School districts are not constitutionally compelled to admit gifted four-year old children into kindergarten. Zweifel v. Joint Dist., No. 1, Belleville, 76 Wis. 2d 648
, 251 N.W.2d 822
The mere appropriation of public monies to a private school does not transform that school into a district school under this section. Jackson v. Benson, 218 Wis. 2d 835
, 578 N.W.2d 602
The school finance system under ch. 121 is constitutional under both art. I, sec. 1 and art. X, sec. 3. Students have a fundamental right to an equal opportunity for a sound basic education. Uniform revenue-raising capacity among districts is not required. Vincent v. Voight, 2000 WI 93
, 236 Wis. 2d 588
, 614 N.W.2d 388
The due process clause of the 14th amendment includes the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, including the right to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control, but that right is neither absolute nor unqualified. Parents do not have a fundamental right direct how a public school teaches their child or to dictate the curriculum at the public school to which they have chosen to send their child. Larson v. Burmaster, 2006 WI App 142
, 295 Wis. 2d 333
, 720 N.W.2d 134
The state and its agencies, except the department of public instruction, constitutionally can deny service or require the payment of fees for services to children between age 4 and 20 who seek admission to an institution or program because school services are lacking in their community or district. 58 Atty. Gen. 53.
VTAE schools [now technical colleges] are not “district schools" within the meaning of this section. 64 Atty. Gen. 24.
Public school districts may not charge students for the cost of driver education programs if the programs are credited towards graduation. 71 Atty. Gen. 209.
Having established the right to an education, the state may not withdraw the right on grounds of misconduct absent fundamentally fair procedures to determine if misconduct occurred. Attendance by the student at expulsion deliberations is not mandatory; all that is required is the student have the opportunity to attend and present his or her case. Remer v. Burlington Area School District, 149 F. Supp. 2d 665
Intrastate inequalities in public education; the case for judicial relief under the equal protection clause. Silard & White. 1970 WLR 7.
The constitutional mandate for free schools. 1971 WLR 971.
Annual school tax.
Each town and city shall be required to raise by tax, annually, for the support of common schools therein, a sum not less than one-half the amount received by such town or city respectively for school purposes from the income of the school fund.
Income of school fund.
Provision shall be made by law for the distribution of the income of the school fund among the several towns and cities of the state for the support of common schools therein, in some just proportion to the number of children and youth resident therein between the ages of four and twenty years, and no appropriation shall be made from the school fund to any city or town for the year in which said city or town shall fail to raise such tax; nor to any school district for the year in which a school shall not be maintained at least three months.
State university; support. Section
Provision shall be made by law for the establishment of a state university at or near the seat of state government, and for connecting with the same, from time to time, such colleges in different parts of the state as the interests of education may require. The proceeds of all lands that have been or may hereafter be granted by the United States to the state for the support of a university shall be and remain a perpetual fund to be called “the university fund," the interest of which shall be appropriated to the support of the state university, and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed in such university.
Vocational education is not exclusively a state function. West Milwaukee v. Area Board of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, 51 Wis. 2d 356
, 187 N.W.2d 387
Commissioners of public lands. Section
The secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general, shall constitute a board of commissioners for the sale of the school and university lands and for the investment of the funds arising therefrom. Any two of said commissioners shall be a quorum for the transaction of all business pertaining to the duties of their office.
Sale of public lands.
Provision shall be made by law for the sale of all school and university lands after they shall have been appraised; and when any portion of such lands shall be sold and the purchase money shall not be paid at the time of the sale, the commissioners shall take security by mortgage upon the lands sold for the sum remaining unpaid, with seven per cent interest thereon, payable annually at the office of the treasurer. The commissioners shall be authorized to execute a good and sufficient conveyance to all purchasers of such lands, and to discharge any mortgages taken as security, when the sum due thereon shall have been paid. The commissioners shall have power to withhold from sale any portion of such lands when they shall deem it expedient, and shall invest all moneys arising from the sale of such lands, as well as all other university and school funds, in such manner as the legislature shall provide, and shall give such security for the faithful performance of their duties as may be required by law.
