THE ORGANIC ACT OF NEBRASKA TERRITORY.
By the provisions of the Act of Congress organizing the Territory of Nebraska, the executive power in and over said Territory was vested in a Governor, whose term of office was for four years, or until his successor was appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States. The Governor was made Commander-in-Chief of the militia of the Territory; was empowered to grant pensions and respites against the laws of the Territory, and reprieves for offences [sic] against the laws, of the United States, and it was his duty to commission all officers appointed under the laws of the Territory, and to take care that the laws were faithfully executed.
A Secretary of the Territory was appointed who was required to reside therein, and whose term of office extended for five years,, unless sooner removed by the President. In case of death, removal, resignation or absence of the Governor from the Territory, the Secretary was authorized and required to act in his Stead, and execute and perform all the duties of the Governor during his absence or vacancy in the office.
The legislative power of the Territory was vested in the Governor and Legislative Assembly, the latter consisting of a Council and House of Representatives.
The judicial power of the Territory was vested in a Supreme Court, District Courts, Probate Courts and Justices of the Peace. The Supreme Court consisted of a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices, any two of whom constituted a quorum, and they were
required to hold a term at the Capital of the Territory annually. The Territory was divided into three judicial districts, and a district court held in each, presided over by one of the justices of the Supreme Court.
An Attorney and Marshal for the Territory were appointed, whose term extended for four years, and whose salary and fees were the same as that allowed the Attorney and Marshal of the Territory of Utah.
The salary of the Governor was $2,500 per annum, that of the Secretary $2,000, and the Chief Justice and each of the Associate Justices $2,000.
The pay of the members of the Assembly was $3.00 each per day, during their actual attendance at the sessions, and $3.00 each for every twenty miles traveled in going to and returning from the sessions; and an additional allowance of $3.00 per day was paid the presiding officer of each house.
The Act also provided for the election of a delegate to the House of Representatives of the United States, for the term of two years, who was entitled to the same rights and privileges as exercised and enjoyed by the delegates from the several other Territories of the United States.
LEGISLATIVE.--It provided that the legislative authority was vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate consisted of thirteen members, and the House of Representatives consisted of thirty-nine members, which could not be increased for the term of ten years after the adoption of the Constitution.
EXECUTIVE.--The Executive Department consisted of Governor, Secretary and Treasurer, who held their offices for the term of two years, and the Auditor for four years, and in case of death, resignation or removal from office of the Governor, the duties of that office was performed by the Secretary of State.
JUDICIARY.--The judicial powers was vested in a Supreme Court, District Courts, Probate Courts and Justices of the Peace. The Supreme Court consisted of a Chief Justice and two Associate
Justices, any two of whom constituted a quorum for the transaction of business. Said Judges were elected by the people, and held their offices for six years. The State was divided into three judicial districts, and the Supreme Judges held the District Courts in the three judicial districts, the Legislature assigning the judges to their respective districts.
FINANCE.--The credit of the State could not be given to any individual or corporation in the construction of improvements, neither could the State be a party to any works of internal improvements, or contract any debt beyond fifty thousand dollars.
EDUCATION.--The principal of all funds arising from. the sale of lands or other property granted to the State for educational or religious purposes, shall forever be preserved inviolate and undiminished; and all incomes arising therefrom shall be faithfully applied to the specific object of the original grantor appropriations, and all school lands or University lands shall not be sold for a less sum than five dollars per acre.
DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS.--The powers of the Government of this State are divided into three distinct departments: the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial, and no person, or collection of persons, being one of these departments shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except as hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.
LEGISLATIVE.--The Legislative authority is vested in a Senate and House of Representatives. The House of Representatives shall consist of eighty-four members, and the Senate shall consist of thirty members, until the year eighteen hundred and eighty, after which time the number of members of each House shall be regulated by law; but the number of Representatives shall never exceed one hundred, nor that of Senators thirty-three. The sessions of the Legislature shall be biennial, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution. The Senate and House of Representatives in joint convention shall have the sole power of impeachment, but a majority of the members elected must concur therein. The Legislature shall not pass local or special laws granting to any corporation, association, or individual, any special or exclusive privileges, immunity, or franchise whatever. Lands under control of the State shall never be donated to railroad companies, private corporations, or individuals
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.--The Executive Department shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public
Accounts, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, and Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings, who shall each hold his office for the term of two years, from the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in January next after his election, and until his successor is elected and qualified. The Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, and Treasurer, shall reside at the Seat of Government during their terms of office, and keep the public records, books, and papers there, and shall perform such duties as may be required by law. No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor or Lieutenant-governor, who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and been for two years next preceding his election a citizen of the United States and of this State. All civil officers of this State shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor in office. The supreme executive power shall be vested in the Governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. The Governor shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military and naval forces of the State (except when they shall be called into the service of the United States), and may call out the same to execute the laws, suppress insurrection and repel invasion. In case of death, impeachment and notice thereof to the accused, failure to qualify, resignation, absence from the State, or other disability of the Governor, the powers, duties and emoluments of the office, for the residue of the term, or until the disability shall be removed, shall devolve upon the Lieutenant-Governor. The Lieutenant Governor shall be President of the Senate, and shall vote only when the Senate is equally divided. The salaries of the Governor, Auditor of Public Accounts, and Treasurer shall be two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) each, per annum, and of the Secretary of State, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings, two thousand dollars ($2,000) each per annum. The Lieutenant-Governor shall receive twice the compensation of a Senator.
