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be made, by general laws, for the voluntary surrender of its charter by any corporation, and for the forfeiture thereof for non-user or mis-user. The General Assembly shall not, by special act, regulate the affairs of any corporation, nor, by such act, give it any rights, powers or privileges.
Sec. 155. A permanent commission, to consist of three members, is hereby created, which shall be known as the State Corporation Commission. The commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly in joint session, and their regular terms of office shall be six years, respectively, except those first appointed under this Constitution, of whom, one shall be appointed to hold office until the first day of February, nineteen hundred and four, one, until the first day of February, nineteen hundred and six, and one, until the first day of February, nineteen hundred and eight. Whenever a vacancy in the commission shall occur, the Governor shall forthwith appoint a qualified person to fill the same for the unexpired term, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly as aforesaid. Commissioners appointed for regular terms shall, at the beginning of the terms for which appointed, and those appointed to fill vacancies shall, immediately upon their appointments, enter upon the duties of their office; but no person so appointed, either for a regular term, or to fill a vacancy, shall enter upon, or continue in, office after the General Assembly shall have refused to confirm his appointment, or adjourned sine die without confirming the same, nor shall he be eligible for re-appointment to fill the vacancy caused by such refusal or failure to confirm. No person while employed by, or holding any office in relation to, any transportation or transmission company, or while in any wise financially interested therein, or while engaged in practicing law, shall hold office as a member of said commission, or perform any of the duties thereof. At least one of the commissioners shall have the qualifications prescribed for judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals; and any commissioner may be impeached or removed in the manner provided for the impeachment or removal of a judge of said court. The commission shall annually elect one of their members chairman of the same, and shall have one clerk, one bailiff and such other clerks, officers, assistants and subordinates as may be provided by law, all of whom shall be appointed, and subject to removal, by the commission. It shall prescribe its own rules of order and procedure, except so far as the same are specified in this Constitution or any amendment thereof. The General Assembly may establish within the department, and subject to the supervision and control, of the commission, subordinate divisions, or bureaus, of insurance, banking or other special branches of the business of that department. All sessions of
the commission shall be public, and a permanent record shall be kept of all its judgments, rules, orders, findings and decisions, and of all reports made to, or by, it. Two of the commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, whether there be a vacancy in the commission or not. The commission shall keep its office open for business on every day except Sundays and legal holidays. Transportation companies shall at all times transport, free of charge, within this State, the members of said commission and its officers, or any of them, when engaged on their official duties. The General Assembly shall provide suitable quarters for the commission and funds for its lawful expenses, including pay for witnesses summoned, and costs of executing processes issued, by the commission of its own motion; and shall fix the salaries of the members, clerks, assistants and subordinates of the commission and provide for the payment thereof; but the salary of each commissioner shall not be less than four thousand dollars per annum. After the first day of January, nineteen hundred and eight, the General Assembly may provide for the election of the members of the commission by the qualified voters of the State; in which event, vacancies thereafter occurring shall be filled as hereinbefore provided, until the expiration of twenty days after the next general election, held not less than sixty days after the vacancy occurs, at which election the vacancy shall be filled for the residue of the unexpired term.
Sec. 156. (a) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and to such requirements, rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law, the State Corporation Commission shall be the department of government through which shall be issued all charters and amendments or extensions thereof, for domestic corporations, and all licenses to do business in this State to foreign corporations; and through which shall be carried out all the provisions of this Constitution, and of the laws made in pursuance thereof, for the creation, visitation, supervision, regulation and control of corporations chartered by, or doing business in, this State. The commission shall prescribe the forms of all reports which may be required of such corporations by this Constitution or by law; it shall collect, receive, and preserve such reports, and annually tabulate and publish them in statistical form; it shall have all the rights and powers of, and perform all the duties devolving upon, the Railroad Commissioner and the Board of Public Works, at the time this Constitution goes into effect, except so far as they are inconsistent with this Constitution, or may be hereafter abolished or changed by law.
