IVARTICLE IV.
LEGISLATIVE
IV,1 Legislative power. Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.

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 Wis. 2d 349, 177 N.W.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 Wis. 2d 356, 187 N.W.2d 387.

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

The legislature may constitutionally prescribe a criminal penalty for violation of an administrative rule. State v. Courtney, 74 Wis. 2d 705, 247 N.W.2d 714.

Provisions of s. 144.07 (1m) [now s. 281.34 (1m)], that void a DNR sewerage connection order if electors in the affected town area reject annexation to the city ordered to extend sewerage service, represents a valid legislative balancing and accommodation of 2 statewide concerns: urban development and pollution control. City of Beloit v. Kallas, 76 Wis. 2d 61, 250 N.W.2d 342.

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

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

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a general federal law, as amended, necessarily references the current federal law where the act named in the statute is repealed and the law rewritten in another act.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

Proposed amendments to bills creating variable obscenity laws that 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 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.

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 that 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]

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 assembly member. 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.

A candidate for election to Congress need not be a resident of the district at the time he or she files nomination papers and executes the declaration of intent to accept the office if elected. A candidate for congress must be an inhabitant of the state at the time of election. 61 Atty. Gen. 155.

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 U.S. 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 the office were raised during his or her legislative term. If so elected, the legislator is limited by 13.04 (1) to the emoluments of the office prior to the increase. A legislator is not eligible, however, for appointment to an office created during his or her term or to an office the emoluments of which appointive office were raised during his or her 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.

The privilege under this section can be invoked by a legislator only if the legislator is subpoenaed, not if an aide is subpoenaed. State v. Beno, 116 Wis. 2d 122, 341 N.W.2d 668 (1984).

The members of the Wisconsin Constitutional Convention did not intend to create a legislative privilege from criminal arrest and prosecution when they included article IV, section 15 in the Wisconsin Constitution. The phrase "treason, felony and breach of the peace" in that section was intended to mean all crimes. State v. Burke, 2002 WI App 291, 258 Wis. 2d 832, 653 N.W.2d 922, 02-2161.

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.

The sphere of legislative action protected under this section is broader than floor deliberations. A legislator may invoke the privilege under this section to immunize an aide from a subpoena to testify as to an investigation conducted by the aide at the legislator's request. State v. Beno, 116 Wis. 2d 122, 341 N.W.2d 668 (1984).

Not all activities of a legislator are protected by this section insofar as that activity is not an integral part of the deliberative and communicative processes. While legislative acts are protected by the speech and debate clause, political acts are not. Hiring, directing, and managing legislative caucus staff to oversee political campaigns is not protected. By its very nature, engaging in campaign activity is political. State v. Chvala, 2004 WI App 53, 271 Wis. 2d 115, 678 N.W.2d 880, 03-0442. See also State v. Jensen, 2004 WI App 89, 272 Wis. 2d 707, 684 N.W.2d 136, 03-0106.

This section provides only immunity from prosecution based on use of communications, and not secrecy for communications of government officials and employees. Legislative Technical Services Bureau Custodian of Records v. State 2004 WI 65, 272 Wis. 2d 208, 680 N.W.2d 792, 02-3063.

In a federal criminal prosecution against a state legislator there is no legislative privilege barring introduction of evidence of the legislator's legislative acts. United States v. Gillock, 445 U.S. 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 enacting clause is not required for each particular statute. According to legislative rule, when an act, or part of an act, creates a statute section number, that action indicates a legislative intent to make the section a part of the Wisconsin Statutes. Hence, because the legislature can intend that only a part of an act creates a statute, it does not follow that each statute must contain all the constituent parts of an act, namely, the enabling clause. State v. Weidman, 2007 WI App 258, ___ Wis. 2d ___, 743 N.W.2d 854, 06-2168.

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 general laws. 63 Atty. Gen. 346. See also s. 14.38 (10).

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 Wis. 2d 64, 303 N.W.2d 626 (1981).

A specific prison siting provision in a budget act did not violate this section. The test for distinguishing a private or local law is established. Milwaukee Brewers v. DHSS, 130 Wis. 2d 79, 387 N.W.2d 254 (1986).

Challenged legislation, although general on its face, violated this section because the classification employed was not based on any substantial distinction between classes employed nor was it germane to purposes of the legislation. Brookfield v. Milwaukee Sewerage District, 144 Wis. 2d 896, 426 N.W.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. Milwaukee Sewerage District, 171 Wis. 2d 400, 491 N.W.2d 484 (1992).

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

Courts will not afford legislation challenged under this section a presumption of constitutionality unless the record shows that the legislature adequately considered the legislation in question. When a majority of the members of the Assembly co-sponsored a single-subject bill exempting YMCAs from property taxation before the measure was added to the budget bill and a majority of senators either co-sponsored the stand-alone bill or considered and voted for the proposal as members of the Joint Finance Committee, there was a presumption that the legislators who sponsored the bill or voted for it in committee adequately considered the proposal. Lake Country Racquet and Athletic Club, Inc. v. Morgan, 2006 WI App 25, 289 Wis. 2d 498, 710 N.W.2d 701, 04-3061.

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 a retirement system for service of an employee 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]

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Wisconsin Constitution updated by the Legislative Reference Bureau. Published Oct. 3, 2014. Click for the Coverage of Annotations for the Annotated Constitution. Report errors at (608) 266-3561, FAX 264-6948.