of committees, rules, and procedures. Each January the legislature convenes to bring proposed legislation before each chamber for debate and an eventual vote. Once legislation passes out of both chambers, it is sent to the governor for his signature or veto. The governor has five days to either approve a bill by signing it into law, or to return it to the legislature with objections. If the governor takes no action, the legislation automatically becomes law without his signature. The legislature can override a governor’s veto with two-thirds vote of both chambers in favor of the legislation’s passage. The broad strokes of the legislative process, the general organization of the legislature, and the qualifications for holding office are outlined in the state constitution. However, the Legislature has been given authority to set its own operating rules and choose its leadership. These rules, along with traditional practices that have developed through the decades, have shaped a complex system of deadlines and procedures that govern the adoption of state laws and financial decisions. Both chambers of the Legislature conduct business under a complicated, highly traditional set of rules. Those rules, taken together with the thousands of procedural rulings or precedents set through the years, define and solidify the power structure with the Senate and the House of Representatives. Every four years, for more than 125 years, both chambers have adopted their own set of rules at the beginning of the session following the election of the membership and their leadership. Each of Mississippi’s four constitutions has slightly altered the legislative framework for its organization, size, qualifications, and privileges of office as well. Under the Constitution of 1817 Mississippi’s first constitution created a General Assembly of the State of Mississippi with legislative power vested in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of the House were to be elected to one-year terms. Qualifications included being a resident of the state for two years preceding election; one year’s residency in the county, city, or town from which the candidate was elected; being at least twenty-two years old; and being a landowner of at least 150 acres or an interest in real estate valued at $500 or more. Senators were to be elected to serve three-year terms with the initial election to select three pools of three-year staggered terms. Qualifications for senator included United States citizenship, residency in the state for four years, residency in the district from which the candidate was elected for one year, a minimum age of twenty-six, and ownership of 300 acres of land or an interest in real estate valued at a minimum of $1,000. The first session of the General Assembly was to begin on the first Monday in October in Natchez. Subsequent annual sessions were to begin in November. Under the Constitution of 1832 The second state constitution addressed representational issues governing the legislative branch that sprang from the rapid population growth and settlement expansion following the opening of Choctaw and Chickasaw lands for white ownership. Under this constitution, both House and Senate members were to serve two-year terms. For the Senate, however, an election was to be held every four years in November in which two sets of senators were chosen by the electorate to serve staggered two-year terms. Section 11 of the constitution further explained that: “On their being convened in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided by lot from their respective districts into two classes, as nearly equal as can be. And the seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year.” Qualifications for the House of Representatives included being a U.S. citizen, a state resident for at least two years preceding the candidate’s election, and a resident of the district for at least one year preceding his election. Representatives had to be at least twenty-one years old. Qualifications for the Senate included being a citizen of the United States, a resident of Mississippi for four years prior to election, and a resident of the candidate’s district for one year prior to election. Senators were required to be at least thirty years old. Section 9 of Article III of the 1832 constitution addressed in detail how the white population should be evaluated to determine balanced and appropriate representation for cities, towns, and counties in the rapidly expanding state: “The Legislature shall, at their first session, and at periods of not less than every four, nor more than every six years, until the year 1845, and thereafter at periods of not less than every four, and not more than every eight years, cause an enumeration to be made of all the free white