Development of the General assembly of Missouri
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The legislature of Missouri, like the legislatures of the other states in the Union, differs from the Congress of the United States in that it does not exercise specific delegated powers, but has a general residuary authority. This general power of the legislature is limited by provisions of the Federal and state constitutions. The Federal Constitution limits this power to the extent that it confers power upon the national government or prohibits it to the states. The General Assembly possesses all the power of the state except in those instances where the State Constitution has granted power to some other department of government, has denied it to the legislature, or contains itself provisions regulating any matter. The Constitution of 1820 contained few limitations upon the General Assembly. The Executive and Judicial Departments were not defined in detail, but were left to be regulated by statute. The same was true of the field of local government. There were few positive prohibitions upon the legislative power except those arising from the Bill of Rights. Finally, the Constitution did not contain much matter of positive regulation which would have operated as a restraint upon the power of the General Assembly. This condition was changed under the two later constitutions, in which the limitations assumed great proportions. These limitations upon the legislative power form so important a factor in a consideration of the powers of the General Assembly under the two later constitutions that it is thought advisable, for the purposes of this paper, to examine separately the powers of the legislature under the Constitutions which have successively been proposed as the fundamental law of the state. The legislative power will first be examined under the original Constitution, that of 1820. The extent of the legislative power under the draft constitution of 1845 and the two later adopted Constitutions will be afterward considered.
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