4/8/10: Objections have been raised to various parts. A law student has pointed out that Article 7, clause 2 is not only vague, but completely against the proper functioning of a legal system, and should be removed. It has been suggested that this Constitution should designate an official language to unite Californians, something I’ve previously not even considered. It has been suggested that the “Indians not taxed” bit be removed, and in function the State Legislature should look to the Federal government for the status of Indians who aren’t taxed. It has been suggested that to extend California citizenship, but not American citizenship, to illegal immigrants would be absolutely unworkable. I wonder if it rather is just the impetus needed to spur true immigration reform. Things to ponder for sure.
1st Revision: I’ve tried to make this Constitution more consistent in terms of human liberty than it was. I’ve attempted to address abuses of power that I’ve pondered since the first draft was written. I’ve attempted to give this Constitution more “teeth” so to speak, so people may have an easier time protecting their rights from the enemies of liberty. I’m fairly confident this Constitution is equal to the task of liberty, but, I ask everyone to take time and put the tough questions to it. If it fails, I ask that everyone contribute to the fixing of it. So,
For the people and the overall state of California, my home, and for our future…
A NEW CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
Governments are treacherous entities instituted by consensus of a people to safeguard every individual’s life, liberty, and property when all measures of civility, tolerance, and fair competition have failed; and people empower government to use just force to insure against the crimes individuals commit against their fellows, to enforce all contracts, and otherwise to provide reasonable and restrained services in response to calamity, minimal infrastructure for the safe and unrestricted travel of all people, and to provide the opportunity for a minimal education whereby every person who avails their self of it may achieve enough competency to fully direct their own further education and the safeguarding of liberty.
It is with our eye upon these things that we, the various people of California, establish this Constitution for the State of California, so that at once we may reasonably empower government to these ends and reasonably insure against the treachery inherent in all governments; and to ensure that the Jeffersonian ideals which guided the founding of the United States of America may prosper in California for perpetuity.
Article I – Sovereignty
Section 1. Sovereignty
The State of California shall be sovereign and retain all powers and privileges a government may of right wield, except for those powers delegated to the United States of America by way of the Constitution of the United States.
[The US Constitution, and it alone, nothing else the Federal government does withstanding.]
Section 2. Retained powers
The State of California shall retain certain rights and privileges, nothing else in the Constitution, law, orders, or rulings of the United States withstanding. We shall retain:
The right to exclusive taxation of the people of California. All Federal taxes shall be collected by way of this State and paid to the Treasury of the United States in such manner as the Legislature, by law, shall provide;
[This includes the right and indeed the obligation to determine which Federal taxes are proper, and which functions of Federal government may be funded, by consulting the Constitution of the United States. All taxes that aren’t directed to powers delegated to the United States shall be returned to the individuals who were so taxed improperly.]
The right to exclusive law enforcement in the State of California, but this shall not be construed to disparage the operation of Federal Courthouses as the Constitution of the United States allows and Congress provides. The law enforcement of California and that of the United States, and of the several States, shall cooperate and coordinate with the same as the Legislature, by law, shall provide, and upon request of the executive authority thereof. Nothing shall disparage the right of the other States to have their fugitives from justice returned upon request of the executive authority thereof;
[The Legislature says how it will be done in general, but the President or a Governor, as the case may be, will have to request it in each and every instance.]
The right to nullify or amend Federal law when it is found to be in violation of the Constitution of the United States, or otherwise gravely injurious to the rights of the people of the State of California, and similarly the duty to interpose between the Federal government and the people of California when the Federal government moves to harm any individual’s inalienable rights;
[Who says something is a violation? It’s deliberately vague, any State or Federal officer or agency is good enough to allow this option to the Legislature.]
The right to secede from the United States upon assent of ¾ of each house of the Legislature, whereupon such intentions shall be transmitted to the U.S. Secretary of State, whereupon California shall hold all rights of sovereignty, nothing else withstanding, and be known as the “California Republic.”
[This is not a favored option, at all. It’s one of those last-ditch-effort options.]
[Surely the question of debts and properties between California and the United States will arise. Negotiations should be entered into promptly and a just and equitable settlement reached.]
Article II – General Form
The State of California shall be a decentralized federation of counties, each of which shall be as sovereign as is reasonable in a classically liberal framework.
