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Drawing on the pulling together a massive amount of data, state-specific examples, and the most current scholarship, State Legislatures Today examines the theoretical and practical roles of the state legislature as both a policymaking institution and a historical foundation for the United States Congress. Squire and Moncrief examine the myriad differences amongst state legislatures while utilizing the United States Congress as a touchstone for additional comparison and contrast.
Table of Contents
99 Chambers and Why They Matter
State Legislatures in Historical Context
State Legislative Evolution in the Nineteenth Century
State Legislative Evolution in the Twentieth Century
State Legislatures Today
Number of Houses
The Nebraska Exception
Politics Under the Domes 1-1: The Legislative Representation and Efficiency Tradeoff
Bicameral Size Differences
Terms of Office
Differences with Congress
Politics Under the Domes 1-2: Domes?
Further Explorations of State Legislatures
State Legislative Campaigns and Elections
Differences in Electoral Rules
Type of Primary Election
Politics under the domes 2-1: When Residency Requirements Bite
Timing of Primary Election
Case Law and State Redistricting
Campaign Finance Laws
The Recruitment of Women and Minorities
How Campaigns Are Run
Politics Under the Domes 2-2: The Art and Science of Doorbelling
Turnover, Party Competition, and Elections
Term Limits and Turnover
Competitive versus Noncompetitive States
The Effect of Region
The Changing Job of State Legislator
What Difference Does Professionalization Make?
Professionalization Levels in Current State Legislatures
Examining the Components of Professionalization: Salary and Benefits
Politics Under the Domes 3-1: The Pennsylvania Pay Raise Fiasco
Examining the Components of Professionalization: Time Demands
Examining Each of the Components: Staff and Facilities
Explaining the Number of Women and Minority Legislators
Diversity by Other Measures
The Job of State Legislator
Legislative Careers and Legislature Career Opportunity Types
Legislative Organization Across the States
Politics Under the Domes 4-1: The Battle over the Gavel in the Alabama State Senate
Politics Under the Domes 4-2: Leadership Retribution in State Legislatures
Career Opportunity Types and Committee Membership and Leadership
Where are Decisions Made in State Legislatures?
The Legislative Process in the States
Variation Across the States
The Three Tracks of the Legislative Process: Bills that Die, Bills that Fly, and Bills that Crawl
Steps in the Legislative Process
Introduction and First Reading
Politics Under the Domes 5-1: "There Ought to be a Law" or Why Legislators Introduce Bills
Referral to Standing Committee
Committee Action and Second Reading
Third Reading, Debate and Floor Vote
Politics Under the Domes 5-2: Fun with Quorums
Same Steps in Second Chamber
Potential Conference Committee
The Governor's Desk
The Budget Process
Influences on Legislative Decision Making
Politics Under the Domes 5-3: "I Voted for that Bill Before I Voted Against It": Why Floor Votes Don't Necessarily Tell the Whole Story
The Legislative Context
Public Opinion, Constituency, and the Representational Role
Different Views of Constituency
Public Opinion, Organized Interests, and Lobbying
Politics Under the Domes 6-1: Lobbying Outside the Box
What Lobbyists Do
Interest Groups and Campaign Financing
Public Opinion and Direct Democracy
The Popular Referendum
The Governor and the Legislature
Setting the Agenda
Politics Under the Domes 6-2: Vanna White, Frankenstein, and the Partial Veto in Wisconsin
Other Gubernatorial Weapons
State Courts and Policy Mandates
Politics Under the Domes 6-3: The Courts, the Legislature, and Gay Marriage in Iowa
State Courts, Direct Democracy, and Policymaking
The Fiscal Factor
The Federal Factor
Are State Legislatures Representative Institutions?
What Do Election Results Tell Us About Evaluations of State Legislative Performance?
How Highly Do Citizens Rate Their State Legislatures?
How Much Do People Know About Their State Legislatures and Legislators?
How Much Information about State Legislatures is Available?
Do State Legislators Represent Their Constituents?
Politics Under the Domes 7-1: When Politics and Policy Collide in the State Legislature
The Dynamics of Representation at the State Level
The Components of Representation
The Changing Dynamics of the Job
A Final Assessment
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