Difference between revisions of "Wisconsin Constitution"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m
m
 
(18 intermediate revisions by 9 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
<div style="float:right; margin:0 0 1em 1em;">__TOC__</div>
+
{{WIConstitution}}{{tnr}}The '''Wisconsin Constitution''' is the basic governing document of [[Wisconsin]]. The Wisconsin Constitution establishes the structure and function of state government, describes the state boundaries, and declares the rights of state citizens.  
The '''Wisconsin Constitution''' is the governing document of the U.S. state of [[Wisconsin]]. It establishes the structure and function of state government, describes the state boundaries, and declares the rights of state citizens. The Wisconsin Constitution was written at a constitutional convention held in Madison, Wisconsin in December 1847 and approved by the citizens of Wisconsin Territory in a referendum held in March 1848. Wisconsin was admitted to the United States on May 29, 1848. Although it has been [[amendment|amended]] over a hundred times, the original constitution ratified in 1848 is still in use. This makes the Wisconsin Constitution the oldest [[State constitution|U.S. state constitution]] outside of New England. Only [[Massachusetts]], [[New Hampshire]], [[Vermont]], [[Maine]], and [[Rhode Island]] use older constitutions.
+
  
The current Wisconsin Constitution contains a brief preamble and fourteen articles detailing the state government, its powers, and its limitations.
+
==Features==
 +
The Wisconsin Constitution consists of a brief preamble and 14 articles detailing the state government, its powers and its limitations.<ref name="wi"/>
  
==Creation of the Wisconsin Constitution==
+
==[[Preamble, Wisconsin Constitution|Preamble]]==
Although Wisconsin continues to use the original constitution ratified as Wisconsin achieved statehood, the current constitution is the second document to be proposed as the state constitution. In 1846, the residents of Wisconsin Territory first voted to apply for statehood, and they elected 124 representatives to meet in Madison to author a state constitution. These delegates, most of them elected as Democrats, met in the fall of 1846 to write the constitution. However, the document they produced by December 1846 contained several provisions which were deemed radical at the time. The document give married women the right to own property and allowed for a public referendum to settle the issue of African American suffrage. In addition, Edward G. Ryan, the delegate from Racine, Wisconsin, introduced a section to the constitution that prohibited all commercial banking in Wisconsin. Not ready to accept some of these provisions, the public rejected the first proposed constitution in a referendum and elected a second delegation to write a constitution which would be more acceptable to the people.
+
  
The second constitutional convention produced a much more conservative document that lacked the controversial progressive clauses in its predecessor. The second draft constitution was mute on the controversial issues of women's property rights. It gave suffrage only to white male citizens over the age of twenty one and American Indians that had been made citizens of the United States, but gave the legislature the ability to extend suffrage to other groups through laws approved by public referendum. The issue of banking was put to a public vote; citizens could decide for themselves whether or not the state legislature could pass laws allowing banking after the constitution was ratified. The second proposed constitution was finished in December 1846, and was approved by the public in March 1848. During the same election, voters also chose to allow the legislature to charter banks. Shortly after the referendum, the state constitution was ratified by the United States Senate and put into effect with the election of the first state officials.
+
: ''See also: [[Preambles to state constitutions]]''
  
==Provisions of the current Wisconsin Constitution==
+
The preamble to the Wisconsin Constitution states:
===Declaration of Rights===
+
The first article of the Wisconsin constitution outlines the legal rights of state citizens. In addition to reaffirming the rights guaranteed in the United States Bill of Rights, Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution offers additional guarantees to its citizens. Among these are sections which prohibit imprisonment for debt, guarantee resident aliens the same property rights as citizens, affirm that the military is subordinate to civil authorities, allow for the use of state owned school buildings by civil and religious organizations during non-school hours, and guarantee the right of citizens to hunt and fish.
+
  
