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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Jeffery Grynaviski


The 20th century has been an era of great change for American state legislatures. Faced with new challenges at the turn of the century the public, scholars, and pundits looked for legislatures to adapt and grow in order to meet the needs of the new age. Out of that push came state legislatures that more closely resembled Congress. Professionalized reforms of greater pay and more staff and longer sessions took root in legislatures across the country by the 1970s. As the century approach its conclusion new complaints arose, this time not of a legislature unequipped to legislate, but one too distant and distinct from the general public, too insulated. Anti-tax groups pitched term limits to legislators as a response to these complaints. As we march deeper in to the 21st century new problems have arisen as have new solutions. Gerrymandering has been accused of insulating our state legislators from competition causing more partisanship and polarization. One such suggested solution to this new problem been non-partisan redistricting. I endeavor here to understand these institutional reforms and their effect. To see if we can link the solutions of past to the problems of today and to better understand if today’s solution will actually address today’s problems.

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