The legislature may direct public land commissioners to invest monies from the sale of public lands in student loans but may not direct a specific investment. 65 Atty. Gen. 28.
State reservation of land and interests in lands under ch. 452, laws of 1911, 24.11 (3) and Art. X, sec. 8 is discussed. 65 Atty. Gen. 207.
Corporations; how formed. Section
[As amended April 1981
] Corporations without banking powers or privileges may be formed under general laws, but shall not be created by special act, except for municipal purposes. All general laws or special acts enacted under the provisions of this section may be altered or repealed by the legislature at any time after their passage. [1979 J.R. 21, 1981 J.R. 9, vote April 1981
Section 499.02 (4), 1973 stats., providing that the Solid Waste Recycling Authority's existence may not be terminated while it has outstanding obligations, does not violate the Wisconsin Constitution's reserved power provisions because: 1) The Authority is not a corporation created pursuant to section 1, and section 1 is directed only to laws enacted under the provisions of that section; and 2) any attempt to terminate the authority while it has outstanding obligations would contravene the impairment of contract clauses of both the U.S. and state constitutions. Wisconsin Solid Waste Recycling Auth. v. Earl, 70 Wis. 2d 464
, 235 N.W.2d 648
Creation of the citizens utility board is constitutional. 69 Atty. Gen. 153.
Property taken by municipality. Section
[As amended April 1961
] No municipal corporation shall take private property for public use, against the consent of the owner, without the necessity thereof being first established in the manner prescribed by the legislature. [1959 J.R. 47, 1961 J.R. 12, vote April 1961
Municipal home rule; debt limit; tax to pay debt. Section
[As amended Nov. 1874, Nov. 1912, Nov. 1924, Nov. 1932, April 1951, April 1955, Nov. 1960, April 1961, April 1963, April 1966, and April 1981
Cities and villages organized pursuant to state law may determine their local affairs and government, subject only to this constitution and to such enactments of the legislature of statewide concern as with uniformity shall affect every city or every village. The method of such determination shall be prescribed by the legislature.
No county, city, town, village, school district, sewerage district or other municipal corporation may become indebted in an amount that exceeds an allowable percentage of the taxable property located therein equalized for state purposes as provided by the legislature. In all cases the allowable percentage shall be 5 percent except as specified in pars. (a) and (b):
For any city authorized to issue bonds for school purposes, an additional 10 percent shall be permitted for school purposes only, and in such cases the territory attached to the city for school purposes shall be included in the total taxable property supporting the bonds issued for school purposes.
For any school district which offers no less than grades one to 12 and which at the time of incurring such debt is eligible for the highest level of school aids, 10 percent shall be permitted.
Any county, city, town, village, school district, sewerage district or other municipal corporation incurring any indebtedness under sub. (2) shall, before or at the time of doing so, provide for the collection of a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on such debt as it falls due, and also to pay and discharge the principal thereof within 20 years from the time of contracting the same.
When indebtedness under sub. (2) is incurred in the acquisition of lands by cities, or by counties or sewerage districts having a population of 150,000 or over, for public, municipal purposes, or for the permanent improvement thereof, or to purchase, acquire, construct, extend, add to or improve a sewage collection or treatment system which services all or a part of such city or county, the city, county or sewerage district incurring the indebtedness shall, before or at the time of so doing, provide for the collection of a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on such debt as it falls due, and also to pay and discharge the principal thereof within a period not exceeding 50 years from the time of contracting the same.
