I'm sure I'll hear more cries about Indiana having the "worst legislature" given the recent news that Indiana's General Assembly accidentally repealed FSSA, the largest state agency in the state. The fact though is that Indiana's legislature operates like every other state legislature in the country. Legislators have strong beliefs and make mistakes. Legislative bodies are slow to make changes and get bogged down in petty partisan squabbling. Indiana's General Assembly is no different in that respect than any other state legislature.
|Indiana House of Representatives Chamber|
I decided to do a Google search this morning using the search phrase "worst state legislature." A quick look found that Alabama, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia,, Maryland, Tennessee, Kansas, New York, Texas, Ohio, Montana, Illinois, Arizona, Arkansas, California and New Jersey were all deemed the "worst state legislature." All the references about the Indiana General Assembly were from Hoosiers complaining about something and deeming their own state's legislative body the "worst." I found no scholarly articles that backed that up that claim.
One state though far and away dominated the google search - New York. New York is one of the few states with a full-time legislature. I should point out that most of the stories about how bad New York's state legislature is (or was?) was written before the recent passage of the law allowing same sex marriage.
Until I find some scholarly articles rating Indiana as the "worst state legislature," I'm going to continue being dismissive of the term as yet more evidence Hoosiers have an inferiority complex.
Like Mafia clans, each state legislature has unique criminal propensities. And like the Mafia, governments cease to exist without resorting to violence.
There was an old adage about how to pass a bill through the Indiana General Assembly. One could do it by tossing a bag of money through an open transom of the right room in the Claypool Hotel in the dead of night. Hotels no longer have transoms and the Claypool no longer exists. Therefore our General Assembly is honest as an Eastern Daylight Savings Time day is long.
Of course, Mark, is our legislature in that respect different from the other 49 state legislatures? I think not.
Maybe there are a couple of old hotels out there in smallish state capitols--Jefferson City, Missouri? Springfield, Illinois?---that have transoms. Otherwise, the 50 legislatures all might be in a dead heat for title of Worst State Legislature.
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