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Most lopsided state legislatures in America

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Most lopsided state legislatures in America

Any casual political observer can tell you which states are red (Republican) and which states are blue (Democratic), which colloquially corresponds to the way most of their citizens vote and the way their electors vote in presidential elections. The makeup of each state’s legislature usually, but not always, corresponds to the color it is assigned on a national political map, with liberal Hawaii having the most overwhelmingly Democratic legislature and Wyoming having the most reliably Republican.

But sometimes having a majority isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for the governing party. Nuances in policy proposals and details of bills can weigh down even seemingly innocuous bills in endless committees. And a state’s governorship can throw another wrench into even the most stacked of legislatures. A governor from one party and a legislature from another is more common than a simple red and blue map might indicate, and a governor’s veto can negate months or even years of hard legislative work with a simple stroke of a pen.

Stacker looked at each of the 50 states to see which governing bodies were the most bipartisan and which were the least, and then overlaid that data on each state’s recent legislative accomplishments, missteps, priorities, and headlines. The results offered confirmation that there is no one road to progress in a democracy, with some of the most significant legislative accomplishments coming from states with the heaviest skew toward either party, and others coming from states in which one might think hardly any consensus would be possible.

Stacker compiled information on each state legislature’s partisan makeup using information from a variety of sources, including the AP, National Conference of State Legislatures, and Ballotpedia. Each state is ranked by how lopsided/unequal its political party makeup is in the state senate, but state house/assembly information is included, as well. Members of state legislatures who are not affiliated with either of the two parties are not mentioned, but they are counted in the advantage percentages.

Note that Nebraska has a unicameral state legislature, and therefore data are available for only its state senate. The 49 members of the Nebraska Legislature are technically nonpartisan, but de facto there are 18 Democrats, 30 Republicans, and one Libertarian in the senate. Additionally, Minnesota is currently the only state in which the state senate and the state house are controlled by different parties.

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James Kirkikis // Shutterstock

#50. Minnesota

- Total state legislature seats: 201 (state senate: 67; state house: 134)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 33 (49.25%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 34 (50.75%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (1.49%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 75 (55.97%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 59 (44.03%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (11.94%)

Minnesota has the most bipartisan legislature in the country. And that sense of moderation translates into post-election analysis and calculations, like the assessment of Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “You can’t call it a blue wave,” he said after Democrats narrowly took back control of the Minnesota House in November 2018. “You can say it was a midterm adjustment.”

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Skip Plitt // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Virginia

- Total state legislature seats: 140 (state senate: 40; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 19 (47.50%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 21 (52.50%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (5.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 49 (49.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 51 (51.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (2.00%)

The Virginia Legislature is the oldest legislative body in the country. But neither its bipartisan makeup nor its longevity has spared the legislature from controversy and discord in recent years. Redistricting has been a particularly contentious issue, with Democrats accusing Republicans of unconstitutional and racially motivated gerrymandering. Courts agreed with the Democrats, and the Republicans’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was ultimately dismissed.

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Kit Leong // Shutterstock

#48. Colorado

- Total state legislature seats: 100 (state senate: 35; state house: 65)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 19 (54.29%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 16 (45.71%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (8.57%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 41 (63.08%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 24 (36.92%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (26.15%)

From the Rocky Mountains to the eastern plains, Colorado is known for its natural beauty. So it’s no surprise that some of the most bipartisan legislation to come out of the state is meant to preserve just that. Legislators from both parties are actively involved in conservation efforts like water management, forest fire prevention, and crop protection. Gun control is a more contentious issue—with a “red flag” law passing recently by a narrow margin, and the support of no Republicans in the state legislature.

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#47. Arizona

- Total state legislature seats: 90 (state senate: 30; state house: 60)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 13 (43.33%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 17 (56.67%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (13.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 29 (48.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 31 (51.67%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (3.33%)

Arizona’s control by the GOP in both the state Senate and the State House has resulted in several conservative bills passing in recent months, including a measure requiring local governments to cover the costs to the state of a minimum wage hike. Democrats view the measure as a threat to cities to not raise the minimum wage for their workers. “The message is: Other cities, do this at your peril,” said state Representative Randall Friese, a Democrat.

