CONSTITUTION OF CALIFORNIA
passed in 1879
Section 1. Corporations may be formed under general laws, but shall not be created by special Act. All laws now in force in this State concerning corporations, and all laws that may be hereafter passed pursuant to this section, may be altered from time to time or repealed.
Sec. 2. Dues from corporations shall be secured by such individual liability of the corporators and other means as may be prescribed by law.
Sec. 3. Each stockholder of a corporation. or joint stock association, shall be individually and personally liable for such proportion of all its debts and liabilities contracted or incurred, during the time he was a stockholder, as the amount of stock or shares owned by him bears to the whole of the subscribed capital stock, or shares of the corporation or association. The directors or trustees of corporations and joint-stock associations shall be jointly and severally liable to the creditors and stockholders for all moneys embezzled or misappropriated by the officers of such corporation or joint stock association during the term of office of such director or trustee.
Sec. 4. The term corporations, as used in this article, shall be construed to include all associations and joint stock companies having any of the powers or privileges of corporations not possessed by individuals or partnerships, and all corporations shall have the right to sue and shall be subject to be sued, in all Courts, in like cases as natural persons.
Sec. 5. The Legislature shall have no power to pass any Act granting any charter for banking purposes, but corporations or associations may be formed for such purposes under general laws. No corporation, association, or individual shall issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States.
Sec. 6. All existing charters, grants, franchises, special or exclusive privileges, under which an actual and bona fide organization shall not have taken place, and business been commenced in good faith, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall thereafter have no validity.
Sec. 7. The Legislature shall not extend any franchise or charter, nor remit the forfeiture of any franchise or charter of any corporation now existing, or which shall hereafter exist under the laws of this State.
Sec 8. The exercise of the right of eminent domain shall never be so abridged or construed as to prevent the Legislature from taking the property and franchises of incorporated companies and subjecting them to public use the same as the property of individuals, and the exercise of the police power of the State shall never be so abridged or construed as to permit corporations to conduct their business in such manner as to infringe the rights of individuals or the general well-being of the State.
Sec. 9. No corporation shall engage in any business other than that expressly authorized in its charter, or the law under which it may have been or may hereafter be organized; nor shall it hold for a longer period than five years any real estate except such as may be necessary for carrying on its business.
Sec. 10. The Legislature shall not pass any laws permitting the leasing or alienation of any franchise, so as to relieve the franchise or property held thereunder from the liabilities of the lessor or grantor, lessee or grantee, contracted or incurred in the operation, use, or enjoyment of such franchise, or any of its privileges.
Sec. 11. No corporation shall issue stock or bonds, except for money paid, labor done, or property actually received, and all fictitious increase of stock or indebtedness shall be void. The stock and bonded indebtedness of corporations shall not be increased except in pursuance of general law, nor without the consent of the persons holding the larger amount in value of the stock, at a meeting called for that purpose, giving sixty days' public notice, as may be provided by law.
Sec. 12. In all elections for directors or managers of corporations, every stockholder shall have the right to vote, in person or by proxy, the number of shares of stock owned by him, for as many persons as there are directors or managers to be elected, or to cumulate said shares and give one candidate as many votes as the number of directors multiplied by the number of his shares of stock shall equal, or to distribute them, on the same principle, among as many candidates as he shall think fit; and such directors or managers shall not be elected in any other manner, except that members of cooperative societies formed for agricultural, mercantile, and manufacturing purposes, may vote on all questions affecting such societies in manner prescribed by law.
Sec. 13. The State shall not in any manner loan its credit, nor shall it subscribe to, or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation.
Sec. 14. Every corporation other than religious, educational, or benevolent, organized or doing business in this State, shall have and maintain an office or place in this State for the transaction of its business, where transfers of stock shall be made, and in which shall be kept, for inspection by every person having an interest therein, and legislative committees, books in which shall be recorded the amount of capital stock subscribed, and by whom; the names of the owners of its stock, and the amounts owned by them respectively, the amount of stock paid in the transfers of stock paid in and by whom; the transfers of stock; the amount of its assets and liabilities, and the names and places of residence of its officers.
Sec. 15. No corporation organized outside the limits of this State shall be allowed to transact business within this State on more favorable conditions than are prescribed by law to similar corporations organized under the laws of this State.
Sec. 16. A corporation or association may be sued in the county where the contract is made or is to be performed, or where the obligatory or liability arises, or the breach occurs; or in the county where the principle place of business of such corporation is situated, subject to the power of the Court to change the place of trial as in other cases.
Sec. 17. All railroad, canal, and other transportation companies are declared to be common carriers, and subject to legislative control. Any association or corporation, organized for the purpose, under the laws of this State, shall have the right to connect at the State line with railroads of other States. Every railroad company shall have the right with its road to intersect, connect with or cross any other railroad, and shall receive and transport each the other's passengers, tonnage, and cars, without delay or discrimination.
