This state legislative article needs to be expanded.
A state legislature
is a generic term referring to the legislative
body of any of the country's 50 states
. The formal name varies from state to state. In 24 states, the legislature is simply called the "Legislature," or the "State Legislature", while in 19 states, the legislature is called the "General Assembly." In Massachusetts
and New Hampshire
, the legislature is called the "General Court," while North Dakota
designate the legislature as the "Legislative Assembly."
Every state (except Nebraska) has a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers (or "houses"); Nebraska has a unicameral, or one-chamber legislature. In all bicameral legislatures, the smaller chamber is called the "Senate" and is usually referred to as the "upper house." (Nebraskan legislators are referred to as "senators" for historical reasons; when the legislature was reorganized, the lower house was abolished and the Senate renamed). The smaller chamber usually, but not always, has the exclusive power to confirm appointments made by the governor and to try articles of impeachment. (In a few states, a separate Executive Council, composed of members elected from large districts, performs the confirmation function.) Members of the smaller chamber represent more citizens and usually serve for longer terms than members of the larger chamber, generally four years. In 41 states, the larger chamber is called the "House of Representatives." Five states designate the larger chamber the "Assembly" and three states call it the "House of Delegates." Members of the larger chamber usually serve for terms of two years. The larger chamber customarily has the exclusive power to initiate taxing legislation and articles of impeachment.
Joint legislative committees
- See also: State legislatures measures on the ballot
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