The Government of the State of California shall consist of a Legislature, an Executive, a Judiciary, the State Militia, and such officers and agencies of each that may be established or disbanded from time to time in strict accordance with this Constitution.
In all cases where conflict shall arise, State law, orders, and rulings shall be supreme, so long as the State shall operate in strict accordance with this Constitution, otherwise the effect of the State shall be null and void.
Article III – The People
Section 1. The People
All persons, excluding Indians not taxed, who reside within the territory of the State of California shall be citizens of the same and subject to all the privileges and duties of citizenship of the same, and all persons within the territory of the State of California shall be subject to the laws and jurisdiction thereof, and guaranteed the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Rights
All persons have the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property from the moment of conception until death; and deriving from these, all persons shall enjoy certain rights, and amongst these the people are found to have:
The rights to free and peaceful exercise of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, the freedom to peaceably assemble, and to petition government for a redress of grievances;
The right to keep and bear arms reasonable to protect individuals from the treachery of government, from acts of violence and other crimes, and to hunt or engage in the peaceful and leisurely use of such arms;
[The private ownership of nuclear weapons and cruise missiles are out, heavy .50BMG belt fed machine guns are in, knives, swords, and baseball bats are definitely in. Government may not regulate these.]
[It is appropriate for the various counties, or the State, to restrict certain individuals from ownership of certain weapons for a specified period of time, when there is a clear and compelling case that the person is actually incapable of assuming self-responsibility, i.e., people with significant mental handicaps or violent psychological disturbances, or as result of conviction and punishment of violent felonies. If this power is used, it shall be ascertained by law.]
The right to have their home free from soldiers in times of peace, unless the person in question otherwise gives permission; but soldiers may be quartered in homes in times of war as the law shall prescribe;
The right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. This shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized; and no order of any court shall cause anything to be seized by any other method or rationale;
[The last clause in response to law enforcement agencies charging the item itself with the crime, circumventing the codification of this right as it appears in the US Constitution.]
The right to due process: no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against him or herself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law;
[This does acknowledge capital crimes: the death penalty is in, but only in cases where the convicted has caused the death of another.]
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the county wherein the crime shall have been committed, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witness against him or her; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his or her favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his or her defense;
The right to due process in criminal and civil law at no cost to the plaintiff or the accused, however, the jury may amerce the plaintiff if, in its judgment, the plaintiff’s actions warrant it.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed the value of 7,425grains of silver (15.4687 t.oz.), the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court, than according to the rules of the common law;
[7,425grains of silver is the actual amount reported as “twenty-dollars” by the U.S. Constitution, as ascertained by The Coinage Act of 1792, which pegs a dollar at 371.25 grains of silver, the value of the Spanish milled dollar.]
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
The right to vote in all public elections, if both a citizen of the United States and of California, once having attained the age of twenty-one years. This right shall not be infringed because of race, color, religion, sex, failure to pay a poll tax, age pasty twenty-one years, sexual orientation, criminal history, or any other reasons excepting current incarceration or conviction of voter fraud, in either case whereby the party shall have been duly convicted by due process of law;
[If not a citizen of the United States, but of California, you may vote in State and local elections, but not on any Federal officer or matter.]
[In order to check for voter fraud there will necessarily be a voter registry, and that is ok.]
[Lysander Spooner raises many objections to the secret ballot, and asserts that such a system results in the tyranny of some over all other people, and makes all oaths null and void. His arguments merit investigation and careful action. Perhaps an individual’s votes should be public knowledge, perhaps not. In any case, an amendment is in order to clarify the issue.]
The right to marry or conduct other romantic unions in any manner without interference from the law, excepting that no-one shall be compelled to enter such a union against his or her will, and that no-one younger than sixteen years shall enter into any such union. However, counties may keep record of such unions, upon willing notification by a party in the same, as each county may, by law, provide;
[What right have any of us, hiding behind the force of law, to tell another human being how to conduct their romance? No, there is no place for government in marriage, it is truly a private matter. I'm convinced we must accept straight and gay marriage, and indeed, polygamy, as to do otherwise is to have some of us tell others how to live. Let the morality of such unions be between the individuals concerned, and their God.]
[The key word is may as opposed to shall.]
[16 is the age chosen because it seems a likely age of self-ownership. Of course, if any child can demonstrate self-ownership at a younger age, then they shall be “emancipated” by a court of law, and shall hold the rights and responsibilities of any person of majority age.]
The right to pass all or any possessions and assets on to any person, group, or entity, at any time during life or upon death, without taxation upon any party, excepting as may be barred stemming from suits or criminal cases at law;
[You can’t shuffle your stuff to avoid lawsuits or fraud charges or something of that nature, otherwise you can have at.]
In extreme cases, the right to both referendum and initiative in State legislation where a petition of 10% of the electorate can demonstrate to the Secretary of the State that normal avenues have failed;
[These powers are not meant as a long-term substitute for a functional legislature, as has been the case.]
In most extreme and precarious situations, and in grave moral jeopardy, the right to disregard the dictates of government, to defend one’s self against the treacheries thereof, and to peaceably abolish government and institute a new one, and to wage war against government if government first wages war against the people. However, no right shall ever extend so far as to privilege any person, group, or entity the power to harm another’s rights where there does not first exist a state of war between them. Nothing in the codification of this right shall be construed to allow individuals to escape justice when law enforcement acts within its bounds;
[This is truly the LAST resort option.]
[Since a state of war is the denial of inalienable rights, it’d be pointless to put further proscriptions on that condition, however much the thought of civil war is unsettling to all decent people.]
The right to consume any drug of any sort for any purpose whatsoever. However, any crimes committed under the influence of any drug shall be tried and sentenced the same as if no drugs were involved;
[This is applied to recreational, religious, and medicinal purposes.]
The right to end one’s own life at any time for any reason, but only in such manner as to not cause undue duress or obligations for others, and any person whose aid is enlisted for such purpose shall not be tried for any crime stemming from the action if the person so committing suicide shall leave an oath or affirmation to the fact, with the oath or affirmation of two witnesses to the agreement who shall not be party to the assistance of suicide.
[As frightening as it otherwise seems, to deny the right of suicide is to deny self-ownership. In operation, a person should not end their life in a violent fashion that creates a mess that local taxes would have to clean up. Even in death, no one has the right to thrust obligations on others.]
Section 3. Further protections for the people and proscriptions against government
The enumeration in this Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the State of California by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the counties, are reserved to the counties respectively, or to the people.
Slavery is prohibited, and no condition of indentured servitude shall exist except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
No entity of government shall enforce or promote segregation, nor discrimination on basis of race, color, ancestry, sex, age, religion, or sexual orientation.
[But they better discriminate on the basis of job competency when there is a job opening.]
No government or private entity shall compel any person to buy any good or service.
Private property shall not be taken for public use, unless upon assent of the owner and for an agreed upon price.
[Eminent domain is merely a fancy phrase for government theft.]
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless in time of invasion or insurrection where the public safety may absolutely require it. It shall not be suspended for more than three months per case, nor shall the suspension in general last for more than two years without reaffirmation.
No government entity shall give of revenues to any specific group or class of people, nor to any individual, unless upon payment of debts incurred under strict observance of this Constitution, or as damages that may be ordered by a court of law.
[Entitlements of all forms are government theft as it necessarily violates the inalienable right to property. In light of that, it’s got to end.]
No method of taxation may withhold earnings.
No income tax, if enacted, may employ any progressive or regressive scheme.
[Income tax though, penalizes people for working. It discourages prosperity. It’s probably a bad idea.]
Article IV – The Counties
Section 1. Status
The several counties of the State of California shall be the primary governing bodies of this State, wielding all such powers as governments may of right exercise, excepting where otherwise noted by this Constitution.
In all cases where State government shall act, the counties shall be subordinate, provided the State acts in strict accordance with this Constitution, otherwise, the action of the State shall be null and void.
Section 2. Nature of county governments
Each county shall secure to its residents a republican form of government, and secure against the formation of oligarchies, aristocracies, and other divisions of power treacherous to the rights and general welfare of all; and are to be otherwise constructed and guided by its residents in such manner as they believe will best affect the wellbeing of individual rights, general welfare, and other concerns.
[Republican is fairly open ended, ranging from direct democracies to federations, and anything else directed in some manner by the populous.]
[“Other concerns” are whatever the people there worry about in the public square, and there is no need for this or the structure of government to be uniform from county to county.]
