Legislative Branch

It can sometimes be hard to find common ground in the heat of a legislative session. Finding common ground with someone from another political party often can be even more elusive. But some legislators have found a way to work across the aisle.

Stateline Midwest ~ Feburary 2012

In Nebraska, the jockeying to become chair of one of the state’s 14 standing committees can last from the day one session ends to the day the next session is ready to begin.

“People can spend the entire interim trying to line up votes,” notes Sen. Mike Flood, speaker of the Unicameral Legislature.

As in many other states, Nebraska’s committees are a critical part of the decision-making...

Stateline Midwest ~ March 2012

For decades, Nebraska legislators have had the statutory authority to call themselves into special session. They never have, but last year, Sen. Annette Dubas and some of her colleagues started taking steps to make state legislative history.

April 2012 ~ Stateline Midwest

High above the main entrance to the Minnesota State Capitol building, the Quadriga, a striking gold-leafed copper sculpture of a four-horse chariot and figures, keeps steady watch over the grounds that surround it.


But it’s what is inside the historic, 107-year-old landmark that really sets the Minnesota Capitol apart from others in the Midwest.

The building is home to the region’s largest legislature — 134 members in the House, 67 in the Senate.

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2012

When can and do bills enacted into law actually take effect?

Stateline Midwest ~ June 2012

When voters in California, Colorado and Oklahoma approved the nation’s first state legislative term limits in 1992, they triggered a wave of similar reforms that eventually produced term limit laws in more than 20 states. A decade later, the wave had crested, and it’s now been almost a dozen years since such a measure has been approved.

Stateline Midwest ~ July/August 2012

Representation of women in state elective office has increased in the Midwest over the past 35 years, but since the late 1990s, the gains have slowed — and even stopped in some instances. Exactly why the percentages have flat-lined since the 1990s is unclear, much like some of the other questions involving the under-representation of women in state government.

            Members of the CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation (SSL Committee) got a lot done in 2011 and 2012. This national, bipartisan group of state legislators and legislative staff met three times to complete work on the 2012 volume and to review bills for the 2013 edition. The Committee reviewed 299 bills. They selected 55 to complete the 2012 volume and 42 to publish as drafts in the 2013 volume. The 2012 edition is available at the CSG SSL...

In the relatively few state legislative and gubernatorial elections in 2011, Republicans continued their winning streak in Southern states, coming closer to complete control of states in the region by taking over the Mississippi House for the first time since Reconstruction and by taking back functional control of the Virginia Senate. The four odd-year election states of Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia staged regular elections for 578 legislative seats in 2011. In the end, Republicans picked up 25 seats in the off-year elections, adding to their dramatic gains from the year before and putting the party in its strongest position in state legislatures since 1928.

Chapter 3 of the 2012 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables: