- Wyoming Legislature
The Wyoming State Legislature is the
legislative branchof the U.S. Stateof Wyoming. It is a bicameralstate legislature, consisting of a 60 member Wyoming House of Representatives, and a 30 member Wyoming Senate. The legislature meets at the Wyoming State Capitolin Cheyenne.
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.
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 portion of the U.S. where women were explicitly granted the voting franchise. News spread quickly to other neighboring territories and states. In 1870, the Utah Territorial Legislature similarly 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, to publicize the new territory, to bring more voters into the fold for existing political elites, and by genuine concerns that women should be allowed the vote.
Due to the territory's change of voting laws in 1869, the anti-suffrage
U.S. Congresswas hostile to Wyoming and its legislature. During proceedings to make Wyoming a U.S. statein 1889 and 1890 in writing a new constitution that would continue female suffrage, Congress threatened to withhold statehoodunless the law was changed. The Wyoming Legislature and territorial government sent a threatening telegram back to Washington, insisting that Wyoming would remain out of the United States100 years rather than become a state without women's suffrage. The federal 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
governorof a U.S. state.
Wyoming remains the smallest state by population in the United States. However, the Wyoming Legislature is not the smallest. The
Nebraska Legislature, with only 49 members, is the smallest legislative body out of the 50 states.
Wyoming State Capitol
Wyoming House of Representatives
* [http://legisweb.state.wy.us/ Official website]
* [http://www.votesmart.org/official_state_legislator.php?type=office&state_id=WY&criteria=upper Project Vote Smart - State Senate of Wyoming]
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