480 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI inhabitants of this State; and the whole number of representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the Legislature and appointed among the several counties, cities or town, entitled to separate representation, according to the number of free white inhabitants in each; and shall not be less than thirty- six nor more than one hundred: Provided, however, that each county shall always be entitled to at least one representative.” Section 30 required the “first and all future sessions of the legislature shall be held in the town of Jackson” until 1850 at which time the legislature was given power to designate by law the permanent seat of government. It set the start date for the legislative sessions, starting in 1833 and then every two years subsequently, on the third Monday in November. The Office of Lieutenant Governor was abolished by the Constitution of 1832 and the duties of President of the Senate were incorporated into a separate office. This change was reversed in the next constitution’s adoption with the lieutenant governor reassuming the duties of President of the Senate. Under the Constitution of 1868 For the first time in Mississippi history, African American males were qualified as electors—a right not only to vote for but to seek election as members of the state legislature. Legislative terms remained at two years for members of the House of Representatives, but Senate members were to continue to be elected every four years. Age qualifications for senators were lowered, requiring them to be twenty-five years old. They had to be a resident of the state for at least one year prior to election. The constitution moved the opening of the annual legislative session to the first Monday of January. It prohibited the House and Senate for adjourning for more than three days during the regular session and forbade either house from moving its body to a separate location. The constitution also gave both houses the authority to set their own rules of operation in Section 14: “Each House may determine rules of its own proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two- thirds of the members present, expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same offense. They shall each, from time to time, publish a journal of their proceedings, except such parts as may, in their opinion, require secrecy, and the yeas and nays on any question shall be entered on the journal at the request of one-tenth of the members present; Provided, That the yeas and nays shall always be entered on the journal on the passage of a bill appropriating money.” Under the Constitution of 1890 Delegates to Mississippi’s most recent constitutional convention vested the legislative branch with broad powers in comparison to the executive and judicial branches, enabling the legislature to dominate decision-making and budget processes through a complex system of committees, rules, and procedures. InArticle IV, the constitution of 1890 lays out the general organization of the legislature, qualifications and privileges of its members, its rules of procedure, and certain limitations and prohibitions applicable to the membership. As in previous versions, the current constitution names the lieutenant governor as the ex officio President of the Senate. Constitutional authority allowing the Senate to vest the lieutenant governor with broad powers in the operation of the Senate, as developed through tradition and refined by successive holders of the office, has historically afforded the office with a heightened degree of influence over state policy. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE