Article 3, Wyoming Constitution

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Wyoming Constitution
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Article 3 of the Wyoming Constitution is entitled Legislative Department and consists of 53 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Composition and Name of Legislature

The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and house of representatives, which shall be designated "the legislature of the State of Wyoming."[1]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Members’ Terms and Qualifications

Senators shall be elected for the term of four (4) years and representatives for the term of two (2) years. The senators elected at the first election shall be divided by lot into two classes as nearly equal as may be. The seats of senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years, and of the second class at the expiration of four years. No person shall be a senator who has not attained the age of twenty-five years, or a representative who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, and who is not a citizen of the United States and of this state and who has not, for at least twelve months next preceding his election resided within the county or district in which he was elected.[1]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Legislative Apportionment

Each county shall constitute a senatorial and representative district; the senate and house of representatives shall be composed of members elected by the legal voters of the counties respectively, every two (2) years. They shall be apportioned among the said counties as nearly as may be according to the number of their inhabitants. Each county shall have at least one senator and one representative; but at no time shall the number of members of the house of representatives be less than twice nor greater than three times the number of members of the senate. The senate and house of representatives first elected in pursuance of this constitution shall consist of sixteen and thirty-three members respectively.[1]

This section is inconsistent with the application of the “one person, one vote” principle under circumstances as they presently exist in Wyoming. Consequently, the Wyoming legislature may disregard this provision when reapportioning either the senate or the house of representatives.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Vacancies

Repealed.[1]

This section was repealed by a resolution adopted by the 1947 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people on November 2, 1948, and proclaimed in effect on December 1, 1948. See Art. 3, Sec. 51 for the present constitutional provisions on filling vacancies.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

When Members Elected and Terms Begin

Members of the senate and house of representatives shall be elected on the day provided by law for the general election of a member of congress, and their term of office shall begin on the first Monday of January thereafter.[1]

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Compensation of Members; Duration of Sessions

The legislature shall not meet for more than sixty (60) legislative working days excluding Sundays during the term for which members of the house of representatives are elected, except when called into special session. The legislature shall determine by statute the number of days not to exceed sixty (60) legislative working days to be devoted to general and budget session, respectively. The legislature shall meet on odd-numbered years for a general and budget session. The legislature may meet on even-numbered years for budget session. During the budget session no bills except the budget bill may be introduced unless placed on call by a two-thirds vote of either house. The legislature shall meet for no more than forty (40) legislative working days excluding Sundays in any (1) calendar year, except when called into special session. The compensation of the members of the legislature shall be as provided by law; but no legislature shall fix its own compensation.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1971 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 7, 1972, and proclaimed in effect on December 12, 1972.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Time and Place of Sessions

(a) The legislature shall meet at the seat of government at twelve o'clock noon, on the second Tuesday of January of the odd-numbered years for general and budget session and may meet on the second Tuesday of January of the even-numbered years for budget session, and at other times when convened by the governor or upon call of the legislature as herein provided. The governor by proclamation may also, in times of war or grave emergency by law defined, temporarily convene the legislature at a place or places other than the seat of government. The legislature may convene a special session not to last longer than twenty (20) working days as follows:

(i) Upon written request to the presiding officer of each house of the legislature by a majority of the elected members of each house, the legislature shall convene in special session; or

(ii) The presiding officers of each house shall also jointly call a special session for the purpose of resolving a challenge or a dispute of any kind in the determination of the presidential electors.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1961 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 6, 1962. The 1962 amendment added the second sentence to this section. This section was amended again by a resolution adopted by the 1971 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 7, 1972, and proclaimed in effect on December 12, 1972. This section was amended again by a resolution adopted by the 2001 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 5, 2002 and proclaimed in effect on November 13, 2002.

