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]

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.

IV,26 Extra compensation; salary change. Section 26.
IV,26(1) (1) [As amended April 1956, April 1967, April 1974, April 1977 and April 1992] The legislature may not grant any extra compensation to a public officer, agent, servant or contractor after the services have been rendered or the contract has been entered into.

IV,26(2) (2) Except as provided in this subsection, the compensation of a public officer may not be increased or diminished during the term of office:

IV,26(2)(a) (a) When any increase or decrease in the compensation of justices of the supreme court or judges of any court of record becomes effective as to any such justice or judge, it shall be effective from such date as to every such justice or judge.

IV,26(2)(b) (b) Any increase in the compensation of members of the legislature shall take effect, for all senators and representatives to the assembly, after the next general election beginning with the new assembly term.

IV,26(3) (3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to increased benefits for persons who have been or shall be granted benefits of any kind under a retirement system when such increased benefits are provided by a legislative act passed on a call of ayes and noes by a three-fourths vote of all the members elected to both houses of the legislature and such act provides for sufficient state funds to cover the costs of the increased benefits. [1953 J.R. 41, 1955 J.R. 17, vote Apr. 3, 1956; 1965 J.R. 96, 1967 J.R. 17, vote April 1967; 1971 J.R. 12, 1973 J.R. 15, vote April 1974; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977; 1991 J.R. 13, vote April 1992]

This section does not prohibit retroactive wage adjustment negotiated by collective bargaining and applied only to period when employes were working without contract. Department of Administration v. WERC, 90 W (2d) 426, 280 NW (2d) 150 (1979).

Payments to roadbuilders for extra compensation due to unexpected fuel costs violated this section. Krug v. Zueske, 199 W (2d) 406, 544 NW (2d) 618 (Ct. App. 1996).

An amendment authorizing increased benefits to all retired employes would constitute a legislative declaration that such expenditures would be for a public purpose. 58 Atty. Gen. 101.

University salaries may be increased only from the date the regents adopt the budget and are subject to subsequent funding by the legislature. 60 Atty. Gen. 487.

Payment of the supplemental benefit of 102.44 (1) is not precluded to former state employes by this section. The second injury fund is not impressed with a constructive trust which prevents its use for payment of such supplemental benefits. 62 Atty. Gen. 69.

IV,27 Suits against state. Section 27. The legislature shall direct by law in what manner and in what courts suits may be brought against the state.

An action will not lie against the secretary of revenue for a refund of a sales tax deposit since this is an action against the state and it was not alleged that the secretary acted outside his authority. Appel v. Halverson, 50 W (2d) 230, 184 NW (2d) 99.

Since the mandate of sec. 27 is to the legislature, the supreme court cannot, as herein urged, judicially intervene to change the doctrine of procedural immunity and thereby correct the anomaly which arises as a result of the constitutional restriction, absent legislative implementation, of tort suits against the state. Cords v. State, 62 W (2d) 42, 214 NW (2d) 405.

A state agency or officer may not waive state's sovereign immunity without specific authorization nor will principles of estoppel be applied so as to deprive a state of its sovereign rights. Lister v. Bd. of Regents, 72 W (2d) 282, 240 NW (2d) 610.

Though courts have common law jurisdiction to enforce arbitration awards generally, they cannot enforce awards against state absent express legislative authorization. State ex rel. Teach. Assts. v. Wis.-Madison Univ. 96 W (2d) 492, 292 NW (2d) 657 (Ct. App. 1980).

Doctrine of sovereign immunity cannot bar action for just compensation based on taking of private property for public use even though legislature has failed to establish specific provisions for recovery of just compensation. Zinn v. State, 112 W (2d) 417, 334 NW (2d) 67 (1983).

Waiver of sovereign immunity in creation of a state agency discussed. Busse v. Dane County Regional Planning Comm. 181 W (2d) 527, 510 NW (2d) 136 (Ct. App. 1993).

Sovereign immunity does not apply to arbitration. State v. P. G. Miron Const. Co., Inc. 181 W (2d) 1045, 512 NW (2d) 499 (1994).

A specific performance action is a suit under Art. IV s. 27; the legislature has not consented to be sued for specific performance; such action is not permitted against the state. Erickson Oil Products, Inc. v. DOT, 184 W (2d) 36, 516 NW (2d) 755 (Ct. App. 1994).

The state waives its sovereign immunity when it creates an agency as an independent going concern. Bahr v. State Investment Bd. 186 Wis. 379, 521 NW (2d) 152 (Ct. App. 1994).

County's appeal of ex parte order that it was responsible for court costs incurred by the state public defender for an indigent defendant was not an action "brought" against the state. The public defender could not assert the appeal was barred by sovereign immunity. Polk County v. State Public Defender, 188 W (2d) 665, 524 NW (2d) 389 (1994).

State has removed only the substantive defense of governmental tort immunity and the state constitutional barrier providing that the state may be sued only upon its consent remains. Knox v. Regents of University of Wisconsin, 385 F Supp. 886.

State immunity from suit. 1971 WLR 879.

IV,28 Oath of office. Section 28. Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as may be by law exempted, shall before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin, and faithfully to discharge the duties of their respective offices to the best of their ability.

IV,29 Militia. Section 29. The legislature shall determine what persons shall constitute the militia of the state, and may provide for organizing and disciplining the same in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

IV,30 Elections by legislature. Section 30. [As amended Nov. 1982] All elections made by the legislature shall be by roll call vote entered in the journals. [1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982]

IV,31 Special and private laws prohibited. Section 31. [As created Nov. 1871 and amended Nov. 1892 and April 1993] The legislature is prohibited from enacting any special or private laws in the following cases:

IV,31(1) (1) For changing the names of persons, constituting one person the heir at law of another or granting any divorce.

IV,31(2) (2) For laying out, opening or altering highways, except in cases of state roads extending into more than one county, and military roads to aid in the construction of which lands may be granted by congress.

IV,31(3) (3) For authorizing persons to keep ferries across streams at points wholly within this state.

IV,31(4) (4) For authorizing the sale or mortgage of real or personal property of minors or others under disability.

IV,31(5) (5) For locating or changing any county seat.

IV,31(6) (6) For assessment or collection of taxes or for extending the time for the collection thereof.

IV,31(7) (7) For granting corporate powers or privileges, except to cities.

IV,31(8) (8) For authorizing the apportionment of any part of the school fund.

IV,31(9) (9) For incorporating any city, town or village, or to amend the charter thereof. [1870 J.R. 13, 1871 J.R. 1, 1871 c. 122, vote Nov. 1871; 1889 J.R. 4, 1891 J.R. 4, 1891 c. 362, vote Nov. 1892; 1993 J.R. 3, vote April 1993]

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 Housing Authority, designated as a corporation, does not violate the prohibition against granting of corporate powers by the legislature. State ex rel. Warren v. Nusbaum, 59 W (2d) 391, 208 NW (2d) 780.

Sec. 31 includes a public purpose doctrine allowing the granting of limited corporate powers to entities created to promote a public and state purpose. Brookfield v. Milw. Sewerage Dist., 171 W (2d) 400, 491 NW (2d) 484 (1992).

Creation of citizens utility board is constitutional. 69 Atty. Gen. 153.

IV,32 General laws on enumerated subjects. Section 32. [As created Nov. 1871 and amended April, 1993] The legislature may provide by general law for the treatment of any subject for which lawmaking is prohibited by section 31 of this article. Subject to reasonable classifications, such laws shall be uniform in their operation throughout the state. [1870 J.R. 13, 1871 J.R. 1, 1871 c. 122, vote Nov. 1871; 1993 J.R. 3, vote April 1993]

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.