A nonlawyer may not sign and file a notice of appeal on behalf of a corporation. Requiring a lawyer to represent a corporation in filing the notice does not violate the constitutional guarantee that any suitor may prosecute or defend a suit personally. A corporation is not a natural person and does not fall with in the term "any suitor". Jadair Inc. v. United States Fire Insurance Co. 209 W (2d) 187, 561 NW (2d) 718 (1997).

Sub. (2) gives the right in a civil trial to chose whether to defend oneself personally or to have an attorney, but does not address whether the party may, or may not, be ordered to be physically present at trial when represented. City of Sun Prairie v. Davis, 217 W (2d) 268, 575 NW (2d) 268 (Ct. App. 1998).

I,22 Maintenance of free government. Section 22. The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

I,23 Transportation of school children. Section 23. [As created April 1967] Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from providing for the safety and welfare of children by providing for the transportation of children to and from any parochial or private school or institution of learning. [1965 J.R. 46, 1967 J.R. 13, vote April 1967]

Elementary Secondary Education Act funds may be used in dual enrollment programs to transport children from parochial schools to and from public schools. 65 Atty. Gen. 126.

I,24 Use of school buildings. Section 24. [As created April 1972] Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from authorizing, by law, the use of public school buildings by civic, religious or charitable organizations during nonschool hours upon payment by the organization to the school district of reasonable compensation for such use. [1969 J.R. 38, 1971 J.R. 27, vote April 1972]
IIARTICLE II.
BOUNDARIES
II,1 State boundary. Section 1. It is hereby ordained and declared that the state of Wisconsin doth consent and accept of the boundaries prescribed in the act of congress entitled "An act to enable the people of Wisconsin territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union," approved August sixth, one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, to wit: Beginning at the northeast corner of the state of Illinois—that is to say, at a point in the center of Lake Michigan where the line of forty-two degrees and thirty minutes of north latitude crosses the same; thence running with the boundary line of the state of Michigan, through Lake Michigan, Green Bay, to the mouth of the Menominee river; thence up the channel of the said river to the Brule river; thence up said last-mentioned river to Lake Brule; thence along the southern shore of Lake Brule in a direct line to the center of the channel between Middle and South Islands, in the Lake of the Desert; thence in a direct line to the head waters of the Montreal river, as marked upon the survey made by Captain Cramm; thence down the main channel of the Montreal river to the middle of Lake Superior; thence through the center of Lake Superior to the mouth of the St. Louis river; thence up the main channel of said river to the first rapids in the same, above the Indian village, according to Nicollet's map; thence due south to the main branch of the river St. Croix; thence down the main channel of said river to the Mississippi; thence down the center of the main channel of that river to the northwest corner of the state of Illinois; thence due east with the northern boundary of the state of Illinois to the place of beginning, as established by "An act to enable the people of the Illinois territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states," approved April 18th, 1818.

Mississippi River is an inland water of Wisconsin and the boat toilet law may be enforced on the entire width of the Mississippi bordering Minnesota and up to the center of the main channel bordering Iowa. 61 Atty. Gen. 167.

II,2 Enabling act accepted. Section 2. [As amended April 1951] The propositions contained in the act of congress are hereby accepted, ratified and confirmed, and shall remain irrevocable without the consent of the United States; and it is hereby ordained that this state shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil within the same by the United States, nor with any regulations congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to bona fide purchasers thereof; and in no case shall nonresident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. Provided, that nothing in this constitution, or in the act of congress aforesaid, shall in any manner prejudice or affect the right of the state of Wisconsin to 500,000 acres of land granted to said state, and to be hereafter selected and located by and under the act of congress entitled "An act to appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, and grant pre-emption rights," approved September fourth, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one. [1949 J.R. 11; 1951 J.R. 7; vote April 1951]
IIIARTICLE III.
SUFFRAGE
III,1 Electors. Section 1. [As amended Nov. 1882, Nov. 1908, Nov. 1934; repealed April 1986; created April 1986] Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district. [1881 J.R. 26 A, 1882 J.R. 5, 1882 c. 272, vote Nov. 1882; 1905 J.R. 15, 1907 J.R. 25, 1907 c. 661, vote Nov. 1908; 1931 J.R. 91, 1933 J.R. 76, vote Nov. 1934; 1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986]

The legislature can amend the current election statutes, without referendum, so as to make said statutes conform with the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 61 Atty. Gen. 89.

Proposal to amend statute to allow nonresident property owners to vote on metropolitan sewerage district bonds, in addition to electors, probably would require the proposal to be submitted to a vote of the electorate under sec. 1. 63 Atty. Gen. 391.

Constitutional law: residency requirements. 53 MLR 439.

III,2 Implementation. Section 2. [As repealed April 1986; created April 1986] Laws may be enacted:

III,2(1) (1) Defining residency.

III,2(2) (2) Providing for registration of electors.

III,2(3) (3) Providing for absentee voting.

III,2(4) (4) Excluding from the right of suffrage persons:

III,2(4)(a) (a) Convicted of a felony, unless restored to civil rights.