(6) The commission shall have the power, and be charged with the duty, of supervising, regulating and controlling all transportation and transmission companies doing business in this State, in all matters relating to the performance of their public duties and their charges therefor, and of correcting abuses therein by such companies; and to that end the commission shall, from time to time, prescribe, and enforce against such companies, in the manner hereinafter authorized, such rates, charges, classifications of traffic, and rules and regulations, and shall require them to establish and maintain all such public service, facilities and conveniences, as may be reasonable and just, which said rates, charges, classifications, rules, regulations and requirements, the commission may, from time to time, alter or amend. All rates, charges, classifications, rules and regulations adopted, or acted upon, by any such company, inconsistent with those prescribed by the commission, within the scope of its authority, shall be unlawful and void. The commission shall also have the right at all times to inspect the books and papers of all transportation and transmission companies doing business in this State, and to require from such companies, from time to time, special reports and statements under oath, concerning their business; it shall keep itself fully informed of the physical condition of all the railroads of the State, as to the manner in which they are operated, with reference to the security and accommodation of the public, and shall, from time to time, make and enforce such requirements, rules and regulations as may be necessary to prevent unjust or unreasonable discriminations by any transportation or transmission company in favor of, or against, any person, locality, community, connecting line, or kind of traffic, in the matter of car service, train or boat schedule, efficiency of transportation or otherwise, in connection with the public duties of such company. Before the commission shall prescribe or fix any rate, charge, or classification of traffic, and before it shall make any order, rule, regulation or requirement directed against any one or more companies by name, the company or companies to be affected by such rate, charge, classification, order, rule, regulation or requirement, shall first be given, by the commission, at least ten days' notice of the time and place, when and where the contemplated action in the premises will be considered and disposed of, and shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to introduce evidence and to be heard thereon, to the end that justice may be done, and shall have process to enforce the attendance of witnesses; and before the commission shall make or prescribe any general order, rule, regulation or requirement, not directed against any specific company or companies by name, the contemplated general order, rule, regulation or requirement shall first be published in substance, not less than once a week for four consecutive weeks in one or more of the newspapers of general circulation published in the city of Richmond, Virginia, together with notice of the time and place, when and where the commission will hear any objections which may be urged by any person interested, against the proposed order, rule, regulation or requirement; and every such general order, rule, regulation or requirement, made by the commission shall be published at length, for the time and in the manner above specified, before it shall go into effect, and shall also, as long as it remains in force, be published in each subsequent annual report of the commission. The authority of the commission (subject to review on appeal as hereinafter provided) to prescribe rates, charges and classifications of traffic, for transportation and transmission companies, shall be paramount; but its authority to prescribe any other rules, regulations or requirements for corporations or other persons shall be subject to the superior authority of the General Assembly to legislate thereon by general laws: provided, however, that nothing in this section shall impair the right which has heretofore been, or may hereafter be, conferred by law upon the authorities of any city, town or county to prescribe rules, regulations or rates of charge to be observed by any public service corporation in connection with any services performed by it under a municipal or county franchise granted by such city, towit or county, so far as such services may be wholly within the limits of the city, town or county granting the franchise. Upon the request of the parties interested, it shall be the duty of the commission, as far as possible, to effect, by mediation, the adjustment of claims, and the settlement of controversies, between transportation or transmission companies and their patrons.
(c) In all matters pertaining to the public visitation, regulation or control of corporations, and within the jurisdiction of the commission, it shall have the powers and authority of a court of record, to administer oaths, to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, to punish for contempt any person guilty of disrespectful or disorderly conduct in the presence of the commission while in session, and to enforce compliance with any of its lawful orders or requirements by adjudging, and enforcing by its own appropriate process, against the delinquent or offending company (after it shall have been first duly cited, proceeded against by due process of law before the commission sitting as a court, and afforded opportunity to introduce evidence and to be heard, as well against the validity, justness or reasonableness of the order or requirement alleged to have been violated, as against the liability of the company for the alleged violation), such fines or other penalties as may be prescribed or authorized by this Constitution or by law. The commission may be vested with such additional powers, and charged with such other duties (not inconsistent with this Constitution) as may be
prescribed by law, in connection with the visitation, regulation or control of corporations, or with the prescribing and enforcing of rates and charges to be observed in the conduct of any business where the State has the right to prescribe the rates and charges in connection therewith, or with the assessment of the property of corporations, or the appraisement of their franchises, for taxation, or with the investigation of the subject of taxation generally. Any corporation failing or refusing to obey any valid order or requirement of the commission, within such reasonable time, not less than ten days, as shall be fixed in the order, may be fined by the commission (proceeding by due process of law as aforesaid) such sum, not exceeding five hundred dollars, as the commission may deem proper, or such sum, in excess of five hundred dollars, as may be prescribed, or authorized, by law; and each day's continuance of such failure or refusal, after due service upon such corporation of the order or requirement of the commission, shall be a separate offence: provided, that should the operation of such order or requirement be suspended pending an appeal therefrom, the period of such suspension shall not be computed against the company in the matter of its liability to fines or penalties.
(d) From any action of the commission prescribing rates, charges or classifications of traffic, or affecting the train schedule of any transportation company, or requiring additional facilities, conveniences or public service of any transportation or transmission company, or refusing to approve a suspending bond, or requiring additional security thereon or an increase thereof, as provided for in sub-section e of this section, an appeal (subject to such reasonable limitations as to time, regulations as to procedure and provisions as to costs, as may be prescribed by law) may be taken by the corporation whose rates, charges or classifications of traffic, schedule, facilities, conveniences or service, are affected, or by any person deeming himself aggrieved by such action, or (if allowed by law) by the Commonwealth. Until otherwise provided by law, such appeal shall be taken in the manner in which appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court of Appeals from the inferior courts, except that such an appeal shall be of right, and the Supreme Court of Appeals may provide by rule for proceedings in the matter of appeals in any particular in which the existing rules of law are inapplicable. If such appeal be taken by the corporation whose rates, charges or classifications of traffic, schedules, facilities, conveniences or service are affected, the Commonwealth shall be made the appellee; but, in the other cases mentioned, the corporation so affected shall be made the appellee. The General Assembly may also, by general laws, provide for appeals from any other