[The construction of this section is designed to allow each county to do its business as it sees fit, even if what they think is fit is repugnant to Jeffersonian ideals. To respect each other means to respect each other’s self-determination so long as the other does the same.]
Full faith and credit shall be given in each county to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other county; and the Legislature may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
[Every time you see may it should not be confused with shall.]
A person charged in any county with a felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another county, shall on demand of the county from which he or she fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the county having jurisdiction of the crime.
Section 3. Legislation
Each county shall have authority to make and enforce legislation for all matters within its boundaries, in strict accordance with its own laws, and with this Constitution.
Any combination of counties may make joint legislation on any matter of common interest, and in doing so reserve to each county, or to all counties so party as a joint whole, the power of enforcement, excepting no county be excluded from the process of joint legislation if it has a legitimate interest, nor compelled into joint legislation against its will; and no action or resolution shall be valid if in violation of this Constitution.
Any and all disputes arising, between any two or more counties, from the operation of this process will be tried by the State Legislature, originating in the Senate, who will try the matter within 21 days of the start of the dispute. The Legislature, in trying such dispute, shall make law that at once resolves the particular dispute and provides general law to justly and uniformly handle all such future disputes on the same issues; and it shall be in accordance with this Constitution and the spirit of Jeffersonian liberty.
Section 4. Powers reserved the counties
In general the counties are autonomous of, but subordinate to, the State government, but in the following cases each county is reserved the right, and it is forbidden of the State.
Counties have exclusive right to tax for, operate, and regulate public schools in their boundaries, or in such inferior agencies and entities as they may establish and disband from time to time, excepting school attendance shall never be compulsory.
[Education of individuals is one of the most important human activities there ever has been. However, there is much danger of subversion in the process. I feel very uneasy with leaving education in the hands of any government no matter how small. Out of respect to Thomas Jefferson, I have included schooling as a power of the counties, and leave it to hope that the schooling will bring about education and not indoctrination.]
[Recommended: reading, writing, arithmetic, and not a thing more. Counties may even find that public schools are not necessary and each individual and the free-market can educate themselves more effectively than government can provide. The counties are encouraged to do what is best for liberty and individual self-fulfillment, not what is good for standardization.]
Counties have exclusive right to regulate, or not regulate, commerce within their boundaries, excepting counties may not in any way inhibit free travel on State or Federal roads that may exist within their boundaries.
[Counties would do well to remember all regulation weakens fair competition, and would be wise to regulate to such a minimum as they can tolerate, and trust to voluntary agencies to provide assurances to consumers.]
The execution of these powers shall not in any way be construed to privilege the counties to act in violation of this Constitution, and for trial of this fact the State courts are empowered as the Legislature shall, by law, provide.
Section 5. Powers forbidden the counties
The following powers are forbidden the counties:
Counties shall not maintain militias, armies, air forces, navies, nor shall they regulate the State militia.
[Though, each county may request the use of the State militia to enforce county law.]
Counties shall not tax for, nor conduct State and Federal level elections.
Counties shall not bar free entry, exit, and travel through their territory.
Counties may not wage war by any means, except in case of actual invasion where the public safety will not permit delay.
Counties may not legislate on matters not within its boundaries.
Section 6. New counties and related matters
New counties arising in the territory of the State of California shall be part of the State, co-equal with all other counties before the law, but no new counties shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other county, nor any county be formed by the junction of two or more counties, or parts of counties, without the consent of the counties concerned.
One county may not expand by cession of parts of other counties, except on the permission of all counties involved.
Counties may not expand by cession of parts of counties in other States, except on the approval of all counties involved, the Legislatures of all States involved, and of Congress.
Counties may not cede territory to counties in other States except by the above process.
Counties may not enter or leave the State of California except by the above process, except when the State shall act in egregious violation of this constitution, in such case each county has the right to secede.
No State or sovereign nation shall arise, in part or in whole, within the territory of the State of California, except as provided for by the Constitution of the United States of America, except when the State and Federal governments shall act in egregious violation of their constitutions, in such case all people retain the right to secede.
Article V – The Legislature
Section 1. Nature
The Legislature of the State of California shall generally be the legislative venue of last resort for all matters pertaining to the State in part or in whole.
[I suspect this needs revision. It smacks me of trying to make something so by force of words alone, which never works. However, does the nature of Article IV bring about the goal?]
