For over 200 years the office of Secretary of State has played an integral role in Kentucky’s history. The delegates to the 1792 Constitutional Convention, and all three Constitutional Conventions thereafter, realized the importance of having a Secretary for the Commonwealth when they mandated the establishment of such an office. Throughout the years we can see the Secretary of State’s Office accepting additional responsibilities as they are assigned by the Executive & Legislative Branches of Kentucky’s government.

The Timeline serves as an informal history of the office itself. We are including complete text of all four of Kentucky Constitutions (as they were originally written), entries from the Governors’ Executive Journals, and other articles that provide an insight into the history, function and development of the office. The Timeline will be updated as additional information becomes available.

We especially thank Charles Zoeller for his generous donation of the text for each of the Kentucky Constitutions. Mr. Zoeller’s data entry enabled staff of the Secretary of State’s Office to have an excellent foundation for the Constitution project and provided us an opportunity to expand the Timeline with additional information.

Disclaimer: This website includes complete text of all four of Kentucky's Constitutions (as originally written), selected Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly, and other articles regarding the office and function of the Kentucky Secretary of State. Additional information will be added to this site periodically. Text included on this website was keyed by the staff of the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office. Although efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of all material, researchers should consult published versions of Kentucky Acts for official use. "Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly” may be researched at the Kentucky History Center Library, the Department for Libraries & Archives, and the Supreme Court Law Library, all in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Note: Acts included on this site may have been amended or rescinded; the information on this site is included for historical research only.)

Governor John Y. Brown, Jr., Executive Journal, Vol. I, page 261.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 80-986

REORGANIZATION: DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE

WHEREAS, the Secretary of State is vested by KRS 14.010 as the head of the Department of State; and

WHEREAS, the Secretary of State has been vested by various statutes and constitutional provisions with wide ranging and diverse responsibilities and functions; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that such responsibilities and functions be categorized and assigned for proper implementation; and

WHEREAS,the Secretary of State has internally subdivided the Department of State based upon the responsibilities delegated to it and the functions performed by it; and

WHEREAS, the Secretary of State has requested that the internal structure of the Department of State be fully established by Reorganization Executive Order:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John Y. Brown, Jr., Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, pursuant to KRS 12.025(1), do hereby order and direct the following reorganization:

(1) The Department of State shall have an Assistant Secretary of State, appointed by and serving on behalf of the Secretary of State in accordance with the provisions of KRS 14.020.

(2) The Department of State shall have a Principal Assistant appointed by the Secretary of State to serve as a liason between the Department of State and the State Board of Elections, of which the Secretary serves as Chairman of the Board. The Assistant will oversee the educational programs of the agency, and will coordinate policies and procedures to assure a more efficient operation of both the Department of State and the Board of Elections.

(3) The Department of State shall be divided into two divisions, each headed by a Director appointed by the Secretary of State pursuant to KRS 12.050.

(a) The Division of Administration, which will include the following subdivisions:

(1) Fiscal and Personnel
(2) Public Documents
(3) Special Projects and Commissions
(4) Legal Affairs

(b) The Division of Corporations, which will combine the various duties and responsibilities outlined for the Office of the Secretary of State by Kentucky Corporation Law.

(4) The Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner of Personnel shall take all steps necessary to implement this Order.

s/ John Y. Brown, Jr.
Governor

s/Frances Jones Mills
Secretary of State