Article XI, Wisconsin Constitution

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Article XI of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled Corporations and consists of six sections.

Section 1

[As amended April 1981]

Text of Section 1:

Corporations; How Formed

Corporations without banking powers or privileges may be formed under general laws, but shall not be created by special act, except for municipal purposes. All general laws or special acts enacted under the provisions of this section may be altered or repealed by the legislature at any time after their passage.

[1979 J.R. 21, 1981 J.R. 9, vote April 1981]

Section 2

[As amended April 1961]

Text of Section 2:

Property Taken by Municipality

No municipal corporation shall take private property for public use, against the consent of the owner, without the necessity thereof being first established in the manner prescribed by the legislature.

[1959 J.R. 47, 1961 J.R. 12, vote April 1961]

Section 3

[As amended Nov. 1874, Nov. 1912, Nov. 1924, Nov. 1932, April 1951, April 1955, Nov. 1960, April 1961, April 1963, April 1966 and April 1981]

Text of Section 3:

Municipal Home Rule; Debt Limit; Tax to Pay Debt

(1) Cities and villages organized pursuant to state law may determine their local affairs and government, subject only to this constitution and to such enactments of the legislature of statewide concern as with uniformity shall affect every city or every village. The method of such determination shall be prescribed by the legislature.

(2) No county, city, town, village, school district, sewerage district or other municipal corporation may become indebted in an amount that exceeds an allowable percentage of the taxable property located therein equalized for state purposes as provided by the legislature. In all cases the allowable percentage shall be 5 percent except as specified in pars. (a) and (b):

(a) For any city authorized to issue bonds for school purposes, an additional 10 percent shall be permitted for school purposes

only, and in such cases the territory attached to the city for school purposes shall be included in the total taxable property supporting the bonds issued for school purposes.

(b) For any school district which offers no less than grades one to 12 and which at the time of incurring such debt is eligible

for the highest level of school aids, 10 percent shall be permitted.

(3) Any county, city, town, village, school district, sewerage district or other municipal corporation incurring any indebtedness under sub. (2) shall, before or at the time of doing so, provide for the collection of a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on such debt as it falls due, and also to pay and discharge the principal thereof within 20 years from the time of contracting the same.

(4) When indebtedness under sub. (2) is incurred in the acquisition of lands by cities, or by counties or sewerage districts having a population of 150,000 or over, for public, municipal purposes, or for the permanent improvement thereof, or to purchase, acquire, construct, extend, add to or improve a sewage collection or treatment system which services all or a part of such city or county, the city, county or sewerage district incurring the indebtedness shall, before or at the time of so doing, provide for the collection of a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on such debt as it falls due, and also to pay and discharge the principal thereof within a period not exceeding 50 years from the time of contracting the same.

(5) An indebtedness created for the purpose of purchasing, acquiring, leasing, constructing, extending, adding to, improving, conducting, controlling, operating or managing a public utility of a town, village, city or special district, and secured solely by the property or income of such public utility, and whereby no municipal liability is created, shall not be considered an indebtedness of such town, village, city or special district, and shall not be included in arriving at the debt limitation under sub. (2).

[1872 J.R. 11, 1873 J.R. 4, 1874 c. 37, vote Nov. 1874; 1909 J.R. 44, 1911 J.R. 42, 1911 c. 665, vote Nov. 1912; 1921 J.R. 39S, 1923 J.R. 34, 1923 c. 203, vote Nov. 1924; 1929 J.R. 74, 1931 J.R. 71, vote Nov. 1932; 1949 J.R. 12, 1951 J.R. 6, vote April 1951; 1953 J.R. 47, 1955 J.R. 12, vote April 1955; 1957 J.R. 59, 1959 J.R. 32, vote Nov. 1960; 1959 J.R. 35, 1961 J.R. 8, vote April 1961; 1961 J.R. 71, 1963 J.R. 8, vote April 2, 1963; 1963 J.R. 44, 1965 J.R. 51 and 58, vote April 1966; 1979 J.R. 43, 1981 J.R. 7, vote April 1981]

Section 3a

[As created Nov. 1912 and amended Apr. 3, 1956]

Text of Section 3a:

Acquisition of Lands by State and Subdivisions; Sale of Excess

The state or any of its counties, cities, towns or villages may acquire by gift, dedication, purchase, or condemnation lands for establishing, laying out, widening, enlarging, extending, and maintaining memorial grounds, streets, highways, squares, parkways, boulevards, parks, playgrounds, sites for public buildings, and reservations in and about and along and leading to any or all of the same; and after the establishment, layout, and completion of such improvements, may convey any such real estate thus acquired and not necessary for such improvements, with reservations concerning the future use and occupation of such real estate, so as to protect such public works and improvements, and their environs, and to preserve the view, appearance, light, air, and usefulness of such public works. If the governing body of a county, city, town or village elects to accept a gift or dedication of land made on condition that the land be devoted to a special purpose and the condition subsequently becomes impossible or impracticable, such governing body may by resolution or ordinance enacted by a two−thirds vote of its members elect either to grant the land back to the donor or dedicator or his heirs or accept from the donor or dedicator or his heirs a grant relieving the county, city, town or village of the condition; however, if the donor or dedicator or his heirs are unknown or cannot be found, such resolution or ordinance may provide for the commencement of proceedings in the manner and in the courts as the legislature shall designate for the purpose of relieving the county, city, town or village from the condition of the gift or dedication.

[1909 J.R. 38, 1911 J.R. 48, 1911 c. 665, vote Nov. 1912; 1953 J.R. 35, 1955 J.R. 36, vote April 3, 1956]

Section 4

[As created Nov. 1902 and amended April 1981]

Text of Section 4:

General Banking Law

The legislature may enact a general banking law for the creation of banks, and for the regulation and supervision of the banking business.

[1899 J.R. 13, 1901 J.R. 2, 1901 c. 73, vote Nov. 1902; 1979 J.R. 21, 1981 J.R. 9, vote April 1981]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Referendum on Banking Laws

[Repealed Nov. 1902; see 1899 J.R. 13, 1901 J.R. 2, 1901 c. 73, vote Nov. 1902.]

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