The Legislature Article has undergone significant changes through the years, and the principal effect of these changes, especially during the nineteenth century and first part of the twentieth century, was to limit the powers of the General Assembly.
First, the power of selecting various officials, such as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General, was originally vested in the General Assembly. However, beginning in the 1851 Constitution and continuing through the years, this power was transferred to the electorate. Meanwhile, the power of selecting other officials, such as the Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Instruction, was over time transferred to the Governor.
Second, efforts have been undertaken to limit the frequency and length of legislative sessions. Once again, these efforts began in earnest with the adoption of the 1851 Constitution, which provided for biennial rather than annual sessions and imposed the first limits on the length of sessions.
Third, steps have been taken, again beginning with the 1851 Constitution and continuing in subsequent constitutions, to enact procedural limitations on the legislature, such as the requirement that bills be read three times prior to passage and that they contain a single object expressed in their title.
A fourth type of restriction, which began even earlier, in the 1830 Constitution, and has been continued in subsequent constitutions, concerns the imposition of substantive limits on the work of the legislature. These include provisions forbidding abridgments of freedom of speech (later moved to the bill of rights), prohibiting the authorization of lotteries (later eliminated), and preventing the enactment of local, special, or private laws in a variety of areas, among other requirements.