The Legislature shall consist of an Assembly and a Senate.
Section 2. The Assembly
The Assembly shall be chosen every second year by the people of the counties by popular vote.
[The top n candidates in each county get the seats, n being the representation allotted.]
No person shall be an Assembly-member who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of California, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of the county in which he or she shall be chosen.
Assembly-members and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the counties according to their respective populations, excluding Indians not taxed. The enumeration shall derive from the United States Census as the Constitution of the United States provides, unless it shall fall out of effect, in which case it shall happen once every ten years in such a manner as the Legislature, by law, shall provide. The number of Assembly-members shall not exceed one for every fifty-thousand, but every county shall have at least one.
[The census, in any case, is ONLY a head-count and no more. Citizens should never comply with any effort to gather any other information for any purpose whatsoever.]
When vacancies happen in the representation from any county, the Governor of California shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
The Assembly shall choose their Speaker and other officers, excepting no choice may be based on party affiliation; and shall have sole power of impeachment.
[The idea is to end such things as the Speaker always being majority leader, and other such infamous means of locking n parties into official power.]
Section 3. The Senate
The Senate shall be composed of two Senators from each county, chosen by each county as each, by law, shall provide, for a period of six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, they shall be filled by the counties respectively, in such a manner as they shall have previously ascertained by law.
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of California, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that county for which he or she shall be chosen.
The Lieutenant Governor shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor, or when he or she shall exercise the office of Governor; but no choice shall be awarded on basis of party affiliation.
The Senate shall have sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the Governor is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.
Judgment in all cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the State: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to law.
Section 4. Elections, meetings
The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Assembly-members, shall be prescribed by the Legislature in firm cooperation with the counties.
The Legislature shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the second Monday in December, unless they by law appoint a different day.
Section 5. Membership, rules, journals, adjournment
Each house shall be judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.
Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, excepting no procedure or rule shall be in preference to or prejudice against any party or combination of parties; and to punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same; and the yays and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
[As the State does not handle matters of National security, there is no need for secrecy, therefore no provision for it. If and upon secession from the United States, both houses shall have the provision for secrecy, but of course, an amendment shall be proper.]
Neither house, during the session of the Legislature, shall, without consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses be sitting.
Section 6. Compensation
The Senators and Assembly-members shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of California, but no law varying the compensation shall take effect until an election of Assembly-members shall have intervened.
The shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same.
[But for their debates they may be questioned. This is not advocated, but in the cases where a member of the Legislature shall routinely advocate a path antithetical to liberty, it may be proper for the people or the counties to peacefully question them on the matter.]
No Senator or Assembly-member shall, during the time for which he or she was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the State of California which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no person holding any office under the State shall be member of either house during his or her continuance in office.
No person shall be a Senator or Assembly-member while continuing to hold any office, trust, or profit, under the United States or any of them excepting California.
Section 7. Revenue bills, legislative process, Gubernatorial veto
All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the Assembly; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.
All bills shall cite the provision(s) of this constitution that so empower the Legislature to such ends.
All proposed bills shall, before a vote of the house it is in, be available for public scrutiny for a minimum of seventy-two hours, unless the house, in their judgment, deem it of utmost urgency, in which case the bill, if it become a law, shall not be in effect for more than twenty-one days, at which point it must be posted for a minimum of seventy-two hours before a vote, or become null and void.
Every bill which shall have passed the Assembly and the Senate shall, before it become law, be presented to the Governor of California; if he or she approve he or she shall sign it, but if not, he or she shall return it, with his or her objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two-thirds of the house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have presented to him or her, the same shall be law, in like manner as if he or she had signed it, unless the Legislature by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and Assembly may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the Governor; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him or her, or being disapproved by him or her, shall be re-passed by two-thirds of the Senate and Assembly, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.
Section 8. Powers of the Legislature
The Legislature shall have power to:
Lay and collect minimal taxes, including income tax, but no taxation shall involve any method of withholding;
[For only the strict purposes provided for by this Constitution. Be careful, governments will increase their appetite to engulf all tax revenue, and claim that revenue is insufficient to their task!]
To lay and collect duties, imposts, and excises in strict accordance with the Constitution of the United States;
To provide for the punishment of State crimes;
[The ‘wisdom’ of the prison-state is seriously flawed and needs a rethink.]
