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This little book would be very incomplete without an acknowledgment of the painstaking and kindly assistance of Edwin F. Smith, Secretary of the Senate, whose experience and extensive knowledge of legislative matters has been ever at my disposal.



Explaining Status of Sections of the Codes Which Prescribe Limita

tions on the Powers of the Legislature. It was undoubtedly the intention of the framers of the Constitution that the power of the Legislature should be limited only by the Constitution. This is shown by many instances, but the most patent of these is probably the one which prescribes that the Legislature shall be the sole judge of the election and qualifications of its own members. Under this provision it would be possible for the Legislature to disqualify a member on grounds which would be held insufficient in a court of law, but from such action on the part of the Legislature there would be no appeal.

Consequently, no session of the Legislature can prescribe a limitation on the powers of a subsequent session. In view of this fact, the code provisions affecting subjects which are germane to the work of the Legislature can not be regarded as otherwise than directory even though terms are employed which are distinctly mandatory. In other words, the Legislature, to the extent that it observes provisions of the codes, may be said to do so only by sufferance.

Were this not a fact, it might be possible to question the validity of

many of our general laws on account of the omission to have them codified in accordance with the provisions of sections 249 and 250 of the Political Code which are found in sections 208 and 209 of this book. These code provisions are in conflict with the provision of the Constitution that "each house shall determine the rule of its proceeding” and in actual practice are not observed by either house.

N. W. THOMPSON, President pro tem. of Senate, Forty-first Session.


1. Journals of Senate and Assembly.

2. Rules of the Senate.

3. Rules of the Assembly.

4. The Joint Rules.

5. Constitution of California.

6. The Political Code.

7. The Penal Code.

8. The Code of Civil Procedure.

9. The Civil Code.

10. Robert's Rules of Order.

11. Jefferson's Manual.

12. Rules of the U'. S. House of Representatives.

13. Rules of the l'. S. Senate.


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