Wisconsin State Senate
|Wisconsin State Senate|
|Wisconsin State Legislature|
New session started
|January 8, 2013|
President pro tempore
Length of term
|Authority||Article IV, Wisconsin Constitution|
|Salary||$49,943/year + per diem|
|November 4, 2014
|November 1, 2016|
|State Senate Chamber
Wisconsin State Capitol
|Wisconsin State Senate|
The Wisconsin Senate, the powers of which are modeled after those of the U.S. Senate, is the upper house of the Wisconsin State Legislature, smaller than the Wisconsin State Assembly. Together, they constitute the legislative branch of the state of Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Constitution ties the size of the State Senate to that of the Assembly, by limiting its size to no less than 1/4, nor more than 1/3, of the size of the Assembly. Currently, Wisconsin is divided into 33 Senate Districts (1/3 of the current Assembly membership of 99) apportioned throughout the state based on population as determined by the decennial census, for a total of 33 senators. A Senate district is formed by combining three Assembly districts. Similar to the U.S. Senate, in addition to its duty of reviewing and voting on all legislation passed through the legislature, the State Senate has the exclusive responsibility of confirming certain gubernatorial appointments, particularly cabinet secretaries (as part of the system of checks and balances) and members of boards and commissions. Senators are elected for four-year terms, staggered so that approximately half of the Senate is up for election every two years. If a vacancy occurs in a Senate seat between elections, it may be filled only by a special election. The Senate chamber is in the south wing of the Wisconsin State Capitol, in Madison.
Salary and benefits
Senators elected or re-elected in the fall of 2008 will receive an annual salary of $49,943. In addition to their salaries, senators outside Dane County may receive a per diem up to $88 to cover living expenses while they are in Dane County on state business. Members of the Madison delegation may receive a per diem up to $44 to cover expenses. Each senator also receives $75 per month in "out-of-session" pay when the Legislature is in session for three days or less. Over two years, each senator is allotted $66,008 to cover general office expenses, printing, postage and district mailings.
2014 general election
Following the 2014 elections, The Wisconsin State Senate maintained a Republican majority in January 2015 for several reasons. Democrat John Lehman, whose district had become solidly Republican following the 2011 redistricting, announced he would forgo re-election and seek the office of Lieutenant Governor, which he lost. Former Republican Senator Van Wangaard, who lost to Lehman in the 2012 recall elections, defeated Democrat Randy Bryce, 60% to 40%, in the race to succeed Lehman. Following the retirement of Republican Senator Dale Schultz, Republican Representative Howard Marklein defeated Democrat Pat Bomhack. The Senate has 18 Republicans and 14 Democrats. There is one vacant seat following Glenn Grothman's election the U.S. House of Representatives.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature||16||15||31||2|
|Latest voting share||56.3%||43.8%||97%||3%|
|President of the Senate||Mary Lazich||Republican|
|President Pro Tempore of the Senate||Rick Gudex||Republican|
|Majority leader||Scott L. Fitzgerald||Republican|
|Assistant Majority Leader||Paul Farrow||Republican|
|Majority Caucus Chair||Sheila Harsdorf||Republican|
|Majority Caucus Vice Chair||Van Wanggaard||Republican|
|Minority Leader||Jennifer Shilling||Democratic|
|Assistant Minority Leader||Dave Hansen||Democratic|
|Minority Caucus Chair||Julie Lassa||Democratic|
|Minority Caucus Vice Chair||Kathleen Vinehout||Democratic|
|Chief Clerk||Jeffrey Renk|
|Senator||District||Party||Current Age||First elected||Seat up|
|Nikiya Harris Dodd||06||Democratic||39||2012||2016|
|Van H. Wanggaard||21||Republican||62||2014||2018|
Past notable members
- Glenn Grothman, current U.S. House Representative, 2015 to present.
- Russ Feingold, former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, 1993-2011.
- Tom Petri, former U.S. House Representative, 1979-2015.
- Jim Sensenbrenner, current U.S. House Representative, 1979 to present.
- Gwen Moore, current U.S. House Representative, 2005 to present.
- Tom Barrett, current Mayor of Milwaukee, WI and former U.S. House Representative, 2004 to present.
- Angus Cameron, former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, 1875-1885.
- Wisconsin State Senate official government website
- State Senate of Wisconsin at Project Vote Smart
- Wisconsin State Senate at Ballotpedia