THE JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT.--The judicial power of this State shall be vested in Supreme Court, District Courts, County Courts, Justices of the Peace, Police Magistrates, and in such other Courts inferior to the District Courts, as may be created by law for cities and incorporated towns. The Supreme Court shall consist of three Judges, a majority of whom shall be necessary to form a quorum or to pronounce a decision. It shall have original jurisdiction in cases relating to the revenue, civil cases in which the State shall be a party, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and such appelate [sic] jurisdiction as may be provided by law. At least two terms of the Supreme Court shall be held each year at the Seat of Government. The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the electors of the State at large, and their terms shall be six years. The State shall be divided into six Judicial Districts, in each of which shall be elected by the electors thereof, one Judge, who shall be Judge of the District Court therein, and whose term of office shall be four years. Until otherwise provided by law, said Districts shall be as follows:
First District--The Counties of Richardson, Johnson, Pawnee, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Thayer, Clay, Nuckolls, and Fillmore.
Second District--The Counties of Nemaha, Otoe, Cass, and Lancaster.
Third District--The Counties of Douglas, Sarpy, Washington and Burt.
Fourth District-The Counties of Saunders, Dodge, Butler, Colfax, Platte, Polk, Merritt, Hamilton, York, Seward, Hall, and Howard.
Fifth District--The Counties of Buffalo, Adams, Webster, Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, Phelps, Gosper, Furnas, Hitchcock, Dundy, Chase. Cheyenne, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson Sherman, Red Willow, Frontier, and the unorganized territory west of said District.
Sixth District--The Counties of Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Cedar, Wayne, Stanton, Madison, Boone, Pierce, Knox, Antelope, Holt, Greeley, Valley, and the unorganized territory west of said District.
The Judges of the Supreme and District Courts shall each receive a salary of $2,500 per annum, payable quarterly. No Judge of the Supreme or District Courts shall receive any other compensation, perquisite, or benefit for or on account of his office in any form whatever; nor act as attorney or counsellor-at-law, in any manner whatever; nor shall any salary be paid to any County Judge.
EDUCATION.--The Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorner- [sic] General and Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings, shall, under the direction of the Legislature, constitute a Board of Commissioners for the sale, leasing, and general management of all lands and funds set apart for educational purposes, and for the investment of school funds in such manner as may be prescribed by law. All funds belonging to the State for educational purposes, the interest and income whereof only are to be used, shall be deemed trust funds held by the State, and the State shall supply all losses thereof that may in any manner accrue, so that the same shall remain forever inviolate and undiminished; and shall not be invested or loaned except on United States or State securities, or registered County bonds of this State; and such funds, with the interest and income thereof, are hereby solemnly pledged for the purposes for which they are granted and set apart, and shall not be transferred to any other fund for other uses. No sectarian instruction shall be allowed in any school or institution supported in whole or in part by the public funds set apart for educational purposes; nor shall the State accept any grant, conveyance, or bequest, of money, lands, or other property, to be used for sectarian purposes. The Legislature may provide by law for the establishment of a school or schools for the safe keeping, education, employment, and reformation of all children under the age of sixteen years, who for want of proper parental care, or other cause, are growing up to mendicancy or crime.
COUNTIES.--No new County shall be formed or established by the Legislature which will reduce the County or Counties, or either of them, to a less area than four hundred square miles, nor shall any County be formed of a less area. No County shall be divided, nor have any part stricken therefrom without first submitting the question to a vote of the people of
the County, nor unless a majority of all the legal voters of the County voting on the question shall vote for the same.
RAILROAD CORPORATIONS.--Railways heretofore constructed, or that may hereafter be constructed in this State, are hereby declared public highways, and shall be free to all persons for the transportation of their persons and property thereon, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law. And the Legislature may from time to time pass laws establishing reasonable maximum rates of charges for the transportation of passengers and freight on the different railroads in this State. The liability of railroad corporations as common carriers shall never be limited.
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS.--No City, County, Town, Precinct, Municipality, or other sub-division of the State shall ever become a subscriber to the capital stock, or owner of such stock, or any portion or interest therein, of any railroad or private corporation or association.
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, T&C Miller