The Legislative Branch of State Government

People, Process, and Politics

by Thomas H. Little and David B. Ogle


State legislatures are at the heart of the American political system. Scenes of both flamboyant partisanship and innovative compromise, state legislatures often take the lead on issues affecting the entire nation, engaging in a dynamic give-and-take with Washington in the course of making laws that shape our lives.

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Cover image for The Legislative Branch of State Government

April 2006


Pages 491
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/General
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    Hardcover: £67.00/73,00€/A$112.00

This comprehensive volume examines the historic and contemporary role of the state legislatures and assemblies of all 50 states, offering insight into important details of how each of these legislative bodies functions.

The Legislative Branch of State Government: People, Process, and Politics is one of three titles in ABC-CLIO's About State Government set, offering comprehensive coverage of contemporary American politics at the state level. Each of the three volumes focuses on a specific governmental branch, providing both general information and comparative details on how that branch operates in each state.

Ranging from colonial times to the present, this volume takes a broad look at how the nation's state legislative institutions have evolved and operate. Combined with the other two volumes in the set, a clear overview of state government emerges. The Legislative Branch of State Government covers the historical, constitutional, and political environment in which state legislatures exist, then focuses on their functions and processes, the people who serve in them, and their interaction with other key political institutions. A concluding chapter looks at characteristics that make each of the 50 state legislative bodies fascinating and unique.


  • A narrative chronology of the development of state legislatures in America from the colonial era to the present, including remarkable stories and traditions of the nation's legislative bodies
  • Easy-to-follow graphics depicting, for example, how a bill becomes a law and how the separation of powers and the principle of checks and balances define the relationship among the branches of government


  • A unique and comprehensive work that examines how the nation's state legislatures are both similar to and different from one another, information invaluable for students of civics and government
  • Numerous text boxes that provide deeper discussions of significant legislative cases and legislators in action
  • Intriguing information about each state legislature and a wealth of stories that bring the processes to life
Author Info

Thomas H. Little, PhD, is adjunct instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on state legislatures, leadership, and elections as well as publications designed to help legislative leaders perform their jobs more effectively.

David B. Ogle is an independent consultant on legislative process and organization and democracy development with more than 35 years of experience working with legislative and parliamentary bodies. He is the author of two books on American state legislatures, and he has written numerous monographs, articles, and reports on legislative organization, management, and process as well as civic education. He has served as a consultant to seven American state legislatures and to legislative and parliamentary bodies in eighteen countries.



"Besides offering comprehensive coverage, the set is well written and accessible to general readers. . . . About State Government highlights the significant role of state governments in a format that is manageable and engaging. It is recommended for high school, college, and public libraries."Booklist

"The Legislative Branch of State Government: People, Process, and Politics provides a good deal of useful background information that students and other interested readers will appreciate. It is easy to use and full of facts and explanations. . . . Where budgets permit, high school, public, and undergraduate libraries should consider purchasing the whole series."Against the Grain

"Strongly recommended for academic and community library political science collections."Midwest Book Review

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