===Legislature===
+
{| style="width:40%; background:#F2F2F2; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
The [[Wisconsin Legislature]] is described in Article IV of the Wisconsin Constitution. It is divided into two houses, the Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate. The constitution sets forth the method of electing legislators and gives their terms as two years for representatives to the assembly and four years for senators. It allows bills to originate in either house, and gives each house the ability to amend bills already passed by the other. In addition, the Wisconsin Constitution outlines certain limitations to the power of the legislative branch of government. The state legislature is prohibited by the constitution from authorizing gambling, although amendments have introduced numerous exceptions to this rule including an allowance for bingo games held by certain non-profit organizations and a state lottery. The legislature is also prohibited from passing legislation affecting certain private business, such as voting to change a person's name.
+
|color:#000"|
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| <center>''We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.''<ref name="wi">[http://docs.legis.wi.gov/constitution/wi ''Wisconsin State Legislature'', "Wisconsin Constitution," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref></center>
 +
|}
  
===Executive Branch===
+
==[[Article I, Wisconsin Constitution|Article I: Declaration of Rights]]==
Article V of the Wisconsin Constitution describes executive office in the state, providing for a [[governor]] and [[lieutenant governor]] who are elected jointly to four year terms. The constitution also outlines the powers and duties of the executive branch. The governor of Wisconsin is given command of the state's military forces and empowered to pardon convicts. The Wisconsin Constitution also allows the governor to veto bills passed by the state legislature. The governor is also given line-item veto power over bills of appropriation, allowing the executive to cut out certain parts of legislation. The constitution does, however, prohibit the governor to create a new word in a bill by objecting to certain letters. Rejected bills or portions of bills are then returned to the legislative house where the bill originated, where a vote from two thirds of the members can override the veto.
+
Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Declaration of Rights" and consists of 27 sections. This article outlines the legal rights of state citizens. In addition to reaffirming the rights guaranteed in the [[Bill of Rights, United States Constitution|United States Bill of Rights]], Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution offers additional guarantees to its citizens. Among these are sections which prohibit imprisonment for debt, guarantee resident aliens the same property rights as citizens, affirm that the military is subordinate to civil authorities, allow for the use of state owned school buildings by civil and religious organizations during non-school hours and guarantee the right of citizens to hunt and fish.
  
Article V also sets forth a line of succession for the governor should he resign, be removed, or die. In the absence of a governor, executive power is transferred to the lieutenant governor, and in cases where both the governor and lieutenant governor are unable to fulfill executive responsibilities, these powers are transferred to the Wisconsin [[Secretary of State]].
+
==[[Article II, Wisconsin Constitution|Article II: Boundaries]]==
 +
Article II of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Boundaries" and consists of two sections.  
  
Article VI of the Wisconsin Constitution describes other administrative positions, providing for a secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general to be elected to four year terms. This article also describes rules for various elected officials on the county level.
+
==[[Article III, Wisconsin Constitution|Article III: Suffrage]]==
 +
Article III of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Suffrage" and consists of six sections, three of which have been repealed.  
  
===Judicial Branch===
+
==[[Article IV, Wisconsin Constitution|Article IV: Legislative]]==
The Wisconsin Constitution outlines the state's judicial branch in Article VII, granting judicial power in the state to a unified [[Judgepedia:Wisconsin Supreme Court|Wisconsin Supreme Court]] consisting of seven justices elected to ten year terms. The justice who has been serving longest is given the powers of chief justice. In addition to the supreme court, the constitution provides for the [[Judgepedia:Wisconsin Circuit Courts|Wisconsin Circuit Courts]], which each have districts prescribed by the legislature with borders following county boundaries. An intermediary body between the supreme court and the circuit courts, the [[Judgepedia:Wisconsin Court of Appeals|Wisconsin Court of Appeals]], is also established in the state constitution. Finally, the legislature is granted power to form municipal courts with jurisdiction over individual cities, villages, and towns in the state.
+
Article IV of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Legislative" and consists of 35 sections. The [[Wisconsin Legislature]] is divided into two houses, the [[Wisconsin State Assembly]] and [[Wisconsin State Senate]].
  