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Bestbudbrian // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Pennsylvania

- Total state legislature seats: 253 (state senate: 50; state house: 203)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 21 (42.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 28 (56.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (14.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 93 (45.81%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 110 (54.19%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (8.37%)

While many state legislatures debate hot-button issues like climate change and gun control, the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Legislature has pursued a more inward-focused agenda in recent years. To wit, when atheist Carl Silverman asked the legislature if he could deliver the opening invocation in 2014, he was told by Speaker Samuel H. Smith that only people who believed in God could deliver the invocation. A lawsuit ensued, escalating to a federal court, which ruled in favor of the atheists.

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Jeffrey M. Frank // Shutterstock

#45. Washington

- Total state legislature seats: 147 (state senate: 49; state house: 98)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 28 (57.14%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 21 (42.86%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (14.29%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 56 (57.14%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 42 (42.86%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (14.29%)

Although a divided legislature can sometimes lead to gridlock and little consensus, the latest activities of state Rep. Matt Shea have led to a bipartisan investigation by Washington House leadership and calls for his resignation. The six-term Republican lawmaker has been recently linked to an extremist group that advocates “patriotic and biblical training on war for young men” and has advocated for political violence against liberals in the past.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#44. Delaware

- Total state legislature seats: 62 (state senate: 21; state house: 41)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 12 (57.14%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 9 (42.86%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (14.29%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 26 (63.41%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 15 (36.59%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (26.83%)

One of the most interesting bipartisan activities in Delaware’s legislature doesn’t take place during the session at all. Delaware is one of the few states whose legislature operates part time. This means that most state lawmakers have other jobs, which can lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest on both sides of the aisle, most commonly when employed by other public agencies. For example, both a Republican and a Democrat in the legislature teach at Delaware Technical Community College—for which the legislature also sets policy and funding.

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Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#43. Florida

- Total state legislature seats: 160 (state senate: 40; state house: 120)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 17 (42.50%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 23 (57.50%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (15.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 47 (39.17%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 73 (60.83%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (21.67%)

Florida’s Legislature may be relatively even when it comes to political party, but that’s not good enough for state Sen. Lauren Book when it comes to debating the charged issue of abortion. Book, a Democrat, has called for a moratorium on abortion debate until the Legislature is at least 50% female. Currently, the state Legislature is 70% male. “No vote about us without us,” Book told the Tallahassee Democrat.

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Vijay Kumar Koulampet // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Wisconsin

- Total state legislature seats: 132 (state senate: 33; state house: 99)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 14 (42.42%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 19 (57.58%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (15.15%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 35 (35.35%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 64 (64.65%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (29.29%)

Wisconsin’s legislature was given one of the highest grades by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiatives, which tracked how likely states were to use cost-benefit analyses when shaping public policy. Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature ranked in the top 10 states in the country in performing such analyses, which have been shown to lead to more effective uses of public funds.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#41. Michigan

- Total state legislature seats: 148 (state senate: 38; state house: 110)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 16 (42.11%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 22 (57.89%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (15.79%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 52 (47.27%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 58 (52.73%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (5.45%)

For the first time in a decade, a divided Michigan government will be forced this fall to agree on how to spend the state’s $60 billion budget. With a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature, the two parties will have to compromise on issues ranging from environmental protection to criminal justice reform, in addition to the size and shape of the budget.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#40. North Carolina

- Total state legislature seats: 170 (state senate: 50; state house: 120)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 21 (42.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 29 (58.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (16.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 55 (45.83%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 65 (54.17%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (8.33%)

One of the most high-profile and high-stakes consequences of the vacillation of party control in North Carolina’s Legislature in recent years has been the fate of the Racial Justice Act. The measure was passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in 2009, and said that a death penalty sentence could be commuted to life without parole if race had been shown to be a deciding factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty. The Act commuted the death sentences of numerous prisoners who were returned to death row after Republicans re-took control of the Legislature in 2012.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#39. New Hampshire

- Total state legislature seats: 424 (state senate: 24; state house: 400)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 14 (58.33%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 10 (41.67%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (16.67%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 233 (58.25%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 167 (41.75%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (16.50%)

