General laws on enumerated subjects. Section
[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; 1991 J.R. 27, 1993 J.R. 3, vote April 1993
Auditing of state accounts. Section
As created Nov. 1946
] The legislature shall provide for the auditing of state accounts and may establish such offices and prescribe such duties for the same as it shall deem necessary. [1943 J.R. 60, 1945 J.R. 73, vote Nov. 1946
Continuity of civil government. Section
[As created April 1961
] The legislature, in order to ensure continuity of state and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from enemy action in the form of an attack, shall
(1) forthwith provide for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices, of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices, and (2) adopt such other measures as may be necessary and proper for attaining the objectives of this section. [1959 J.R. 50, 1961 J.R. 10, vote April 1961
Governor; lieutenant governor; term. Section
[As amended April 1979
The executive power shall be vested in a governor who shall hold office for 4 years; a lieutenant governor shall be elected at the same time and for the same term.
[1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979
Executive orders of the Wisconsin governor. 1980 WLR 333.
Governor; 4-year term.
[Created April 1967; repealed April 1979; see 1965 J.R. 80, 1967 J.R. 10 and 15, vote April 1967; 1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979.
Lieutenant governor; 4-year term.
[Created April 1967; repealed April 1979; see 1965 J.R. 80, 1967 J.R. 10 and 15, vote April 1967; 1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979.
No person except a citizen of the United States and a qualified elector of the state shall be eligible to the office of governor or lieutenant governor.
[As amended April 1967
] The governor and lieutenant governor shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at the times and places of choosing members of the legislature. They shall be chosen jointly, by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both offices beginning with the general election in 1970. The persons respectively having the highest number of votes cast jointly for them for governor and lieutenant governor shall be elected; but in case two or more slates shall have an equal and the highest number of votes for governor and lieutenant governor, the two houses of the legislature, at its next annual session shall forthwith, by joint ballot, choose one of the slates so having an equal and the highest number of votes for governor and lieutenant governor. The returns of election for governor and lieutenant governor shall be made in such manner as shall be provided by law. [1965 J.R. 45, 1967 J.R. 11 and 14, vote April 1967
Powers and duties.
The governor shall be commander in chief of the military and naval forces of the state. He shall have power to convene the legislature on extraordinary occasions, and in case of invasion, or danger from the prevalence of contagious disease at the seat of government, he may convene them at any other suitable place within the state. He shall communicate to the legislature, at every session, the condition of the state, and recommend such matters to them for their consideration as he may deem expedient. He shall transact all necessary business with the officers of the government, civil and military. He shall expedite all such measures as may be resolved upon by the legislature, and shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
The legislature cannot require the governor to make specific recommendations to a future legislature or to include future appropriations in the executive budget bill. State ex rel. Warren v. Nusbaum, 59 Wis. 2d 391
, 208 N.W.2d 780
Compensation of governor. Section
Amended Nov. 1869 and Nov. 1926; repealed Nov. 1932; see 1868 J.R. 9, 1869 J.R. 2, 1869 c. 186, vote Nov. 1869; 1923 J.R. 80, 1925 J.R. 52, 1925 c. 413, vote Nov. 1926; 1929 J.R. 69, 1931 J.R. 52, vote Nov. 1932.
The governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, after conviction, for all offenses, except treason and cases of impeachment, upon such conditions and with such restrictions and limitations as he may think proper, subject to such regulations as may be provided by law relative to the manner of applying for pardons. Upon conviction for treason he shall have the power to suspend the execution of the sentence until the case shall be reported to the legislature at its next meeting, when the legislature shall either pardon, or commute the sentence, direct the execution of the sentence, or grant a further reprieve. He shall annually communicate to the legislature each case of reprieve, commutation or pardon granted, stating the name of the convict, the crime of which he was convicted, the sentence and its date, and the date of the commutation, pardon or reprieve, with his reasons for granting the same.
Executive clemency in Wisconsin. Bauer. 1973 WLR 1154.
To Forgive, Divine: The Governor's Pardoning Power. Bach. Wis. Law. Feb. 2005.
Lieutenant governor, when governor. Section
[As amended April 1979
Upon the governor's death, resignation or removal from office, the lieutenant governor shall become governor for the balance of the unexpired term.
If the governor is absent from this state, impeached, or from mental or physical disease, becomes incapable of performing the duties of the office, the lieutenant governor shall serve as acting governor for the balance of the unexpired term or until the governor returns, the disability ceases or the impeachment is vacated. But when the governor, with the consent of the legislature, shall be out of this state in time of war at the head of the state's military force, the governor shall continue as commander in chief of the military force. [1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979
The meaning of “absence" is discussed. 68 Atty. Gen. 109.
Secretary of state, when governor. Section
[As amended April 1979
If there is a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor and the governor dies, resigns or is removed from office, the secretary of state shall become governor for the balance of the unexpired term.
