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State Legislatures Today: Politics Under the Domes, CourseSmart eTextbook

By Peverill Squire, Gary Moncrief

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Sep 3, 2009

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A concise and provocative introduction to State Legislative Politics, State Leglislative Politics Today is designed as a supplement for State and Local courses and upper level courses on legislative politics.


This brief and inexpensive book examines state legislatures and state lawmakers, putting them in historical context, showing how they have evolved over the years, and differentiating them from Congress.  It covers state legislative elections (including the impact of redistricting, candidate recruitment, etc.), the changing job description of state legislators, legislatures as organizations, the process by which legislation gets produced, and the influences upon legislators.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: 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

                        House name

                        Membership size

Feature: Politics Under the Domes 1-1: The Legislative Representation and Efficiency Tradeoff

            Bicameral size differences

            Terms of office

            Term limits

            Constituency size

            Geographic size

            Multi-member districts

            Differences with Congress

            Feature: Politics Under the Domes 1-2: Domes?

            Further Exploration of State Legislatures

Chapter 2: State Legislative Campaigns and Elections

            Differences in Electoral Rules

                        District magnitude

                        Type of primary election

                        Timing of primary election

Feature: Politics Under the Domes 2-1: When Residency Requirements Bite

Redistricting practices

                        Case law and state redistricting

                        Campaign finance laws

                        Term limits

            The Candidates

                        Candidate type

                        Recruitment agents


                        The recruitment of women and minorities

            How Campaigns Are Run

            Feature: Politics Under the Domes 2-2: The Art Science of Doorbelling

            Turnover, Party Competition and Elections

                        Term limits and turnover

                        Competitive versus non-competitive states

                        The effect of region


Chapter 3: The Changing Job of State Legislators

            Legislative Professionalization

                        What difference does professionalization make?

                        Professionalization levels in current state legislatures

                        Examining the components of professionalization: salary and benefits

            Feature: 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

            Who Serves?


                        African Americans

                        Hispanic Americans

                        American Indians

                        Explaining the number of women and minority legislators

                        Diversity by other measures


            The Job of State Legislator


            Legislative Careers and Legislature Career Opportunity Types


Chapter 4: Legislative Organization across the States

            Legislative Parties

            Legislative Leadership

Feature: Under the Domes 4-1: The Battle over the Gavel in the Alabama State Senate

            Feature: 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?


Chapter 5: 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

Feature: Under the Domes 5-1: “There Ought to Be a Law” or Why Legislators Introduce Bills

            Referral to standing committee

            Committee hearings

            Committee action and second reading

            Third reading, debate and floor vote

Feature: Under the Domes 5-2: Fun with Quorums

            Same steps in second chamber

            Potential conference committee

            The governor’s desk

Legislative Time

The Budget Process

Influence on Legislative Decision-Making

Feature: 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


Chapter 6: The Legislative Context

            Public Opinion, Constituency, and the Representational Role

                        Representational roles

                        Different views of constituency

            Public Opinion, Organized Interests, and Lobbying

                        The lobbyists

            Feature: Politics Under the Domes 6-1: Lobbying Outside the Box

                        What lobbyists do

                        Interest groups and campaign financing

            Public Opinion and Direct Democracy

                        The recall

                        The popular referendum

                        The initiative

            The Governor and the Legislature

                        Setting the agenda


                        Veto power

Feature: Politics Under the Domes 6-2: Vanna White, Frankenstein, and the Partial Veto in Wisconsin

                        Other gubernatorial weapons

            The Bureaucracy

            The Courts

                        State courts and policy mandates

                        State courts, direct democracy, and policymaking

            The Fiscal Factor

            The Federal Factor


Chapter 7: Are State Legislatures Representative Institutions?

What Do Election Results Tell Us About Evaluations of State Legislative Performance?

How Highly Do Citizens Rate Their State Legislature?

How Much Do People Know About Their State Legislature and Legislators?

How Much Information about State Legislatures is Available?

Do State Legislators Represent Their Constituents?

Feature: Politics Under the Domes 7-1: When Politics and Policy Collide in he 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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State Legislatures Today: Politics Under the Domes, CourseSmart eTextbook
Format: Safari Book

$22.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-205-75115-0