Article IV, Wisconsin Constitution
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- 1 Section 1
- 2 Section 2
- 3 Section 3
- 4 Section 4
- 5 Section 5
- 6 Section 6
- 7 Section 7
- 8 Section 8
- 9 Section 9
- 10 Section 10
- 11 Section 11
- 12 Section 12
- 13 Section 13
- 14 Section 14
- 15 Section 15
- 16 Section 16
- 17 Section 17
- 18 Section 18
- 19 Section 19
- 20 Section 20
- 21 Section 21
- 22 Section 22
- 23 Section 23
- 24 Section 23a
- 25 Section 24
- 26 Section 25
- 27 Section 26
- 28 Section 27
- 29 Section 28
- 30 Section 29
- 31 Section 30
- 32 Section 31
- 33 Section 32
- 34 Section 33
- 35 Section 34
- 36 See also
- 37 External links
- 38 Additional reading
| Text of Section 1:
The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.
| Text of Section 1:
Legislature, How Constituted
The number of the members of the assembly shall never be less than fifty−four nor more than one hundred. The senate shall consist of a number not more than one−third nor less than one−fourth of the number of the members of the assembly.
| Text of Section 3:
At its first session after each enumeration made by the authority of the United States, the legislature shall apportion and district anew the members of the senate and assembly, according to the number of inhabitants.
1907 J.R. 30, 1909 J.R. 55, 1909 c. 478, vote Nov. 1910; 1959 J.R. 30, 1961 J.R. 32, vote Nov. 6, 1962; 1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982.
| Text of Section 4:
Representatives to the Assembly, How Chosen
The members of the assembly shall be chosen biennially, by single districts, on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday of November in even− numbered years, by the qualified electors of the several districts, such districts to be bounded by county, precinct, town or ward lines, to consist of contiguous territory and be in as compact form as practicable.
[1880 J.R. 9S, 1881 J.R. 7A, 1881 c. 262, vote Nov. 1881; 1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982.
| Text of Section 5:
Senators, How Chosen
The senators shall be elected by single districts of convenient contiguous territory, at the same time and in the same manner as members of the assembly are required to be chosen; and no assembly district shall be divided in the formation of a senate district. The senate districts shall be numbered in the regular series, and the senators shall be chosen alternately from the odd and even−numbered districts for the term of 4 years.
[1880 J.R. 9S, 1881 J.R. 7A, 1881 c. 262, vote Nov. 1881; 1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982.
| Text of Section 6:
Qualifications of Legislators
No person shall be eligible to the legislature who shall not have resided one year within the state, and be a qualified elector in the district which he may be chosen to represent.
| Text of Section 7:
Organization of Legislature; Quorum; Compulsory Attendance
Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members; and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.
| Text of Section 8:
Rules; Contempts; Expulsion
Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish for contempt and disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two− thirds of all the members elected, expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause.
| Text of Section 9:
Each house shall choose its presiding officers from its own members.
1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979.
| Text of Section 10:
Journals; Open Doors; Adjournments
Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings and publish the same, except such parts as require secrecy. The doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy. Neither house shall, without consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days.
| Text of Section 11:
Meeting of Legislature
The legislature shall meet at the seat of government at such time as shall be provided by law, unless convened by the governor in special session, and when so convened no business shall be transacted except as shall be necessary to accomplish the special purposes for which it was convened.
1880 J.R. 9S, 1881 J.R. 7A, 1881 c. 262, vote Nov. 1881; 1965 J.R. 57, 1967 J.R. 48, vote April 1968.
| Text of Section 12:
Ineligibility of Legislators to Office
No member of the legislature shall, during the term for which he was elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office in the state, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during the term for which he was elected.
| Text of Section 13:
Ineligibility of Federal Officers
No person being a member of congress, or holding any military or civil office under the United States, shall be eligible to a seat in the legislature; and if any person shall, after his election as a member of the legislature, be elected to congress, or be appointed to any office, civil or military, under the government of the United States, his acceptance thereof shall vacate his seat. This restriction shall not prohibit a legislator from accepting short periods of active duty as a member of the reserve or from serving in the armed forces during any emergency declared by the executive.
1963 J.R. 34, 1965 J.R. 14, vote April 1966.
| Text of Section 14:
The governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in either house of the legislature.
| Text of Section 15:
Exemption from Arrest and Civil Process
Members of the legislature shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest; nor shall they be subject to any civil process, during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement and after the termination of each session.
| Text of Section 16:
Privilege in Debate
No member of the legislature shall be liable in any civil action, or criminal prosecution whatever, for words spoken in debate.
| Text of Section 17:
Enactment of Laws
(1) The style of all laws of the state shall be “The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:”.
(2) No law shall be enacted except by bill. No law shall be in force until published.
(3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.
