Writing:Introductory section of a state legislature profile

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This page is a content-and-style guide about how to write the lead (or introductory) section in articles about state legislative chambers.

Information to include in the lead section

Note that when you are writing an article about the combined chamber, such as the Alaska State Legislature, you will be repeating or doubling-up on some of this material:

  • The name of the chamber.
  • An alternate name, if the chamber is commonly referred to by a name other than its official name.
  • How many members sit in the chamber, and how many districts there are.
  • The size of population each of them represents.
  • Where the legislature meets
  • The length of term in office, when someone is elected to the position.
  • Whether or not term limits apply and if so, to what extent. (You will find this information at: State legislatures with term limits)
  • For the current year, when the legislative session began and ended, or will begin and end.
  • Budget information and staffing levels, if known, as in California State Senate.
  • When the next election to the chamber will take place, and how many legislators in the chamber it will impact.

Research

You will find nearly all of this information on the official website for the chamber in question, although sometimes the official websites don't tell you:

  • Whether term limits apply. You can, however, find that information at the U.S. Term Limits website.
  • The size of population each legislator represents
  • Budget information and staffing levels

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