If there is a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor and the governor is absent from this state, impeached, or from mental or physical disease becomes incapable of performing the duties of the office, the secretary of state shall serve as acting governor for the balance of the unexpired term or until the governor returns, the disability ceases or the impeachment is vacated. [1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979
Compensation of lieutenant governor. Section
[Amended Nov. 1869; repealed Nov. 1932; see 1868 J.R. 9, 1869 J.R. 2, 1869 c. 186, vote Nov. 1869; 1929 J.R. 70, 1931 J.R. 53, vote Nov. 1932.
Governor to approve or veto bills; proceedings on veto. Section
[As amended Nov. 1908, Nov. 1930, April 1990, and April 2008
Every bill which shall have passed the legislature shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor.
If the governor approves and signs the bill, the bill shall become law. Appropriation bills may be approved in whole or in part by the governor, and the part approved shall become law.
In approving an appropriation bill in part, the governor may not create a new word by rejecting individual letters in the words of the enrolled bill, and may not create a new sentence by combining parts of 2 or more sentences of the enrolled bill.
If the governor rejects the bill, the governor shall return the bill, together with the objections in writing, to the house in which the bill originated. The house of origin shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and proceed to reconsider the bill. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present agree to pass the bill notwithstanding the objections of the governor, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present it shall become law.
The rejected part of an appropriation bill, together with the governor's objections in writing, shall be returned to the house in which the bill originated. The house of origin shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and proceed to reconsider the rejected part of the appropriation bill. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present agree to approve the rejected part notwithstanding the objections of the governor, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present the rejected part shall become law.
In all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by ayes and noes, and the names of the members voting for or against passage of the bill or the rejected part of the bill notwithstanding the objections of the governor shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively.
Any bill not returned by the governor within 6 days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to the governor shall be law unless the legislature, by final adjournment, prevents the bill's return, in which case it shall not be law. [1905 J.R. 14, 1907 J.R. 13, 1907 c. 661, vote Nov. 1908; 1927 J.R. 37, 1929 J.R. 43, vote Nov. 1930; 1987 J.R. 76, 1989 J.R. 39, vote April 1990; 2005 J.R. 46, 2007 J.R. 26, vote April 2008
In determining whether the governor has acted in 6 days, judicial notice may be taken of the chief clerk's records to establish the date the bill was presented to the governor. State ex rel. General Motors Corp. v. Oak Creek, 49 Wis. 2d 299
, 182 N.W.2d 481
The governor may veto individual words, letters and digits, and may also reduce appropriations by striking digits, as long as what remains after the veto is a complete, entire, and workable law. Wis. Senate v. Thompson, 144 Wis. 2d 429
, 424 N.W.2d 385
The governor may approve part of an appropriation bill by reducing the amount of money appropriated by striking a number and writing in a smaller one. This power extends only to monetary figures and is not applicable outside the context of reducing appropriations. Citizens Utility Board v. Klauser, 194 Wis. 2d 485
, 534 N.W.2d 608
The governor may not disapprove of parts of legislation by writing in new numbers except when the disapproved part is a monetary figure that expresses an appropriation amount in an appropriation bill. Figures that are not appropriation amounts but are closely related to appropriation amounts are not subject to such a “write-in" veto. Risser v. Klauser, 207 Wis. 2d 176
, 558 N.W.2d 108
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.
The governor may not alter partial vetoes once the approved portion of the act has been delivered to the secretary of state and the disapproved portion returned to the house of origin. 70 Atty. Gen. 154.
Failure of the governor to express objections to several possible partial vetoes of the 1981-82 budget bill made any such possible vetoes ineffective. 70 Atty. Gen. 189.
The governor's partial veto of section 1117g of 1991 Wis. Act 269 did not result in a complete and workable law and was invalid. Because the governor's approval was not necessary for the bill to become law, the invalidity of the partial veto resulted in s. 605.35 being enforced as passed by the legislature. 80 Atty. Gen. 327.
The partial veto power violates no federal constitutional provision. Risser v. Thompson, 930 F.2d 549
Wisconsin partial veto. 1989 WLR 1395.
The Origin and Evolution of Partial Veto Power. Wade. Wis. Law. Mar. 2008.
Election of secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general; term. Section
[As amended April 1979
] The qualified electors of this state, at the times and places of choosing the members of the legislature, shall in 1970 and every 4 years thereafter elect a secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general who shall hold their offices for 4 years. [1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979
Secretary of state; 4-year term. Section
1m. [Created April 1967; repealed April 1979; see 1965 J.R. 80, 1967 J.R. 10 and 15, vote April 1967; 1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979.
Treasurer; 4-year term.
Section 1n. [Created April 1967; repealed April 1979; see 1965 J.R. 80, 1967 J.R. 10 and 15, vote April 1967; 1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979.
