Legislators At-a-Glance

Article excerpt

Of the 7,382 lawmakers serving in state legislatures, 4,085 are Democrats and 3,220 are Republicans. Several seats are still undecided or vacant, and Nebraska has only nonpartisan legislators. There are also 10 legislators representing third parties. And there are about 35,000 legislative staff serving in the states.

Women will hold 24 percent of all state legislative seats in 2009, a slight increase over 2008 but a six-fold increase since 1969, when just 4 percent of state legislators were women. The Colorado legislature leads the nation with 39 percent women, while New Hampshire will make history with a majority-female State Senate--the first state legislative chamber to do so. The South Carolina Senate will be the only chamber with no female members.

The size of legislatures varies greatly: New Hampshire has a 400-seat House, while Alaska has only 20 senators. The job of a state legislator is full-time in 10 states where the legislature is in session for most of the year and districts are large and demand extensive constituent service. Five state legislatures meet every other year only.

The single largest occupational group in legislatures is full-time legislator, with 16 percent of lawmakers classifying themselves as such. Attorneys make up about 15 percent, and retired citizens make up the third largest group, at approximately 12 percent.

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The average age of a state legislator--56--has increased slightly in recent years as the number of retired legislators has risen.

2008 POST-ELECTION PARTISAN COMPOSITION OF STATE LEGISLATURES

                   Total      Senate   Senate   Senate    Total
STATE              Senate      Dem.    Rep.     other     House

Alabama              35         21        13      lv         105
Alaska               20         10        10       0          40
Arizona              30         12        18       0          60
Arkansas             35         27         8       0         100
California           40         26        14       0          80
Colorado             35         21        14       0          65
Connecticut          36         24        12       0         151
Delaware             21         16         5       0          41
Florida              40         14        26       0         120
Georgia              56         22        34       0         180
Hawaii               25         23         2       0          51
Idaho                35          7        28       0          70
Illinois             59         37        22       0         118
Indiana              50         17        33       0         100
Iowa                 50         32        18       0         100
Kansas               40          9        31       0         125
Kentucky             38         15        22       1         100
Louisiana            39         22        15      2v         105
Maine                35         20        15       0         151
Maryland             47         33        14       0         141
Massachusetts        40         35         5       0         160
Michigan             38         17        21       0         110
Minnesota            67         46        21       0         134
Mississippi          52         27        25       0         122
Missouri             34         11        23       0         163
Montana              50         23        27       0         100
Nebraska             49         --        --      49     Unicameral
Nevada               21         12         9       0          42
New Hampshire        24         14        10       0         400
New Jersey           40         23        17       0          80
New Mexico           42         27        15       0          70
New York             62         32        30       0         150
North Carolina       50         30        20       0         120
North Dakota         47         21        26       0          94
Ohio                 33         12        21       0          99
Oklahoma             48         22        26       0         101
Oregon               30         18        12       0          60
Pennsylvania         50         20        29      lv         203
Rhode Island         38         33         4       1          75
South Carolina       46         19        27       0         124
South Dakota         35         14        20       1          70
Tennessee            33         14        19       0          99
Texas                31         12        18      lu         150
Utah                 29          8        21       0          75
Vermont              30         23         7       0         150
Virginia             40         21        19       0         100
Washington           49         31        18       0          98
West Virginia        34         28         6       0         100
Wisconsin            33         18        15       0          99
Wyoming              30         7         23       0          60
TOTALS           1,971        1,026      888      --       5,411

                 House    House    House       Legis. …