|Description||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 comprise 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. 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 half 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 State Capitol, in Madison, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin legislators take office on the first Monday in January following a general election.