CONSTITUTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION MOUNTAINEER BOYS STATE
We, the boys of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State in order to develop an interest in, and promote an understanding of, the principles of democratic government; to foster the teaching of Americanism; to inspire, educate, teach and train boys to do their best for God and Country; to learn the duties, rights, and responsibilities of American Citizenship by actual participation; to study the laws of the United States of America and of the State of West Virginia; to maintain law and order; to learn individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to accept discipline; to assume responsibility; to maintain steadfastness of purpose and ideals, and to cooperate with The American Legion, Department of West Virginia, in the promotion of these axioms, do ordain and establish this Constitution for The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State.
ARTICLE I: The State
- The American Legion territory of the following counties, located within Jackson’s Mill, shall constitute and form The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State, namely, Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Lewis, Marion, Kanawha, Monroe, Randolph, Upshur, Webster, Gilmer, Monongalia, and Panhandle.
- All powers of government remain in the citizens of the State, and can be exercised by them only during the period of the annual encampment.
- All persons residing in this State, under the supervision of The American Legion, Department of West Virginia, and subject to the Jurisdiction thereof, shall be citizens of the State.
- Every citizen shall be entitled to equal representation in the government, and shall have equal right in the acquisition, tenure, and disposition of property.
- The Great Seal of the State, shall be as follows: Facsimile of Stonewall Jackson, with the motto “Build for Citizenship”; and its flag shall be as follows: A white flag with a blue border and a gold star for each of the original nine counties organized at the first Boys State in the year one thousand, nine hundred, thirty-six, such stars to be in a circle around the great seal in the Center, with the motto below.
- Writs, grants, and commissions, issued under the authority of this State shall run in the name of, and official bonds shall be made payable to The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State. Indictments and warrants shall conclude, “Against the peace and dignity of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State.”
- The official song of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State shall be “Men of Tomorrow”.
ARTICLE II: Bill of Rights
- All power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people, and all officers are entrusted servants of, and responsible to, the people.
- The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended. No person shall be held to answer for treason, felony, or other crime, except misdemeanors with a penalty of not more than one day in jail, unless on indictment of a grand jury. No bill of attainder ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of a contract shall be passed.
- Excessive bail shall no be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted. No search warrants shall be issued except on probable cause supported by an affidavit particularly describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.
- No law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, shall be passed; but the Legislature may, by suitable penalties, restrain the publication, sale, or use of obscene literature, or pictures, or language.
- No religious or political test oath shall be required as a pre-requisite to vote, serve as a juror, sue, plead, appeal, or pursue any profession or employment.
- In suits, where the value in controversy exceeds one dollar, the right of trial by jury if demanded by either side shall be preserved.
- Trials of crimes and misdemeanors, unless waived in writing, shall be by a jury of six men, public and without unreasonable delay, and in the county where committed, unless on petition of the accused and on good cause shown, it is removed to some other county.
- The right of assembly in peaceable manner, and of petition to the elected representatives, shall not be abridged.
- The court of this State shall always be open, and all persons shall have a remedy by due course of law for redress of injuries; and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay.
- No member of the Mountaineer Boys State Staff is subject to arrest or other judicial process. This provision may be waived by the Administrator of Boys State.
ARTICLE III: Legislature
- All legislative powers herein granted shall be in a Legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Delegates, each of which shall choose its own officers.
- Until the Senatorial Districts are altered by law, the Senate shall be divided into thirteen senatorial districts, each consisting of one county, and the Senate shall be composed of two senators from each district.
- The House of Delegates shall be composed of four delegates from each county, until the Legislature otherwise prescribes by law by apportionment according to population so that there shall be at least one delegate for each twenty-five persons, or fraction thereof, after a census has been duly taken.
- No person who is a state, county, or municipal officer shall be a member of the Legislature.
- Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum for the doing of Business.
- Each house shall form its own rules of proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with a concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
- Each house shall keep a record of its own proceedings, but shall not adjourn during the session for more than one day without the consent of the other house.
- No senator or delegate, during the time for which he was elected, shall be appointed to any civil office which has been created, or the emoluments for such office have been increased, during such time.
- Every bill passed by both houses before becoming law, shall be presented to the Governor, who if he approves may sign it, or it may become a law without his signature, but if he disapproves, he shall return it within twenty-four hours from the time it is received by him, with his written objections, to the house where it originated, and if such bill is reconsidered and passed by a majority of both houses, it shall become a law.
