(Including Amendments Ratified at the November 6, 2012 General Election)
The Commonwealth of Kentucky was admitted into the Union as the fifteenth state in 1792. In its over two hundred years of statehood, Kentucky has had four constitutions:

  • The first adopted in 1792,
  • The second adopted in 1799,
  • The third adopted in 1850, and
  • The fourth adopted in 1891, and currently in force.

This web page provides access to the current Kentucky Constitution. The topical outline given below breaks the Constitution down into ranges of sections by subject area. From this range, the user can then jump to a particular section of the Constitution.
In addition to the table-of-contents approach provided below, the Kentucky Constitution may be searched through the Legislature Searching Service web page.

BILL OF RIGHTS - Section 1 to 26

  • Bill of Rights
  • Section 1 ... Rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms.
  • Section 2 ... Absolute and arbitrary power denied.
  • Section 3 ... Men are equal -- No exclusive grant except for public services -- Property not to be exempted from taxation -- Grants revocable.
  • Section 4 ... Power inherent in the people -- Right to alter, reform, or abolish government.
  • Section 5 ... Right of religious freedom.
  • Section 6 ... Elections to be free and equal.
  • Section 7 ... Right of trial by jury.
  • Section 8 ... Freedom of speech and of the press.
  • Section 9 ... Truth may be given in evidence in prosecution for publishing matters proper for public information -- Jury to try law and facts in libel prosecutions.
  • Section 10 ... Security from search and seizure -- Conditions of issuance of warrant.
  • Section 11 ... Rights of accused in criminal prosecution -- Change of venue.
  • Section 12 ... Indictable offense not to be prosecuted by information -- Exceptions.
  • Section 13 ... Double jeopardy -- Property not to be taken for public use without compensation.
  • Section 14 ... Right of judicial remedy for injury -- Speedy trial.
  • Section 15 ... Laws to be suspended only by General Assembly.
  • Section 16 ... Right to bail -- Habeas corpus.
  • Section 17 ... Excessive bail or fine, or cruel punishment, prohibited.
  • Section 18 ... Imprisonment for debt restricted.
  • Section 19 ... Ex post facto law or law impairing contract forbidden -- Rules of construction for mineral deeds relating to coal extraction.
  • Section 20 ... Attainder, operation of restricted.
  • Section 21 ... Descent in case of suicide or casualty.
  • Section 22 ... Standing armies restricted -- Military subordinate to civil -- Quartering soldiers restricted.
  • Section 23 ... No office of nobility or hereditary distinction, or for longer than a term of years.
  • Section 24 ... Emigration to be free.
  • Section 25 ... Slavery and involuntary servitude forbidden.
  • Section 26 ... General powers subordinate to Bill of Rights -- Laws contrary thereto are void.
  • THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT - Section 29 to 62

  • Section 29 ... Legislative power vested in General Assembly.
  • Section 30 ... Term of office of Senators and Representatives.
  • Section 31 ... Time of election and term of office of Senators and Representatives.
  • Section 32 ... Qualifications of Senators and Representatives.
  • Section 33 ... Senatorial and Representative districts.
  • Section 34 ... Officers of Houses of General Assembly.
  • Section 35 ... Number of Senators and Representatives.
  • Section 36 ... Time and place of meetings of General Assembly.
  • Section 37 ... Majority constitutes quorum -- Powers of less than a quorum.
  • Section 38 ... Each House to judge qualifications, elections, and returns of its members -- Contests.
  • Section 39 ... Powers of each House as to rules and conduct of members -- Contempt -- Bribery.
  • Section 40 ... Journals -- When vote to be entered.
  • Section 41 ... Adjournment during session.
  • Section 42 ... Compensation of members -- Length of sessions -- Legislative day.
  • Section 43 ... Privileges from arrest and from questioning as to speech or debate.
  • Section 44 ... Ineligibility of members to civil office created or given increased compensation during term.
  • Section 45 ... Collector of public money ineligible unless he has quietus.
  • Section 46 ... Bills must be reported by committee, printed, and read -- How bill called from committee -- Votes required for passage.
  • Section 47 ... Bills to raise revenue must originate in House of Representatives.
  • Section 48 ... Resources of Sinking Fund not to be diminished -- Preservation of fund.
  • Section 49 ... Power to contract debts -- Limit.
  • Section 50 ... Purposes for which debt may be contracted -- Tax to discharge -- Public vote.
  • Section 51 ... Law may not relate to more than one subject, to be expressed in title -- Amendments must be at length.
  • Section 52 ... General Assembly may not release debt to State or to county or city.
  • Section 53 ... Investigation of accounts of Treasurer and Auditor -- Report, publication, submission to Governor and General Assembly.
  • Section 54 ... No restriction on recovery for injury or death.
  • Section 55 ... When laws to take effect -- Emergency legislation.
  • Section 56 ... Signing of bills -- Enrollment -- Presentation to Governor.
  • Section 57 ... Member having personal interest to make disclosure and not vote.
  • Section 58 ... General Assembly not to audit nor allow private claim -- Exception -- Appropriations.
  • Section 59 ... Local and special legislation.
  • Section 60 ... General law not to be made special or local by amendment -- No special powers or privileges -- Law not to take effect on approval of other authority than General Assembly -- Exceptions.
  • Section 61 ... Provision to be made for local option on sale of liquor -- Time of elections.
  • Section 62 ... Style of laws.
  • THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT - Section 69 to 108

