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The State Legislative Branch

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1 The State Legislative Branch
Chapter 12 Section 2 The State Legislative Branch

2 Makeup of Legislatures
State lawmaking bodies vary in nature and size, but most states call them legislatures. All state legislatures are bicameral except for Nebraska, which is unicameral, or 1 house Senators usually serve four year terms; Representatives serve two year terms. The house usually has at least double the number of members as the senate Members generally must be American citizens and live in the district they represent. Usually they must be at least 18 years old

3 How State Legislatures Function
A speaker of the house directs the house of representatives. A president or lieutenant governor directs the senate. The majority party selects the speaker and the president, except for states that have a lieutenant governor The state legislatures work the same as the national legislature. Anyone can come up with an idea for a bill Bills are sent to committees to be studied

4 Legislative Apportionment
Every 10 years, after the national census, state legislature re-examine congressional districts State legislatures divide the state into a set of districts for senators and a different set for representatives. Senate districts were once based on land area. House districts were apportioned, or divided among districts based on population. This resulted in unequal representation. In Baker vs Carr, the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts can hear suits to force state authorities to redraw electoral districts. In Reynolds vs. Sims, the Court held that both chambers of state legislatures must be apportioned by population

5 Problems Facing States
Americans demand more and better service from their state governments every year State governments are finding it difficult to pay for these services. Many legislators refuse to vote to raise taxes because such a vote may hurt their chances of re-election The federal government has also eliminated many grants-in-aid

6 Discussion Question? State legislators face a difficult task
Should they cut programs at a time when crime, homelessness, and pollution are on the rise? Or, should they raise taxes and suffer the political consequences?

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