With a Democratic-controlled legislature and a Republican governor, the state of New Hampshire is currently mired in a battle over redistricting. After the Legislature passed a bill forming an independent commission to draw the state’s legislative, congressional, and Executive Council district maps, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed the bill, claiming it would allow lawmakers to “abrogate their responsibility to the voters” by outsourcing their work to an unelected commission.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#38. South Carolina

- Total state legislature seats: 170 (state senate: 46; state house: 124)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 19 (41.30%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 27 (58.70%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (17.39%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 44 (35.48%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 80 (64.52%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (29.03%)

Gun-control legislation has languished in the Republican-controlled South Carolina Legislature for years, despite the state’s tragic recent history of gun violence, and calls from typically Republican-allied law enforcement officials to move forward with gun reform. After a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans at a church in South Carolina in 2015, gun control was taken up in the legislature, but never moved out of committee. Recent gun violence elsewhere in the country has prompted law enforcement to call again on state lawmakers to act.

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Mobilus In Mobili // Flickr

#37. West Virginia

- Total state legislature seats: 134 (state senate: 34; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 14 (41.18%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 20 (58.82%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (17.65%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 41 (41%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 59 (59%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (18%)

In the past few years, West Virginia’s government has grown increasingly lopsided, tilting toward the Republican Party. Republicans assumed control over both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature in 2014, and in 2017 the governor switched parties from Democratic to Republican. Now, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is the only Democrat in the state’s entire congressional delegation, and Republicans are worried he will run for governor, depriving them of their absolute control over state legislation.

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#36. Maine

- Total state legislature seats: 186 (state senate: 35; state house: 151)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 21 (60.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 14 (40.00%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (20%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 89 (58.94%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 57 (37.75%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (21.19%)

The Maine Legislature is currently so grid locked that the governor had to call lawmakers back early from their summer recess to pass bills they could not agree on earlier this year. Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, called the special session to address bond bills, as Democrats and Republicans in the legislature could not agree whether to consider the bond bills separately or as a package. Perhaps simply to get things moving, Mills ordered the bills to be considered separately.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#35. Texas

- Total state legislature seats: 181 (state senate: 31; state house: 150)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 12 (38.71%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 19 (61.29%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (22.58%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 67 (44.67%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 83 (55.33%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (10.67%)

Democrats and Republicans may disagree on hot-button issues like gun control, abortion, and climate change, but the Texas Legislature managed to agree to pass several bills set to take effect in the coming weeks. Among these new laws are bills to allow alcohol delivery and digital hunting licenses, along with new regulations that could make it a felony to steal delivery packages from front porches, and de-regulating children’s lemonade stands set up on private property.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#34. Oregon

- Total state legislature seats: 90 (state senate: 30; state house: 60)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 18 (60%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 11 (36.67%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (23.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 38 (63.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 22 (36.67%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (26.67%)

Democrats have controlled Oregon’s house of representatives, senate, and governor’s office since 2013. This multi-year control has allowed them to pass a number of workplace protections to rival those of neighboring California, long considered one of the most worker-friendly states in the country. Oregon’s new protections include expanded family leave policies and anti-discrimination laws, along with a predictable schedule law for the retail and hospitality industries.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#33. New Mexico

- Total state legislature seats: 112 (state senate: 42; state house: 70)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 26 (61.90%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 16 (38.10%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (23.81%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 45 (64.29%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 23 (32.86%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (31.43%)

New Mexico’s legislative balance of power has tilted toward Democrats in recent years, with the party controlling both chambers of the legislature and the governorship. The trifecta has allowed Democrats to pass a number of progressive priorities into law, including raises in teaches’ pay and the minimum wage. Republicans have called the new laws “radical” and are optimistic there will be a voter backlash in 2020.

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James.Pintar // Shutterstock

#32. Nevada

- Total state legislature seats: 63 (state senate: 21; state house: 42)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 13 (61.90%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 8 (38.10%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (23.81%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 29 (69.05%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 13 (30.95%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (38.10%)

While Democrats may hold a relatively significant advantage in the Nevada Legislature, there is another front on which Nevada is much closer to parity: gender. The Nevada Legislature recently became the first in the country to be comprised primarily of women, with women holding 33 of 63 seats in the body. Although there are more women than men in the total populations of all but three states, the national average for female representation in state legislatures is under 30%, making Nevada’s equality all the more significant.