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Time and Place of Sessions

No senator or representative shall, during the term for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the state, and no member of congress or other person holding an office (except that of notary public or an office in the militia) under the United States or this state, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.[1]

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Compensation Not to Be Increased during Term

No member of either house shall, during the term for which he was elected, receive any increase of salary or mileage under any law passed during that term.[1]

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Presiding Officers; Other Officers; Each House to Judge of Election and Qualifications of Its Members

The senate shall, at the beginning and close of each regular session and at such other times as may be necessary, elect one of its members president; the house of representatives shall elect one of its members speaker; each house shall choose its other officers, and shall judge of the election returns and qualifications of its members.[1]

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Quorum

A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may prescribe.[1]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Rules, Punishment and Protection

Each house shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings, and [to] punish its members or other persons for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence; to protect its members against violence or offers of bribes or private solicitation, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, to expel a member, and shall have all other powers necessary to the legislature of a free state. A member expelled for corruption shall not thereafter be eligible to either house of the legislature, and punishment for contempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar a criminal prosecution for the same offense.[1]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Journals

Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings and may, in its discretion, from time to time, publish the same, except such parts as require secrecy, and the yeas and nays on any question, shall, at the request of any two members, be entered on the journal.[1]

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Sessions to Be Open

The sessions of each house and of the committee of the whole shall be open unless the business is such as requires secrecy.[1]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Adjournment

Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.[1]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Privilege of Members

The members of the legislature shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, violation of their oath of office and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house they shall not be questioned in any other place.[1]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Privilege of Members

The sole power of impeachment shall vest in the house of representatives; the concurrence of a majority of all the members being necessary to the exercise thereof. Impeachment shall be tried by the senate sitting for that purpose, and the senators shall be upon oath or affirmation to do justice according to law and evidence. When the governor is on trial, the chief justice of the supreme court shall preside. No person shall be convicted without a concurrence of two-thirds of the senators elected.[1]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Who May Be Impeached

The governor and other state and judicial officers except justices of the peace, shall be liable to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office, but judgment in such cases shall only extend to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under the laws of the state. The party, whether convicted or acquitted, shall, nevertheless, be liable to prosecution, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.[1]

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Removal of Officers Not Subject to Impeachment

Except as hereafter provided, all officers not liable to impeachment shall be subject to removal for misconduct or malfeasance in office as provided by law. Any person appointed by the governor to serve as head of a state agency, or division thereof, or to serve as a member of a state board or commission, may be removed by the governor as provided by law.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1985 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 4, 1986, and proclaimed in effect on November 18, 1986.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Laws to Be Passed by Bill; Alteration or Amendment of Bills

No law shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be so altered or amended on its passage through either house as to change its original purpose.[1]

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Enacting Clause of Law

The enacting clause of every law shall be as follows: "Be it Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Wyoming."[1]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Limitation on Time for Introducing Bill for Appropriation

No bill for the appropriation of money, except for the expenses of the government, shall be introduced within five (5) days of the close of the session, except by unanimous consent of the house in which it is sought to be introduced.[1]

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Bill Must Go to Committee

No bill shall be considered or become a law unless referred to a committee, returned therefrom and printed for the use of the members.[1]

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Bill to Contain Only One Subject, Which Shall Be Expressed in Title

No bill, except general appropriation bills and bills for the codification and general revision of the laws, shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title; but if any subject is embraced in any act which is not expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be so expressed.[1]

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Vote Required to Pass Bill

No bill shall become a law except by a vote of a majority of all the members elected to each house, nor unless on its final passage the vote taken by ayes and noes, and the names of those voting be entered on the journal.[1]

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

How Laws Revised, Amended or Extended

No law shall be revised or amended, or the provisions thereof extended by reference to its title only, but so much thereof as is revised, amended, or extended, shall be re-enacted and published at length.[1]

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Special and Local Laws Prohibited

The legislature shall not pass local or special laws in any of the following enumerated cases, that is to say: For granting divorces; laying out, opening, altering or working roads or highways; vacating roads, town plats, streets, alleys or public grounds; locating or changing county seats; regulating county or township affairs; incorporation of cities, towns or villages; or changing or amending the charters of any cities, towns or villages; regulating the practice in courts of justice; regulating the jurisdiction and duties of justices of the peace, police magistrates or constables; changing the rules of evidence in any trial or inquiry; providing for changes of venue in civil or criminal cases; declaring any person of age; for limitation of civil actions; giving effect to any informal or invalid deeds; summoning or impaneling grand or petit juries; providing for the management of common schools; regulating the rate of interest on money; the opening or conducting of any election or designating the place of voting; the sale or mortgage of real estate belonging to minors or others under disability; chartering or licensing ferries or bridges or toll roads; chartering banks, insurance companies and loan and trust companies; remitting fines, penalties or forfeitures; creating[,] increasing, or decreasing fees, percentages or allowances of public officers; changing the law of descent; granting to any corporation, association or individual, the right to lay down railroad tracks, or any special or exclusive privilege, immunity or franchise whatever, or amending existing charter for such purpose; for punishment of crimes; changing the names of persons or places; for the assessment or collection of taxes; affecting estates of deceased persons, minors or others under legal disabilities; extending the time for the collection of taxes; refunding money paid into the state treasury, relinquishing or extinguishing, in whole or part, the indebtedness, liabilities or obligation of any corporation or person to this state or to any municipal corporation therein; exempting property from taxation; restoring to citizenship persons convicted of infamous crimes; authorizing the creation, extension or impairing of liens; creating offices or prescribing the powers or duties of officers in counties, cities, townships or school districts; or authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children. In all other cases where a general law can be made applicable no special law shall be enacted.[1]

