Section 1. The legislative power of the State Government is vested in the Legislature, which consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This power extends to all rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with this Constitution or the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Case annotations: - Legislative Powers
The power to investigate and issue subpoenas is expressly granted the legislature by the constitution. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 261, 265 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The legislature's investigative powers are greatest when it is inquiring into and publicizing corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in the agencies or branches of government. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 261, 265 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
It is unreasonable
for a public official, required by law to cooperate with legislative
investigating committees, to have an expectation of privacy in matters that are
linked to his performance in office, and it is unreasonable for a public
official, such as the Governor, who is a trustee of the state's finances and who owes a fiduciary duty to the state to expect that his personal finances will be kept private if there is some reason to believe he has violated his trust. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 261, 267 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The Chuuk House of Representatives has no criminal prosecution function. It is limited to passing laws and under the proper circumstances bringing bills of impeachment, which are not criminal in nature. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 261, 266 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
Section 2. Membership in the Legislature is based on regional equality in the Senate and on population and geographical configuration in the House of Representatives. The Senate consists of 10 members, who shall be known as Senators, of which each Senatorial Region shall elect two. The House of Representatives consists of 28 members, who shall be known as Representatives. A Representative District shall have at least one member.
(a) For purposes of representation in the Legislature, the State of Chuuk is divided into 5 Senatorial Regions, as follows: (1) Northern Namoneas, consisting of the islands of Weno, Fono, and Piis-Panewu; (2) Southern Namoneas, consisting of the islands of Tonoas, Etten, Fefen, Parem, Siis, Totiw, and Uman; (3) Faichuk, consisting of the islands of Udot, Eot, Ramanum, Fanapanges, Polle, Paata, Wonei, and Tol; (4) Mortlocks, consisting of the islands of Nema, Losap, Piis-Emmwar, Namoluk, Ettal, Moch, Kuttu, Ta, Satowan, Lukunoch, and Oneop; and (5) Northwest Islands, consisting of the islands of Nomwin, Fananu, Ruo, Murilo, Onoun, Makur, Onou, Unanu, Piherarh, Houk, Polowat, Tamatam, and Pollap.
(b) Representatives shall be elected as follows:
(1) Northern Namoneas: Representative District 1, consisting of Weno, Fono, and Piis-Panewu, 5 members;
(2) Southern Namoneas: Representative District 2, consisting of Tonoas and Etten, 2 members; Representative District 3, consisting of Fefen, Parem, Siis, and Totiw, 3 members; Representative District 4, consisting of Uman, 2 members;
(3) Faichuk: Representative District 5, consisting of Udot, Eot, Ramanum, and Fanapanges, 2 members; Representative District 6, consisting of Polle, Paata, and Wonei, 2 members; Representative District 7, consisting of Tol, 3 members;
(4) Mortlocks: Representative District 8, consisting of Nema, Losap, and Piis-Emmwar, 2 members; Representative District 9, consisting of Namoluk, Ettal, Moch, and Kuttu, 2 members; Representative District 10, consisting of Ta, Satowan, Lukunoch, and Oneop, 2 members;
(5) Northwest Islands: Representative District 11, consisting of Nomwin, Fananu, Ruo, and Murilo, 1 member; Representative District 12, consisting of Onoun, Makur, Onou, Unanu, and Piherarh, 1 member; Representative District 13, consisting of Houk, Polowat, Tamatam, and Pollap, 1 member.
Section 4. Each Senator shall serve for a 4 year term. Each Representative shall serve for a 2 year term. The terms of all members of the Legislature shall begin at noon on the sixth Tuesday following the general election.
Section 5. Every 2 years when a new Legislature convenes, each house shall organize by the election of one of its members as presiding officer. For the Senate, such presiding officer shall be designated President of the Senate, and for the House of Representatives, such presiding officer shall be designated Speaker of the House of Representatives. Other officers may also be elected, as provided by the rules of each house. The President of the Senate shall preside when the Legislature meets in joint session.
Section 6. A vacancy in either house of the
Legislature shall be filled for the unexpired term by a special election, but an
unexpired term of less than one year shall be filled by appointment of the
(a) No person is eligible to serve as a Representative unless at least 25 years of age, or as a Senator unless at least 35 years of age, on the day of election; was a born Chuukese, has been a resident and registered voter of the Representative District or Senatorial Region from which elected for at least 5 years prior to the day of election, and is a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia.
(b) No person convicted of a felony is eligible to serve as a member of the Legislature, even if pardoned. A member of the Legislature who has been convicted of a felony shall automatically be expelled from the Legislature, but is eligible to run again if the conviction is reversed on appeal.
(c) Each house is the sole judge of the elections and qualifications of its members.