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Natalia Bratslavsky // Shutterstock

#31. Montana

- Total state legislature seats: 150 (state senate: 50; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 19 (38.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 31 (62.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (24.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 42 (42.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 58 (58.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (16.00%)

With a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature, Montana has had difficulty passing even the most seemingly innocuous bills. Among these was funding for early childhood education—a priority that died in the legislative process when the parties couldn’t agree whether the funding would include only public pre-school education or would include vouchers for private education. Montana is now one of the only states in the country without state-funded pre-school.

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Tony Webster // Flickr

#30. Nebraska

- Total state legislature seats: 49 (state senate: 49; state house: nonexistent)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 18 (36.73%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 30 (61.22%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (24.49%)

A youth facility for trouble teens is bringing Democratic and Republican lawmakers together in Nebraska. A bipartisan investigation has been launched to examine conditions at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva, from which 24 young women were recently relocated after the staff did not control them. The investigation looking at center staffing levels and training, among other issues.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#29. Georgia

- Total state legislature seats: 236 (state senate: 56; state house: 180)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 21 (37.50%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 35 (62.50%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (25.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 74 (41.11%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 106 (58.89%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (17.78%)

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Set to take effect in January 2020, HB 481 outlaws abortion once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, which typically occurs around six weeks. The measure will replace the current law, passed by the Georgia Legislature in 2012, allowing abortions at up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#28. New Jersey

- Total state legislature seats: 120 (state senate: 40; state house: 80)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 25 (62.50%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 15 (37.50%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (25.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 54 (67.50%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 26 (32.50%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (35%)

An unexpected controversy erupted recently in New Jersey over the fate of a food-waste bill, with various parties and factions lining up on either side. A3726 would have required large food waste generators to divert organics from disposal. Objections arose over the bill and the exemptions it allowed caused Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s veto over the objections of environmental groups and the state legislature.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#27. Mississippi

- Total state legislature seats: 174 (state senate: 52; state house: 122)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 19 (36.54%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 33 (63.46%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (26.92%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 46 (37.70%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 74 (60.66%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (22.95%)

Mississippi has only one statewide Democratic official—Attorney General Rob Chambers, who is running for governor of this red state in November. Chambers made national news in 2016 when he announced he would not enforce Mississippi’s “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” which allows business owners to refuse service to those whose lives do not comport with their own religious views.

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GPA Photo Archive // Flickr

#26. New York

- Total state legislature seats: 213 (state senate: 63; state house: 150)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 40 (63.49%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 23 (36.51%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (26.98%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 107 (71.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 43 (28.67%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (42.67%)

Reliably Democratic, members of the New York Legislature have come together on several issues in recent weeks. Among these have been repealing the religious exemption that allowed some parents not to vaccinate their children before they start school, and an investigation into Consolidated Edison, the power supplier whose blackouts have left many New Yorkers in the dark during a recent spate of heatwaves.

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Pixabay

#25. Iowa

- Total state legislature seats: 150 (state senate: 50; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 18 (36.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 32 (64.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (28.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 46 (46.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 54 (54.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (8.00%)

Iowa’s Republican-controlled legislature has been in the spotlight for its rollback of labor protections. Democratic presidential candidates campaigning in the state have focused on the negative effects the cuts have had on workers and union members, with some going so far as to suggest presidential proposals that would effectively repeal the GOP legislature’s signature recent accomplishment.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#24. Louisiana

- Total state legislature seats: 144 (state senate: 39; state house: 105)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 14 (35.90%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 25 (64.10%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (28.21%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 39 (37.14%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 62 (59.05%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (21.90%)

Although Louisiana’s Legislature has a healthy Republican majority, the GOP in both chambers has been generally moderate and willing to work with the state’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards. That may change this fall, when an intensely competitive and crowded field vies to fill many openings in the state’s two legislative chambers, and Republicans have promised to run less-moderate candidates who would stand up to the governor to advance a more conservative agenda.

