Veto-Proof Majorities in State Legislatures

9/29/2020

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To become law, a bill must typically pass through the legislature and be signed by the governor. If the governor vetoes the bill, it can still become law if a certain number of legislators vote to override the veto. At the federal level, this is set at 2/3 of the members of the House and Senate. The level of support needed to override a veto in state legislatures varies from a 2/3 majority of those elected to a simple majority of legislators elected in each chamber. Whether or not a legislature has sufficient votes to override gubernatorial vetoes has significant implications on both the procedure of policymaking and the nature of issues debated in America's deliberative bodies. 

As of Sept. 26, 2020, 42% of state legislatures possess veto-proof majorities of one party or the other. Republicans maintain veto-proof majorities in 15 states, while Democrats maintain them in six (potentially seven depending on Vermont). Below are two charts listing (a) the veto-proof majorities in state legislatures by party, and (b) the thresholds to create veto-proof majorities by state.

Veto-Proof Majorities in Legislatures by Party

Republican

Democratic

Alabama                                           

Arkansas                                     

Idaho                                              

Indiana                                                      

Kansas                                        

Kentucky                                          

Missouri

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahmoa

South Dakota

Tennessee

Utah

West Virginia

Wyoming

 

California

Hawaii

Illinois

Maryland

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

Vermont*

*In Vermont, if a sufficient number of Independents or Progressives in the House caucus with or regularly vote with the Democrats, the Democrats could have a functional veto-proof majority.

Veto-Proof Majority Thresholds by State

Two-Thirds Elected

Two-Thirds Present

Three-Fifths Elected

Majority Elected

Alaska

Arizona

Colorado

Georgia

Hawaii

Iowa

Kansas

Louisiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Dakota

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

South Dakota

Utah

Wyoming

Connecticut

Florida

Idaho

Maine

Massachusetts

Mississippi

Montana

Oregon

South Carolina

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Wisconsin

Delaware

Illinois

Maryland

Nebraska

North Carolina

Ohio

Rhode Island

 

Alabama

Arkansas

Indiana

Kentucky

Tennessee

West Virginia

 

Additional Resources