State legislature (United States)
A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U. S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is 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 and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly; every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers or houses. In each case the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is referred to as the upper house; this chamber but not always, has the exclusive power to confirm appointments made by the governor and to try articles of impeachment. Members of the smaller chamber represent more citizens and serve for longer terms than members of the larger chamber 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 serve for terms of two years; the larger chamber customarily has the exclusive power to initiate taxing legislation and articles of impeachment. Prior to United States Supreme Court decisions Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr in the 1960s, the basis of representation in most state legislatures was modeled on that of the U. S. Congress: the state senators represented geographical units while members of the larger chamber represented population. In 1964, the United States Supreme Court announced the one man, one vote standard and invalidated state legislative representation based on geography. Nebraska had a bicameral legislature like the other states, but the lower house was abolished following a referendum, effective with the 1936 elections; the remaining unicameral legislature is called the Nebraska Legislature, but its members continue to be called senators. As a legislative branch of government, a legislature performs state duties for a state in the same way that the United States Congress performs national duties at the national level.
The same system of checks and balances that exists at the Federal level exists between the state legislature, the state executive officer and the state judiciary, though the degree to which this is so varies from one state to the next. During a legislative session, the legislature considers matters introduced by its members or submitted by the governor. Businesses and other special interest organizations lobby the legislature to obtain beneficial legislation, defeat unfavorably perceived measures, or influence other legislative action. A legislature approves the state's operating and capital budgets, which may begin as a legislative proposal or a submission by the governor. Under the terms of Article V of the U. S. Constitution, state lawmakers retain the power to ratify Constitutional amendments which have been proposed by both houses of Congress and they retain the ability to call for a national convention to propose amendments to the U. S. Constitution. After the convention has concluded its business 75% of the states will be required to ratify what the convention has proposed.
Under Article II, state legislatures choose the manner of appointing the state's presidential electors. State legislatures appointed the U. S. Senators from their respective states until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913 required the direct election of Senators by the state's voters; the legislative bodies and their committees use either Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure or an amended form thereof. During official meetings, a professional parliamentarian is available to ensure that legislation and accompanying discussion proceed as orderly as possible without bias; the lawmaking process begins with the introduction of a bill in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Bills may be introduced in either house, sometimes with the exception of bills increasing or decreasing revenue, which must originate in the House of Representatives; the order of business in each house provides a proper time for the introduction of bills. Bills are assigned consecutive numbers, given in the order of their introduction, to facilitate identification.
A bill cannot become enacted until it has been read on a certain number of days in each house. Upon introduction, a bill is read by its title only, constituting the first reading of the bill; because a bill is read by title only, it is important that the title give the members notice of the subject matter contained in the bill. As with other legislative bodies throughout the world, U. S. state legislatures operate through committees when considering proposed bills. Thus, committee action is the most important phase of the legislative process. Most bills cannot be enacted into law until it has been referred to, acted upon by, returned from, a standing committee in each house. Reference to committee follows the first reading of the bill; each committee is set up to consider bills relating to a particular subject. Standing committees are charged with the important responsibility of examining bills and recommending action to the Senate or House. On days when a legislature is not in session, the committees of each house meet and consider the bills that have been referred to them to decide if the assigned bills should be reported f
Proportional representation characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party roughly n% of seats will be won by that party; the essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats; the most used families of PR electoral systems are party list PR, the single transferable vote, mixed member proportional representation. With party list PR, political parties define candidate voters vote for a list; the relative vote for each list determines how many candidates from each list are elected. Lists can be "closed" or "open".
Voting districts can be as large as a province or an entire nation. The single transferable vote uses small multiple-member districts, with voters ranking individual candidates in order of preference. During the count, as candidates are elected or eliminated, surplus or discarded votes that would otherwise be wasted are transferred to other candidates according to the preferences. STV enables voters to elect independent candidates. Mixed member proportional representation called the additional member system, is a two-tier mixed electoral system combining a non-proportional plurality/majoritarian election and a compensatory regional or national party list PR election. Voters have two votes, one for their single-member district and one for the party list, the party list vote determining the balance of the parties in the elected body. According to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, some form of proportional representation is used for national lower house elections in 94 countries. Party list PR, being used in 85 countries, is the most used.