Article VII of the Wisconsin Constitution also describes the process for impeaching and trying state officials. A majority of members in the state assembly can vote to impeach a civil officer. The state senate is then given the power to conduct a trial of the impeached official. If two thirds of the senators present vote to convict the officer, the convicted party is removed from office and made subject to further prosecution under law.
+
==[[Article V, Wisconsin Constitution|Article V: Executive]]==
 +
Article V of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Executive" and consists of ten sections. It describes executive office in the state, providing for a [[governor]] and [[Lieutenant Governor|lieutenant governor]] who are elected jointly to four year terms.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article VI, Wisconsin Constitution|Article VI: Administrative]]==
 +
Article VI of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Administrative" and consists of seven sections. It describes other administrative positions, providing for a secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general to be elected to four year terms.  
 +
 
 +
==[[Article VII, Wisconsin Constitution|Article VII: Judiciary]]==
 +
Article VII of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Judiciary" and consists of 24 sections. This article outlines the state's judicial branch in [[Article VII, Wisconsin Constitution|Article VII]], granting judicial power in the state to a unified [[Judgepedia:Wisconsin Supreme Court|Wisconsin Supreme Court]] consisting of seven justices elected to ten year terms.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article VIII, Wisconsin Constitution|Article VIII: Finance]]==
 +
Article VIII of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Finance" and consists of ten sections.  
 +
 
 +
==[[Article IX, Wisconsin Constitution|Article IX: Eminent Domain and Property of the State]]==
 +
Article IX of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Eminent Domain and Property of the State" and consists of three sections.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article X, Wisconsin Constitution|Article X: Education]]==
 +
Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of eight sections.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article XI, Wisconsin Constitution|Article XI: Corporations]]==
 +
Article XI of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Corporations" and consists of six sections.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article XII, Wisconsin Constitution|Article XII: Amendments]]==
 +
Article XII of the Wisconsin Constitution is labeled "Amendments." In two sections, it describes the two ways that the Wisconsin Constitution can be changed.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article XIII, Wisconsin Constitution|Article XIII: Miscellaneous Provisions]]==
 +
Article XIII of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous Provisions" and consists of 12 sections.
 +
 
 +
==[[Article XIV, Wisconsin Constitution|Article XIV: Schedule]]==
 +
Article XIV of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Schedule" and consists of 16 sections.  
  
 
==Amending the Constitution==
 
==Amending the Constitution==
The process for making changes to the Wisconsin Constitution is stated in Article XII.  An amendment to the state constitution can be introduced by either house of the state legislature.
+
:: ''See also: [[Amending state constitutions]]''
  
A majority of members in both houses of the state legislature must then vote in favor of the amendment in a '''''three-vote process'''''. Once the proposed amendment passes both houses for the ''first'' time, any further progress in the amendment's adaptation must wait until ''after'' general elections have been held and the state legislature has reconvened with the members chosen in the new elections.  Then, both houses must vote a ''second'' time to accept the proposed amendment (without changes).  Once the amendment has passed both houses of the legislature under this two-vote process, it must be approved in a ''third'' vote, the popular vote cast by Wisconsin citizens.
+
[[Article XII, Wisconsin Constitution|Article XII]] of the [[Wisconsin Constitution]] provides two methods of amendment:
  
The constitution can also be amended or fully replaced if a new state constitutional convention is called. In order to call a constitutional convention, a majority of the state legislators must vote in favor of holding a new convention, and then the people of Wisconsin must vote to call a convention during the next general elections.
+
#An amendment may be proposed and approved by a simple majority of both chambers of the [[Wisconsin State Legislature]].  That proposed amendment must then be considered by the state legislature chosen at the next general election in the state -- and, before that legislative session, the proposed amendment that it will consider must be published for three months prior to the election.  Should the amendment be approved by a simple majority of this second session that considers it, the proposed amendment is then placed on a statewide ballot at a general election.  If it is approved by a simple majority of the state's electorate, it becomes part of the constitution.
 +
#If a simple majority of both houses of the [[Wisconsin State Legislature]] votes in favor of this, a [[constitutional convention]] question shall be placed on a statewide ballot. If the electors of the state agree by a simple majority to call a constitutional convention, then one shall be convened by the state legislature during its next session.
 +
 
