Our state legislature consists of two bodies, the Senate and the Assembly. This is called “bicameral” organization. The Senate is sometimes referred to as the “upper house”, and consists of 33 state senators, elected to four-year terms. The state Assembly is sometimes called the “lower house” and consists of 99 representatives who are elected to two-year terms. The State of Wisconsin does not presently have term limits.
Each member of the legislature is appointed by their party leadership to serve on various Senate and Assembly Committees. Information about who’s on which committee is quickly available online at the legislative website listed below.
The best way to familiarize yourself with both houses of the legislature is to get a copy of the state Blue Book, which is put out every two years. If your newsroom doesn’t have a copy, call one of your area’s elected representatives to get one.
The state legislature maintains a website where you can find information about legislative activity, pending laws, calendars, and even a searchable database of information about elected representatives.
The non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau also has a searchable database of the Blue Book which can be handy for a quick check on something. It’s a great reporters tool, because it has features that allow you to search Blue Books dating back ten years.