An indebtedness created for the purpose of purchasing, acquiring, leasing, constructing, extending, adding to, improving, conducting, controlling, operating or managing a public utility of a town, village, city or special district, and secured solely by the property or income of such public utility, and whereby no municipal liability is created, shall not be considered an indebtedness of such town, village, city or special district, and shall not be included in arriving at the debt limitation under sub. (2). [1872 J.R. 11, 1873 J.R. 4, 1874 c. 37, vote Nov. 1874; 1909 J.R. 44, 1911 J.R. 42, 1911 c. 665, vote Nov. 1912; 1921 J.R. 39S, 1923 J.R. 34, 1923 c. 203, vote Nov. 1924; 1929 J.R. 74, 1931 J.R. 71, vote Nov. 1932; 1949 J.R. 12, 1951 J.R. 6, vote April 1951; 1953 J.R. 47, 1955 J.R. 12, vote April 1955; 1957 J.R. 59, 1959 J.R. 32, vote Nov. 1960; 1959 J.R. 35, 1961 J.R. 8, vote April 1961; 1961 J.R. 71, 1963 J.R. 8, vote April 1963; 1963 J.R. 44, 1965 J.R. 51 and 58, vote April 1966; 1979 J.R. 43, 1981 J.R. 7, vote April 1981
Authorizing municipalities to issue revenue bonds to finance industrial development projects, is not an improper delegation of authority in a matter of statewide concern. When the purchase price of property to be acquired is payable exclusively from income or profits to be derived from the property purchased and a mortgage or lien attaches only to that property, no debt is created in violation of this section of the constitution. State ex rel. Hammermill Paper Co. v. La Plante, 58 Wis. 2d 32
, 205 N.W.2d 784
This section does not invalidate provisions of the Solid Waste Recycling Authority Act dealing with required use of the authority's facilities, user charges, and condemnation powers, since the purpose of the act involves a matter of statewide concern. Wisconsin Solid Waste Recycling Auth. v. Earl, 70 Wis. 2d 464
, 235 N.W.2d 648
The provision of s. 144.07 (1m) [now s. 281.34 (1m)], that voids a DNR sewerage connection order if electors in an affected town area reject annexation to the city ordered to extend sewerage service, represents 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
No conflict was found between an ordinance and a statute dealing with related subject matter when the former was paramountly in the local interest and the latter was of statewide concern. State ex rel. Michalek v. LeGrand, 77 Wis. 2d 520
, 253 N.W.2d 505
Refusal by a city to provide sewerage service to a portion of a town unless inhabitants agreed to annexation of that portion did not violate antitrust law. Town of Hallie v. City of Chippewa Falls, 105 Wis. 2d 533
, 314 N.W.2d 321
A city ordinance that regulated lending practices of state chartered savings and loans with regard to discrimination was preempted by state statutes. Anchor Savings & Loan Ass'n v. Madison EOC, 120 Wis. 2d 391
, 355 N.W.2d 234
Liberally construing home rule authority, a city is not authorized to institute a public safety officer program. Local Union No. 487 v. Eau Claire, 147 Wis. 2d 519
, 433 N.W.2d 578
Antitrust law demonstrates the legislature's intent to subordinate a city's home-rule authority to its provisions. Unless legislation at least impliedly authorizes a city's anticompetitive action, the city has violated antitrust law. Amer Med. Transp. v. Curtis-University, 154 Wis. 2d 135
, 452 N.W.2d 575
A school district did not incur indebtedness by entering into a lease-purchase agreement for a new school when the district, by electing not to appropriate funds for the following fiscal year's rental payment, had the option to terminate the agreement with no future payment obligation. Deick v. Unified School District of Antigo, 165 Wis. 2d 458
, 477 N.W.2d 613
Tax increment financing bonds that a city proposed to issue under s. 66.46 [now s. 66.1105] constituted debt under this section and were subject to the city's debt limits. City of Hartford v. Kirley, 172 Wis. 2d 191
, 493 N.W.2d 45
The fact that the regulation of sex offenders is a matter of statewide concern does not preclude municipalities from using their home-rule powers to impose further restrictions consistent with those imposed by the state. An ordinance regulating an area of statewide concern is preempted only if: 1) the legislature has expressly withdrawn the power of municipalities to act; 2) the ordinance logically conflicts with state legislation; 3) the ordinance defeats the purpose of state legislation; or 4) the ordinance violates the spirit of state legislation. City of South Milwaukee v. Kester, 2013 WI App 50
, 347 Wis. 2d 334
, 830 N.W.2d 710
While the home rule amendment authorizes municipal regulation over matters of local concern and protects that regulation against conflicting state law, state law will still preempt that municipal regulation if it with uniformity affects every city or every village. Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Walker, 2014 WI 99
, 358 Wis. 2d 1
, 851 N.W.2d 337
Whether a particular statute relates to a matter of statewide concern is for the courts to determine on a case-by-case basis. Generally, state legislation falls into three categories: 1) those involving matters exclusively of statewide concern; 2) those involving matters entirely of local character; and 3) those that encompass both state and local concerns. When legislation falls under the third category, the court must determine whether state or local concerns are paramount and conduct its analysis accordingly. Milwaukee Police Ass'n v. City of Milwaukee, 2015 WI App 60
, 364 Wis. 2d 626
, 869 N.W.2d 522
The uniformity requirement in sub. (1) does not simply mean that a legislative enactment applying to all municipalities passes the test. The language used in the state constitution is “affects," not “applies," indicating that a more substantive analysis is required. Enactments of the legislature that do not affect all cities uniformly are to be subordinate to legislation of cities within their constitutional field. Legislative pronouncements of statewide concern are not controlling, and it is the judiciary that has been charged with the ultimate determination of what is a matter of statewide concern. Milwaukee Police Ass'n v. City of Milwaukee, 2015 WI App 60
, 364 Wis. 2d 626
, 869 N.W.2d 522
The scope of legislative activity covered by “ordinances” and “resolutions,” extends to formal and informal enactments that address matters both general and specific, in a manner meant to be either temporary or permanent, and which can be characterized as administrative or otherwise. The court will treat a municipality's legislative device as an ordinance or resolution, regardless of how it may be denominated, so long as it functions within the scope of this definition. There is no legislative action a municipality could take that would not come within the ambit of “ordinance" or “resolution." Consequently, if a statute removes the authority of a municipality's governing body to adopt an ordinance or resolution on a particular subject, the governing body loses all legislative authority on that subject. Wisconsin Carry, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2017 WI 19
, 373 Wis. 2d 543
, 892 N.W.2d 233
A 1947 law authorized 1st class cities to assume responsibility for the Employee Retirement System (ERS) under home rule, providing that the city did not amend or alter the ERS to modify the annuities, benefits, or other rights of ERS members. Milwaukee's amendment to its charter ordinance that changed the board size and member voting rights of the ERS was an improper exercise of home rule because it modified “other rights” of members, contrary to state law. Milwaukee Police Ass'n v. City of Milwaukee, 2018 WI 86
, 383 Wis. 2d 247
, 914 N.W.2d 597
An agreement to purchase park land whereby a county is to make deferred payments from an existing nonlapsing account, sufficient to cover the entire obligation, secured by mortgaging the property to the grantor, would not create an obligation within the ambit of ch. 67 nor constitute a debt in the context of this section. 63 Atty. Gen. 309.
Local government units cannot include the value of tax-exempt manufacturing machinery and specific processing equipment and tax exempt merchants' stock-in-trade, manufacturers' materials and finished products, and livestock in their property valuation totals for non-tax purposes, such as for municipal debt ceilings, tax levy limitations, shared tax distributions, and school aid payments. 63 Atty. Gen. 465.
There is no constitutional prohibition against increasing either municipal tax rate limitations or increasing the municipal tax base. However, a constitutional amendment would be required to increase municipal debt limitations. 63 Atty. Gen. 567.
“Home rule" discussed. 69 Atty. Gen. 232.
Home rule applicability to libraries and library systems contrasted. 73 Atty. Gen. 86.
The housing of out-of-state prisoners by the state, a county, or a municipality may only be as authorized by statute, which is currently limited to the Interstate Corrections Compact, s. 302.25. OAG 2-99.
Conflicts between state statute and local ordinance in Wisconsin. 1975 WLR 840.
