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. It is probably safe to say there is more variation between state legislatures than any other institution of state government. For example, some legislatures are very large (the New Hampshire House, for example, consists of 400 members), and others are small bodies (there are twenty senators in the upper chamber in Alaska, and twenty-one in the Nevada and Delaware senates). The size of the districts represented by individual legislators is quite varied; each member of the Vermont House of Representatives has 4,000 constituents, whereas members of the Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio lower chambers each represent more than 100,000 people. A state senator in Texas has more than 670,00 people in his or her district, and each California state senator represents about 850,000 constituents.

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