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Signing of Bills

The presiding officer of each house shall, in the presence of the house over which he presides, sign all bills and joint resolutions passed by the legislature immediately after their titles have been publicly read, and the fact of signing shall be at once entered upon the journal.[1]

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Legislative Employees

The legislature shall prescribe by law the number, duties and compensation of the officers and employes of each house, and no payment shall be made from the state treasury, or be in any way authorized to any such person except to an acting officer or employe elected or appointed in pursuance of law.[1]

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Extra Compensation to Public Officers Prohibited

No bill shall be passed giving any extra compensation to any public officer, servant or employe, agent or contractor, after services are rendered or contract made.[1]

Section 31

Text of Section 31:

Supplies for Legislature and Departments

All stationery, printing, paper, fuel and lights used in the legislature and other departments of government shall be furnished, and the printing and binding of the laws, journals and department reports and other printing and binding, and the repairing and furnishing the halls and rooms used for the meeting of the legislature and its committees shall be performed under contract, to be given to the lowest responsible bidder, below such maximum price and under such regulations as may be prescribed by law. No member or officer of any department of the government shall be in any way interested in any such contract; and all such contracts shall be subject to the approval of the governor and state treasurer.[1]

Section 32

Text of Section 32:

Changing Terms and Salaries of Public Officers

Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, no law shall extend the term of any public officer or increase or diminish his salary or emolument after his election or appointment; but this shall not be construed to forbid the legislature from fixing salaries or emoluments of those officers first elected or appointed under this constitution, if such salaries or emoluments are not fixed by its provisions.[1]

Section 33

Text of Section 33:

Origin of Revenue Bills

All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives; but the senate may propose amendments, as in case of other bills.[1]

Section 34

Text of Section 34:

General Appropriation Bills; Other Appropriations

The general appropriation bills shall embrace nothing but appropriations for the ordinary expenses of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the state, interest on the public debt, and for public schools. All other appropriations shall be made by separate bills, each embracing but one subject.[1]

Section 35

Text of Section 35:

Money Expended Only on Appropriation

Except for interest on public debt, money shall be paid out of the treasury only on appropriations made by the legislature, and in no case otherwise than upon warrant drawn by the proper officer in pursuance of law.[1]

Section 36

Text of Section 36:

Prohibited Appropriations

No appropriation shall be made for charitable, industrial, educational or benevolent purposes to any person, corporation or community not under the absolute control of the state, nor to any denominational or sectarian institution or association.[1]

Section 37

Text of Section 37:

Delegation of Power to Perform Municipal Functions Prohibited

The legislature shall not delegate to any special commissioner, private corporation or association, any power to make, supervise or interfere with any municipal improvements, moneys, property or effects, whether held in trust or otherwise, to levy taxes, or to perform any municipal functions whatever.[1]

Section 38

Text of Section 38:

Investment of Trust Funds

The legislature may authorize the investment of trust funds by executors, administrators, guardians or trustees, in the bonds or stocks of private corporations, and in such other securities as it may by law provide.[1]

Section 39

Text of Section 39:

Aid to Railroads Prohibited

The legislature shall have no power to pass any law authorizing the state or any county in the state to contract any debt or obligation in the construction of any railroad, or give or loan its credit to or in aid of the construction of the same.[1]

Section 40

Text of Section 40:

Debts to State or Municipal Corporation Cannot Be Released Unless Otherwise Prescribed by Legislature

No obligation or liability of any person, association or corporation held or owned by the state or any municipal corporation therein shall ever be exchanged, transferred, remitted, released, postponed or in any way diminished except as may be prescribed by the legislature. The liability or obligation shall not be extinguished except by payment into the proper treasury or as may otherwise be prescribed by the legislature in cases where the obligation or liability is not collectible.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1983 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 6, 1984, and proclaimed in effect on November 14, 1984.

