3State Legislatures each state has an elected lawmaking body different states have different names for this group27 states use state legislature19 states use general assemblyOhio2 states use legislative assembly2 states use general court
4Organization all but one of the states have a bicameral legislature larger house is usually called the House of Representativessmaller house is known as the SenateNebraska has a unicameral legislature called the Senatestate legislatures vary greatly in sizeAlaska has the smallest legislature40 representatives and 20 senatorsNew Hampshire's legislature is the largest400 representatives and 24 senatorsOhio99 representatives and 33 senatorslegislature members are elected by the people of the stateeach member represents the people who live in a particular district of that statethe state legislature divides the state into districtsReynolds v. SimsU.S. Supreme Court ruled that all state election districts must be equal in populationupholds the principle of "one person, one vote."
5Qualifications, Terms, Compensation qualifications for membershipmust be U.S. citizensmust live in the district that they representmust be a certain agemost state senators must be at least 25 years of agemost state representatives must be at least 21 years oldsome state have lowered the required age to 18term of officemost state senators are elected for four yearsmost state representatives are elected for two yearsin some states both serve either two-year or four-year termsterm limitsmany states have set term limits for state legislatorsthe Court's ruling does not apply to state legislatorssalaries and benefitsvary widely from state to staterange from $10,000 to $79,500 a year
6State Legislatures at Work most state legislatures meet in regular sessions every yearsome state legislatures meet once every two yearseach state varies depending on their constitutionorganization and offices of most state legislatures aresimilar to those of the U.S. Congressofficers are chosen at the beginning of a sessionpresiding officers and other leaderslieutenant governor presides over the Senate in most statesother state Senates choose their own presiding officermembers of the house choose their own presiding officer, usually called the Speakercommittees are appointedhandle most of the work of the state legislatureseach committee specializes in certain areasupper house committee members are chosen by the presiding officer or by all the memberslower house committee members are appointed by the Speakerseniority plays a key role in determining committee membership and leadership
7Passing State Lawslawmaking process in state legislatures is similar to theprocedure followed in Congresssteps for a bill to become a lawA Bill Is Introduceda member of either house may introduce a billhanded to the clerk and given a numberpresiding officer reads the title of the billsends it to the appropriate committeeThe Bill Is Sent to Committeecommittee listens to various witnesses for and against the billquestions witnesses to obtain necessary informationmembers may discuss the bill for many hourscommittee may vote to pass the bill, to change it, or to kill itThe Bill Reaches the Floorif approved the bill is returned to a full meeting of the houseread aloud, line by linemembers of the house discuss each part of the billamendments may be offered and if passed, they become part of the billmembers then vote on the billbills that are passed are signed by the presiding officersent to the second house
8Passing State Laws steps for a bill to become a law The Bill Is Sent to the Second Houseintroduced in the second housesent to a committeesent to the floor of the second housedebated, amended, put to a voteif both houses pass a bill in the same form, it is then sent to the governorif both houses pass the bill in different forms, it is sent to a joint-conference committee to resolve the differencesThe Bill Is Sent to a Joint-Conference Committeemade up of members selected from both housestry to reach a compromise that will be acceptable to both housescompromise bill is then voted on by the two houses.each house usually accepts this final version of the billThe Bill Is Sent to the Governorif the governor signs the bill, it becomes a lawthe governor may veto a bill he or she does not support itin most states the governor also has the power toveto only one part, or item, of an appropriation billitem vetothe legislature can pass a bill over the governor'sveto by a two-thirds vote in each house
9Citizen Actionsome state constitutions allow the people to take a direct partin making lawsinitiativecitizens are able to start new legislationcitizens must first draw up a petition describing the proposala required number of voters must then sign the petitionthen the proposition appears on the ballot at the next general electionif enough people vote for the bill, it becomes lawindirect initiativessent to the state legislatures for approvalin many states certain bills passed by the legislaturemust be approved by the voters before becoming lawsreferendummethod of referring potential laws directly to the people for approvalsome states provide voters with the means to remove electedofficials from officerecallbegins when a required number of voters signs a petitiona special election on the petition is then heldif a majority of voters favors the recall, the official is removed