Trends in State Legislatures

Legislatures are the engines of representative democracy in the American states. They are the arenas in which the processes for choosing policies, setting priorities and reaching settlements among conflicting values and interests take place. This essay points out trends and directions in which state legislatures are moving, the significant issues confronting them and offers a framework for thinking about the current condition of state legislatures.

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About the Authors
Rich Jones is the director of Legislative Programs at the National Conference of State  Legislatures (NCSL). He has written extensively about state legislatures and legislative operations and has consulted with a large number of state legislatures on issues relating to legislative procedures and staff structure.

Alan Rosenthal is a professor of public policy and political science at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. He has written extensively about state legislatures, including The Decline of Representative Democracy. Currently, he is working on a book that focuses on the job of the state legislature.

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