Section 41

Text of Section 41:

Resolutions; Approval or Veto

Every order, resolution or vote, in which the concurrence of both houses may be necessary, except on the question of adjournment, or relating solely to the transaction of the business of the two houses, shall be presented to the governor, and before it shall take effect be approved by him, or, being disapproved, be repassed by two-thirds of both houses as prescribed in the case of a bill.[1]

Section 42

Text of Section 42:

Bribery of Legislators and Solicitation of Bribery Defined; Expulsion of Legislator for Bribery or Solicitation

If any person elected to either house of the legislature shall offer or promise to give his vote or influence in favor of or against any measure or proposition, pending or to be introduced into the legislature, in consideration or upon condition that any other person elected to the same legislature will give, or promise or assent to give his vote or influence in favor of or against any other measure or proposition pending or proposed to be introduced into such legislature, the person making such offer or promise shall be deemed guilty of solicitation of bribery. If any member of the legislature shall give his vote or influence for or against any measure or proposition pending or to be introduced in such legislature, or offer, promise or assent thereto, upon condition that any other member will give or will promise or assent to give his vote or influence in favor of or against any other measure or proposition pending or to be introduced in such legislature, or in consideration that any other member has given his vote or influence for or against any other measure or proposition in such legislature, he shall be deemed guilty of bribery, and any member of the legislature, or person elected thereto, who shall be guilty of either of such offenses, shall be expelled and shall not thereafter be eligible to the legislature, and on conviction thereof in the civil courts shall be liable to such further penalty as may be prescribed by law.[1]

Section 43

Text of Section 43:

Offers to Bribe

Any person who shall directly or indirectly offer, give or promise any money or thing of value, testimonial, privilege or personal advantage, to any executive or judicial officer or member of the legislature, to influence him in the performance of any of his official duties shall be deemed guilty of bribery, and be punished in such manner as shall be provided by law.[1]

Section 44

Text of Section 44:

Witnesses in Bribery Charges

Any person may be compelled to testify in any lawful investigation or judicial proceeding against any person who may be charged with having committed the offense of bribery or corrupt solicitation, or practices of solicitation, and shall not be permitted to withhold his testimony upon the ground that it may criminate himself, or subject him to public infamy; but such testimony shall not afterwards be used against him in any judicial proceeding, except for perjury in giving such testimony, and any person convicted of either of the offenses aforesaid shall, as part of the punishment therefor, be disqualified from holding any office or position of honor, trust or profit in this state.[1]

Section 45

Text of Section 45:

Legislature Shall Define Corrupt Solicitation

The offense of corrupt solicitation of members of the legislature or of public officers of the state, or of any municipal division thereof, and the occupation or practice of solicitation of such members or officers to influence their official actions shall be defined by law and shall be punishable by fine and imprisonment.[1]

Section 46

Text of Section 46:

Interested Member Shall Not Vote

A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the legislature shall disclose the fact to the house of which he is a member, and shall not vote thereon.[1]

Apportionment

Section 47

Text of Section 47:

Congressional Representation

One representative in the congress of the United States shall be elected from the state at large, the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, 1890, and thereafter at such times and places, and in such manner as may be prescribed by law. When a new apportionment shall be made by congress, the legislature shall divide the state into congressional districts accordingly.[1]

Section 48

Text of Section 48:

State Census

At the first budget session of the legislature following the federal census, the legislature shall reapportion its membership based upon that census. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any bill to apportion the legislature may be introduced in a budget session in the same manner as in a general session.[1]

This section was again amended by a resolution adopted by the 1997 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 3, 1998, and proclaimed in effect on November 10, 1998.

Section 49

Text of Section 49:

State Census

Congressional districts may be altered from time to time as public convenience may require. When a congressional district shall be composed of two or more counties they shall be contiguous, and the districts as compact as may be. No county shall be divided in the formation of congressional districts.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1965 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 8, 1966, and proclaimed in effect on January 17, 1967.

