Learning the Game


Of all the games in town it would be difficult to find one more mysterious, unpredictable and least understood than the state legislative game.

It is, however, a game not to be taken lightly. What your state legislature does affects many facets of your life—the taxes you pay, the highways on which you drive, public schools, the state supported colleges and universities you or your children may have attended, the state parks that provide recreation for you and your family, social programs your state provides, funding for your state's judicial system; the list goes on.

One thing that makes it mysterious, unpredictable and difficult to understand is that it is not a rational process. You might think otherwise. But in the everyday world of legislative bodies, nothing works quite the way you expect it to. Alexander Hamilton had it right when he commented, in "The Federalist Papers": "I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies must necessarily be a compound, as well of the errors and prejudices as of the good sense and wisdom of the individuals of whom they are composed.”

The following tabs outline how the legislative game works, the key players, the rules of the game and an overall reflection on the institution of the legislature and the role of representative democracy. 

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