MMP is used in seven lower houses. STV, despite long being advocated by political scientists, is used in only two: Ireland, since independence in 1922, Malta, since 1921; as with all electoral systems, both accepted and opposing claims are made about the advantages and disadvantages of PR. The case for proportional representation was made by John Stuart Mill in his 1861 essay Considerations on Representative Government: In a representative body deliberating, the minority must of course be overruled, but does it follow that the minority should have no representatives at all?... Is it necessary that the minority should not be heard? Nothing but habit and old association can reconcile any reasonable being to the needless injustice. In a equal democracy, every or any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives.
Man for man, they would be as represented as the majority. Unless they are, there is not equal government... There is a part whose fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, above all, contrary to the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its root and foundation. Many academic political theorists agree with Mill, that in a representative democracy the representatives should represent all segments of society. PR tries to resolve the unfairness of majoritarian and plurality voting systems where the largest parties receive an "unfair" "seat bonus" and smaller parties are disadvantaged and have difficulty winning any representation at all; the established parties in UK elections can win formal control of the parliament with as little as 35% of votes. In certain Canadian elections, majority governments have been formed by parties with the support of under 40% of votes cast. If turnout levels in the electorate are less than 60%, such outcomes allow a party to form a majority government by convincing as few as one quarter of the electorate to vote for it.
In the 2005 UK election, for example, the Labour Party under Tony Blair won a comfortable parliamentary majority with the votes of only 21.6% of the total electorate. Such misrepresentation has been criticized as "no longer a question of'fairness' but of elementary rights of citizens". Note intermediate PR systems with a high electoral threshold, or other features that reduce proportionality, are not much fairer: in the Turkish general election, 2002, using an open list system with a 10% threshold, 46% of votes were wasted. Plurality/majoritarian systems can disproportionately benefit regional parties that can win districts where they have a strong following, while other parties with national support but no strongholds, like the Greens, win few or no seats. An example is the Bloc Québécois in Canada that won 52 seats in the 1993 federal election, all in Quebec, on 13.5% of the national vote, while the Progressive Conservatives collapsed to two seats on 16% spread nationally. In the 2015 UK General Election, the Scottish National Party gained 56 seats, all in Sc
An electoral district, election district, or legislative district, called a voting district by the US Census is a territorial subdivision for electing members to a legislative body. Only voters who reside within the district are permitted to vote in an election held there. From a single district, a single member or multiple members might be chosen. Members might be chosen by a first-past-the-post system or a proportional representative system, or another voting method entirely. Members might be chosen through a direct election under universal suffrage, an indirect election, or another form of suffrage; the names for electoral districts vary across countries and for the office being elected. The term constituency is used to refer to an electoral district in British English, but it can refer to the body of eligible voters or all the residents of the represented area or only those who voted for a certain candidate; the terms precinct and election district are more common in American English. In Australia and New Zealand, electoral districts are called electorates, however elsewhere the term electorate refers to the body of voters.
In India electoral districts are referred to as "Nirvachan Kshetra" in Hindi, which can be translated to English as "electoral area" though the official English translation for the term is "constituency". The term "Nirvachan Kshetra" is used while referring to an electoral district in general irrespective of the legislature; when referring to a particular legislatorial constituency, it is referred to as "Kshetra" along with the name of the legislature, in Hindi. Electoral districts for municipal or other local bodies are called "wards". In Canada, districts are colloquially called ridings. Local electoral districts are sometimes called wards, a term which designates administrative subdivisions of a municipality. In local government in the Republic of Ireland voting districts are called "electoral areas". District magnitude is the number of representatives elected from a given district to the same legislative body. A single-member district has one representative. Voting systems that seek proportional representation inherently require multi-member districts, the larger the district magnitude the more proportional a system will tend to be Non-proportional systems may use multi-member districts, as in the House of Commons until 1950, Singapore's Group Representation Constituency, or the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Under proportional representation systems, district magnitude is an important determinant of the makeup of the elected body. With a larger number of winners, candidates are able to represent proportionately smaller minorities; the geographic distribution of minorities affects their representation - an unpopular nationwide minority can still secure a seat if they are concentrated in a particular district. District magnitude can sometimes vary within the same system during an election. In the Republic of Ireland, for instance, national elections to Dáil Éireann are held using a combination of 3, 4, 5 member districts. In Hong Kong, the magnitude ranged from 3 to 5 in 1998, when the current electoral system was introduced for Legislative Council geographical constituency elections, will range from 5 to 9 in the forthcoming election in September 2012; the only democracies with one single nationwide electoral district and no other territorial correctors are Fiji, The Netherlands, Mozambique, South Africa and Serbia.
