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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Do You Know Your State Legislature?

2007 July 18 - NPAT

Is it a General Court, a Legislative Assembly, a Legislature or a General Assembly? All of which are names for state legislatures nationwide.

New Hampshire proudly declares that its House of Representatives, with an amazing 400 members is the third largest parliamentary body in the English speaking world, behind the United States Congress and the British Parliament. The New Hampshire General Court is completed with a 24 member State Senate.

At the other end of the scale with 49 members is Nebraska with its unique status as the only state to have a unicameral state legislature. Fondly known as the Unicam, members of this legislature are known as Senators.

A total of nine states don't replicate the national legislative bodies, of a Senate and a House of Representatives as five states, including California, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin have Assemblies rather than State Houses in their state legislatures.

Additionally, in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland the State House is full of Delegates, not Representatives. (Number nine is Nebraska, as noted above)

A final quirk of state legislatures is that besides having a variety of names and varying terms of office Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia also have their general state legislature elections in ‘off years' (odd numbered years).

Thought you knew your state legislatures? Take the time to check it out, you might be surprised at what you discover.

By: Helen Broad, Research Intern, Summer 2007

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