Oklahoma Territory - Government - Legislative Branch

Legislative Branch

The Organic Act called for the establishment of a bicameral Territorial Legislative Assembly, to be composed of a thirteen member Territorial Council, the upper house of the Assembly, and twenty-six member Territorial House of Representatives, the lower house of the Assembly. The Organic Act allowed the Assembly to increase its membership (up to eighteen in the Council and thirty-six in the House of Representative) if the number of qualified voters increased by a proportionate amount. Territorial Councilors served staggered two-year terms, with half being elected every year. Territorial Representatives served one-year terms, with all Representatives being elected every year.

The Assembly's legislative power extended to all rightful subjects of legislation, as long as the laws enacted were consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the Organic Act. Acts passed by the Assembly did not require the consent of Congress to take effect. They had the same force of law, as did a law passed by a regular state government. All law enacted by the Assembly took effect upon their final passage and approval. However, any law could be suspended by the President of the United States or revoked, in part or in its entirely, by an act of Congress.

When the first Territorial Governor George Washington Steele took office, he issued an executive order on July 8, 1890, calling for the first elections to the Assembly. The date set for this election was August 5, 1890. The Assembly was to have convened August 12, but owing to the death of two members-elect a special election was called and the convening of the legislature was postponed until August 27, 1890.

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