To enforce contracts;
To constitute State tribunals inferior to the State Supreme Court;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, and of the counties upon specific request from the same, and to suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for the appointment of the officers of the militia, and for the training of the militia according to the discipline provided by Congress;
To tax for and operate a system of public libraries to be present in all counties. They are to be given a uniform funding sufficient to the minimal operation of these libraries, and no library shall be barred from raising funds by any and all legal means, and to any amount possible. The libraries are to be operated by the State, but in firm cooperation with the counties;
[This is the alternative to public schools, and should be guarded jealously from any and all bias, public or private. Do not allow these libraries to be subverted to the will of government and its cronies the way public schools have been. Also, it is entirely conceivable that many private libraries, together reaching all Californians, will appear and make the public ones needless. Don’t be afraid to disestablish public libraries if it will better human endeavor.]
To, by the proper acquisition of lands, establish, maintain, operate, and regulate a series of natural parks and preserves, and to also provide for fish, game, and plant “districts” to reasonably preserve the integrity of the environment, but not in disregard of human enterprise;
[This is not a blank check to save the environment from you evil evil humans, and it certainly does not privilege the violation of human rights. It is a tool for reasonable and clearheaded conservation. In any and all cases where human rights shall clash with plant and animal rights, human rights shall triumph. Also, there may be a time where the disestablishment of these provisions is proper, perhaps private parks could operate all the better, again do not be afraid to disestablish government programs.]
To save and provide for calamity and natural disaster as may occur, but the process is not privileged to violate the provisions of this Constitution;
[Be careful not to create moral hazard by removing risk from risky habits in disaster prone areas.]
[These last three powers make me very nervous. It seems to me that any such powers are ripe for abuse and expansion no matter what a constitution may say about the matter. However, I’m unsure how to bring the objects of these powers about in any other way that the people of California would find remotely palatable. Any ideas people?]
To establish a uniform rule of the roads, reserving to the counties the enforcement thereof;
[The case for licensure in general, and for a DMV at all should be seriously re-examined.]
To provide for minimal regulation to protect against agricultural pests as may be absolutely necessary;
[Beware the labeling of something as a pest or dire threat as it may be one man trying to gain unfair advantage over another by insidious use of the ‘law.’]
To make gold and silver coin legal tender;
[It is preferable to use this power to protect citizens from the inflationary money practices of the Federal Reserve. The people of California should jealously guard against the Legislature using this power to debase gold and silver coin.]
To repay debts and damages;
To make non-binding resolutions, including holidays;
[non binding is the key]
To petition the Federal Government for a redress of grievances;
To interpose between the Federal Government and the people of California when the Federal Government acts in violation of the Constitution of the United States;
To regulate and perform all State and Federal level elections in California;
To perform all duties required of it by a strict and historically accurate interpretation of the Constitution of the United States;
To, from time to time, create and disband such inferior offices and agencies as they may think proper in assistance of the legitimate powers of the Legislature, but they shall not delegate legislative power to such officers and agencies, that being the prevue of the Legislature exclusively;
To exercise all other powers as may be absolutely necessary to governance in strict accordance with this Constitution, including all other powers herein granted.
[This is not a blank check, and any and all usurpations should be vigorously guarded against.]
Section 9. Powers denied the Legislature
The Legislature shall not:
Draw money from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time;
Grant any title of nobility; and no person holding any office or profit or trust under the State, shall, without the consent of the Legislature and Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state;
Change parliamentary procedure during the debate on any bill;
[Meaning, parliamentary procedures may change, but changes will take effect on the next bills to come up.]
Hold debate, nor vote, during weekends, nor on weekdays before 8AM or after 6PM, unless they deem it necessary, in which case the bill must be reaffirmed in twenty-one days;
Debase gold or silver coin, or make the use thereof as currency unlawful;
Require government issued identification as requisite to lawful employment, nor require the reporting of employment to any agency whatsoever.
Violate an individual’s life, liberty, or property, where not in punishment of a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted;
Establish any entitlement program whatsoever;
Delegate any power to any entity, nor create any power in addition to those granted by this Constitution;
Exercise any power denied to it elsewhere in this Constitution;
Do anything whatsoever not specifically empowered of it by this Constitution.