Main articles: Apportionment and RedistrictingApportionment is the process of allocating a number of representatives to different regions, such as states or provinces. Apportionment changes are accompanied by redistricting, the redrawing of electoral district boundaries to accommodate the new number of representatives; this redrawing is necessary under single-member district systems, as each new representative requires their own district. Multi-member systems, vary depending on other rules. Ireland, for example, redraws its electoral districts after every census while Belgium uses its existing administrative boundaries for electoral districts and instead modifies the number of representatives allotted to each. Israel and the Netherlands avoid the need for apportionment by electing legislators at-large. Apportionment is done on the basis of population. Seats in the United States House of Representatives, for instance, are reapportioned to individual states every 10 years following a census, with some states that have grown in population gaining seats.
By contrast, seats in the Cantonal Council of Zürich are reapportioned in every election based on the number of votes cast in each district, only made possible by use of multi-member districts, the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by contrast, is apportioned without regard to population. Malapportionment occurs when voters are under- or over-represented due to variation in district population. Given the complexity of this process, softwa
Montana is a landlocked state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more "The Last Best Place". Montana is the 4th largest in area, the 8th least populous, the 3rd least densely populated of the 50 U. S. states. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In all, 77 named; the eastern half of Montana is characterized by badlands. Montana is bordered by Idaho to the west, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan to the north; the economy is based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic resources include oil, coal, hard rock mining, lumber; the health care and government sectors are significant to the state's economy. The state's fastest-growing sector is tourism.
Nearly 13 million tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, Big Sky Resort, other attractions. The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña, which in turn comes from the Latin word Montanea, meaning "mountain", or more broadly, "mountainous country". Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to the entire mountainous region of the west; the name Montana was added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, chaired at the time by Rep. James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory; the name was changed by Representatives Henry Wilson and Benjamin F. Harding, who complained Montana had "no meaning"; when Ashley presented a bill to establish a temporary government in 1864 for a new territory to be carved out of Idaho, he again chose Montana Territory. This time Rep. Samuel Cox of Ohio, objected to the name. Cox complained the name was a misnomer given most of the territory was not mountainous and that a Native American name would be more appropriate than a Spanish one.
Other names such as Shoshone were suggested, but it was decided the Committee on Territories could name it whatever they wanted, so the original name of Montana was adopted. Montana is one of the nine Mountain States, located in the north of the region known as the Western United States, it borders North South Dakota to the east. Wyoming is to the south, Idaho is to the west and southwest, three Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, are to the north. With an area of 147,040 square miles, Montana is larger than Japan, it is the fourth largest state in the United States after Alaska and California. S. state. The state's topography is defined by the Continental Divide, which splits much of the state into distinct eastern and western regions. Most of Montana's 100 or more named mountain ranges are in the state's western half, most of, geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains; the Absaroka and Beartooth ranges in the state's south-central part are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains.
The Rocky Mountain Front is a significant feature in the state's north-central portion, isolated island ranges that interrupt the prairie landscape common in the central and eastern parts of the state. About 60 percent of the state is part of the northern Great Plains; the Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico—along with smaller ranges, including the Coeur d'Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains, divide the state from Idaho. The southern third of the Bitterroot range blends into the Continental Divide. Other major mountain ranges west of the Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Range, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, Flint Creek Range; the Divide's northern section, where the mountains give way to prairie, is part of the Rocky Mountain Front. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak.