III,2(4)(b) (b) Adjudged by a court to be incompetent or partially incompetent, unless the judgment specifies that the person is capable of understanding the objective of the elective process or the judgment is set aside.

III,2(5) (5) Subject to ratification by the people at a general election, extending the right of suffrage to additional classes. [1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986]

Disenfranchisement of felons does not deny them equal protection. Richardson v. Ramirez, 418 US 24.

III,3 Secret ballot. Section 3. [As repealed April 1986; created April 1986] All votes shall be by secret ballot. [1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986]

III,4 Residence saved. Section 4. [Repealed April 1986; see 1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986.]

III,5 Military stationing does not confer residence. Section 5. [Repealed April 1986; see 1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986.]

III,6 Exclusion from suffrage. Section 6. [Repealed April 1986; see 1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986.]
IVARTICLE IV.
LEGISLATIVE
IV,1 Legislative power. Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.

A prosecution for burglary, theft and arson involving selective service records may be conducted, since federal statutes proscribing the same conduct did not preempt the field. The defendant is not thus placed in double jeopardy. State ex rel. Cullen v. Ceci, 45 W (2d) 432, 173 NW (2d) 175.

An act validating existing sewerage districts previously held to be unconstitutionally organized is within the power of the legislature. Madison Metropolitan Sewerage Dist. v. Stein, 47 W (2d) 349, 177 NW (2d) 131.

The power given vocational district boards to levy taxes does not violate this section. The manner of appointing board members is constitutional. West Milwaukee v. Area Bd. Vocational, T. & A. Ed. 51 W (2d) 356, 187 NW (2d) 387.

One legislature cannot dictate action by a future legislature or a future legislative committee. State ex rel. Warren v. Nusbaum, 59 W (2d) 391, 208 NW (2d) 780.

Delegation of legislative power under 66.016 (2) (d) is constitutional. Westring v. James, 71 W (2d) 462, 238 NW (2d) 695.

Legislature may constitutionally prescribe criminal penalty for violation of administrative rule. State v. Courtney, 74 W (2d) 705, 247 NW (2d) 714.

Provision of 144.07 (1m), which voids DNR sewerage connection order if electors in affected town area reject annexation to city ordered to extend sewerage service, represents valid legislative balancing and accommodation of 2 statewide concerns: urban development and pollution control. City of Beloit v. Kallas, 76 W (2d) 61, 250 NW (2d) 342.

Section 147.035 (2) does not unlawfully delegate legislative power. Niagara of Wis. Paper Corp. v. DNR, 84 W (2d) 32, 268 NW (2d) 153 (1978).

Sections 46.03 (18) and 46.10 do not constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative power. In Matter of Guardianship of Klisurich, 98 W (2d) 274, 296 NW (2d) 742 (1980).

Mediation - arbitration under 111.70 (4) (cm) is constitutional delegation of legislative authority. Milwaukee County v. District Council 48, 109 W (2d) 14, 325 NW (2d) 350 (Ct. App. 1982).

Court will invalidate legislation only for constitutional violations. State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 W (2d) 358, 338 NW (2d) 684 (1983).

Reference in 102.61 to general federal vocational rehabilitation law as amended necessarily references current federal law where act named in 102.61 had been repealed and the law rewritten in another act. Because reference is stated as part of contingency, it does not constitute unlawful delegation of legislative authority to U.S. Congress. Dane County Hospital & Home v. LIRC, 125 W (2d) 308, 371 NW (2d) 815 (Ct. App. 1985).

Proposed amendments to bills creating variable obscenity laws, which would exempt motion picture films shown at theaters that comply with the film ratings of the motion picture association of America, constitute an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. 58 Atty. Gen. 36.

The legislature may constitutionally prohibit the issuance of trading stamps and similar devices. 58 Atty. Gen. 210.

The one man-one vote principle is inapplicable to legislative committees since that principle applies only to the exercise of legislative powers and such powers cannot constitutionally be delegated to these committees. There has been no such unconstitutional delegation as to the joint committee on finance, the board on government operations, the joint legislative council or the committee to visit state properties. Legislative oversight of administrative rules discussed. 63 Atty. Gen. 173.

In enacting the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. s. 717 et seq.) Congress did not intend to regulate only interstate pipeline companies. Rather the legislative history indicates a congressional intent to give the Federal Power Commission jurisdiction over the rates of all wholesalers of natural gas transported in interstate commerce, whether by a pipeline company or not and whether occurring before, during, or after transmission by an interstate pipeline company. Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Wisconsin, 347 US 672.

IV,2 Legislature, how constituted. Section 2. 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.

IV,3 Apportionment. Section 3. [As amended Nov. 1910, Nov. 1962 and Nov. 1982] 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]

Institutional populations, as well as other populations which may include persons disenfranchised for some reason, may not be disregarded for redistricting purposes. 70 Atty. Gen. 80.

IV,4 Representatives to the assembly, how chosen. Section 4. [As amended Nov. 1881 and Nov. 1982] 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]

Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions requiring almost absolute equality of population among electoral districts render nugatory the state court's construction of art. IV, sec. 4, as prohibiting assembly districts from dividing counties except where a county is entitled to more than one assemblyman. 58 Atty. Gen. 88.

