101 Chambers Review

1263 Words Nov 26th, 2014 6 Pages
James Taylor
10/15/12
State and Local Government

Review of 101 Chambers written by Peverill Squire and Keith E. Hamm Squire and Hamm begin their writings with introducing the reader to the historical lineage of American legislatures and their evolution from colonial days to the modern government. The colonial institutions "have greatly influenced the design of the new Congress under the Constitution" (Squire and Hamm 34). The bicameral system had its originations in colonial governments and the original colonial constitutions had a large impact on the future constitutions. The bicameral legislation structure that is now common in the United States began in the colonial era. The original colonies has systems that greatly resembled
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Squire and Hamm discussed how the modern day legislatures in the United States come from common ancestors and the evolution from the unicameral system to the bicameral. The authors also show how the idea of institutional diffusion occurred with one state beginning to form a constitution and structure, then others following suit soon after in most cases. Member service longevity is not a trend that can be easily compared among states due to conflicting constitutional laws and the ability to move into higher elective offices. When comparing state governments to Congress, the states have a higher turnover rate because there are two sources of turnover that the Congress does not have to deal with. One is that certain state chambers are described as springboard states, where the representatives have a better chance of gaining a higher elected office than other states do. When the legislator has a chance to rise in the government there tends to be a higher turnover rate. These legislators "also tend to be more responsive to constituents on policy preferences than are legislators in other sorts of chambers" (Maestas 2000). Term limits also play a large role in the turnover rates in state governments compared to that of Congress' rates. States that have term limits seem to have higher rates due to the fact that "legislators in term-limited legislatures are less obliged to focus on their