Article VI – The Executive
Section 1. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor
The executive power shall be vested in a Governor of California. He or she shall hold his or her office during the term of four years, and, together with the Lieutenant Governor chosen for the same term, be elected as follows:
Each county shall appoint, in such manner as each may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Assembly-members to which the county may be entitled in the Legislature; but no Senator or Assembly-member, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States or under California, shall be appointed an elector.
The electors shall meet in their respective counties, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same county with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the State government, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and the Assembly, open all certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the Governor, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the Assembly shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for Governor, and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said house shall in like manner choose the Governor. But in choosing the Governor, the votes shall be taken by the counties, the representation from each county having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the counties, and a majority of all counties shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the Governor, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be Lieutenant Governor. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Lieutenant Governor.
The Legislature may determine the time of the choosing of the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the counties.
Only a citizen of both California and the United States shall be eligible to the office of Governor, and no person shall be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident of California.
The Governor shall, at stated times, receive for his or her services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he or she shall have been elected, and he or she shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, any of them, nor the counties nor cities, nor any other government agency.
Before he or she enter on the execution of his or her office, he or she shall take the following oath or affirmation:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of Governor of California, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California.”
Section 2. Succession and disability
If at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the Governor, the Governor-elect shall have died, the Lieutenant Governor-elect shall become Governor. If a Governor shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for his or her office to begin, or if the Governor-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Lieutenant Governor-elect shall act as Governor until a Governor shall have qualified; and the Legislature may by law provide for the case wherein neither a Governor-elect nor a Lieutenant Governor-elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as Governor, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a Governor or Lieutenant Governor shall have qualified.
The Legislature may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the person from whom the Assembly may choose a Governor whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the likewise case in the Senate.
In case of the removal of the Governor from office or of his or her death or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor shall nominate a Lieutenant Governor who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both houses.
Whenever the Governor transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly his or her written declaration that he or she is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his or her office, and until he or she transmits a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Lieutenant Governor as Acting Governor.
Whenever the Lieutenant Governor and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as the Legislature may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the Assembly their written declaration that the Governor is unable to discharge the power and duties of his or her office, the Lieutenant Governor shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting Governor. Thereafter, when the Governor transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly his or her written declaration that no inability exists, he or she shall resume the powers and duties of his or her office unless the Lieutenant Governor and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as the Legislature may provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly their written declaration to the contrary. Thereupon the Legislature shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Legislature, within twenty-one days after the receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if the Legislature is not in session, within twenty-one days after it is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both houses that the Governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his or her office, the Lieutenant Governor shall continue to discharge the same as Acting Governor; otherwise, the Governor shall resume the powers and duties of his or her office.
Section 3. Powers
The Governor may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject pertaining to the duties of their respective offices, and he or she shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against California, except in the case of impeachment.
He or she shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided that two-thirds of the Senators present concur, to appoint judges of the State Supreme Court, and all other State officers whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Legislature may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the Governor alone, or in the heads of departments.
[By State officers it is meant that the State should not meddle in the internal affairs and appointments of the counties.]
The Governor shall have power to fill up all State vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
He or she may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in the case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he or she may adjourn them to such time as he or she may think proper.
The Governor will exercise all other powers elsewhere granted to him or her by this Constitution.
He or she shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed in strict accordance with this Constitution.
Section 4. Disqualification
The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and all other civil officers of the State of California, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Article VII – The Judiciary
Section 1. Judicial powers and operation
The judicial power of the State of California shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Legislature may from time to time ordain and establish.
[The county courts, their creation, regulation, and the appointment of judges, is meant to be independent of State government, and also to be the primary venues of justice. County governments though, are subordinate to the State Supreme Court.]
Whenever a decision of a State court, in a case, would require the exercise of legislative power, the decision along with the recommendation for legislation shall be transmitted to the Senate in like manner as with Gubernatorial veto, but only a majority shall be necessary to a decision.
[The bench is no place to legislate, and the Legislature, the counties, and the people should jealously guard against this.]
The judges of the county courts shall be appointed in such manner as each county, by law, shall provide; and the judges of the State courts and the county courts shall remain in office during good behavior, and of the county courts under such other conditions as each county may, by law, provide.
The judges of the State Supreme Court shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
In all cases, except of treason or impeachment, the State Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Legislature may make.