Case annotations: The framers did not intend that the constitutional provision barring persons convicted of a felony from serving in the legislature, even if pardoned, to have retroactive effect so as to bar a person who was both convicted and pardoned before the enactment of the Chuuk State Constitution from appearing on the official ballot for state legislator. Robert v. Mori,
6 FSM Intrm. 178, 179-80 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1993).
The Chuuk State Legislature is limited to judging only those qualifications of its elected members that are explicitly listed within the Chuuk State Constitution. Robert v. Chuuk State House of Representatives, 6 FSM Intrm. 260, 264 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1993).
provision making the House the sole judge of the qualification of its members
does not automatically preclude the Chuuk State Supreme Court from having jurisdiction to decide if a member-elect of the legislature has been excluded from membership on unconstitutional grounds nor is the court's jurisdiction over alleged unconstitutional applications of the Legislature's powers necessarily precluded by the political question doctrine. The court ultimately has the power to determine if the Legislature has exercised its powers in an unconstitutional and invalid manner. Robert v. Chuuk State House of Representatives, 6 FSM Intrm. 260, 264-65 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1993).
Each house of the Chuuk State Legislature may exercise its power as the sole judge of the qualifications of its members so long as it is done in a manner that is rationally and reasonably related to the plain ordinary meaning of the text in order to comply with the state and federal requirements of due process, and not in any arbitrary or capricious manner, or in any other manner that would otherwise violate the state or national constitutions. This power may be exercised only in regard to the qualifications that explicitly appear in the constitution itself. Robert v. Chuuk State House of Representatives, 6 FSM Intrm. 260, 266 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1993).
No house of legislature is bound by decisions or determinations of a previous house. One duly elected legislature's determination of a member-elect's constitutional qualifications or disqualification to sit is not binding as legal precedent on any subsequently and duly elected legislatures, and each newly elected legislature is free to determine the meaning of constitutional qualifications and apply it in a manner that is different from that of previous legislatures, so long as its application is in conformity with the state and national constitutions. Robert v. Chuuk State House of Representatives, 6 FSM Intrm. 260, 272 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1993).
(a) Except as limited by this Constitution, members of the Legislature shall receive annual salaries as prescribed by statute. No member may receive as salary and expense allowance a total amount greater than 3/4 of the equivalent to which the Governor is entitled by law.
(b) The expense allowance for each member of the Legislature may not exceed 1/5 of the member's annual salary.
(c) Upon request of the Governor or both of the presiding officers of the Legislature, the Election Commission shall submit the following question to the voters at the next general election: "Shall there be an increase in the salaries of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or members of the Legislature?" If a majority of the votes cast on this question is in the affirmative, the Legislature may provide for an increase not to exceed $2,000 for each officer.
(a) A member of the Legislature may hold no other public office or public or private employment, except as a notary public, a member of an emergency organization for civil defense or disaster relief, or an employee or member of a constitutional convention or commission. A member of the Legislature may not receive any compensation or remuneration from any other governmental branch, agency, authority, or instrumentality, or from any organization whose income is derived from state funds.
(b) During a term of service and the year following the expiration of the term, a member of the Legislature may not be appointed to any office or employment which was created by the Legislature during such term.
(c) A member of the Legislature may not engage in any activity which conflicts with the proper discharge of the duties of a legislator.
Section 10. A member of the Legislature may not be held to answer before any other tribunal for any statement made or action taken in the exercise of the member's legislative functions. A member of the Legislature shall in all cases, except a felony or breach of peace, be privileged from arrest during attendance at, and in going to and returning from, sessions or committee meetings of the Legislature.
(a) The Legislature shall convene annually in a regular session, which may not exceed 60 working days as provided by law.
(b) A special session, which may not exceed 15 working days as provided by law, shall be convened at the call of the Governor, at the written order signed by a majority of all of the members of each house if the Legislature is not in session, or by a vote of a majority of the members present of each house if the Legislature is in session. No subjects of legislation may be considered at a special session called by the Governor other than those specified in the call or in any message by the Governor to the Legislature while in session.
(c) At the start of a regular or special session, each house shall appoint a committee to inform the other house and the Governor formally that its house is prepared to transact business.
Section 12. The enacting clause of every bill shall be as follows: "Be it enacted by the Chuuk State Legislature:". No law may be enacted except by bill. Bills may originate in either house and may be amended or rejected by the other.
Section 13. Neither house may adjourn for more than 2 consecutive days, nor may either house adjourn sine die, without the concurrence of the other house.
(a) Every bill passed by the Legislature shall be certified by the presiding officers and clerks of both houses and shall be presented to the Governor. The Governor shall have 10 days to consider a bill presented when 10 or more days remain before adjournment sine die, and 30 days to consider a bill presented when less than 10 days remain before adjournment sine die or presented after adjournment sine die. If the Governor signs the bill within the time period required for consideration, it shall become a law. If the Governor disapproves, he shall so indicate and return the bill with objections to the originating house within the time period required for consideration. If the Governor takes no action and does not return the bill within such period, it shall become a law in like manner as if signed.
