Legislating Without Experience: Case Studies in State Legislative Term Limits

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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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About the author

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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Additional Information

Publisher
Lexington Books
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Published on
Dec 14, 2007
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Pages
258
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ISBN
9780739157060
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / Legislative Branch
Political Science / American Government / State
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Today, 70 percent of the American public supports reforms that would limit the number of terms a state legislator may serve, and the advocacy group U.S. Term Limits promotes this reform at all levels of government. But are advocates correct that term limits ensure citizens dedicated to the common good—rather than self-serving career politicians—run government? Or does the enforced high rate of turnover undermine the legislature’s ability to function?

In Implementing Term Limits, Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson and Lyke Thompson bring thirteen years of intensive research and 460 interviews to assess changes since Michigan’s implementation of term limits in 1993 and explore their implications. Paying special attention to term limits’ institutional effects, they also consider legislative representation, political accountability, and the role of the bureaucracy and interest groups in state legislatures.

Their thorough study suggests that legislators are less accessible to officials and that there is a larger gap between legislators and their voters. Moreover, legislators become much more politically ambitious after term limits and spend more time on political activities. The selection of top chamber leaders is complicated by newcomers’ lack of knowledge about and experience working with the leaders they elect before being sworn in. As a result, term limits in Michigan fail to deliver on many of the “good government” promises that appeal to citizens.

Implementing Term Limits makes a unique and valuable contribution to the debate over the best means by which to obtain truly democratic institutions.


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

A mayor’s inspirational story of a Midwest city that has become nothing less than a blueprint for the future of American renewal.

Once described by the Washington Post as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of,” Pete Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has now emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. With soaring prose that celebrates a resurgent American Midwest, Shortest Way Home narrates the heroic transformation of a “dying city” (Newsweek) into nothing less than a shining model of urban reinvention.

Interweaving two narratives—that of a young man coming of age and a town regaining its economic vitality—Buttigieg recounts growing up in a Rust Belt city, amid decayed factory buildings and the steady soundtrack of rumbling freight trains passing through on their long journey to Chicagoland. Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s legacy, Buttigieg first left northern Indiana for red-bricked Harvard and then studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, before joining McKinsey, where he trained as a consultant—becoming, of all things, an expert in grocery pricing. Then, Buttigieg defied the expectations that came with his pedigree, choosing to return home to Indiana and responding to the ultimate challenge of how to revive a once-great industrial city and help steer its future in the twenty-first century.

Elected at twenty-nine as the nation’s youngest mayor, Pete Buttigieg immediately recognized that “great cities, and even great nations, are built through attention to the everyday.” As Shortest Way Home recalls, the challenges were daunting—whether confronting gun violence, renaming a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., or attracting tech companies to a city that had appealed more to junk bond scavengers than serious investors. None of this is underscored more than Buttigieg’s audacious campaign to reclaim 1,000 houses, many of them abandoned, in 1,000 days and then, even as a sitting mayor, deploying to serve in Afghanistan as a Navy officer. Yet the most personal challenge still awaited Buttigieg, who came out in a South Bend Tribune editorial, just before being reelected with 78 percent of the vote, and then finding Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, who would become his partner for life.

While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home, with its graceful, often humorous, language, challenges our perception of the typical American politician. In chronicling two once-unthinkable stories—that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a revitalized Rust Belt city no longer regarded as “flyover country”—Buttigieg provides a new vision for America’s shortest way home.

The terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001 prompted a president, who had until then largely been disinterested in international affairs, to a new level of commitment to foreign policy. So too did the tragedy renew American awareness of the precarious state of national security, even in the post-Cold War era. As so often has occurred in American history, the events also occasioned a new approach to national security policy, conceived in the specific threat, fashioned by the international environment, and reflecting the president's worldview and ideological orientation. As is the case of the events (threats) themselves, the national security response they foster is often so dramatic that it comes to define the presidency of its maker, influence affairs far beyond America's borders, and dictate US foreign and national security policy for years to come. Shifts in US national security thinking of this magnitude are referred to as presidential doctrines. Often, these doctrines -- axioms that bear the president's name -- have been delivered in a major address by the president such as a speech to a joint session of Congress. The first presidential doctrine was announced by President James Monroe on 2 December 1823 during his seventh annual message to Congress. An international version of this phenomenon would be Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech. Such was also the case when President George W. Bush addressed the nation in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This new and thought-provoking book examines American national security policies in the 20th century, the century in which America rose to superpower or hyperpower status. The same policies will probably determine how long she holds such a powerful position.
The Pulitzer Prize winning classic by President John F. Kennedy, with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy.

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.

In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

Along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, this book features Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.  Introduction by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, forward by John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy.

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