2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
January 29, 2020 - Introduced by Senators Jacque, Craig and Stroebel,
cosponsored by Representatives Sanfelippo, Brandtjen, Ballweg, Gundrum,
Horlacher, Hutton, Kulp, Magnafici, Murphy, Quinn, Ramthun, Schraa,
Skowronski, Sortwell, Thiesfeldt, Tittl, Tusler, Wichgers and Brooks.
Referred to Committee on Government Operations, Technology and
Consumer Protection.
SJR86,1,2 1To renumber and amend section 1 of article I; and to create section 1 (2) of article
2I of the constitution; relating to: the term persons (first consideration).
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
The Wisconsin Constitution provides that all people are born equally free and
independent and have certain inherent rights, including the rights to life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. This constitutional amendment, proposed to the 2019
legislature on first consideration, eliminates the word “born” leaving the phrase “all
persons are equally free and independent.” The constitutional amendment also
specifies that, as applied to the right to life, the term “persons” applies to every
human being at any stage of development. The constitutional amendment allows the
legislature to define the scope of protections afforded to unborn persons and specifies
that any prohibition of conduct with regard to unborn persons must be prescribed by
the legislature by law.
A constitutional amendment requires adoption by two successive legislatures,
and ratification by the people, before it becomes effective.
SJR86,1,3 3Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That:
SJR86,1 4Section 1. Section 1 of article I of the constitution is renumbered section 1 (1)
5of article I and amended to read:
1[Article I] Section 1 (1) All people persons are born equally free and
2independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the
3pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving
4their just powers from the consent of the governed. As applied to the right to life, the
5term “persons" shall apply to every human being at any stage of development, born
6or unborn.
SJR86,2 7Section 2 . Section 1 (2) of article I of the constitution is created to read:
SJR86,2,108 [Article I] Section 1 (2) The legislature may define, by law, the scope of
9protections afforded by this section to unborn persons. Any prohibition of conduct
10with regard to unborn persons shall be prescribed by the legislature by law.
SJR86,2,13 11Be it further resolved, That this proposed amendment be referred to the
12legislature to be chosen at the next general election and that it be published for three
13months previous to the time of holding such election.
SJR86,2,1414 (End)