|Constitution of the State of Wyoming
With amendments through November 12, 2008.
We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political and religious liberties, and desiring to secure them to ourselves and perpetuate them to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
Sec. 1. Power inherent in the people. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for the peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish the government in such manner as they think proper. In their inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.
Sec. 2. Equality of all. In their inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.
Sec. 3. Equal political rights. Since equality in the enjoyment of natural and civil rights is only made sure through political equality, the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Sec. 4. Security against search and seizure. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.
Sec. 5. Imprisonment for debt. No person shall be imprisoned for debt, except in cases of fraud.
Sec. 6. Due process of law. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
Sec. 7. No absolute, arbitrary power. Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.
Sec. 8. Courts open to all; suits against state. All courts shall be open and every person for an injury done to person, reputation or property shall have justice administered without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be brought against the state in such manner and in such courts as the legislature may by law direct.
Sec. 9. Trial by jury inviolate. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate in criminal cases. A jury in civil cases and in criminal cases where the charge is a misdemeanor may consist of less than twelve (12) persons but not less than six (6), as may be prescribed by law. A grand jury may consist of twelve (12) persons, any nine (9) of whom concurring may find an indictment. The legislature may change, regulate or abolish the grand jury system.
Sec. 10. Right of accused to defend. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to defend in person and by counsel, to demand the nature and cause of the accusation, to have a copy thereof, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process served for obtaining witnesses, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed. When the location of the offense cannot be established with certainty, venue may be placed in the county or district where the corpus delecti [delicti] is found, or in any county or district in which the victim was transported.
Sec. 11. Self-incrimination; jeopardy. No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in any criminal case, nor shall any person be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. If a jury disagree, or if the judgment be arrested after a verdict, or if the judgment be reversed for error in law, the accused shall not be deemed to have been in jeopardy.
Sec. 12. Detaining witnesses. No person shall be detained as a witness in any criminal prosecution longer than may be necessary to take his testimony or deposition, nor be confined in any room where criminals are imprisoned.
Sec. 13. Indictment. Until otherwise provided by law, no person shall, for a felony, be proceeded against criminally, otherwise than by indictment, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger.
Sec. 14. Bail; cruel and unusual punishment. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punishment be inflicted.
Sec. 15. Penal code to be humane. The penal code shall be framed on the humane principles of reformation and prevention.
Sec. 16. Conduct of jails. No person arrested and confined in jail shall be treated with unnecessary rigor. The erection of safe and comfortable prisons, and inspection of prisons, and the humane treatment of prisoners shall be provided for.
Sec. 17. Habeas corpus. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless, when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
Sec. 18. Religious liberty. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall be forever guaranteed in this state, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to hold any office of trust or profit, or to serve as a witness or juror, because of his opinion on any matter of religious belief whatever; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state.
Sec. 19. Appropriations for sectarian or religious societies or institutions prohibited. No money of the state shall ever be given or appropriated to any sectarian or religious society or institution.
Sec. 20. Freedom of speech and press; libel; truth a defense. Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good intent and [for] justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense, the jury having the right to determine the facts and the law, under direction of the court.
Sec. 21. Right of petition and peaceable assembly. The right of petition, and of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good, and to make known their opinions, shall never be denied or abridged.
Sec. 22. Protection of labor. The rights of labor shall have just protection through laws calculated to secure to the laborer proper rewards for his service and to promote the industrial welfare of the state.
Sec. 23. Education. The right of the citizens to opportunities for education should have practical recognition. The legislature shall suitably encourage means and agencies calculated to advance the sciences and liberal arts.
Sec. 24. Right to bear arms. The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.
Sec. 25. Military subordinate to civil power; quartering soldiers. The military shall ever be in strict subordination to the civil power. No soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in any house without consent of the owner, nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.
Sec. 26. Treason. Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, or in giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court; nor shall any person be attained of treason by the legislature.
Sec. 27. Elections free and equal. Elections shall be open, free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent an untrammeled exercise of the right of suffrage.
Sec. 28. Taxation; consent of people; uniformity and equality. No tax shall be imposed without the consent of the people or their authorized representatives.
Sec. 29. Rights of aliens. No distinction shall ever be made by law between resident aliens and citizens as to the possession, taxation, enjoyment and descent of property.
Sec. 30. Monopolies and perpetuities prohibited. Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state, and shall not be allowed. Corporations being creatures of the state, endowed for the public good with a portion of its sovereign powers, must be subject to its control.
Sec. 31. Control of water. Water being essential to industrial prosperity, of limited amount, and easy of diversion from its natural channels, its control must be in the state, which, in providing for its use, shall equally guard all the various interests involved.
Sec. 32. Eminent domain. Private property shall not be taken for private use unless by consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, and for reservoirs, drains, flumes or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, mining, milling, domestic or sanitary purposes, nor in any case without due compensation.
Sec. 33. Compensation for property taken. Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation.
Sec. 34. Uniform operation of general law. All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation.
Sec. 35. Ex post facto laws; impairing obligation of contracts. No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be made.
Sec. 36. Rights not enumerated reserved to people. The enumeration in this constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.
Sec. 37. Constitution of United States supreme law of land. The State of Wyoming is an inseparable part of the federal union, and the constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.
DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS
Sec. 1. Powers of government divided into three departments. The powers of the government of this state are divided into three distinct departments: The legislative, executive and judicial, and no person or collection of persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any powers properly belonging to either of the others, except as in this constitution expressly directed or permitted.
Sec. 1. Composition and name of legislature. The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and house of representatives, which shall be designated “the legislature of the State of Wyoming.”
Sec. 2. Members’ terms and qualifications. Senators shall be elected for the term of four (4) years and representatives for the term of two (2) years. The senators elected at the first election shall be divided by lot into two classes as nearly equal as may be. The seats of senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years, and of the second class at the expiration of four years. No person shall be a senator who has not attained the age of twenty-five years, or a representative who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, and who is not a citizen of the United States and of this state and who has not, for at least twelve months next preceding his election resided within the county or district in which he was elected.
Sec. 3. Legislative apportionment. Each county shall constitute a senatorial and representative district; the senate and house of representatives shall be composed of members elected by the legal voters of the counties respectively, every two (2) years. They shall be apportioned among the said counties as nearly as may be according to the number of their inhabitants. Each county shall have at least one senator and one representative; but at no time shall the number of members of the house of representatives be less than twice nor greater than three times the number of members of the senate. The senate and house of representatives first elected in pursuance of this constitution shall consist of sixteen and thirty-three members respectively.
Sec. 4. Vacancies. [Repealed.]
Sec. 5. When members elected and terms begin. Members of the senate and house of representatives shall be elected on the day provided by law for the general election of a member of congress, and their term of office shall begin on the first Monday of January thereafter.
Sec. 6. Compensation of members; duration of sessions. The legislature shall not meet for more than sixty (60) legislative working days excluding Sundays during the term for which members of the house of representatives are elected, except when called into special session. The legislature shall determine by statute the number of days not to exceed sixty (60) legislative working days to be devoted to general and budget session, respectively. The legislature shall meet on odd-numbered years for a general and budget session. The legislature may meet on even-numbered years for budget session. During the budget session no bills except the budget bill may be introduced unless placed on call by a two-thirds vote of either house. The legislature shall meet for no more than forty (40) legislative working days excluding Sundays in any one (1) calendar year, except when called into special session. The compensation of the members of the legislature shall be as provided by law; but no legislature shall fix its own compensation.
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