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Rob Pauley // Shuttestock

#23. Alaska

- Total state legislature seats: 60 (state senate: 20; state house: 40)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 7 (35.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 13 (65.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (30.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 16 (40.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 23 (57.50%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (17.50%)

Even with a GOP-led legislature, some of the measures passed by Alaska’s state lawmakers were too much for Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. He recently cut $5 million for ferry service from a budget the legislature had passed—a measure set to leave some coastal residents with no mode of transportation for numerous months in the winter aside from an airplane—unaffordable for most people.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#22. Connecticut

- Total state legislature seats: 187 (state senate: 36; state house: 151)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 24 (66.67%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 12 (33.33%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (33.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 92 (60.93%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 59 (39.07%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (21.85%)

Although the Connecticut Legislature and the governor’s office are both controlled by Democrats, a significant impasse arose recently over transportation measures. The state’s Bond Commission has yet to release funds for municipal roads for the second time in three years, and thus far Gov. Ned Lamont has failed to win support for increased funding through tolls on four Connecticut roads.

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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#21. Illinois

- Total state legislature seats: 177 (state senate: 59; state house: 118)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 40 (67.80%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 19 (32.20%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (35.59%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 74 (62.71%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 44 (37.29%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (25.42%)

Illinois’ Legislature and governor’s mansion are both controlled by Democrats, who are using the advantage to press for several dramatic changes. Among these is a move to a graduated income tax, replacing the current flat-rate tax. GOP candidates for offices statewide are using the proposal in their campaigns, arguing that the proposal would have a negative effect on the state economy.

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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#20. Maryland

- Total state legislature seats: 188 (state senate: 47; state house: 141)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 32 (68.09%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 15 (31.91%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (36.17%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 98 (69.50%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 43 (30.50%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (39.01%)

Despite the Democratic tilt of the Maryland Legislature, lawmakers have been able to work with the state’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, on several measures. Among these are a new law banning the sale of commercially bred cats and dogs to cut down on puppy mills. Maryland is the second state, after California, to enact such a ban.

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Brandon Bourdages // Shutterstock

#19. California

- Total state legislature seats: 120 (state senate: 40; state house: 80)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 28 (70.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 12 (30.00%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (40.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 57 (71.25%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 23 (28.75%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (42.50%)

The decidedly liberal composition of California’s Legislature has allowed it to pass a number of progressive initiatives. Most recently, this has included advancement of a bill that would allow parents to give their children medicinal marijuana at K-12 schools, specifically by allowing the measure to be decided by each school board rather than banned at a statewide level, as it currently is. While the measure faced opposition from a Democratic governor last year, a new Democratic governor may allow the bill to become law.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#18. Missouri

- Total state legislature seats: 197 (state senate: 34; state house: 163)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 10 (29.41%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 24 (70.59%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (41.18%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 47 (28.83%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 116 (71.17%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (42.33%)

In 2019 thus far, 13 children have been killed by gun violence in the city of St. Louis alone. But the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature is far from poised to act on gun control reform in response. GOP Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz said he didn’t see any way gun control measures would gain traction in the GOP-dominated legislature, according to the Post-Dispatch newspaper. In response, Democratic lawmakers at the city level have proposed a law that would allow municipalities with high rates of gun violence to pass their own legislation in regard to the issue.

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Eddie J. Rodriquez // Shutterstock

#17. Kentucky

- Total state legislature seats: 138 (state senate: 38; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 10 (26.32%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 28 (73.68%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (47.37%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 39 (39.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 61 (61.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (22.00%)

Its reliably conservative legislature, along with its Republican governor, keeps the state government of Kentucky advancing Republican policy positions at every turn. In this past legislative session alone that included four measures restricting access to abortion, in addition to the failure of a medical marijuana bill to advance beyond the state house of representatives and through the state senate.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#16. Arkansas

- Total state legislature seats: 135 (state senate: 35; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 9 (25.71%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 26 (74.29%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (48.57%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 25 (25.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 75 (75.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (50.00%)

The Republican Party has a healthy majority in both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature, but it was a Democratic lawmaker who grabbed national interest this year. State Sen. Stephanie Flowers made headlines this past spring with her denunciation of stand-your-ground laws, which resulted in a dramatic subsequent spike of live-streams of proceedings from the Arkansas Senate long after Flowers’ speech was over.