IV,5 Senators, how chosen. Section 5. [As amended Nov. 1881 and Nov. 1982] 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]

IV,6 Qualifications of legislators. Section 6. 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.

Requirement of 8.15 (4) (b), 1975 stats., that candidate reside in district at time of filing nomination papers unconstitutionally adds to candidacy qualifications required by Art. IV, sec. 6. 65 Atty. Gen. 159.

IV,7 Organization of legislature; quorum; compulsory attendance. Section 7. 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.

IV,8 Rules; contempts; expulsion. Section 8. 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.

The legislature cannot sentence a person to confinement for contempt without notice and without giving an opportunity to respond to the charge. Groppi v. Leslie, 404 US 496.

IV,9 Officers. Section 9. [As amended April 1979] Each house shall choose its presiding officers from its own members. [1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979]

IV,10 Journals; open doors; adjournments. Section 10. 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.

IV,11 Meeting of legislature. Section 11. [As amended Nov. 1881 and April 1968] 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]

IV,12 Ineligibility of legislators to office. Section 12. 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.

A legislator may be elected to a constitutional or statutory state elective office even though the emoluments of such office were raised during his legislative term. If so elected, he is limited by 13.04 (1) to the emoluments of the office prior to such increase. A legislator is not eligible, however, for appointment to an office created during his term or to an office the emoluments of which appointive office were raised during his legislative term. 63 Atty. Gen. 127.

IV,13 Ineligibility of federal officers. Section 13. [As amended April 1966] 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.]

IV,14 Filling vacancies. Section 14. The governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in either house of the legislature.

IV,15 Exemption from arrest and civil process. Section 15. 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.

Privilege under this section can be invoked by legislator only if legislator is subpoenaed, not if aide is subpoenaed. State v. Beno, 116 W (2d) 122, 341 NW (2d) 668 (1984).

IV,16 Privilege in debate. Section 16. No member of the legislature shall be liable in any civil action, or criminal prosecution whatever, for words spoken in debate.

Legislator invoked privilege under this section to immunize aide from subpoena to testify as to investigation conducted by aide. State v. Beno, 116 W (2d) 122, 341 NW (2d) 668 (1984).

In federal criminal prosecution against state legislator there is no legislative privilege barring introduction of evidence of legislator's legislative acts. United States v. Gillock, 445 US 360 (1980).

IV,17 Enactment of laws. Section 17. [As amended April 1977]
IV,17(1) (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:".

IV,17(2) (2) No law shall be enacted except by bill. No law shall be in force until published.

IV,17(3) (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]

The state legislature cannot constitutionally adopt prospective federal legislation by reference. 63 Atty. Gen. 229.

Article VII, sec. 21 [17] requires full text publication of all general laws, and publication of an abstract or synopsis of such laws would not be sufficient. Methods other than newspaper publication, under 985.04, may be utilized to give public notice of our general laws. 63 Atty. Gen. 346.

IV,18 Title of private bills. Section 18. 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.

Chapter 418, laws of 1977, s. 923 (48) (a) is a private or local bill enacted unconstitutionally. Soo Line R. Co. v. Transportation Dept. 101 W (2d) 64, 303 NW (2d) 626 (1981).

Specific prison siting provision in budget act did not violate this section. Test for distinguishing private or local law established. Milwaukee Brewers v. DH&SS, 130 W (2d) 79, 387 NW (2d) 254 (1986).

Challenged legislation, although general on its face, violated this section because classification employed isn't based on any substantial distinction between classes employed nor is it germane to purposes of the legislation. Brookfield v. Milw. Sewerage, 144 W (2d) 896, 426 NW (2d) 591 (1988).

A bill has a single subject if all of its provisions are related to the same general purpose and are incident to that purpose; a title is insufficient only if it fails to reasonably suggest the purpose of the act or if a reading of the act with the full scope of the title in mind discloses a provision clearly outside the title. Brookfield v. Milw. Sewerage Dist., 171 W (2d) 400, 491 NW (2d) 484 (1992).

Two prong analysis for determining violations of this section discussed. City of Oak Creek v. DNR, 185 W (2d) 424, 518 NW (2d) 276 (Ct. App. 1994).

IV,19 Origin of bills. Section 19. Any bill may originate in either house of the legislature, and a bill passed by one house may be amended by the other.

IV,20 Yeas and nays. Section 20. 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.

The taking of yea and nay votes and the entry on the journals of the senate and assembly can be complied with by recording the total aye vote together with a listing of the names of those legislators who voted no, were absent or not voting or were paired on the question. Art. V, sec. 10; Art. VIII, sec. 8; Art. XII, sec. 1 discussed. 63 Atty. Gen. 346.

IV,21 Compensation of members. Section 21. [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.]

IV,22 Powers of county boards. Section 22. 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.

Loading...
Loading...
Wisconsin Constitution updated by the Legislative Reference Bureau. Published March 22, 2014. Click for the Coverage of Annotations for the Annotated Constitution. Report errors at (608) 266-3561, FAX 264-6948.