Legislative Politics in the States

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State legislatures fascinate students of institutions as well as students of individual behavior. As institutions, state legislatures present an array of organizational and structural arrangements. Indeed, there is probably more variation among state legislatures than any other institution of state government. For example, some legislatures are very large (the New Hampshire House four hundred members), and others are quite small (the upper chamber in Alaska is composed of twenty senators, and the Nevada and Delaware Senates have twenty-one). The districts represented by individual legislators range widely in size as well. Representatives in Maine. Vermont, and Wyoming -- and many representatives in New Hampshire -- are from districts with fewer than 10,000 members, whereas each member of the Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington lower chambers represents more than 100,000 people.1 In fact, state senators in Texas (815,000) and California (930,000) represent more people than any member of the U. S. House of Representatives.

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