    Officers for the State at Large - Section 69 to 96

  • Section 69 ... Executive power vested in Governor.
  • Section 70 ... Election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor -- Term -- Tie vote.
  • Section 71 ... Gubernatorial succession.
  • Section 72 ... Qualifications of Governor and Lieutenant Governor -- Duties of Lieutenant Governor.
  • Section 73 ... When terms of Governor and Lieutenant Governor begin.
  • Section 74 ... Compensation of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
  • Section 75 ... Governor is Commander-in-Chief of army, navy and militia.
  • Section 76 ... Power of Governor to fill vacancies.
  • Section 77 ... Power of Governor to remit fines and forfeitures, grant reprieves and pardons -- No power to remit fees.
  • Section 78 ... Governor may require information from state officers.
  • Section 79 ... Reports and recommendations to General Assembly.
  • Section 80 ... Governor may call extraordinary session of General Assembly, adjourn General Assembly.
  • Section 81 ... Governor to enforce laws.
  • Section 82 ... Succession of Lieutenant Governor.
  • Section 83 ... (Repealed 1992)
  • Section 84 ... When Lieutenant Governor to act as Governor -- President of the Senate not to preside at impeachment of Governor -- Certification of disability of Governor.
  • Section 85 ... President of Senate -- Election -- Powers.
  • Section 86 ... Compensation of President of the Senate.
  • Section 87 ... Who to act as Governor in absence of Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate.
  • Section 88 ... Signature of bills by Governor -- Veto -- Passage over veto -- Partial veto.
  • Section 89 ... Concurrent orders and resolutions on same footing as bill.
  • Section 90 ... Contest of election for Governor or Lieutenant Governor.
  • Section 91 ... Constitutional State officers -- Election -- Qualifications -- Term of office -- Duties -- Secretary of State to record acts of Governor and report them to General Assembly.
  • Section 92 ... Qualifications of Attorney General.
  • Section 93 ... Succession of elected Constitutional State Officers -- Duties -- Inferior officers and members of boards and commissions.
  • Section 94 ... (Repealed 1992)
  • Section 95 ... Time of election of elected Constitutional State officers.
  • Section 96 ... Compensation of Constitutional State officers.
  • THE JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT - Section 109 to 139

  • Section 109 ... The judicial power -- Unified system -- Impeachment.
  • MUNICIPALITIES - Section 156 to 168

  • Section 156 ... (Repealed 1994)
  • Section 156A ... General Assembly authorized to provide for creation, governmental structure, and classification of cities.
  • Section 156B ... General Assembly authorized to permit municipal home rule for cities.
  • Section 157 ... Maximum tax rate for cities, counties, and taxing districts.
  • Section 157A ... Credit of Commonwealth may be loaned or given to county for roads -- County may vote to incur indebtedness and levy additional tax for roads.
  • Section 157B ... Adoption of budget required for cities, counties, and taxing districts -- Expenditures not to exceed revenues for fiscal year.
  • Section 158 ... Maximum indebtedness of cities, counties, and taxing districts -- General Assembly authorized to set additional limits and conditions.
  • Section 159 ... Tax to pay indebtedness in not more than forty years must be levied.
  • Section 160 ... Municipal officers -- Election and term of office -- Officers ineligible -- Fiscal officers.
  • Section 161 ... Compensation of city, county, or municipal officer not to be changed after election or appointment or during term, nor term extended.
  • Section 162 ... Unauthorized contracts of cities, counties, and municipalities are void.
  • Section 163 ... Public utilities must obtain franchise to use streets.
  • Section 164 ... Term of franchises limited -- Advertisement and bids.
  • Section 165 ... Incompatible offices and employments.
  • Section 166 ... Expiration of city charters granted prior to Constitution.
  • Section 167 ... Time of election of city, urban-county, and town officers.
  • Section 168 ... Ordinance not to fix less penalty than statute for same offense -- Prosecution under one a bar.
  • REVENUE AND TAXATION - Section 169 to 182

