From a press release issued by the South Financial Group Monday: The South Financial Group has declared a third quarter 2009 cash dividend of 1 cent per common share.
Not included in the release: comments from shareholders who’ve seen their investment in the Greenville, SC-based bank company fall from more than $17 a share to $1.84 since early last year. And as recently as the second quarter of 2008, the company was paying a dividend of 19 cents a share on its common stock.
Also not included in the release: comments from former chief executive Mack Whittle on trying to get by in retirement.
On this day in 1789, James Madison introduced 12 proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in the US House of Representatives.
Ten were ratified relatively quickly the state legislatures and became the Bill of Rights, but what about the other two?
The first, actually called “Article the First.” and also referred to as the Congressional Apportionment Amendment, involved proportional representation:
“… shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.”
According to Wikipedia, “Such language if interpreted as an algorithm would have created a membership in today’s House of 1,600 members. If interpreted as a static minimum number of representatives the language would create a House of 6,000 members with today’s population.”
Obviously, as the House today has 435 members, such an amendment would result in a dramatic change.
Article the First was ratified by 11 states, just shy of the number necessary for ratification at the time. Nine of the Original Thirteen Colonies ratified the amendment, including South Carolina, along with Vermont and Kentucky in 1791 and 1792, respectively.
Because there is no deadline for its ratification, Article the First is technically still pending before state lawmakers. Today, it would require another 27 states to ratify the amendment for it to become part of the Constitution.
The second of the twelve amendments which was not originally ratified concerned Congressional compensation:
“The laws ascertaining the compensation of senators and representatives, for their services, shall be postponed in their operation until after the election of representatives immediately succeeding the passing thereof; that excepted which shall first be passed on the subject.”
From 1789 to 1791, the compensation proposal was ratified by the legislatures of only six states—Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Vermont and Virginia—out of the ten then required.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts, Kentucky and Tennessee ratified the proposal in 1816, 1817 and 1818, respectively, but as more states entered the Union, the ratification threshold increased.
In 1873, more than 80 years after Congress offered it to the nation’s state lawmakers, the Ohio General Assembly ratified the compensation amendment as a means of protest against the “Salary Grab Act,” according to Wikipedia.
The proposed amendment was again largely forgotten, until University of Texas student came across it in 1982.
The push for ratification was restarted and the amendment became the Constitution’s Twenty-seventh Amendment when it was ratified a decade later on May 5, 1992 by the Alabama Legislature, the thirty-eighth state to do so.
So, in retrospect, 11 of the 12 proposals introduced by Madison 230 years ago today were eventually ratified. Not too bad a percentage.