Wisconsin State Senate

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Wisconsin State Senate
Wisconsin State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 8, 2013
Mary Lazich (R)
since January 5, 2015
President pro tempore
Rick Gudex (R)
since January 5, 2015
Majority Leader
Scott L. Fitzgerald (R)
since January 8, 2013
Minority Leader
Jennifer Shilling (D)
since January 5, 2015
Seats 33
Senate diagram 2014 State of Wisconsin.svg
Political groups

Governing party

Opposition parties

Length of term
4 years
Authority Article IV, Wisconsin Constitution
Salary $49,943/year + per diem
Last election
November 4, 2014
(17 seats)
Next election
November 1, 2016
Meeting place
Wisconsin State Senate Chairs and Podium.jpg
State Senate Chamber
Wisconsin State Capitol
Madison, Wisconsin
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[edit]

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.[citation needed]

2014 general election[edit]

Podium in the Senate

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.

Current Session[edit]


18 1 14
Republican Vacant Democratic
Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
End of previous legislature 16 15 31 2
Begin 18 14 32 1
Latest voting share 56.3% 43.8% 97% 3%

Senate Officers[edit]

Position Name Party
  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
Frank Lasee 01 Republican 53 2010 2018
Robert Cowles 02 Republican 64 1987 2016
Tim Carpenter 03 Democratic 54 2002 2018
Lena Taylor 04 Democratic 48 2004 2016
Leah Vukmir 05 Republican 56 2010 2018
Nikiya Harris Dodd 06 Democratic 39 2012 2016
Chris Larson 07 Democratic 34 2010 2018
Alberta Darling 08 Republican 70 1992 2016
Devin LeMahieu 09 Republican 42 2014 2018
Sheila Harsdorf 10 Republican 58 2000 2016
Stephen Nass 11 Republican 62 2014 2018
Tom Tiffany 12 Republican 57 2012 2016
Scott Fitzgerald 13 Republican 51 1994 2018
Luther Olsen 14 Republican 63 2004 2016
Janis Ringhand 15 Democratic 64 2014 2018
Mark Miller 16 Democratic 71 2004 2016
Howard Marklein 17 Republican 60 2014 2018
Rick Gudex 18 Republican 46 2012 2016
Roger Roth 19 Republican 36 2014 2018
Vacant 20 2016
Van H. Wanggaard 21 Republican 62 2014 2018
Robert Wirch 22 Democratic 71 1996 2016
Terry Moulton 23 Republican 68 2010 2018
Julie Lassa 24 Democratic 44 2003 2016
Janet Bewley 25 Democratic 63 2014 2018
Fred Risser 26 Democratic 87 1962 2016
Jon Erpenbach 27 Democratic 54 1998 2018
Mary Lazich 28 Republican 62 1998 2016
Jerry Petrowski 29 Republican 64 2012 2018
Dave Hansen 30 Democratic 67 2000 2016
Kathleen Vinehout 31 Democratic 56 2006 2018
Jennifer Shilling 32 Democratic 45 2011 2016
Paul Farrow 33 Republican 50 2012 2018

Past notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]