Legislating Without Experience: Case Studies in State Legislative Term Limits

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Rick Farmer, Christopher Z. Mooney, John C. Green, Richard Powell
Lexington Books, 2007 - Political Science - 245 pages
Legislative term limits are reshaping the political landscape in numerous states; however, few of the effects are consistent across all states. Everything from the political environment to the level of legislative professionalism within a state influences the trends that are often attributed to term limits. To cut through these many trends and isolate the ones most likely created by term limits, this volume develops comparisons of states with term limits to similar states without term limits. The comparisons are organized by levels of legislative professionalism. The richness of the case study approach allows the contributors to Legislating Without Experience to offer valuable insights into the legislative process in each of the specific states. They also illuminate the individual idiosyncrasies that enhance or dilute the effects of term limits in a given state. Rarely does a case study book with multiple contributors offer apples-to-apples data comparisons. This project engaged nationally recognized scholars to collect and analyze comparable data in each state. The loss of major power brokers and their institutional memory makes the legislature a more chaotic place. Legislating Without Experience argues that on the whole, the legislature as an institution has been weakened by term limits. However, these effects vary from state to state based on the specifics of the limit and the degree of legislative professionalism. Importantly, legislative actors are adapting to the limits and making the best of a difficult situation. This book will be an excellent reference for students and scholars of state politics, legislative process, and term limits.

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Introduction Accelerating Change with Term Limits
Professionalized State Legislatures
Institutional Imbalance The Effect of Sixyear Limits in California
Legislative Power in the Buckeye State The Revenge of Term Limits
Truncated Careers in Professionalized State Legislatures
SemiProfessionalized State Legislatures
The Effects of Legislative Term Limits in Arizona More Churning More Chaos and a Diminished Institutional Role for Legislators
Colorado Legislative Term Limits The Worst of Both Worlds
Citizen Legislatures
Term Limits in the Arkansas General Assembly A Citizen Legislature Responds
Institutional Change and Legislative Term Limits in Maine
Its All About the Turnover Term Limits in Citizen Legislatures
Living With Term Limits
About the Contributors

Out with the Old Heads and in with the Young Turks The Effects of Term Limits in SemiProfessional State Legislatures

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About the author (2007)

Rick Farmer is director of committee staff at the Oklahoma House of Representatives and a fellow at the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. Christopher Z. Mooney is professor of Political Studies with the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at University of Illinois at Springfield. Richard J. Powell is associate professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. John C. Green is director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron.

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