The legislative branch is one of three branches of government, along with the executive branch (the governor and state departments and agencies, like the Department of Natural Resources), and the judicial branch (the courts). The legislature passes laws, while the executive branch puts them into action, and the judicial branch makes sure that laws are constitutional and punishes people who break the law.
The Wisconsin state legislature is made up of two houses: the Wisconsin State Assembly, and the Wisconsin State Senate. Every citizen of Wisconsin is represented by two legislators, elected by the people in their area: one in the Assembly, and one in the Senate. You can use this site to find out who your legislators are.
Wisconsin is divided into 33 Senate districts, each of which is represented by one senator. Each Senate district is divided into three Assembly districts, for a total of 99 Assembly districts, each represented by one representative. Each district must contain about the same number of people, which means that urban districts are usually much smaller than rural ones.
Elections for the legislature are held every other year, in November of each even-numbered year. Representatives serve two-year terms, and senators serve four-year terms. This means that at each election, every representative and half of the senators are elected. The other half of the senators are elected in the next election, two years later. To see who’s on the ballot in your district, see the Wisconsin Election Commission's site
To learn more about the way the legislature passes laws, see our page about following the process.
The legislative branch also includes service agencies which help the legislature in its mission.