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The Perpetual Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts General Court
May 1789
Location of original: Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts
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And the House of Representatives shall have power, from time to time, to impose fines upon such towns as shall neglect to choose and return members to the same, agreeably to this Constitution.
The expences of travelling to the General Assembly, and returning home, once every session and no more, shall be paid by the government, out of the publick treasury, to every member who shall attend as seasonably as he can, in the judgment of the House, and does not depart without leave.

  1. Every member of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by written votes ; and for one year at least next preceding his election, shall have been an inhabitant of, and have been seized in his own right of a freehold of the value of one hundred pounds within the town he shall be chosen to represent, or any rateable estate to the value of two hundred pounds; and he shall cease to represent the said town immediately on his ceasing to be qualified as aforesaid.
  2. Every male person, being twenty one years of ago, and resident in any particular town in this Commonwealth for the space of one year next preceding, having a freehold estate within the same town, of the annual income of three pounds, or any estate of the value of sixty pounds, shall have a right to vote in the choice of a Representative, or Representatives for the said town.
  3. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chose annually in the month of May, ten days at least before the last Wednsday of that month.
  4. The House of Representatives shall be the Grand Inquest of this Commonwealth; and all impeachments made by them, shall be heard and tried by the Senate.
  5. All money bills shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
  6. The House of Representatives shall have power to adjourn themselves, provided such adjournment shall not exceed two days at a time.
  7. Not less than sixty members of the House of Representatives, shall constitute a quorum for doing business.
  8. The House of Representatives shall be the judge of the returns, elections and qualifications of its own members as pointed out in the Constitution; shall chuse their own Speaker, appoint their own officers, and settle the rules and orders of proceeding in their own House: They shall have authority to punish by imprisonment, every person, not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect to the House, by any disorderly or contemptuous behavior in its presence; or who, in the town where the General Court is sitting, and during the time of it sitting, shall threaten harm to to the body or estate of any of its members, for anything said or done in the House; or who shall assualt any of them therefor; or who shall assualt, or arrest any witness, or other person, ordered to attend the House, in his way in going or returning; or who shall rescue any person arrested by the order of the House.
  9. And no member of the House of Representatives shall be arrested or held to bail on mean process, during his going unto, returning from, or his attending the General Assembly.
  10. The Senate shall have the same powers in the like cases; and the Governour and Council shall have the same authority to punish in like cases. Provided, that no imprisonment on the warrant or order of the Governor, Council, Senate, or House of Representatives, for either of the above described offences be for a term exceeding thirty days.
    And the Senate and House of Representatives may try and determine all cases where their rights and privileges are concerned, and which, by the Contstitiution, they have authority to try and determine, by committees of their own members, or in such other way as they may respectively think best

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