- The legislature shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, imposts and licenses to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare of the State, and all taxes, imposts or licenses shall be uniform; to borrow money on the credit of the State; to coin tokens; to constitute courts inferior to the Supreme Court of Appeals, to create such offices as may be necessary to carry out these powers, and to make all proper laws to carry into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested in the government of this State and in any department or officer thereof.
ARTICLE IV: Executive Department
- The Executive Department shall be vested in a Governor, Secretary of State, state superintendent of free schools, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, and attorney general who ex officio, shall be reporter of the Court of Appeals. Their term of office shall be one year and until their successors are elected and qualified. They shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law. An election for these officers shall be held at such time and place as may be prescribed by law.
- The election or ballots of all citizens for the above named officers shall be sealed and transmitted by the election officers to the Secretary of State, directed to the “Speaker of the House of Delegates.” After the organization of the House, and before proceeding to business, the Speaker of the House of Delegates shall open and publish the same in the presence of a majority of each house of the Legislature, which for that purpose shall assemble in the hall of the House of Delegates. The person having the highest number of votes for either of said offices shall be declared duly elected thereto. If two or more have an equal and the highest number of votes for the same office, the tied candidates shall determine the winner by lot. Contested elections for the office of Governor shall be determined by both houses of the Legislature, by joint vote, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
- None of the executive officers mentioned in this article shall be eligible to hold any other office during the term of his service, and none shall be eligible to succeed himself in said office.
- The chief executive power shall be vested in the Governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
- The Governor shall, at the commencement of each session, give to the Legislature information by message of the condition of the State, and shall recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient.
- The Governor shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, by a majority of the total membership, appoint all officers whose offices are established by the constitution or may be created by law, and whose appointments or election is not otherwise prescribed, and no such officer shall be appointed or elected by the Legislature. During the recess of the Legislature, the Governor shall make such appointments, or fill vacancies therein by appointment, until the next session of the Legislature. No person after being rejected by the Senate shall be nominated again for the same office, during the same session, unless at the request of the Senate; nor shall such person be appointed to the same office during the recess of the Senate.
- The Governor shall have power to remove any officer whom he may appoint in case of incompetency, neglect of duty, gross immorality, or malfeasance in office; and he may declare his office vacant and fill the same as herein provided in other cases of vacancies.
- The Governor shall have power to remit fines and penalties in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by law, and to commute capital punishment.
- The Governor shall be commander-in-chief of the military forces of the State (except when they are called into the service of the United States) and may call out the same to execute the laws, suppress insurrection, and repel invasion.
- I case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, or other disability of the Governor, the President of the Senate shall act as Governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability removed; and if the President of the Senate for any of the above named causes, shall become incapable of performing the duties of Governor, the same shall devolve upon the Speaker of the House of Delegates.
- In case of vacancies in any other state office, supreme court or circuit court judges, members of the senate or house of delegates, they shall be filled by the Governor. In case of vacancies in any county elective office, they shall be filled by the county court. In case of vacancies in any municipal elective office, they shall be filled by the council.
- Salaries for all elective and appointive state and county offices shall be fixed by the Legislature. Salaries for municipal elective offices shall be fixed by the municipal council.
ARTICLE V: Judicial Department
- The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a supreme court of appeals, in circuit courts and judges thereof, and in such inferior tribunals as may be created by law, and magistrate courts.
- The supreme court of appeals shall consist of five justices, three of whom shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. They shall be elected by the voters of the State and hold their offices for one year or until their successors are elected and qualified.
- It shall have original jurisdiction in cases of habeas corpus, mandamus, and prohibition. It shall have appellate jurisdiction in civil cases where the matter in controversy, exclusive of interest, exceeds the value or amount of five dollars, in matters involving title to land, all judiciary matters, and in all cases involving freedom, or the constitutionality of a law, and also criminal cases where there has been a conviction for felony, or misdemeanor in, or affirmed by, a circuit court and such appellate jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases as may be prescribed by law.
- The officers of the Supreme Court of Appeals, except the reporter, shall be appointed by the court.
- The state shall be divided into eleven circuits, as follows: First Judicial Circuit, consisting of Barbour County; Second Judicial Circuit, consisting of Braxton County; Third Judicial Circuit, consisting of Calhoun County; Fourth Judicial Circuit, consisting of Lewis County; Fifth Judicial Circuit, consisting of Marion County; Sixth Judicial Circuit, consisting of Kanawha County; Seventh Judicial Circuit, consisting of Monroe County; Eighth Judicial Circuit, consisting of Randolph County; Ninth Judicial Circuit, consisting of Upshur County; Tenth Judicial Circuit, consisting of Webster County; and Eleventh Judicial Circuit, consisting of Panhandle County; until otherwise prescribed by law. (See 7th Amendment and Chapter 1, Article 1, of the Code.)
