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Revision as of 22:32, 5 November 2013

Wyoming Constitution
Flag of Wyoming.png
The Wyoming Constitution is the fundamental governance document of Wyoming. It was approved in a statewide vote on November 5, 1889, by a vote of 6,272 to 1,923.

The constitution contains five types of provisions:

  • Provisions for the organization and operation of government;
  • A “declaration of rights”;
  • The process for amending the document;
  • Miscellaneous provisions;
  • The "schedule".

The Wyoming Constitution contains 21 articles.


The Preamble to the Constitution says:

We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political and religious liberties, and desiring to secure them to ourselves and perpetuate them to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Article 1: Declaration of rights

The Declaration of Rights in the constitution is contained in 37 sections in Article 1. Wyoming’s Declaration issues broader limitations on the role of government than does the U.S. Constitution. An example is the first clause of Article I, Section 1: "All power is inherent in the people."

The Wyoming Declaration of Rights sets forth particular political and civil rights. Section 23 states: "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." The Declaration establishes substantive guarantees such as prohibition of ex post facto laws.

Several provisions in the Declaration of Rights deal with issues not addressed by the U. S. Bill of Rights. One example is Sec. 31, which specifies how water is to be controlled.

Article 2: Distribution of powers

Articles 2-5, 12-17 set up the structure of government, including the three distinct branches of legislative, executive and judicial departments.

Article 2 has one section, which says:

Sec. 1. "Powers of government divided into three departments. The powers of the government of this state are divided into three distinct departments: The legislative, executive and judicial, and no person or collection of persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any powers properly belonging to either of the others, except as in this constitution expressly directed or permitted."

Article 3: Legislative department

Article III contains 53 sections.

Section 52

Section 52 lays out the laws governing the initiative process in Wyoming.

Article 20: Amendments

See Amending state constitutions

Article 20 of the Wyoming Constitution defines how changes can be made to the Constitution. There are four sections in the Article.

  • In either branch of the Wyoming State Legislature.
  • Regardless of where the amendment originated, two-thirds of all the members of each of the two houses, voting separately, have to agree to put it on the ballot for a vote of the state's electors.
  • Any proposed amendments that receive a 2/3rds vote of both chambers are to go on the ballot at the next general election.
  • The proposed amendment must be published for at least twelve (12) consecutive weeks, prior to a vote being held on it, "in at least one newspaper of general circulation."
  • To succeed, the amendment must be approved by a majority of the electors.
  • Section 2 says that if more than one amendment is proposed, they are to be voted on separately.
  • It can be called if a 2/3rds supermajority vote in both houses of the legislature agree to put a constitutional convention question on the state's next general election ballot.
  • A majority of those voting must approve the call for a convention.
  • If they do, the legislature is required in its next session to organize that convention.
  • Article 20 does not specify how many delegates that convention must have, except to say that the number of delegates must be "not less than double that of the most numerous branch of the legislature."
  • Section 4 says that any constitutional changes recommended by a duly-called constitutional convention don't go into effect unless and until they are approved in a statewide vote of the people.

External links

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