 +
==History==
 +
The Wisconsin Constitution was written at a [[constitutional convention]] held in [[Madison, Wisconsin]] in December 1847. It was approved by the citizens of the Wisconsin Territory in a [[referendum]] held in March 1848. Wisconsin was then admitted to the United States on May 29, 1848. Although it has been [[amendment|amended]] over a hundred times, the original constitution ratified in 1848 is still in use. This makes the Wisconsin Constitution the oldest [[State constitution|state constitution]] outside of New England. Only [[Massachusetts]], [[New Hampshire]], [[Vermont]], [[Maine]] and [[Rhode Island]] use older constitutions.<ref>[http://wisconsin.patriotactionnetwork.com/wi-state-constitution/ ''Patriot Action Network'', "Wisconsin State Constitution," accessed April 29, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
Wisconsin has continued to use its original constitution, which was ratified as Wisconsin achieved statehood; however, the current version is the second document to be proposed as the state constitution. A group of [[Wisconsin State Legislature|124 representatives]] met in Madison in 1846 to author a state constitution but came up short with various provisions were considered radical for that era. Because of these various radical provisions, the electorate rejected this first draft of the Wisconsin Constitution and elected a second delegation to draft a second constitution.<ref>[http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=54 ''Wisconsin Historical Society'', "The rejected constitution of 1846," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The second draft of the Wisconsin Constitution was considered to be a much more conservative document. It was completed in December 1846, approved by the electorate in March 1848 and ratified by the [[United States Senate]].<ref>[http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1627 ''Wisconsin Historical Society'', "The approved constitution of 1848," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
==See also==
 +
[[File:StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg|right|175px]]
 +
* [[State constitution]]
 +
* [[Constitutional article]]
 +
* [[Constitutional amendment]]
 +
* [[Constitutional revision]]
 +
* [[Constitutional convention]]
 +
* [[Amendment|Amendments]]
 +
** [[Initiated constitutional amendment]]
 +
** [[Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment]]
 +
** [[Publication requirements for proposed state constitutional amendments]]
 +
** [[Rules about constitutional conventions in state constitutions]]
 +
** [[State constitutional articles governing state legislatures]]
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
{{wikipedia}}
+
{{submit a link}}
* [http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/unannotated_wisconst.pdf Text of the Wisconsin Constitution (PDF)]
+
* [http://docs.legis.wi.gov/constitution/wi ''Wisconsin State Legislature'', "Wisconsin Constitution"]
* [http://www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Wisconsin_s_legal_history&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=35839 The Making of the Wisconsin Constitution (Article from the State Bar of Wisconsin)]
+
* [http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-015/ ''Wisconsin Historical Society'', "Turning Points of Wisconsin History: The State Constitutions of 1846 and 1848"]
* [http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-015/ Turning Points of Wisconsin History: The State Constitutions of 1846 and 1848]
+
 
 +
==Additional reading==
 +
* [http://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-wisconsin-state-constitution-9780199779185?cc=us&lang=en& Stark, Jack. (2011). ''The Wisconsin State Constitution'', New York, New York: Oxford University Press]
 +
* [http://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Wisconsin-Erika-Janik/dp/0870204408 Janik, Erika. (2010). ''A Short History of Wisconsin'', Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Historical Society Press]
 +
* [http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Wisconsin_State_Constitution.html?id=O45EbbLRMVsC Stark, Jack. (1997). ''The Wisconsin State Constitution: A Reference Guide'', Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing]
 +
 
 +
==References==
 +
{{reflist}}
  
 +
{{Wisconsin Constitution}}
 
{{State constitutions}}
 
{{State constitutions}}
[[Category:Wisconsin]]
+
{{Wisconsin}}
[[Category:State Constitutions]]
+

Latest revision as of 18:21, 30 April 2014

Wisconsin Constitution
Flag of Wisconsin.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIV
The Wisconsin Constitution is the basic governing document of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Constitution establishes the structure and function of state government, describes the state boundaries, and declares the rights of state citizens.