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the county where the said crimes have been committed.
Section 2. Treason
Treason against California shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort, or in conspiring to rob the populous of their life, liberty, or property. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Legislature shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Article VIII – Vestiges and debts
Section 1. Vestiges
The State of California may continue to fund, operate, and regulate all programs and other operations that may exist upon adoption of this Constitution, regardless of other proscriptions in this Constitution against these programs, but none shall be sustained beyond ten years after adoption of this Constitution. In the fifth year from ratification, no program shall be funded more than 50% of its funding at ratification, in the sixth, 40%, in the seventh, 30%, in the eighth, 20%, and in the ninth, 10%.
[Abrupt shifts from one form of governance to another never are good for anyone. The idea here is to non-traumatically end the abuses of our previous State government.]
The State of California, may, upon acquisition from the Federal Government, maintain and operate the Central Valley Project and any other Federal project operated in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and contained entirely within the State of California; but the State may only operate such projects for ten years from the date of acquisition of each, in such time they may be closed, dismantled, or sold at auction, in part or in whole, as the Legislature may decide is proper.
[The CVP, and many other Federal projects are improper at the Federal level and in violation of the United States Constitution. They should be remanded to the States. Similarly the State of California can only complicate matters by perpetual ownership of such projects. They must, sooner or later, be left to the people, uninhibited, to use or not use as individuals see best.]
Section 2. Debts
All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against California under this Constitution as under the previous.
Article IX – Amendment and Reaffirmation
Section 1. Amendment
The Legislature, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of two-thirds of the several counties, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of this Constitution when ratified by three-fourths of the counties, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Legislature; provided that no county, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate, and that no amendment may endanger the three inalienable human rights.
Section 2. Reaffrimation
Conventions shall be held in the counties once every twenty years to review and reaffirm the operation of this Constitution. If they shall approve of its operation they shall reaffirm the Constitution, if not they shall propose amendments to it, to be forwarded to the other conventions, to be considered by each. The conventions may elect to create a superconvention of all the counties to select which amendments shall be included in the Constitution, excepting no county may be denied its equal suffrage in the Senate without its consent. In any case, the reaffirmation of three-fourths of the counties shall be necessary to the continuance of this Constitution, or it shall be null and void.
[Again, Lysander Spooner brings up many valid arguments against the perpetual continuance of any constitution. Particularly troubling, what right have any of us to subject all posterity to a contract we formed amongst ourselves alone? Any constitution, at the least, must be reaffirmed every so often to retain any legitimacy. The twenty-year interval has been chosen as it is approximately the time it takes the generation born at the last reaffirmation to come of age, and take part in shaping their fate.]
[The counties are highly encouraged to deeply prod the question, is this Constitution equal to the task of liberty?]
No person holding any office, trust, or profit, under the State of California, nor under the United States, nor any of them, at the time of the conventions, shall be eligible to be a delegate at any such convention.
Any counties refusing to reaffirm this Constitution for a period of more than one year after the reaffirmation of this Constitution by three-fourths of the counties are not subject to the State of California, and may seek Statehood individually or in any combination as they see proper, as provided for by the Constitution of the United States. In any such case, the representation of California in the House of Representatives shall be reduced to such number as is warranted by the new enumeration of the populous.
Article X – Oaths
The Senators and Assembly-members before mentioned, and the officers of the counties, and all governmental officers and employees, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support and defend this Constitution, and the Constitution of the United States so long as California is party to it; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under California.
Article XI – Ratification
The ratification of the conventions of three-fourths of the counties, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the counties so ratifying the same, and shall privilege those counties to constitute the State of California as far as Federal matters are concerned.
If any county or counties do not ratify this Constitution within two years of its adoption, they may form their own State, or several, and be represented in Congress as the United States Constitution provides, without consulting with the Legislature of California.
Digital first revision completed 8:46PM, Wednesday the 7th of April, 2010 by Sean Lowrie. I, Sean Lowrie, declare this document as part of the public domain. Everyone is free to alter it in any manner, and no-one may claim intellectual copyright of it. In all reproductions please acknowledge that I have created the first draft, not for my own glory, but that any person interested in getting further information from me may find me and ask.
Please, spread it around, debate it vigorously, and work hard hard hard at getting a new Constitution, much like this one, installed in our State.
Long live liberty!