How much do State legislatures matter these days? A lot. DC is so bogged down by its own dead weight that it can’t get anything done — that is, other than launch another useless war. So who’s solving problems at home these days? The answer, increasingly, is the people of the States through their closest representatives. The trend is so robust that even the left-leaning Salon Magazine can’t help but notice it:
If there’s one truth of divided government, it’s that the most significant legislative action often happens on the state level instead of in gridlocked Washington. While the U.S. Congress has been bogged down in a morass, state legislatures with single-party rule have been hopping. In the last few years, for instance, the Republicans who control Texas’ legislature and governorship have passed bills banning abortion after 20 weeks, tightening regulations on abortion clinics, reducing the number of required standardized tests for students, running the table on tort reform, and requiring photo ID to vote.
And just like Republicans running for federal office are expecting a wave or wavelet of sorts next week, their state-level counterparts are aiming to take control of a few more legislative chambers—potentially with substantial policy consequences.