The NCSL Blog


By Karl Kurtz

TheThicketSmallAnother wetland has fallen prey to development.

The victim this time is The Thicket at State Legislatures, and the development is NCSL's spiffy redesigned website, which prominently features The NCSL Blog. The NCSL Blog will absorb and continue to cover the primary beat of The Thicket--the practice of representative democracy, state politics and elections, and federalism--but it will expand its coverage to include state policy issues and NCSL news and priorities.

So, welcome to The NCSL Blog and farewell to The Thicket. The Thicket will continue to exist as an archive of useful information (historically, more than half of the hits to The Thicket have come from search engines, indicating that readers were seeking information provided by the blog), but there will be no new posts. The NCSL Blog provides a link to the old posts in The Thicket.

The Thicket, which took it's name from Justice Felix Frankfurter's famous phrase about how redistricting is a political thicket, was a labor of love for seven years. We launched The Thicket in May 2006 and posted 1,657 stories since that time.

Our readers have included 378,577 unique visitors from 192 countries who have viewed 691,653 pages. Those are small numbers compared to the big guys (The Huffington Post gets as many visitors in a day as The Thicket did in seven years). But we have been happy in our quiet niche--"by and for legislative junkies"--and have been proud of our work.

Far and away the most popular story ever posted in The Thicket was "Movies About Ethical Dilemmas". It has received twice as many pageviews as the next most popular posting. Here are the top 10 stories of all time:

  1. Movies About Ethical Dilemmas by Peggy Kerns (September 2009)
  2. Fire Alarms and Police Patrols: Two Approaches to Legislative Oversight by Karl Kurtz (October 2009)
  3. The Closest U.S. Presidential Race in History was ... by Mark Wolf (November 2012)
  4. Republic or Representative Democracy by Karl Kurtz (September 2011)
  5. Who will Meet in 2011? by Meagan Dorsch (December 2012)
  6. Full-time or Part-time Legislature: Which is Better? by Karl Kurtz (February 2013)
  7. Keeping up With Online Legislative Tracking Services by Jo Anne Bourquard (January 2011)
  8. How to Run for the Legislature by Karl Kurtz (October 2006)
  9. Historical Party Affiliations of State Legislatures by Karl Kurtz (September 2007)
  10. Legislative Walkouts are Nothing New by Karl Kurtz (February 2011)

See you over at The NCSL blog.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.