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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


An October 2020 review by found Wisconsin had the least active full-time legislature during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That year, the legislature went six months without passing a bill, a USA Today fact check confirmed. Lawmakers passed a COVID-19 relief bill in April but had not taken up any legislation by the fall.

Wisconsin is one of 10 states with full-time legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bipartisan organization considers states to have full-time legislatures if lawmakers work close to full-time hours, have large staffs and are paid well.

A more recent FiscalNote report also determined Wisconsin had one of the least active legislatures in 2021. The analysis found Wisconsin enacted 121 bills during that session, the sixth lowest overall.  

However, three states with full-time legislatures —Alaska, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania — enacted even fewer bills than Wisconsin.


WisPolitics: Review finds Wisconsin has least active full-time legislature in nation since pandemic

USA Today: Fact check: Wisconsin legislators have gone about 6 months without passing a bill

National Conference of State Legislatures: Full- and Part-Time Legislatures

Fiscal Note: The Most Effective States 2021 Report

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Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.