It causes the Waterton River and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which empties into Hudson Bay. East of the divide, several parallel ranges cover the state's southern part, including the Gravelly Range, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka Mountains and the Beartooth Mountains; the Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet high in the continental United States. It contains Granite Peak, 12,799 feet high. North of these ranges are the Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Roots, several island ranges, including the Crazy Mountains and Little Belt Mountains. Between many mountain ranges are rich river valleys; the Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Gallatin Valley, Flathead Valley, Paradise Valley have extensive agricultural resources and multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. East and north of this transition zone are the expansive and sparsely populated Northern Plains, with tableland prairies, smaller island mountain ranges, badlands.
The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Bear Paw Mountains, Bull Mountains, Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Highwood Mountains, Judi
Delaware is one of the 50 states of the United States, in the South-Atlantic or Southern region. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, north by Pennsylvania, east by New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean; the state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor. Delaware occupies the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. It's the sixth most densely populated. Delaware's largest city is Wilmington; the state is divided into the lowest number of any state. From north to south, they are New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County. While the southern two counties have been predominantly agricultural, New Castle County is more industrialized. Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Delaware was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans, including the Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south, it was colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael, near the present town of Lewes, in 1631.
Delaware was one of the 13 colonies participating in the American Revolution. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, has since been known as "The First State"; the state was named after the Delaware River, which in turn derived its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, the ruling governor of the Colony of Virginia at the time Europeans first explored the river. The Delaware Indians, a name used by Europeans for Lenape people indigenous to the Delaware Valley derive their name from the same source; the surname de La Warr is of Anglo-Norman origin. It came from a Norman lieu-dit La Guerre; this toponymic could derive from the Latin word ager, from the Breton gwern or from the Late Latin varectum. The toponyms Gara, Gaire appear in old texts cited by Lucien Musset, where the word gara means gore, it could be linked with a patronymic from the Old Norse verr. Delaware is 96 miles long and ranges from 9 miles to 35 miles across, totaling 1,954 square miles, making it the second-smallest state in the United States after Rhode Island.
Delaware is bounded to the north by Pennsylvania. Small portions of Delaware are situated on the eastern side of the Delaware River sharing land boundaries with New Jersey; the state of Delaware, together with the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and two counties of Virginia, form the Delmarva Peninsula, which stretches down the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The definition of the northern boundary of the state is unusual. Most of the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania was defined by an arc extending 12 miles from the cupola of the courthouse in the city of New Castle; this boundary is referred to as the Twelve-Mile Circle. Although the Twelve-Mile Circle is claimed to be the only territorial boundary in the United States, a true arc, the Mexican boundary with Texas includes several arcs, many cities in the South have circular boundaries; this border extends all the way east to the low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore continues south along the shoreline until it again reaches the 12-mile arc in the south.
To the west, a portion of the arc extends past the easternmost edge of Maryland. The remaining western border runs east of due south from its intersection with the arc; the Wedge of land between the northwest part of the arc and the Maryland border was claimed by both Delaware and Pennsylvania until 1921, when Delaware's claim was confirmed. Delaware is with the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation, its highest elevation, located at Ebright Azimuth, near Concord High School, is less than 450 feet above sea level. The northernmost part of the state is part of the Piedmont Plateau with rolling surfaces; the Atlantic Seaboard fall line follows the Robert Kirkwood Highway between Newark and Wilmington. A ridge about 75 to 80 feet in elevation extends along the western boundary of the state and separates the watersheds that feed Delaware River and Bay to the east and the Chesapeake Bay to the west. Since all of Delaware is a part of the Atlantic coastal plain, the effects of the ocean moderate its climate.
The state lies in the humid subtropical climate zone. Despite its small size, there is significant variation in mean temperature and amount of snowfall between Sussex County and New Castle County. Moderated by the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, the southern portion of the state has a milder climate and a longer growing season than the northern portion of the state. Delaware's all-time record high of 110 °F was recorded at Millsboro on July 21, 1930; the all-time record low of −17 °F was recorded at Millsboro on January 17, 1893. The transitional climate of Delaware supports a wide variety of vegetation. In the northern third of the state are found Northeastern coastal forests and mixed oak forests typical of the northeastern United States. In the southern two-thirds of the state are found Middle Atlantic coastal forests. Trap Pond State Park, along with areas in other parts of Sussex County, for example, support