Attorney general; 4-year term.
Section 1p. [Created April 1967; repealed April 1979; see 1965 J.R. 80, 1967 J.R. 10 and 15, vote April 1967; 1977 J.R. 32, 1979 J.R. 3, vote April 1979.
Secretary of state; duties, compensation. Section
[As amended Nov. 1946
] The secretary of state shall keep a fair record of the official acts of the legislature and executive department of the state, and shall, when required, lay the same and all matters relative thereto before either branch of the legislature. He shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned him by law. He shall receive as a compensation for his services yearly such sum as shall be provided by law, and shall keep his office at the seat of government. [1943 J.R. 60, 1945 J.R. 73, vote Nov. 1946
Treasurer and attorney general; duties, compensation. Section
The powers, duties and compensation of the treasurer and attorney general shall be prescribed by law.
A state can speak in litigation only through its agents and may select its agents without the interference of the federal courts. Typically, a state chooses to designate a singular attorney general to defend its interests, but nothing in the U.S. Constitution mandates this procedure or even the existence of an attorney general position. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Kaul, 942 F.3d 793
The powers of the attorney general in Wisconsin. Van Alstyne & Roberts. 1974 WLR 721.
County officers; election, terms, removal; vacancies. Section
[As amended Nov. 1882, April 1929, Nov. 1962, April 1965, April 1967, April 1972, April 1982, Nov. 1998, and April 2005
Except as provided in pars. (b) and (c) and sub. (2), coroners, registers of deeds, district attorneys, and all other elected county officers, except judicial officers, sheriffs, and chief executive officers, shall be chosen by the electors of the respective counties once in every 2 years.
Beginning with the first general election at which the governor is elected which occurs after the ratification of this paragraph, sheriffs shall be chosen by the electors of the respective counties, or by the electors of all of the respective counties comprising each combination of counties combined by the legislature for that purpose, for the term of 4 years and coroners in counties in which there is a coroner shall be chosen by the electors of the respective counties, or by the electors of all of the respective counties comprising each combination of counties combined by the legislature for that purpose, for the term of 4 years.
Beginning with the first general election at which the president is elected which occurs after the ratification of this paragraph, district attorneys, registers of deeds, county clerks, and treasurers shall be chosen by the electors of the respective counties, or by the electors of all of the respective counties comprising each combination of counties combined by the legislature for that purpose, for the term of 4 years and surveyors in counties in which the office of surveyor is filled by election shall be chosen by the electors of the respective counties, or by the electors of all of the respective counties comprising each combination of counties combined by the legislature for that purpose, for the term of 4 years.
The offices of coroner and surveyor in counties having a population of 500,000 or more are abolished. Counties not having a population of 500,000 shall have the option of retaining the elective office of coroner or instituting a medical examiner system. Two or more counties may institute a joint medical examiner system.
Sheriffs may not hold any other partisan office.
Sheriffs may be required by law to renew their security from time to time, and in default of giving such new security their office shall be deemed vacant.
The governor may remove any elected county officer mentioned in this section except a county clerk, treasurer, or surveyor, giving to the officer a copy of the charges and an opportunity of being heard.
All vacancies in the offices of coroner, register of deeds or district attorney shall be filled by appointment. The person appointed to fill a vacancy shall hold office only for the unexpired portion of the term to which appointed and until a successor shall be elected and qualified.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of sheriff, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment of the governor, and the person appointed shall serve until his or her successor is elected and qualified. [1881 J.R. 16A, 1882 J.R. 3, 1882 c. 290, vote Nov. 1882; 1927 J.R. 24, 1929 J.R. 13, vote April 1929; 1959 J.R. 68, 1961 J.R. 64, vote Nov. 1962; 1963 J.R. 30, 1965 J.R. 5, vote April 1965; 1965 J.R. 61, 1967 J.R. 12, vote April 1967; 1969 J.R. 33, 1971 J.R. 21, vote April 1972; 1979 J.R. 38, 1981 J.R. 15, vote April 1982; 1995 J.R. 23, 1997 J.R. 18, vote Nov. 1998; 2003 J.R. 12, 2005 J.R. 2, vote April 2005
This section does not bar a county from assisting in the defense of actions brought against the sheriff as a result of the sheriff's official acts. Bablitch and Bablitch v. Lincoln County, 82 Wis. 2d 574
, 263 N.W.2d 218
A sheriff's assignment of a deputy to an undercover drug investigation falls within the constitutionally protected powers of the sheriff and could not be limited by a collective bargaining agreement. Manitowoc Co. v. Local 986B, 168 Wis. 2d 819
, 484 N.W.2d 534
(1992). See also Washington County v. Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n, 192 Wis. 2d 728
, 531 N.W.2d 468
(Ct. App. 1995).