Sec. 18. No president, director, officer, agent, or employé of any railroad or canal company shall be interested, directly or indirectly, in the furnishing of material or supplies to such company, not in the business of transportation as a common carrier of freight or passengers over the works owned, leased, controlled, or worked by such company, except such interest in the business of transportation as lawfully flows from the ownership of stock therein.
Sec. 19. No railroad or other transportation company shall grant free passes, or passes or tickets at a discount, to any person holding any office of honor, trust, or profit in this State; and the acceptance of any such pass or ticket by a member of the Legislature or any public officer, other than railroad Commissioner, shall work a forfeiture of his office.
Sec 20. No railroad company or other common carrier shall combine or make any contract with the owners of any vessel that leaves port or makes port in this State, or with any common carrier, by which combination or contract the earnings of one doing the carrying are to be shared by the other not doing the carrying. And whenever a railroad corporation shall, for the purpose of competing with any other common carrier, lower its rates for transportation of passengers or freight from one point to another, such reduced rates shall not be again raised or increased from such standard without the consent of the governmental authority in which shall be vested the power to regulate fares and freights.
Sec. 21. No discrimination in charges or facilities for transportation shall be made by any railroad or other transportation company between places or persons, or in the facilities for the transportation of the same classes of freight or passengers within this State, or coming from or going to any other State. Persons and property transported over any railroad, or by any other transportation company or individual, shall be delivered at any station, landing, or port, at charges not exceeding the charges for the transportation of persons and property of the same class, in the same direction, to any more distant station, port, or landing. Excursion and commutation tickets may be issued at special rates.
Sec. 22. The State shall be divided into three districts as nearly equal in population as practicable, in each of which one Railroad Commissioner shall be elected by the qualified electors thereof at the regular gubernatorial elections, whose salary shall be fixed by law, and whose term of office shall be four years, commencing on the first Monday after the first day of January next succeeding their election. Said Commissioners shall be qualified electors of this State and of the district from which they are elected, and shall not be interested in any railroad corporation, or other transportation company, as stockholder, creditor, agent, attorney, or employé; and the act of a majority of said Commissioners shall be deemed the act of said Commission. Said Commissioners shall have the power, and it shall be their duty, to establish rates of charges for the transportation of passengers and freight by railroad or other transportation companies, and publish the same from time to time, with such changes as they may make; to examine the books, records, and papers of all railroad and other transportation companies, and for this purpose they shall have power to issue subpoenas and all other necessary process; to hear and determine complaints against railroad and other transportation companies, to send for persons and papers, to administer oaths, take testimony, and punish for contempt of their orders and processes, in the same manner and to the same extent as Courts of record, and enforce their decisions and correct abuses through the medium of the Courts: Said Commissioners shall prescribe a uniform system of accounts to be kept by all such corporations and companies. Any railroad corporation or transportation company which shall fail or refuse to conform to such rates as shall be established by such Commissioners, or shall charge rates in excess thereof, or shall fail to keep their accounts in accordance with the system prescribed by the Commission, shall be fined not exceeding twenty thousand dollars for each offense, and every officer, agent, or employé of any such corporation or company, who shall demand or receive rates in excess thereof, or who shall in any manner violate the provisions of this section, shall be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars, or be imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding one year. In all controversies, civil or criminal, the rates of fares and freights established by said Commission shall be deemed conclusively just and reasonable, and in any action against such corporation or company for damages sustained by charging excessive rates, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damage, may in the discretion of the Judge or jury; recover exemplary damages. Said Commission shall report to the Governor, annually, their proceedings, and such other facts as may be deemed important. Nothing in this section shall prevent individuals from maintaining actions against any of such companies. The Legislature may, in addition to any penalties herein prescribed, enforce this article by forfeiture of charter or otherwise, and may confer such further powers on the Commissioners as shall be necessary to enable them to perform the duties enjoined on them in this and the foregoing section. The Legislature shall have power, by a two thirds vote of all the members elected to each House, to remove any one or more of said Commissioners from office, for dereliction of duty, or corruption, or incompetency; and whenever, from any cause, a vacancy in office shall occur in said Commission, the Governor shall fill the same by the appointment of a qualified person thereto, who shall hold office for the residue of the unexpired term, and until his successor shall have been elected and qualified.
Sec. 23. Until the Legislature shall district the State, the following shall be the railroad districts: The First District shall be composed of the Counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba, from which one Railroad Commissioner shall be elected. The Second District shall be composed of the Counties of Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo, from which one Railroad Commissioner shall be elected. The Third District shall be composed of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Ventura, from which one Railroad Commissioner shall be elected.
Sec. 24. The Legislature shall pass all laws necessary for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
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