(b) When a bill is disapproved and returned by the Governor with objections, each house may proceed to consider it, with the originating house considering it first. If a bill is repassed by both houses by a 2/3 vote of the members present of each house, one reading required for each passage, it shall become a law.
(c) The Governor may veto any specific item or items in any bill which appropriates money for specific purposes by striking out the same, but may disapprove other bills only as a whole.
(d) If, upon receipt of a veto message from the Governor, the Legislature has adjourned sine die, the Legislature may reconsider the disapproved bill in the next regular or special session.
(a) A majority of the members of each house constitutes a quorum of that house for the transaction of business. However, a smaller number, not less than 3/4 of the number of members required for a quorum, may compel an absent member to attend sessions of the Legislature by ordering loss of salary and expense allowance, suspension, or both. Such action may be overturned only by a vote of 2/3 of all of the members of the house involved, but the house may not overturn a loss of salary or expense allowance for any session days which the member has failed to attend.
(b) Each house may punish a member for misconduct, disorderly behavior, or neglect of duty by censure or, upon a 2/3 vote of all of the members of the house, by suspension or expulsion.
(a) In order to become a law, a bill shall pass 2 readings in each house, on separate days. The final passage of a bill in each house shall be by majority roll call vote of all of the members of that house, which shall be entered upon the journal. Adoption of a resolution is by a majority vote of the members present. Adoption of a joint resolution is by a majority vote of the members present in each house.
(b) Every legislative act shall have but one subject, which shall be expressed in its title. A provision not included in the subject expressed in the title is void. No law or section of a law may be amended or revised by reference to its title only, but in every instance the law or section shall be published in its entirety, as amended or revised.
(c) Every bill, when passed by the originating house, shall immediately be certified by the presiding officer and the clerk and sent to the other house for consideration. If amendments are adopted by the second house, and the originating house does not concur, a conference committee may be established to resolve the differences between them.
Section 17. Each house shall keep and publish a journal of its proceedings. The business of each house, and of its committee of the whole, shall be transacted publicly and not in secret session.
Section 18. Each house shall have and exercise all the authority and attributes inherent in legislative assemblies, and may institute and conduct investigations, issue subpoenas, and administer oaths.
Case annotations: The power to investigate and issue subpoenas is expressly granted the legislature by the constitution. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 262 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
In determining whether the Legislature has the power to subpoena personal financial records of a public official in a legislative investigation a court must consider the right to privacy as it specifically applies to a public official. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 262 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The power to investigate has historically been found to be an inherent power of the legislative process and a power that is very broad. It comprehends probes into departments of the government to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste, and may not be unduly hampered. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 262 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
power to investigate is not unlimited. There is no general authority to
expose the private affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the
functions of the legislature, and the right to privacy embodied inArt. III, § 3 of the Chuuk Constitution is a restraint on the investigative power of the legislature. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 263 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The legislature's investigative powers are greatest when it is inquiring into and publicizing corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in the agencies or branches of government. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 263 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The Governor, as all public officials, occupies a fiduciary relationship to the state he serves, may not use his official power to further his own interest, and shall cooperate with any legislative investigating committee. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 261, 266 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or a Justice of the Supreme Court shall be removed from office upon conviction of impeachment for not carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the office as mandated by this Constitution or by law, or for misfeasance or malfeasance in office.
(b) The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment. A resolution of impeachment requires a 2/3 vote of all of the members of the House of Representatives.
Senate has the sole power to try the impeachment. A conviction of
impeachment requires a 2/3 vote of all of the members of the Senate. When
the Governor has been impeached, the Chief Justice shall preside at the trial.
(d) Judgments in case of impeachment shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of trust, honor, or profit in the government. A person so convicted may nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.
(e) No officer may exercise the powers and duties of his office upon the adoption of a resolution of impeachment and until acquitted.
Although the Chuuk Constitution does subject members of the judiciary to removal from office by impeachment, the court need not decide if this is the sole method a judge may be removed from office because the issuance of a writ of mandamus is not a removal action. All the court did by issuing the writ is to require the judge to follow the applicable law and remove himself from office by resignation when he became a political candidate. In re Failure of Justice to Resign, 7 FSM Intrm. 105, 110 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1995).
The governor does not have free reign to use the Attorney General's Office to litigate private matters outside the scope of his duties as governor, but until such time as he ceases to be able to act as governor pursuant to a bill of impeachment or other constitutional process he may utilize that office's services to litigate such matters as concern his acts as governor. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 261 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The Chuuk House of Representatives possesses the sole authority and power to pass a Bill of Impeachment seeking to remove those state officials responsible for misfeasance or malfeasance. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 266 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).
The House of Representatives has no criminal prosecution function. It is limited to passing laws and under the proper circumstance bringing bills of impeachment, which are not criminal in nature. In re Legislative Subpoena, 7 FSM Intrm. 259, 264 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1995).