1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.
| Text of Section 18:
Title of Private Bills
No private or local bill which may be passed by the legislature shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.
| Text of Section 19:
Origin of Bills
Any bill may originate in either house of the legislature, and a bill passed by one house may be amended by the other.
| Text of Section 20:
Yeas and Nays
The yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the request of one−sixth of those present, be entered on the journal.
| Text of Section 21:
Compensation of Members
Amended Nov. 1867 and Nov. 1881; repealed April 1929; see 1865 J.R. 9; 1866 J.R. 3; 1867 c. 25, vote Nov. 1867; 1880 J.R. 9S, 1881 J.R. 7A, 1881 c. 262, vote Nov. 1881; 1927 J.R. 57, 1929 J.R. 6, vote April 1929.
| Text of Section 22:
Powers of County Boards
The legislature may confer upon the boards of supervisors of the several counties of the state such powers of a local, legislative and administrative character as they shall from time to time prescribe.
[As amended Nov. 1962, April 1969 and April 1972]
| Text of Section 23:
Town and County Government
The legislature shall establish but one system of town government, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; but the legislature may provide for the election at large once in every 4 years of a chief executive officer in any county with such powers of an administrative character as they may from time to time prescribe in accordance with this section and shall establish one or more systems of county government.
1959 J.R. 68, 1961 J.R. 64, vote Nov. 6, 1962; 1967 J.R. 49, 1969 J.R. 2, vote April 1969; 1969 J.R. 32, 1971 J.R. 13, vote April 1972.
[As created Nov. 1962 and amended April 1969]
| Text of Section 23a:
Chief Executive Officer to Approve or Veto Resolutions or Ordinances; Proceedings on Veto
Every resolution or ordinance passed by the county board in any county shall, before it becomes effective, be presented to the chief executive officer. If he approves, he shall sign it; if not, he shall return it with his objections, which objections shall be entered at large upon the journal and the board shall proceed to reconsider the matter. Appropriations may be approved in whole or in part by the chief executive officer and the part approved shall become law, and the part objected to shall be returned in the same manner as provided for in other resolutions or ordinances. If, after such reconsideration, two−thirds of the members−elect of the county board agree to pass the resolution or ordinance or the part of the resolution or ordinance objected to, it shall become effective on the date prescribed but not earlier than the date of passage following reconsideration. In all such cases, the votes of the members of the county board shall be determined by ayes and noes and the names of the members voting for or against the resolution or ordinance or the part thereof objected to shall be entered on the journal. If any resolution or ordinance is not returned by the chief executive officer to the county board at its first meeting occurring not less than 6 days, Sundays excepted, after it has been presented to him, it shall become effective unless the county board has recessed or adjourned for a period in excess of 60 days, in which case it shall not be effective without his approval.
1959 J.R. 68, 1961 J.R. 64, vote Nov. 6, 1962; 1967 J.R. 49, 1969 J.R. 2, vote April 1969.
As amended April 1965, April 1973, April 1977, April 1987, April 1993 and April 1999.
| Text of Section 24:
(1) Except as provided in this section, the legislature may not authorize gambling in any form. (2) Except as otherwise provided by law, the following activities do not constitute consideration as an element of gambling:
(3) The legislature may authorize the following bingo games licensed by the state, but all profits shall accrue to the licensed organization and no salaries, fees or profits may be paid to any other organization or person: bingo games operated by religious, charitable, service, fraternal or veterans’ organizations or those to which contributions are deductible for federal or state income tax purposes. All moneys received by the state that are attributable to bingo games shall be used for property tax relief for residents of this state as provided by law. The distribution of moneys that are attributable to bingo games may not vary based on the income or age of the person provided the property tax relief. The distribution of moneys that are attributable to bingo games shall not be subject to the uniformity requirement of section 1 of article VIII. In this subsection, the distribution of all moneys attributable to bingo games shall include any earnings on the moneys received by the state that are attributable to bingo games, but shall not include any moneys used for the regulation of, and enforcement of law relating to, bingo games.
(4) The legislature may authorize the following raffle games licensed by the state, but all profits shall accrue to the licensed local organization and no salaries, fees or profits may be paid to any other organization or person: raffle games operated by local religious, charitable, service, fraternal or veterans’ organizations or those to which contributions are deductible for federal or state income tax purposes. The legislature shall limit the number of raffles conducted by any such organization.
(5) This section shall not prohibit pari−mutuel on−track betting as provided by law. The state may not own or operate any facility or enterprise for pari−mutuel betting, or lease any state−owned land to any other owner or operator for such purposes. All moneys received by the state that are attributable to pari−mutuel on−track betting shall be used for property tax relief for residents of this state as provided by law. The distribution of moneys that are attributable to pari−mutuel on−track betting may not vary based on the income or age of the person provided the property tax relief. The distribution of moneys that are attributable to pari−mutuel on−track betting shall not be subject to the uniformity requirement of section 1 of article VIII. In this subsection, the distribution of all moneys attributable to pari−mutuel on−track betting shall include any earnings on the moneys received by the state that are attributable to pari−mutuel on− track betting, but shall not include any moneys used for the regulation of, and enforcement of law relating to, pari−mutuel on−track betting.
a game of chance if: 1) the winning tickets are randomly predetermined and the player reveals preprinted numbers or symbols from which it can be immediately determined whether the ticket is a winning ticket entitling the player to win a prize as prescribed in the features and procedures for the game, including an opportunity to win a prize in a secondary or subsequent chance drawing or game; or 2) the ticket is evidence of the numbers or symbols selected by the player or, at the player’s option, selected by a computer, and the player becomes entitled to a prize as prescribed in the features and procedures for the game, including an opportunity to win a prize in a secondary or subsequent chance drawing or game if some or all of the player’s symbols or numbers are selected in a chance drawing or game, if the player’s ticket is randomly selected by the computer at the time of purchase or if the ticket is selected in a chance drawing.
ticket, or to otherwise participate in the game, from a residence by using a computer, telephone or other form of electronic, telecommunication, video or technological aid.
