Article 12 – Municipal and Private Corporations – Arkansas Constitution

§ 1.   Revocation of certain charters.

All existing charters or grants of special or exclusive privileges, under a 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.

§ 2.   Special acts prohibited — Exception.

The General Assembly shall pass no special act conferring corporate powers, except for charitable, educational, penal or reformatory purposes, where the corporations created are to be and remain under the patronage and control of the state.

§ 3.   Cities and towns — Organization under general laws.

The General Assembly shall provide, by general laws, for the organization of cities (which may be classified) and incorporated towns; and restrict their power of taxation, assessment, borrowing money and contracting debts, so as to prevent the abuse of such power.

§ 4.   Limitation on legislative and taxing power — Local bond issues.

No municipal corporation shall be authorized to pass any laws contrary to the general laws of the state; nor levy any tax on real or personal property to a greater extent, in one year, than five mills on the dollar of the assessed value of the same; Provided: That, to pay indebtedness existing at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, an additional tax of not more than five mills on the dollar, may be levied.

The fiscal affairs of counties, cities and incorporated towns shall be conducted on a sound financial basis, and no county court or levying board or agent of any county shall make or authorize any contract or make any allowance for any purpose whatsoever in excess of the revenue from all sources for the fiscal year in which said contract or allowance is made; nor shall any county judge, county clerk, or other county officer, sign or issue any scrip warrant or make any allowance in excess of the revenue from all sources for the current fiscal year; nor shall any city council, board of aldermen, board of public affairs, or commissioners, of any city of the first or second class, or any incorporated town, enter into any contract or make any allowance for any purpose whatsoever, or authorize the issuance of any contract or warrants, scrip or other evidences of indebtedness in excess of the revenue for such city or town for the current fiscal year; nor shall any mayor, city clerk, or recorder, or any other officer or officers, however designated, of any city of the first or second class or incorporated town sign or issue scrip, warrant or other certificate of indebtedness of excess of the revenue from all sources for the current fiscal year.

Provided, however, to secure funds to pay indebtedness outstanding at the time of the adoption of this amendment, counties, cities, and incorporated towns may issue interest bearing certificates of indebtedness or bonds with interest coupons for the payment of which a county or city tax, in addition to that now authorized, not exceeding three mills may be levied for the time as provided by law until such indebtedness is paid.

Where the annual report of any city or county in the State of Arkansas shows that scrip, warrants or other certificate of indebtedness had been issued in excess of the total revenue for that year, the officer or officers of the county or city or incorporated town who authorized, signed or issued such scrip, warrants or other certificates of indebtedness shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in any sum not less than five hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, and shall be removed from office. [As amended by Const. Amend. 10.]

§ 5. Political subdivisions not to become stockholders in or lend credit to private corporations.

No county, city, town or other municipal corporation, shall become a stockholder in any company, association, or corporation; or obtain or appropriate money for, or loan its credit to, any corporation, association, institution or individual.

§ 6. General incorporation laws — Charters — Revocation.

Corporations may be formed under general laws; which laws may, from time to time, be altered or repealed. The General Assembly shall have the power to alter, revoke or annul any charter of incorporation now existing and revocable at the adoption of this Constitution, or any that may hereafter be created, whenever, in their opinion, it may be injurious to the citizens of this State; in such manner, however, that no injustice shall be done to the corporators.

§ 7. State not to be stockholder.

Except as herein provided, the State shall never become a stockholder in, or subscribe to, or be interested in the stock of any corporation or association.

§ 8. Private corporations — Issuance of stocks or bonds — Conditions and restrictions.

No private corporation shall issue stocks or bonds, except for money or property actually received, or labor done; and all fictitious increase of stock or indebtedness shall be void; nor shall the stock or bonded indebtedness of any private corporation be increased, except in pursuance of general laws; nor until the consent of the persons holding the larger amount, in value, of stock, shall be obtained at a meeting held after notice given, for a period not less than sixty days, in pursuance of law.

§ 9. Taking of property by corporation — Compensation.

No property, nor right of way, shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation, until full compensation therefor shall be first made to the owner, in money; or first secured to him by a deposit of money; which compensation, irrespective of any benefit from any improvement

proposed by such corporation, shall be ascertained by a jury of twelve men, in a court of competent jurisdiction, as shall be prescribed by law.

§ 10.   Issue of circulating paper.

No act of the General Assembly shall be passed authorizing the issue of bills, notes, or other paper which may circulate as money.

§ 11.   Foreign corporations doing business in state.

Foreign corporations may be authorized to do business in this State, under such limitations and restrictions as may be prescribed by law; Provided: That no such corporation shall do any business in this State, except while it maintains therein one or more known places of business, and an authorized agent or agents in the same, upon whom process may be served; and, as to contracts made or business done in this State, they shall be subject to the same regulations, limitations and liabilities as like corporations of this State; and shall exercise no other or greater powers, privileges or franchises than may be exercised by like corporations of this State; nor shall they have power to condemn or appropriate private property.

§ 12.   State not to assume liabilities of political subdivisions or private corporations — Indebtedness to state — Release.

Except as herein otherwise provided, the State shall never assume, or pay the debt or liability of any county, town, city or other corporation whatever; or any part thereof; unless such debt or liability shall have been created to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or to provide for the public welfare and defense. Nor shall the indebtedness of any corporation to the State, ever be released, or in any manner discharged, save by payment into the public treasury.

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