- A term of circuit court shall be held in every county in the state at least once during each year until otherwise prescribed by law.
- The circuit court shall have original jurisdiction of all civil and criminal matters, and supervision and control of all proceedings before magistrate courts by mandamus, certiorari or prohibition, and such appellate jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law.
- The voters of each county shall elect a clerk of the circuit court for the term of one year, and his duties and compensation shall be fixed by law.
- There shall be in each county a county court to consist of three commissioners, who shall choose one of their number as president. They shall be elected by the voters in each county for the term of one year, and their duties, except as otherwise provided herein, and their compensation shall be fixed by law.
- The county courts through their clerks, shall have charge of all County records, the custody of all deeds and other papers presented for recording, and the preservation thereof. They shall have jurisdiction of all matters of probate, and other fiduciary matters. They shall, in all cases of contest, judge the election qualifications, and returns of their own members, and of all county offices, subject to such regulations, by appeal or otherwise, as may be prescribed by law. Such courts may exercise such powers and perform such other duties, not of a judicious nature, as may be prescribed by law.
- The voters of each county shall elect a clerk of the county court for the term of one year, and his duties and compensation shall be fixed by law.
- There shall be elected a magistrate for each magisterial district, for a term of one year and until otherwise prescribed by law there shall be only one magisterial district in each county, and his duties and compensation shall be fixed by law. He shall have jurisdiction to try all misdemeanor cases, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, and all civil matters involving ten dollars, exclusive of interest, or less; and also to hold preliminary hearings of all persons accused of a felony and of such misdemeanors as may be prescribed by law. A magistrate shall have authority to take the acknowledgement of deeds and other writings, administer oaths, and take and certify depositions.
ARTICLE VI: County Organization
- The voters of each county shall elect a Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney, and Assessor, who shall hold their respective offices for the term of one year.
- The same person can be elected sheriff for two consecutive full terms.
- The Legislature shall prescribe by law the duties and compensation of such officers, and may provide by general law the appointment of deputies for all county offices, including the clerks of the courts.
ARTICLE VII: Municipal Government
- There shall be elected by the voters of each city one mayor and three councilmen, for the term of one year, and their duties and compensation shall be prescribed by law.
- No local or special law shall hereafter be passed incorporating cities, towns, or villages, or amending their charters. The Legislature shall provide by general law for their incorporation and government of cities, towns, and villages and shall classify such municipal corporations, upon the basis of population, into not less than two nor more than five classes. Such general laws shall restrict the powers of such cities, towns, and villages to borrow money and contract debts, and shall limit the rate of taxes for municipal purposed. Under such general laws, the electors of each municipal corporation shall have power and authority to frame, adopt, and amend the charter of such corporation, or to amend an existing charter thereof, and through its legally constituted authority may pass all laws and ordinances relating to its municipal affairs: provided, that any such charter or amendment thereto and any such law or ordinance so adopted shall be invalid and void if inconsistent or in conflict with this constitution, or the general laws of the state then in effect, or thereafter, from time to time, enacted.
ARTICLE VIII: Education
- The Legislature shall provide, by general law, for a thorough and efficient system of schools.
- The Legislature may prescribe the duties of the State Superintendent of Free Schools, who is to have general supervision of the free schools.
- There shall be elected by the voters of each county a county board of education, consisting of five members, who shall serve for the term of one year, and their duties and compensation shall be prescribed by law.
ARTICLE IX: Amendments
- Any amendment to the Constitution of the state may be proposed in either house of the Legislature; and if the same, being read through several times after the interval of at least one hour between each reading in each house, be agreed to on its third reading by two-thirds of the members elected thereto, the proposed amendment, with the yeas and nays thereon, shall be entered on the journal, and it shall be the duty of the Legislature to provide by law for submitting the same to the voters of the state for ratification or rejection, as prescribed, at a special election, or at the next primary or general election, as prescribed by law, and cause the same to be published. If a majority of the qualified voters, voting on the question at the polls held pursuant to such law, ratify the proposed amendment, it shall be in force from the time of such ratification, as part of the Constitution of the State. If two or more amendments are submitted at the same time, the vote on ratification or rejection shall be taken on each separately.
First Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 11, 1937)
“Members of the Legislature shall, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session, and for one day before and after the same; and for words spoken in debate, or any report, motion or proposition made in either house, a member shall not be questioned in any other place.”
Second Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 10, 1938)
“The Board of Directors of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State, Inc., is authorized to appoint temporary officers who may serve each year from the beginning of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State until the elected officers are qualified.”
Third Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 10, 1938)
“The Board of Directors of Boys State, Inc., is authorized to use in all elections held at The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State either voting machines or printed ballots.”
Fourth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 8, 1939)
“The Board of Directors of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State, Inc., is authorized to use in municipal election held at The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State. The Proportional Representation (“P.R.”) Election Plan.”
Fifth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 7, 1940)
In Article I, Section I, “Monongalia be changed to Kanawha.”
Sixth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 6, 1941)
In Section I, Article I, “Add Gilmer and Monongalia Counties.”
Seventh Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 7, 1960)
“All elections for state offices which result in “tie votes” shall be resolved by the Legislature sitting in joint session as provided in the enabling legislation.”
Eighth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 7, 1960)
An amendment to make the office of State Superintendent of Free Schools appointive by the State Board of Education in the same manner as the State Superintendent of Free Schools of the State of West Virginia.
Ninth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 5, 1962)
Amendment to Article III, Section 4: “No person who holds a State elective office, or any appointive State Office is eligible to be a member of The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State Legislature.”
Tenth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 15, 1963)
Amendment to Article I, Section I to grant Ohio County admittance to The American Legion Boys State and to change Ohio County officially to Panhandle County with Ellwood City as county seat.
Eleventh Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 12, 1964)
Amendment to Article III, Section 4: “The House of Delegates shall be composed of delegates of people in each cottage with no cottage having fewer than 2 delegates and no more than 6 delegates, with one delegate for each 7 and the fraction greater than half thereof.”
Twelfth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 30, 1967)
“In general election for officers in all magisterial, senatorial and county offices “tied” candidates shall determine the winner by a run-off election, held immediately, and if said candidates are still tied, the winner shall then be decided by lot.”
Thirteenth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 22, 1973)
Amendment to Article III, Section 4: “The House of Delegates shall be composed of delegates elected from each county with one delegate for each seven (7) citizens or major fraction thereof residing in the county.
Fourteenth Amendment (Ratified at Special Election June 22, 1979)
“All elections which result in a tie vote shall be resolved by a run-off election between or among the tied candidates. In the event that the run-off election should also result in a tie, the winner shall be determined by some other means by which shall be approved by the election board.”
Fifteenth Amendment (Ratified June 30, 1980)
No Boys Stater shall be a candidate for more than one state office at any election.
Sixteenth Amendment (Ratified by Special Election June 18, 1982)
Candidates for office using campaign nicknames shall do so only during the campaigns. If a nickname is desired on the ballot, it shall be written in parenthesis immediately preceding the candidate’s preferred given name.
Seventeenth Amendment (Ratified by Special Election June 18, 1982)
The brining of campaign literature, cards, signs, pins, hats, or other objects that can be used for soliciting votes shall be forbidden.
Eighteenth Amendment (Ratified by Special Election June 18, 1982)
The Bar exam will be based on a percentage grade whereby each person that passes said percentage will have passed the examination. Said percentage shall be 60% and shall not fluctuate. Each question shall be worth one point whether right or wrong.
Nineteenth Amendment (Ratified by Special Election June 14, 1991)
“The Boys State Bar Examination’s passing score is deemed to be the % of the correct answers that allows 30%, but no more than 51%, of the Boys State citizens to pass. All of the examinations that contain a graded score equivalent to the lowest percentage of the correct answers required to reach the 30% threshold shall be deemed to have passed. In addition, each individual counselor shall be required to meet with the citizens of their particular cabin for a period of no less than twenty (20) minutes prior to the administering of the bar exam for the specific purpose of bar exam preparation.”
Twentieth Amendment (Ratified by Special Election June 12, 1998)
Section I: It is hereby declared that the construction of the county/city packets should be regulated for purposes of equality. Section II: No completion of the packet will be assisted by use of any device or machine that has been brought by any Boys State Citizen, or non-member of Boys State. Section 3: All materials used in the construction of the packets must be provided by Headquarters.
Twenty First Amendment (Ratified by Special Election June 15, 2007)
All population of Boy’s State at or below 350 participants will set the number of members of the House of Delegates representatives to 1 out of every 10 citizens. All populations at or above 351 participants will set the number of House of Delegates representatives to 1 out of every 7 citizens.