  • Section 169 ... Fiscal year.
  • Section 170 ... Property exempt from taxation -- Cities may exempt factories for five years.
  • Section 171 ... State tax to be levied -- Taxes to be levied and collected for public purposes only and by general laws, and to be uniform within classes -- Classification of property for taxation -- Bonds exempt -- Referendum on act classifying property.
  • Section 172 ... Property to be assessed at fair cash value -- Punishment of assessor for willful error.
  • Section 172A ... Assessment for ad valorem tax purposes of agricultural and horticultural land.
  • Section 172B ... Property assessment or reassessment moratoriums.
  • Section 173 ... Officer receiving profit on public funds guilty of felony.
  • Section 174 ... Property to be taxed according to value, whether corporate or individual -- Income, license, and franchise taxes.
  • Section 175 ... Power to tax property not to be surrendered.
  • Section 176 ... Commonwealth not to assume debt of county or city -- Exception.
  • Section 177 ... Commonwealth not to lend credit, nor become stockholder in corporation, nor build railroad or highway.
  • Section 178 ... Law for borrowing money to specify purpose, for which alone money may be used.
  • Section 179 ... Political subdivision not to become stockholder in corporation, or appropriate money or lend credit to any person, except for roads or State Capitol.
  • Section 180 ... Act or ordinance levying any tax must specify purpose, for which alone money may be used.
  • Section 181 ... General Assembly may not levy tax for political subdivision, but may confer power -- License and excise taxes -- City taxes in lieu of ad valorem taxes.
  • Section 182 ... Railroad taxes -- How assessed and collected.
  • GENERAL PROVISIONS - Section 224 to 255A

  • Section 224 ... Bonds -- What officers to give -- Liability on.
  • Section 225 ... Armed men not to be brought into State -- Exception.
  • Section 226 ... State lottery -- Charitable lotteries and charitable gift enterprises -- Other lotteries and gift enterprises forbidden.
  • Section 226A ... (Repealed 1935)
  • Section 227 ... Prosecution and removal of local officers for misfeasance, malfeasance, or neglect.
  • Section 228 ... Oath of officers and attorneys.
  • Section 229 ... "Treason" defined -- Evidence necessary to convict.
  • Section 230 ... Money not to be drawn from Treasury unless appropriated -- Annual publication of accounts -- Certain revenues usable only for highway purposes.
  • Section 231 ... Suits against the Commonwealth.
  • Section 232 ... Manner of administering oath.
  • Section 233 ... General laws of Virginia in force in this State until repealed.
  • Section 233A ... Valid or recognized marriage -- Legal status of unmarried individuals.
  • Section 234 ... Residence and place of office of public officers.
  • Section 235 ... Salaries of public officers not to be changed during term -- Deductions for neglect.
  • Section 236 ... When officers to enter upon duties.
  • Section 237 ... Federal office incompatible with State office.
  • Section 238 ... Discharge of sureties on officers' bonds.
  • Section 239 ... Disqualification from office for presenting or accepting challenge to duel -- Further punishment.
  • Section 240 ... Pardon of person convicted of dueling.
  • Section 241 ... Recovery for wrongful death.
  • Section 242 ... Just compensation to be made in condemning private property -- Right of appeal -- Jury trial.
  • Section 243 ... Child labor.
  • Section 244 ... Wage-earners in industry or of corporations to be paid in money.
  • Section 244A ... Old age assistance.
  • Section 245 ... Revision of statutes to conform to Constitution.
  • Section 246 ... Maximum limit on compensation of public officers.
  • Section 247 ... Public printing -- Contract for -- Officers not to have interest in -- Governor to approve.
  • Section 248 ... Juries -- Number of jurors -- Three-fourths may indict or give verdict.
  • Section 249 ... Employees of General Assembly -- Number and compensation.
  • Section 250 ... Arbitration, method for to be provided.
  • Section 251 ... Limitation of actions to recover possession of land based on early patents.
  • Section 252 ... Houses of reform to be established and maintained.
  • Section 253 ... Working of penitentiary prisoners -- When and where permitted.
  • Section 254 ... Control and support of convicts -- Leasing of labor.
  • Section 255 ... Frankfort is state capital.
  • Section 255A ... Personal right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife - Limitations.
  • Address questions or comments to the Reviser of Statutes at reviser@lrc.ky.gov
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    The staff of the Legislative Research Commission cannot provide legal advice or interpretation of the law to the public. If you need legal advice, please consult a qualified attorney.