Difference between revisions of "State government trifectas"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Breakdown by states)
m (Breakdown by states)
Line 162: Line 162:
 
|6
 
|6
 
|-
 
|-
|colspan="2" align="left"|<small>''Note:Delaware is not included above. The Legislature acts alone on constitutional amendments.''</small>
+
|colspan="2" align="left"|<small>''Note: Delaware is not included above. The Legislature acts alone on constitutional amendments.''</small>
 
|}
 
|}
  

Revision as of 13:02, 26 December 2012

A state government trifecta is when one political party holds the following three positions in a state's government:
BallotpediaExclusives.png

In other words, a trifecta occurs when there is no divided government. The concept of the trifecta is important in state lawmaking because in many states, the governor, senate majority leader and house majority leader play decisive roles in the legislative process.

As of December 2014 there are 36 total trifectas.

The 36 trifectas is the most across the country in more than 60 years and represents a growing shift away from divided government.[1][2] There are two additional "elected trifectas" -- however, power-sharing complexities have removed those states from the trifecta count.

Trifecta plus

As of December 2012, the following 12 states have a Trifecta Plus. In three states, the Democratic Party has a trifecta while the State Supreme Court has a working majority of justices that tend to support progressive jurisprudence. In nine states, the Republican Party has a trifecta while the State Supreme Court has a working majority of justices that tend to support conservative/libertarian issues.

Trifectas can be further analyzed by adding in an additional dataset -- State Supreme Court's. In some states, the State Supreme Court justice is elected on a partisan ticket, while in some cases the elected justices are non-partisan. Still in other states, the justices are appointed. However, in many cases, there is an effective understanding that a working majority of the court sides with either conservative or progressive issues.

A Trifecta Plus for the Democratic Party is a state with a Trifecta and a working majority of the State's High Court that tends to support progressive jurisprudence. A Trifecta Plus for the GOP is a state with a Trifecta and a working majority of the State's High Court that tends to support conservative/libertarian jurisprudence.

Based upon judicial analysis, there are 22 states where the State Supreme Court can be labeled as leaning in one direction or the other. Incorporating the trifecta data, the following is a breakdown of the states with a Trifecta Plus, as of December 2012.

Democratic Party Trifecta Plus

  • Illinois
  • Oregon
  • West Virginia

Republican Party Trifecta Plus

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

The judicial landscape of the courts is based upon the Democratic Judicial Campaign Committee's analysis.[3]

Trifectas and supermajorities

As of December 2012, there are 21 states where there is a trifecta and a supermajority in the legislature. Of those 21 states, 14 are Republican and 7 are Democratic.

In addition to having a trifecta, it is also worth exploring which states have supermajorities. The supermajority allows a party in power to further exert its influence over the minority party.

As of December 2012, there are 21 states with a trifecta and a supermajority and 15 states with a trifecta but no legislative supermajority. The breakdown is as follows:[4]

Democratic Party Democratic trifectas and supermajorities

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • West Virginia

Republican Party Republican trifectas and supermajorities

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Democratic Party Democratic trifectas without supermajorities

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

Republican Party Republican trifectas without supermajorities

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Elections

2012

See also: Democratic and Republican state government trifectas heading into the 2012 elections

Heading into the 2012 elections there were 33 total trifectas in the United States. After the election, there were five new trifectas, bringing the total to 38 trifectas. However, following the election, power-sharing arrangements in two states reduced the total trifectas to 36.

Trifecta complexities

There are three states that complicate the labeling of trifectas. These three unique situations brought the total trifectas from 37 to 36, decreasing the Democratic states by two and adding one GOP state.

  • In New York, the Democratic party by virtue of the elections controls all three levels of government. However, a power-sharing agreement was reached that gave control of the State Senate over to the Republicans, after five elected Democrats pledged to caucus with the GOP. This burst the Democratic trifecta, reducing the total trifectas by one state.[5]
  • In Virginia, the State Senate is a tied chamber as a result of the 2011 elections. However, the tiebreaking vote is cast by the Lieutenant Governor, who is a Republican. Thus, control of the Governorship and state legislature effectively rests with the Republicans. This gives Republicans an additional trifecta, increasing the total trifectas by one state.[6]
  • In Washington, the Democratic by virtue of the elections controls all three levels of government. However, a power-sharing agreement was reached that gave control of the State Senate over to the Republicans, after two conservative Democrats pledged to elected Republican leadership to the chamber. This burst the Democratic trifecta, reducing the total trifectas by one state.[7]
 Trifectas Before and After the 2012 Election 

2010

See also: Democratic and Republican state government trifectas heading into the 2010 elections

Heading into the 2010 elections there were 25 total trifectas in the United States. After the election, there were seven new trifectas, bringing the total to 32 trifectas.

 Trifectas Before and After the 2012 Election 

Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment

See also: Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment

A legislatively-referred constitutional amendment is a proposed constitutional amendment that appears on a state's ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.

A legislatively-referred constitutional amendment is a limited form of direct democracy with comparison to the initiated constitutional amendment. With the initiated constitutional amendment, voters can initiate the amendment and approve it, whereas with the legislatively-referred amendment, they can only approve or reject amendments initiated by their state's legislature.

49 states have a law in place that allows citizens to vote on proposed constitutional amendments offered by the state legislature. The exception is Delaware, where the legislature alone acts on constitutional amendments.

Breakdown by states

Breakdown of all 50 states
Requirement By Type Total States
Majority one session 9
Majority two sessions 7
60% supermajority 9
2/3 supermajority 18
Multiple options 6
Note: Delaware is not included above. The Legislature acts alone on constitutional amendments.

Nine states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in one session of the state's legislature. All 10 states have both chambers of the legislature controlled by a single party.

Seven states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in two successive sessions of the state's legislature. With the exception of New York, all other states have both chambers of the legislature controlled by a single party.

Nine states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a 60% supermajority vote in one session of the state's legislature. States with a 60% supermajority include Alabama and Maryland. Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio have the required supermajority if you assume some independents caucus with the majority party.[4]

Eighteen states allow a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a 2/3rds supermajority vote in one session of the state's legislature. States with a 2/3rd supermajority include California, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming. Georgia has the required supermajority if you assume some independents caucus with the majority party.[4]

Six states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Vermont) have an either/or system: a proposed amendment must be passed by simple majority in two separate legislative sessions, or by a supermajority vote of one session.[8] All four states have both chambers of the state legislature controlled by a single party. Additionally, Hawaii Democrats control both chambers with a supermajority.

New Mexico has a unique provision such that any amendments to the New Mexico Constitution proposed by the New Mexico State Legislature that would "restrict the rights created by Section 1 or Section 3 of Article VII or Section 8 and Section 10 of Article XII must win a 75% vote of the state legislature to go on the ballot.

See also

By Geoff Pallay
Geoff Pallay.jpg
EmailSubmit a link

References