Term Limits and the Dismantling of State Legislative Professionalism

Term Limits and the Dismantling of State Legislative Professionalism

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Thad Kousser
Cambridge University Press
Edition: First Edition, 2/3/2005
EAN 9780521548731, ISBN10: 052154873X

Paperback, 288 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
Language: English

The wisdom of term limits and professional politics has been debated since the time of Aristotle, spurring 'reforms' of legislatures in Athens, Rome, Venice, and in the US under the Articles of Confederation. This book examines recent trends in American states in order to investigate the age-old question of how the rules that govern a legislature affect the behavior of its members and the policies that it produces. The clear and consistent finding is that the two reforms have countervailing effects: whatever professionalization has brought more of, term limits have reduced. This lesson comes from quantitative analyses of data from all fifty states and detailed examinations of legislative records from six states, informed by interviews with over one hundred legislators, staff assistants, lobbyists, journalists, and executive officials.

Part I. The Many Designs of American State Legislature
1. Introduction
2. Narratives of change in six states
Part II. How Design Affects a Legislature's Form
3. The stability of leadership
how long do 'First Among Equals' last?
4. The role of committees
independent actors or agents?
5. Patterns in legislative achievement
Part III. How Design Affects a Legislature's Function
6. Bargaining between the legislative and executive branches
7. The production of policy innovation
8. Conclusions
9. Epilogue
adaptations to term limits.