Features

The Wisconsin Constitution consists of a brief preamble and 14 articles detailing the state government, its powers and its limitations.[1]

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Wisconsin Constitution states:

We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.[1]

Article I: Declaration of Rights

Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Declaration of Rights" and consists of 27 sections. This article outlines the legal rights of state citizens. In addition to reaffirming the rights guaranteed in the United States Bill of Rights, Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution offers additional guarantees to its citizens. Among these are sections which prohibit imprisonment for debt, guarantee resident aliens the same property rights as citizens, affirm that the military is subordinate to civil authorities, allow for the use of state owned school buildings by civil and religious organizations during non-school hours and guarantee the right of citizens to hunt and fish.

Article II: Boundaries

Article II of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Boundaries" and consists of two sections.

Article III: Suffrage

Article III of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Suffrage" and consists of six sections, three of which have been repealed.

Article IV: Legislative

Article IV of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Legislative" and consists of 35 sections. The Wisconsin Legislature is divided into two houses, the Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate.

Article V: Executive

Article V of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Executive" and consists of ten sections. It describes executive office in the state, providing for a governor and lieutenant governor who are elected jointly to four year terms.

Article VI: Administrative

Article VI of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Administrative" and consists of seven sections. It describes other administrative positions, providing for a secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general to be elected to four year terms.

Article VII: Judiciary

Article VII of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Judiciary" and consists of 24 sections. This article outlines the state's judicial branch in Article VII, granting judicial power in the state to a unified Wisconsin Supreme Court consisting of seven justices elected to ten year terms.

Article VIII: Finance

Article VIII of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Finance" and consists of ten sections.

Article IX: Eminent Domain and Property of the State

Article IX of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Eminent Domain and Property of the State" and consists of three sections.

Article X: Education

Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of eight sections.

Article XI: Corporations

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

Article XII: Amendments

Article XII of the Wisconsin Constitution is labeled "Amendments." In two sections, it describes the two ways that the Wisconsin Constitution can be changed.

Article XIII: Miscellaneous Provisions

Article XIII of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous Provisions" and consists of 12 sections.

Article XIV: Schedule

Article XIV of the Wisconsin Constitution is entitled "Schedule" and consists of 16 sections.

Amending the Constitution

See also: Amending state constitutions

Article XII of the Wisconsin Constitution provides two methods of amendment:

  1. An amendment may be proposed and approved by a simple majority of both chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature. That proposed amendment must then be considered by the state legislature chosen at the next general election in the state -- and, before that legislative session, the proposed amendment that it will consider must be published for three months prior to the election. Should the amendment be approved by a simple majority of this second session that considers it, the proposed amendment is then placed on a statewide ballot at a general election. If it is approved by a simple majority of the state's electorate, it becomes part of the constitution.
  2. If a simple majority of both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature votes in favor of this, a constitutional convention question shall be placed on a statewide ballot. If the electors of the state agree by a simple majority to call a constitutional convention, then one shall be convened by the state legislature during its next session.

History

The Wisconsin Constitution was written at a constitutional convention held in Madison, Wisconsin in December 1847. It was approved by the citizens of the Wisconsin Territory in a referendum held in March 1848. Wisconsin was then admitted to the United States on May 29, 1848. Although it has been amended over a hundred times, the original constitution ratified in 1848 is still in use. This makes the Wisconsin Constitution the oldest state constitution outside of New England. Only Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island use older constitutions.[2]

Wisconsin has continued to use its original constitution, which was ratified as Wisconsin achieved statehood; however, the current version is the second document to be proposed as the state constitution. A group of 124 representatives met in Madison in 1846 to author a state constitution but came up short with various provisions were considered radical for that era. Because of these various radical provisions, the electorate rejected this first draft of the Wisconsin Constitution and elected a second delegation to draft a second constitution.[3]

The second draft of the Wisconsin Constitution was considered to be a much more conservative document. It was completed in December 1846, approved by the electorate in March 1848 and ratified by the United States Senate.[4]

See also

StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg

External links

BP-Initials-UPDATED.png
Suggest a link

Additional reading

References