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vocational rehabilitation law as amended necessarily references current federal law where act named in 102.61 had been repealed and the law rewritten in another act.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.

Milwaukee county may, by ordinance, provide credit in retirement system for service of employe with another municipality. 61 Atty. Gen. 177.

IV,23 Town and county government. Section 23. [As amended Nov. 1962, April 1969 and April 1972] 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]

Abolishing the office of town assessor in those counties adopting a countywide assessor system does not amount to creation of a different system of town government. Thompson v. Kenosha County, 64 W (2d) 673, 221 NW (2d) 845.

Only enactments which unnecessarily interfere with the system's uniformity in a material respect are invalidated by this section. Classifications based upon population have generally been upheld. Section 60.19 (1) (c) does not violate uniformity clause. State ex rel. Wolf v. Town of Lisbon, 75 W (2d) 152, 248 NW (2d) 450.

County has standing to challenge validity of rule not adopted in conformity with 227.02 through 227.025, 1985 stats. [now 227.16 - 227.21]. Dane County v. H&SS Dept. 79 W (2d) 323, 255 NW (2d) 539.

IV,23a Chief executive officer to approve or veto resolutions or ordinances; proceedings on veto. Section 23a. [As created Nov. 1962 and amended April 1969] 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]

A county executive's power to veto ordinances and resolutions extends to rezoning petitions which are in essence proposed amendments to the county zoning ordinance. The veto is subject to limited judicial review. Schmeling v. Phelps, 212 W (2d) 898, 569 NW (2d) 784 (Ct. App. 1997).

County executive's partial-veto power is similar to governor's power. 73 Atty. Gen. 92.

County board may not amend resolution, ordinance or part thereof vetoed by county executive, but can pass separate substitute for submission to executive. Board has duty promptly to reconsider vetoed resolutions, ordinances or parts thereof. 74 Atty. Gen. 73.

IV,24 Gambling. Section 24. [As amended April 1965, April 1973, April 1977, April 1987 and April 1993]
IV,24(1) (1) Except as provided in this section, the legislature may not authorize gambling in any form.

IV,24(2) (2) Except as otherwise provided by law, the following activities do not constitute consideration as an element of gambling:

IV,24(2)(a) (a) To listen to or watch a television or radio program.

IV,24(2)(b) (b) To fill out a coupon or entry blank, whether or not proof of purchase is required.

IV,24(2)(c) (c) To visit a mercantile establishment or other place without being required to make a purchase or pay an admittance fee.

IV,24(3) (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.

IV,24(4) (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.

IV,24(5) (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.

IV,24(6)(a) (a) The legislature may authorize the creation of a lottery to be operated by the state as provided by law. The expenditure of public funds or of revenues derived from lottery operations to engage in promotional advertising of the Wisconsin state lottery is prohibited. Any advertising of the state lottery shall indicate the odds of a specific lottery ticket to be selected as the winning ticket for each prize amount offered. The net proceeds of the state lottery shall be deposited in the treasury of the state, to be used for property tax relief as provided by law.

IV,24(6)(b) (b) The lottery authorized under par. (a) shall be an enterprise that entitles the player, by purchasing a ticket, to participate in 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.

IV,24(6)(c) (c) Notwithstanding the authorization of a state lottery under par. (a), the following games, or games simulating any of the following games, may not be conducted by the state as a lottery: 1) any game in which winners are selected based on the results of a race or sporting event; 2) any banking card game, including blackjack, baccarat or chemin de fer; 3) poker; 4) roulette; 5) craps or any other game that involves rolling dice; 6) keno; 7) bingo 21, bingo jack, bingolet or bingo craps; 8) any game of chance that is placed on a slot machine or any mechanical, electromechanical or electronic device that is generally available to be played at a gambling casino; 9) any game or device that is commonly known as a video game of chance or a video gaming machine or that is commonly considered to be a video gambling machine, unless such machine is a video device operated by the state in a game authorized under par. (a) to permit the sale of tickets through retail outlets under contract with the state and the device does not determine or indicate whether the player has won a prize, other than by verifying that the player's ticket or some or all of the player's symbols or numbers on the player's ticket have been selected in a chance drawing, or by verifying that the player's ticket has been randomly selected by a central system computer at the time of purchase; 10) any game that is similar to a game listed in this paragraph; or 11) any other game that is commonly considered to be a form of gambling and is not, or is not substantially similar to, a game conducted by the state under par. (a). No game conducted by the state under par. (a) may permit a player of the game to purchase a 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]

The state lottery board may conduct any lottery game which complies with ticket language in constitution and ch. 565. Term "lottery" in constitution and statutes does not include any other forms of betting, playing or operation of gambling machines and devices and other forms of gambling defined in ch. 945. Legislature can statutorily authorize other non-lottery gambling including casino-type games. 79 Atty. Gen. 14.

Under Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C.A. ss. 2701-2721, gambling activities as defined and prohibited in ch. 945, other than lotteries and pari-mutuel on-track wagering, are not permitted by any person within or without Indian country in State of Wisconsin. Prohibition includes all non-lottery gambling such as casino-type games, gambling machines and other devices. Legislature can statutorily authorize non-lottery gambling within Indian country. 79 Atty. Gen. 14.

Enactment of legislation which would propose to license and regulate certain "amusement devices" which are gambling machines would authorize "gambling" in violation of Art. IV, section 24. OAG 2-96.

State's interest in preventing organized crime infiltration of tribal bingo enterprise does not justify state regulation in light of compelling federal and tribal interest supporting it. California v. Cabazon Band of Indians, 480 US 202 (1987).

When voters authorized a state-operated "lottery" they removed any remaining prohibition against state-operated games, schemes or plans involving prize, chance and consideration. Lac du Flambeau Indians v. State of Wisconsin, 770 F Supp. 480 (1991).

Gambling and the law: The Wisconsin experience, 1848-1980. Farnsley, 1980 WLR 811.

IV,25 Stationery and printing. Section 25. 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.

Legality of appointing nominee to board of regents when such person is a major stockholder in a printing company that is under contract to the state discussed. 60 Atty. Gen. 172.

Wisconsin Constitution updated by the Legislative Reference Bureau. Published March 22, 2018. Click for the Coverage of Annotations for the Annotated Constitution. Report errors at (608) 266-3561, FAX 264-6948.