The sheriff's power to appoint, dismiss, or demote a deputy is not constitutionally protected and may be limited by a collective bargaining agreement not in conflict with the statutes. Heitkemper v. Wirsing, 194 Wis. 2d 182
, 533 N.W.2d 770
(1995). See also Brown County Sheriff Dept. v. Employees Ass'n, 194 Wis. 2d 266
, 533 N.W.2d 766
The power to hire does not give character and distinction to the office of sheriff; it is not a power peculiar to the office. Certain duties of the sheriff at common law that are peculiar to the office and that characterize and distinguish the office are constitutionally protected from legislative interference, but the constitution does not prohibit all legislative change in the powers and duties of a sheriff as they existed at common law. Internal management and administrative duties that neither give character nor distinction to the office fall within the mundane and common administrative duties that may be regulated by the legislature. Hiring and firing personnel to provide food to inmates is subject to legislative regulation, including collective bargaining under s. 111.70. Kocken v. Wisconsin Council 40 AFSCME, 2007 WI 72
, 301 Wis. 2d 266
, 732 N.W.2d 828
The assignment of deputies to transport federal and state prisoners to and from a county jail pursuant to a contract for the rental of bed space was not a constitutionally protected duty of the sheriff's office and was thus subject to the restrictions of a collective bargaining agreement. Ozaukee County v. Labor Ass'n of Wisconsin, 2008 WI App 174
, 315 Wis. 2d 102
, 763 N.W.2d 140
A sheriff may not be restricted in whom he or she assigns to carry out his or her constitutional duties if he or she is performing immemorial, principal, and important duties characterized as belonging to the sheriff at common law. Attending on the courts is one of the duties preserved for the sheriff by the constitution. When a sheriff effects the delivery of prisoners pursuant to court-issued writs, the sheriff is attending on the court. The sheriff could contract with a private entity for the transportation of prisoners, rather than utilizing deputies employed by the sheriffs department. Brown County Sheriffs Dept. Non-Supervisory Labor Ass'n v. Brown County, 2009 WI App 75
, 318 Wis. 2d 774
, 767 N.W.2d 600
Staffing an x-ray and metal detector security screening station is not one of those “certain immemorial, principal, and important duties of the sheriff at common law that are peculiar to the office of sheriff" and is not part of the sheriff's constitutionally protected powers that cannot be limited by a collective bargaining agreement. Washington County v. Washington County Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n, 2009 WI App 116
, 320 Wis. 2d 570
, 772 N.W.2d 697
The transport of individuals in conjunction with the service or execution of all processes, writs, precepts, and orders constitute immemorial, principal and important duties that characterize and distinguish the office of sheriff and fall within the sheriff's constitutional powers, rights, and duties. As such, the sheriff has the constitutional authority to determine how to carry out those duties and can elect to privatize those duties. That s. 59.26 (4) specifically directs that the sheriff must act personally or by means of his undersheriff or deputies is not persuasive. The simple fact that the legislature codified a duty and responsibility of the sheriff, like providing food for jail inmates, does not strip sheriffs of any constitutional protections they may have regarding this duty. Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n v. Clarke, 2009 WI App 123
, 320 Wis. 2d 486
, 772 N.W.2d 216
The following powers of the sheriff are constitutionally protected: 1) the operation of the jail; 2) attendance on the courts; 3) maintaining law and order; and 4) preserving the peace. Even if a duty is related to one of these powers, however, that duty may still be regulated if it is a non-distinctive, mundane and commonplace, internal management, and administrative duty of a sheriff. The constitutional prerogative of the office of sheriff to maintain law and order and preserve the peace does not encompass the power to appoint or dismiss deputies. Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Ass'n v. Milwaukee County, 2016 WI App 56
, 370 Wis. 2d 644
, 883 N.W.2d 154
Implementation legislation is necessary before counties under 500,000 may abolish the office of coroner. 61 Atty. Gen. 355.
A county board in a county under 500,000 can abolish the elective office of coroner and implement a medical examiner system to be effective at the end of incumbent coroner's term. Language in 61 Atty. Gen. 355 inconsistent herewith is withdrawn. 63 Atty. Gen. 361.
This section does not immunize counties from liability for their own acts. Soderbeck v. Burnett County, Wis., 752 F.2d 285
A county sheriff is an officer of the state, not county, when fulfilling constitutional obligations. Soderbeck v. Burnett County, Wis., 821 F.2d 446
A sheriff represents the county when enforcing the law. Sovereign immunity for state officials under the 11th amendment
to the U.S. constitution does not apply. Abraham v. Piechowski, 13 F. Supp. 2d 870
An entity characterized as the “office of the district attorney" or “district attorney," separate from the elected official, does not have authority to sue or be sued. Buchanan v. City of Kenosha, 57 F. Supp. 2d 675