Section 50

Text of Section 50:

Apportionment for First Legislature

Until an apportionment of senators and representatives as otherwise provided by law, they shall be divided among the several counties of the state in the following manner:

Albany County, two senators and five representatives.

Carbon County, two senators and five representatives.

Converse County, one senator and three representatives.

Crook County, one senator and two representatives.

Fremont County, one senator and two representatives.

Laramie County, three senators and six representatives.

Johnson County, one senator and two representatives.

Sheridan County, one senator and two representatives.

Sweetwater County, two senators and three representatives.

Uinta County, two senators and three representatives.[1]

Section 51

Text of Section 51:

Filling of Vacancies

When vacancies shall occur in the membership of either house of the legislature of the State of Wyoming through death, resignation or other cause, such vacancies shall be filled in such manner as may be prescribed by law, notwithstanding the provisions of section 4 of article III of the constitution which is by this section repealed.[1]

This section was added by an amendment proposed by the 1947 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 2, 1948, and proclaimed in effect on December 1, 1948.

Initiative and Referendum

Section 52

Text of Section 52:

Initiative and Referendum

(a) The people may propose and enact laws by the initiative, and approve or reject acts of the legislature by the referendum.

(b) An initiative or referendum is proposed by an application containing the bill to be initiated or the act to be referred. The application shall be signed by not less than one hundred (100) qualified voters as sponsors, and shall be filed with the secretary of state. If he finds it in proper form he shall so certify. Denial of certification shall be subject to judicial review.

(c) After certification of the application, a petition containing a summary of the subject matter shall be prepared by the secretary of state for circulation by the sponsors. The petition may be filed with the secretary of state if it meets both of the following requirements:

(i) It is signed by qualified voters, equal in number to fifteen percent (15%) of those who voted in the preceding general election; and

(ii) It is signed by qualified voters equal in number to fifteen percent (15%) of those resident in at least two-thirds (2/3) of the counties of the state, as determined by those who voted in the preceding general election in that county.

(d) An initiative petition may be filed at any time except that one may not be filed for a measure substantially the same as that defeated by an initiative election within the preceding (5) years. The secretary of state shall prepare a ballot title and proposition summarizing the proposed law, and shall place them on the ballot for the first statewide election held more than one hundred twenty (120) days after adjournment of the legislative session following the filing. If, before the election, substantially the same measure has been enacted, the petition is void.

(e) A referendum petition may be filed only within ninety (90) days after adjournment of the legislative session at which the act was passed, except that a referendum petition respecting any act previously passed by the legislature may be filed within six months after the power of referendum is adopted. The secretary of state shall prepare a ballot title and proposition summarizing the act and shall place them on the ballot for the first statewide election held more than one hundred eighty (180) days after adjournment of that session.

(f) If votes in an amount in excess of fifty percent (50%) of those voting in the general election are cast in favor of adoption of an initiated measure, the measure is enacted. If votes in an amount in excess of fifty percent (50%) of those voted in the general election are cast in favor of rejection of an act referred, it is rejected. The secretary of state shall certify the election returns. An initiated law becomes effective ninety (90) days after certification, is not subject to veto, and may not be repealed by the legislature within two (2) years of its effective date. It may be amended at any time. An act rejected by referendum is void thirty (30) days after certification. Additional procedures for the initiative and referendum may be prescribed by law.

(g) The initiative shall not be used to dedicate revenues, make or repeal appropriations, create courts, define the jurisdiction of courts or prescribe their rules, enact local or special legislation, or enact that prohibited by the constitution for enactment by the legislature. The referendum shall not be applied to dedications of revenue, to appropriations, to local or special legislation, or to laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.[1]

Section 53

Text of Section 53:

Creation of Criminal Penalties Not Subject to Governor’s Power to Commute

Notwithstanding Article 4, Section 5 of this Constitution, the legislature may by law create a penalty of life imprisonment without parole for specified crimes which sentence shall not be subject to commutation by the governor. The legislature may in addition limit commutation of a death sentence to a sentence of life imprisonment without parole which sentence shall not be subject to further commutation. In no event shall the inherent power of the governor to grant a pardon be limited or curtailed.[1]

This section was amended by a resolution adopted by the 1993 legislature, ratified by a vote of the people at the general election held on November 8, 1994, and proclaimed in effect on November 16, 1994.

See also

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