Legislative Branch

In Iowa, legislators can meet in session as long as they like — no state statutes or legislative rules prescribe a maximum number of days.
But the Iowa Code does provide at least one incentive for legislators to finish the state’s business in a timely manner. After 110 calendar days in odd-numbered years and 100 days in even years, per-diem payments for state legislators ($134 a day for most of them) end.

Stateline Midwest ~ July/August 2013

A decision by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in July to block the salaries of state legislators has resulted in a constitutional showdown between the legislative and executive branches of government. According to the ...

An 1895 article in The New York Times described the tense and chaotic scene this way: “Revolvers were flourished and blows struck with such articles of furniture as the combatants could lay hands on conveniently.” The place where the mayhem broke out? The floor of the Indiana House of Representatives after a dispute over a gubernatorial veto. This historical anecdote, told by political scientist Peverill Squire during a keynote session in July at the CSG Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting, was a reminder that political passions and partisan strife are not new.

The CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation convened on Saturday, June 22, 2013 to review 81 bills on the second and final docket of the 2014 SSL cycle. Several topics including online gaming, teacher tenure, gun safety, and law enforcement use of drones were addressed by the committee.

Why not federalize Medicaid? The question was theoretical, but Robert Kerr, South Carolina’s former Medicaid Director, gave attendees at The Council of State Governments’ Medicaid Policy Academy in June something to think about.

Chapter 3 of the 2013 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

2012 was marked by a shift to political poles. Both parties built on their leads in regional strongholds, with Republicans picking up 59 seats in the South and Democrats adding 168 to their total in the East. The number of divided governments dropped to a 60-year low, while outsized legislative supermajorities climbed to historic highs.


An article from our Meet a Member Series. Meet South Dakota State Senator, Craig Tiezen. 

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2013

More than a decade has passed since Minnesota legislators and the state’s governor last received a salary increase. That may change since this year, if the Legislature follows through on a pay raise recommended by Minnesota’s 16-member Compensation Council, a mix of state legislators, judges and members of the executive branch.

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2013

Legislating is not a full-time job for most of the Midwest’s 1,550 state lawmakers — at least when it comes to pay. In 2012, only legislators in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin were paid salaries above the nation’s per capita income of $42,693. And in Michigan and Ohio, the advent of term limits means state lawmaking is, at most, only a temporary career.

Nicholas Kusnetz of the Center for Public Integrity says voters have largely embraced the idea of a “citizen legislature” — individuals from different walks of life gather in the capitol, conduct the state’s business, and then return to their homes and places of employment.

It sounds good in theory, Kusnetz says, but he adds that states should do more to address an unavoidable reality: the slew of conflicts of interest that arise when lawmakers rely on outside income.