Acquisition of lands by state and subdivisions; sale of excess. Section
[As created Nov. 1912 and amended April 1956
] The state or any of its counties, cities, towns or villages may acquire by gift, dedication, purchase, or condemnation lands for establishing, laying out, widening, enlarging, extending, and maintaining memorial grounds, streets, highways, squares, parkways, boulevards, parks, playgrounds, sites for public buildings, and reservations in and about and along and leading to any or all of the same; and after the establishment, layout, and completion of such improvements, may convey any such real estate thus acquired and not necessary for such improvements, with reservations concerning the future use and occupation of such real estate, so as to protect such public works and improvements, and their environs, and to preserve the view, appearance, light, air, and usefulness of such public works. If the governing body of a county, city, town or village elects to accept a gift or dedication of land made on condition that the land be devoted to a special purpose and the condition subsequently becomes impossible or impracticable, such governing body may by resolution or ordinance enacted by a two-thirds vote of its members elect either to grant the land back to the donor or dedicator or his heirs or accept from the donor or dedicator or his heirs a grant relieving the county, city, town or village of the condition; however, if the donor or dedicator or his heirs are unknown or cannot be found, such resolution or ordinance may provide for the commencement of proceedings in the manner and in the courts as the legislature shall designate for the purpose of relieving the county, city, town or village from the condition of the gift or dedication. [1909 J.R. 38, 1911 J.R. 48, 1911 c. 665, vote Nov. 1912; 1953 J.R. 35, 1955 J.R. 36, vote April 1956
A purchase of land by a city for industrial development that is leased with an option to buy or to renew the lease with a minimal rent did not violate this section. State ex rel. Hammermill Paper Co. v. La Plante, 58 Wis. 2d 32
, 205 N.W.2d 784
General banking law.
[As created Nov. 1902 and amended April 1981
] The legislature may enact a general banking law for the creation of banks, and for the regulation and supervision of the banking business. [1899 J.R. 13, 1901 J.R. 2, 1901 c. 73, vote Nov. 1902; 1979 J.R. 21, 1981 J.R. 9, vote April 1981
Referendum on banking laws. Section
[Repealed Nov. 1902; see 1899 J.R. 13, 1901 J.R. 2, 1901 c. 73, vote Nov. 1902.
Constitutional amendments. Section
Any amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals, with the yeas and nays taken thereon, and referred to the legislature to be chosen at the next general election, and shall be published for three months previous to the time of holding such election; and if, in the legislature so next chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the legislature to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people in such manner and at such time as the legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become part of the constitution; provided, that if more than one amendment be submitted, they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against such amendments separately.
It is within the discretion of the legislature to submit several distinct propositions to the electorate as one constitutional amendment if they relate to the same subject matter and are designed to accomplish one general purpose. Milwaukee Alliance v. Elections Board, 106 Wis. 2d 593
, 317 N.W.2d 420
Unless a constitutional amendment provides otherwise, it takes effect upon the certification of a statewide canvass of the votes as provided in s. 7.70 (3) (h). The legislature has the authority under this section to adopt reasonable election laws to provide that state constitutional amendments are effective after canvass and certification. State v. Gonzales, 2002 WI 59
, 253 Wis. 2d 134
, 645 N.W.2d 264
In order to constitute more than one amendment in violation of this section, the propositions submitted must relate to more than one subject, and have at least two distinct and separate purposes not dependent upon or connected with each other. The constitution grants the legislature considerable discretion in the manner in which amendments are drafted and submitted to the people. An otherwise valid amendment will be construed as more than one amendment only in exceedingly rare circumstances. The propositions need only relate to the same subject and tend to effect or carry out one general purpose. The general purpose of an amendment may be deduced from the text of the amendment itself and from the historical context in which the amendment was adopted. McConkey v. Van Hollen, 2010 WI 57
, 326 Wis. 2d 1
; 783 N.W.2d 855
The two propositions contained in the amendment creating Article XIII, section 13, plainly relate to the subject of marriage. The general purpose of the marriage amendment is to preserve the legal status of marriage as between only one man and one woman. Both propositions in the marriage amendment relate to and are connected with this purpose. Therefore, the marriage amendment does not violate the separate amendment rule of this section. McConkey v. Van Hollen, 2010 WI 57
, 326 Wis. 2d 1
; 783 N.W.2d 855
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 are discussed. 63 Atty. Gen. 346.