1963 J.R. 35, 1965 J.R. 2, vote April 1965; 1971 J.R. 31, 1973 J.R. 3, vote April 1973; 1975 J.R. 19, 1977 J.R. 6, vote April 1977; 1985 J.R. 36, 1987 J.R. 3, vote April 1987; 1985 J.R. 35, 1987 J. R. 4, vote April 1987; 1993 J.R. 3, vote April 1993; 1999 J.R. 2, vote April 1999.
| Text of Section 25:
Stationery and Printing
The legislature shall provide by law that all stationery required for the use of the state, and all printing authorized and required by them to be done for their use, or for the state, shall be let by contract to the lowest bidder, but the legislature may establish a maximum price; no member of the legislature or other state officer shall be interested, either directly or indirectly, in any such contract.
As amended April 1956, April 1967, April 1974, April 1977 and April 1992.
| Text of Section 26:
Extra Compensation; Salary Change
(1) The legislature may not grant any extra compensation to a public officer, agent, servant or contractor after the services have been rendered or the contract has been entered into.
(2) Except as provided in this subsection, the compensation of a public officer may not be increased or diminished during the term of office:
(3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to increased benefits for persons who have been or shall be granted benefits of any kind under a retirement system when such increased benefits are provided by a legislative act passed on a call of ayes and noes by a three−fourths vote of all the members elected to both houses of the legislature and such act provides for sufficient state funds to cover the costs of the increased benefits.
1953 J.R. 41, 1955 J.R. 17, vote Apr. 3, 1956; 1965 J.R. 96, 1967 J.R. 17, vote April 1967; 1971 J.R. 12, 1973 J.R. 15, vote April 1974; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977; 1991 J.R. 13, vote April 1992.
| Text of Section 27:
Suits Against State
The legislature shall direct by law in what manner and in what courts suits may be brought against the state.
| Text of Section 28:
Oath of Office
Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as may be by law exempted, shall before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin, and faithfully to discharge the duties of their respective offices to the best of their ability.
| Text of Section 29:
The legislature shall determine what persons shall constitute the militia of the state, and may provide for organizing and disciplining the same in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
As amended Nov. 1982.
| Text of Section 30:
Elections by Legislature
All elections made by the legislature shall be by roll call vote entered in the journals.
1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982.
As created Nov. 1871 and amended Nov. 1892 and April 1993.
| Text of Section 31:
Special and Private Laws Prohibited
The legislature is prohibited from enacting any special or private laws in the following cases:
1870 J.R. 13, 1871 J.R. 1, 1871 c. 122, vote Nov. 1871; 1889 J.R. 4, 1891 J.R. 4, 1891 c. 362, vote Nov. 1892; 1993 J.R. 3, vote April 1993.
As created Nov. 1871 and amended April, 1993.
| Text of Section 32:
General Laws on Enumerated Subjects
The legislature may provide by general law for the treatment of any subject for which lawmaking is prohibited by section 31 of this article. Subject to reasonable classifications, such laws shall be uniform in their operation throughout the state.
1870 J.R. 13, 1871 J.R. 1, 1871 c. 122, vote Nov. 1871; 1993 J.R. 3, vote April 1993.
As created November 1946.
| Text of Section 33:
Auditing of State Accounts
The legislature shall provide for the auditing of state accounts and may establish such offices and prescribe such duties for the same as it shall deem necessary.
1943 J.R. 60, 1945 J.R. 73, vote Nov. 1946.
As created April 1961.
| Text of Section 34:
Continuity of Civil Government
The legislature, in order to ensure continuity of state and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from enemy action in the form of an attack, shall (1)forthwith provide for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices, of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices, and (2) adopt such other measures as may be necessary and proper for attaining the objectives of this section.
1959 J.R. 50, 1961 J.R. 10, vote April 1961.
- State constitution
- Constitutional article
- Constitutional amendment
- Constitutional revision
- Constitutional convention
- Wisconsin State Legislature, "Wisconsin Constitution"
- Wisconsin Historical Society, "Turning Points of Wisconsin History: The State Constitutions of 1846 and 1848"
- Stark, Jack. (2011). The Wisconsin State Constitution, New York, New York: Oxford University Press
- Janik, Erika. (2010). A Short History of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Historical Society Press
- Stark, Jack. (1997). The Wisconsin State Constitution: A Reference Guide, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing
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