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Article 1, Wyoming Constitution

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Wyoming Constitution
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Article 1 of the Wyoming Constitution is entitled Declaration of Rights and consists of 37 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Power Inherent in the People

All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; for the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.[1]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Equality of All

In their inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.[1]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Equal Political Rights

Since equality in the enjoyment of natural and civil rights is only made sure through political equality, the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.[1]

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Security Against Search and Seizure

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.[1]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Imprisonment for Debt

No person shall be imprisoned for debt, except in cases of fraud.[1]

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Due Process of Law

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.[1]

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

No Absolute, Arbitrary Power

Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Courts Open to All; Suits Against State

All courts shall be open and every person for an injury done to person, reputation or property shall have justice administered without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be brought against the state in such manner and in such courts as the legislature may by law direct.[1]

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Trial by Jury Inviolate

The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate in criminal cases. A jury in civil cases and in criminal cases where the charge is a misdemeanor may consist of less than twelve (12) persons but not less than six (6), as may be prescribed by law. A grand jury may consist of twelve (12) persons, any nine (9) of whom concurring may find an indictment. The legislature may change, regulate or abolish the grand jury system.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1980 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 4, 1980, and proclaimed in effect on November 14, 1980.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Right of Accused to Defend

In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to defend in person and by counsel, to demand the nature and cause of the accusation, to have a copy thereof, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process served for obtaining witnesses, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed. When the location of the offense cannot be established with certainty, venue may be placed in the county or district where the corpus delecti [delicti] is found, or in any county or district in which the victim was transported.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1975 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 2, 1976, and proclaimed in effect on November 23, 1976.

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Self-Incrimination; Jeopardy

No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in any criminal case, nor shall any person be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. If a jury disagree, or if the judgment be arrested after a verdict, or if the judgment be reversed for error in law, the accused shall not be deemed to have been in jeopardy.[1]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Detaining Witnesses

No person shall be detained as a witness in any criminal prosecution longer than may be necessary to take his testimony or deposition, nor be confined in any room where criminals are imprisoned.[1]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:


Until otherwise provided by law, no person shall, for a felony, be proceeded against criminally, otherwise than by indictment, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger.[1]

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Bail; Cruel and Unusual Punishment

All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punishment be inflicted.[1]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Penal Code to Be Humane

The penal code shall be framed on the humane principles of reformation and prevention.[1]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Conduct of Jails

No person arrested and confined in jail shall be treated with unnecessary rigor. The erection of safe and comfortable prisons, and inspection of prisons, and the humane treatment of prisoners shall be provided for.[1]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Habeas Corpus

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless, when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.[1]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Religious Liberty

The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall be forever guaranteed in this state, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to hold any office of trust or profit, or to serve as a witness or juror, because of his opinion on any matter of religious belief whatever; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state.[1]

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Appropriations for Sectarian or Religious Societies or Institutions Prohibited

No money of the state shall ever be given or appropriated to any sectarian or religious society or institution.[1]

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Freedom of Speech and Press; Libel; Truth a Defense

Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good intent and [for] justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense, the jury having the right to determine the facts and the law, under direction of the court.[1]

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Right of Petition and Peaceable Assembly

The right of petition, and of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good, and to make known their opinions, shall never be denied or abridged.[1]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Protection of Labor

The rights of labor shall have just protection through laws calculated to secure to the laborer proper rewards for his service and to promote the industrial welfare of the state.[1]

Section 23

Text of Section 23:


The right of the citizens to opportunities for education should have practical recognition. The legislature shall suitably encourage means and agencies calculated to advance the sciences and liberal arts.[1]

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Right to Bear Arms

The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.[1]

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Military Subordinate to Civil Power; Quartering Soldiers

The military shall ever be in strict subordination to the civil power. No soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in any house without consent of the owner, nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.[1]

Section 26

Text of Section 26:


Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, or in giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court; nor shall any person be attained of treason by the legislature.[1]

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Elections Free and Equal

Elections shall be open, free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent an untrammeled exercise of the right of suffrage.[1]

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Taxation; Consent of People; Uniformity and Equality

No tax shall be imposed without the consent of the people or their authorized representatives.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1988 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 8, 1988, and proclaimed in effect on November 21, 1988.

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Rights of Aliens

No distinction shall ever be made by law between resident aliens and citizens as to the possession, taxation, enjoyment and descent of property.[1]

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Monopolies and Perpetuities Prohibited

Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state, and shall not be allowed. Corporations being creatures of the state, endowed for the public good with a portion of its sovereign powers, must be subject to its control.[1]

Section 31

Text of Section 31:

Control of Water

Water being essential to industrial prosperity, of limited amount, and easy of diversion from its natural channels, its control must be in the state, which, in providing for its use, shall equally guard all the various interests involved.[1]

Section 32

Text of Section 32:

Eminent Domain

Private property shall not be taken for private use unless by consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, and for reservoirs, drains, flumes or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, mining, milling, domestic or sanitary purposes, nor in any case without due compensation.[1]

Section 33

Text of Section 33:

Compensation for Property Taken

Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation.[1]

Section 34

Text of Section 34:

Uniform Operation of General Law

All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation.[1]

Section 35

Text of Section 35:

Ex Post Facto Laws; Impairing Obligation of Contracts

No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be made.[1]

Section 36

Text of Section 36:

Rights Not Enumerated Reserved to People

The enumeration in this constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.[1]

Section 37

Text of Section 36:

Constitution of United States Supreme Law of Land

The State of Wyoming is an inseparable part of the federal union, and the constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.[1]

Section 38

Text of Section 38:

Right of health care access

(a) Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions. The parent, guardian or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person.

(b) Any person may pay, and a health care provider may accept, direct payment for health care without imposition of penalties or fines for doing so.

(c) The legislature may determine reasonable and necessary restrictions on the rights granted under this section to protect the health and general welfare of the people or to accomplish the other purposes set forth in the Wyoming Constitution.

(d) The state of Wyoming shall act to preserve these rights from undue governmental infringement.[1]

Section 39

Text of Section 39:

Opportunity to hunt, fish and trap

The opportunity to fish, hunt and trap wildlife is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the individual citizens of the state, subject to regulation as prescribed by law, and does not create a right to trespass on private property, diminish other private rights or alter the duty of the state to manage wildlife.[1]

See also

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