Wyoming Legislature

Last updated

Wyoming State Legislature
Seal of the Wyoming State Legislature.png
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
Drew Perkins (R)
since January 7, 2019
Steve Harshman (R)
since January 10, 2017
Seats90 voting members:
30 Senators
60 Representatives
Senate diagram 2014 State of Wyoming.svg
Senate political groups
   Republican (27)
   Democratic (3)
Wyoming State House 2019-2021.svg
House political groups
   Republican (50)

   Democratic (9)

  Independent (1)
AuthorityArticle III, Wyoming Constitution
Salary$150/day + per diem
Senate last election
November 6, 2018
House last election
November 6, 2018
Meeting place
Wyoming Capitol Exterior.jpg
Wyoming State Capitol, Cheyenne

The Wyoming State Legislature is the legislative branch of the U.S. State of Wyoming. It is a bicameral state legislature, consisting of a 60-member Wyoming House of Representatives, and a 30-member Wyoming Senate. The legislature meets at the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne. There are no term limits for either chamber.


The Republican Party holds a supermajority in the current legislature, which began meeting in 2019; 50 of the 60 seats in the House and 27 of the 30 seats in the Senate are held by Republicans.


The Wyoming State Legislature began like other Western states as a territorial legislature, with nearly (though with not all) the parliamentary regulations that guide other fully-fledged state legislatures.

Women's Suffrage

During its territorial era, the Wyoming Legislature played a crucial role in the Suffragette Movement in the United States. In 1869, only four years following the American Civil War, and another 35 years before women's suffrage became a highly visible political issue in both the U.S., Britain, and elsewhere, the Wyoming Legislature granted all women above the age of 21 the right to vote. The legislature's move made Wyoming the first territory of the United States where women were explicitly granted the voting franchise. News spread quickly to other neighboring territories and states. In 1870, the Utah Territorial Legislature followed suit and granted the voting franchise to women.

The move by the legislature was motivated by a number of factors, including bringing Eastern women to the territory to increase its population (it has consistently been among the least-populated states in America), to publicize the new territory, to bring more voters into the fold (both for existing political elites and again due to its small population), and by genuine concerns that women should be allowed the vote.

Due to the territory's change of voting laws in 1869, the U.S. Congress was hostile to Wyoming and its legislature. During proceedings to make Wyoming a U.S. state in 1889 and 1890 in writing a new constitution that would continue female suffrage, Congress threatened to withhold statehood unless women's suffrage were abolished.

After the Wyoming Legislature and territorial government sent a telegram back to Washington with the ultimatum that Wyoming would remain a territory rather than become a state without women's suffrage, Congress withdrew its threat, and on July 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed into law Wyoming becoming the 44th U.S. state.

Wyoming's early entry into female politics continued into the 20th century. In 1925, Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first elected female governor of a U.S. state.

See also

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Women's suffrage in Hawaii began in the 1890s. However, when the Kingdom of Hawaii ruled, women had roles in the government and could vote in the House of Nobles. After the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893, women's roles were more restricted. Suffragists, Wilhelmine Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett and Emma Kaili Metcalf Beckley Nakuina, immediately began working towards women's suffrage. The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Hawaii also advocated for women's suffrage in 1894. As Hawaii was being admitted as a territory in 1899, racist ideas about the ability of Native Hawaiians to rule themselves caused problems with allowing women to vote. Members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) petitioned the United States Congress to allow women's suffrage in Hawaii with no effect. Women's suffrage work picked up in 1912 when Carrie Chapman Catt visited Hawaii. Dowsett created the National Women's Equal Suffrage Association of Hawai'i that year and Catt promised to act as the delegate for NAWSA. In 1915 and 1916, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole brought resolutions to the U.S. Congress requesting women's suffrage for Hawaii. While there were high hopes for the effort, it was not successful. In 1919, suffragists around Hawaii met for mass demonstrations to lobby the territorial legislature to pass women's suffrage bills. These were some of the largest women's suffrage demonstrations in Hawaii, but the bills did not pass both houses. Women in Hawaii were eventually franchised through the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.