The legislature must resubmit a proposed amendment to the people when the previous referendum was voided by court order, notwithstanding an appeal therefrom. 65 Atty. Gen. 42.
Symposium: Is the Wisconsin Constitution Obsolete? 90 MLR (Spring 2007 whole volume).
Constitutional conventions. Section
If at any time a majority of the senate and assembly shall deem it necessary to call a convention to revise or change this constitution, they shall recommend to the electors to vote for or against a convention at the next election for members of the legislature. And if it shall appear that a majority of the electors voting thereon have voted for a convention, the legislature shall, at its next session, provide for calling such convention.
Political year; elections. Section
[As amended Nov. 1882 and April 1986
] The political year for this state shall commence on the first Monday of January in each year, and the general election shall be held on the Tuesday next succeeding the first Monday of November in even-numbered years. [1881 J.R. 16A, 1882 J.R. 3, 1882 c. 290, vote Nov. 1882; 1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986
[Repealed April 1975; see 1973 J.R. 10, 1975 J.R. 4, vote April 1975.
Eligibility to office.
3. [As amended Nov. 1996
No member of congress and no person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States except postmaster, or under any foreign power, shall be eligible to any office of trust, profit or honor in this state.
No person convicted of a felony, in any court within the United States, no person convicted in federal court of a crime designated, at the time of commission, under federal law as a misdemeanor involving a violation of public trust and no person convicted, in a court of a state, of a crime designated, at the time of commission, under the law of the state as a misdemeanor involving a violation of public trust shall be eligible to any office of trust, profit or honor in this state unless pardoned of the conviction.
No person may seek to have placed on any ballot for a state or local elective office in this state the name of a person convicted of a felony, in any court within the United States, the name of a person convicted in federal court of a crime designated, at the time of commission, under federal law as a misdemeanor involving a violation of public trust or the name of a person convicted, in a court of a state, of a crime designated, at the time of commission, under the law of the state as a misdemeanor involving a violation of public trust, unless the person named for the ballot has been pardoned of the conviction. [1993 J.R. 19, 1995 J.R. 28
The 1996 amendment of this section was not an ex post facto law and was not in violation of the federal equal protection or due process clauses. Swan v. LaFollette, 231 Wis. 2d 633
, 605 N.W.2d 640
(Ct. App. 1999), 99-0127
A convicted felon who has been restored to his civil rights, pursuant to 57.078, 1987 stats. [now s. 304.078] is barred from the office of notary public by this section unless pardoned. 63 Atty. Gen. 74.
This section does not bar a “congressional home secretary" from serving as a member of the Natural Resources Board. 64 Atty. Gen. 1.
A felony conviction and sentencing of a state senator creates a vacancy in the office without any action by the senate. 65 Atty. Gen. 264.
Nonpardoned felons may not serve as sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, patrolmen, policemen, or constables as these officers are “public officers" and they hold an “office of trust, profit or honor in this state" under this section. 65 Atty. Gen. 292.
Great seal. Section
It shall be the duty of the legislature to provide a great seal for the state, which shall be kept by the secretary of state, and all official acts of the governor, his approbation of the laws excepted, shall be thereby authenticated.
Residents on Indian lands, where to vote. Section
[Repealed April 1986; see 1983 J.R. 30, 1985 J.R. 14, vote April 1986.
The elective officers of the legislature, other than the presiding officers, shall be a chief clerk and a sergeant at arms, to be elected by each house.
Division of counties.
No county with an area of nine hundred square miles or less shall be divided or have any part stricken therefrom, without submitting the question to a vote of the people of the county, nor unless a majority of all the legal voters of the county voting on the question shall vote for the same.
Removal of county seats. Section
No county seat shall be removed until the point to which it is proposed to be removed shall be fixed by law, and a majority of the voters of the county voting on the question shall have voted in favor of its removal to such point.