Talk:State Legislature (United States)
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Talk:State Legislature United States
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State legislature and the US Consitution.


Hi I'm trying to get a grip on the history and functioning of the US system of Government. One thing I'm not sure about is how much freedom states have to organise their own legislature.

I'm particularly interested in the 18th and early 19th century. (When the state legislatures were of greater importance, directly selecting senators and presidential electors).

Were the states franchises at this time considerably different (ignorring the issue of slaverey for a moment)? Did some states retain property qualifications for voting or standing for the state legislature, if so when were these dropped?

More generally today how much say does the federal goverment/constitution have on how a state organises its legislature? Matthew (talk) 16:34, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Practically speaking next to none. The legislatures are required to conform to various amendments and court decisions, but almost all of those deal with the elections to them, or their apportionment. Other than that, there is very little the federal government can do about them. (talk) 13:58, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

State legislature numbers

I've noticed that out of a sample size of five states, all of the sampled states have 1 senator in the state legislature for every 3 in the lower house. Are all state legislatures fixed so the upper house would be one-third that of the lower house, just like the Australian Senate has to be roughly half the Australian House of Representatives? Scott Gall 08:04, 26 May 2006 (UTC) PS: I've noticed the Canadian Senate and the Canadian House of Commons might be using a 1:3 ratio as well (or a 105:308 ratio to be more precise :-)) I thought only Australia had one of those "nexus clauses."

No each state is free to determine the ratio of members in each house. In Minnesota, there are 67 senators and 134 representatives and Iowa has 50 senators and 100 representatives...So these states have 1 senator for every 2 representatives. EdwinHJ | Talk 14:40, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I would also point out that the Nebraska Legislature is unicameral - it only has one house, a further variation in legislative structure. --Tim4christ17 02:48, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
However, there is a reason that he is noticing these whole ratios in US state legislatures. In my experience, many states' are divided into electoral districts, where each district elects a certain number of representatives to the state lower house (often 2 or 3, varying by state) and elects exactly 1 state senator. --thirty-seven 17:39, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
In Canada's federal parliament, there is no law or rule governing the ratio of the size of the Senate to the size of the House of Commons. Over time, the Commons tends to grow as the population increases, but the number of Senators per province and territory is fixed, so the size of the Senate only changes if new provinces or territories are added to the country. --thirty-seven 17:36, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Though they seem to follow a similar concept, remember that US legislatures don't vote in joint sessions the way the Australian Parliament in theory would, so the need for a hard-and-fast rule isn't there. Nevertheless, I guess it just seems rational to keep the ratio of two house in a single legislature to within 1:3 or less. Much more and one wing of the state house building might seem a little out of proportion :-) . --Xyzzyva 15:00, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Many states fix the number of seats in one house to the number in the other, but those are all decisions of the states themselves, which can be changed as easily (or not) as the state constitution that creates the legislature. (talk) 14:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)


Other countries also have states. These states also have legislatures. - Privacy 21:25, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

True. But there is the problem that they often use different names, even in a generic sense. Australia, for instance, would use 'Parliaments' rather than 'legislatures'. Then we get the use of the original German term 'Landtag' in Europe. So is 'State legislature' even an appropriate title for a discussion of the various bodies? Perhaps it would be best to move the US-centric parts to 'US State legislatures', then begin anew with a more global perspective. --Xyzzyva 08:29, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Also, to add: in Canada, the best term would probably be 'Provincial Parliament', but those bodies are still quite analogous to a US state legislature or a German Landtag. Can anyone think of a better generic term, all I can think of is 'Sub-national legislative body', and that isn't going to cut the mustard. --Xyzzyva 19:32, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I think "legislature" is a good term to use, internationally. Parliaments (like in Canada, Australia, and Germany) and congressional bodies (which is how the U.S. state legislatures are set up and function) are both types of legislatures. I think "Sub-national legislature" would be a good title. --thirty-seven 19:54, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Update the maps

I've noticed that the maps on this page show Democrat control of most of the state legislatures. In light of the recent midterm elections, someone may want to update that. As I recall, the Republicans now have control of the majority of state legislatures. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:39, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Legend for colors missing

Not difficult to guess what blue and red mean here but not so sure about the shades. And black? Knopffabrik (talk) 12:50, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

New material about legislatures

Just added this from Government of Alabama with severe edits to try to make it germane to all states, except unicameral. It may have (gulp!) started from here. Sounded awfully generalized in some places.

I don't doubt that it needs a lot of work.

Having said that, it's pretty much the same in parliaments, as well, so maybe doesn't need to be here. But I would need a link for that. Sorry to shock some of you. Having said that, please don't be too dismissive because of the volume. It needs to be somewhere. Student7 (talk) 19:57, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

US Territories and Protectorates

In the usual conversation about US politics, the territories and other holdings of the US are rarely mentioned, and this wiki page seems to be consistent. Why aren't these other US political divisions also mentioned? For instance, Puerto Rico, though it has held a "special status" since whatever US slaughter led up to its takeover, has its own legislature, its own governor, and its own justice system, just like any state officially recognized as a state.

Why do I bring this up? Guam is a US territory, yet my understanding is that many of our federal laws do not apply there, and therefore, its citizens can be abused of basic labor and other rights. This is not meant so much as a political commentary as it is to point out the need for more inclusion of these conveniently forgotten pieces of what makes up the United States. Why should they be treated any differently than the "official states" in a discussion about, say, legislatures.

Does anyone even know exactly how many of these "special" territories, protectorates, and other items exist?

"The United States also possesses five major overseas territories: Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; and American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.(from United_States Page)."

Then there are the so-called "minor outlying islands," which should be noted as managed by one US department or another (Fish and Wildlife?) not having their own legislatures.

Another important note is that there has been, for many decades, an effort to create statehood for Washington, D.C. It might be noted in the article whatever implications there are for statehood with regards to having its own legislative body (It is hard to imagine.). (talk) 20:04, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

You are looking for an article that would have as its "parent" Territories of the United States. Since they each have their own unique relationship to the United States, they probably couldn't have a common article like "Territorial legislature (United States)." They would be each separately named, most likely. Student7 (talk) 21:36, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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