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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#15. Ohio

- Total state legislature seats: 132 (state senate: 33; state house: 99)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 8 (24.24%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 25 (75.76%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (51.52%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 37 (37.37%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 62 (62.63%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (25.25%)

After a shooting in Dayton left residents of the city and beyond reeling in shock and grief earlier this year, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signaled his willingness to consider gun control measures in the next legislative session. But although the Republican-dominated state senate seems poised to work with him, the state’s house of representatives has indicated it has no appetite for such measures.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#14. Alabama

- Total state legislature seats: 140 (state senate: 35; state house: 105)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 8 (22.86%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 27 (77.14%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (54.29%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 28 (26.67%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 77 (73.33%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (46.67%)

Although Alabama’s Legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, the most high-profile piece of legislation recently taken up by the body was bipartisan. The new law, requiring state oversight of religious boarding schools, was passed after Gary and Meghann Wiggins were transported to Texas for prosecution on human trafficking charges out of their erstwhile Blessed Hope “boarding school” for troubled teens.

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Tony Webster // Flickr

#13. Kansas

- Total state legislature seats: 165 (state senate: 40; state house: 125)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 9 (22.50%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 31 (77.50%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (55.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 40 (32.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 85 (68.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (36.00%)

Kansas’ Legislature may be dominated by Republicans, but a spate of recent shootings around the country has prompted some legislators’ constituents to take to town halls to express their displeasure with the lack of action on gun control. As the Daily Journal reported, enough of his constituents signaled their support for action on gun reform to make Republican Rep. Steve Watkins say he might support background checks. And with a Democratic governor, such legislation might just become law if it advances out of the legislature.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#12. Idaho

- Total state legislature seats: 105 (state senate: 35; state house: 70)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 7 (20%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 27 (77.14%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (57.14%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 14 (20%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 56 (80%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (60%)

Idaho may have a Republican legislature and governor, but that doesn’t mean that they agree on everything. Earlier this year, Governor Brad Little vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would have made it more difficult for citizens to advance ballot measures. Proponents of attempts to make ballot measures more difficult to initiate said they were protecting the interests of rural voters, while opponents claimed the proposed law was retaliation for a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid.

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#11. North Dakota

- Total state legislature seats: 141 (state senate: 47; state house: 94)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 10 (21.28%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 37 (78.72%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (57.45%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 15 (15.96%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 79 (84.04%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (68.09%)

Just because North Dakota’s legislature is heavily Republican doesn’t mean there isn’t intense debate in its chambers. And the debate doesn’t necessarily come on hot-button issues like gun control and abortion, but rather more often on issues close to voters’ homes and hearts, like hunting and fishing. One of the most contested bills in recent memory concerns the right to hunt and fish on private land, and whether private land is considered open or closed to public hunting and fishing if no signs have been posted.

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#10. Utah

- Total state legislature seats: 104 (state senate: 29; state house: 75)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 6 (20.69%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 23 (79.31%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (58.62%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 17 (22.67%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 58 (77.33%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (54.67%)

Although Utah’s legislature skews heavily Republican, there is another measure by which it is even more uneven: gender. The state recently made headlines for ranking worst in the nation for gender equality, with the lack of female legislators in the state playing a key role. Women hold just 24% of the state’s legislative seats and have no lawmakers at the federal level.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#9. Indiana

- Total state legislature seats: 150 (state senate: 50; state house: 100)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 10 (20.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 40 (80.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (60.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 33 (33.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 67 (67.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (34.00%)

Indiana’s Legislature is dominated by the GOP, but conservative politics isn’t why the body has been making headlines recently around the state. Not one, but two, members of the state Legislature have been found behaving badly recently, with one Republican posting racially insensitive material on Facebook and another—a Democrat—charged with drunk driving and impersonating an officer of the law.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#8. Vermont

- Total state legislature seats: 180 (state senate: 30; state house: 150)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 24 (80.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 6 (20.00%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (60.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 95 (63.33%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 42 (28.00%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (35.33%)

The Democratic control of Vermont’s legislative bodies has recently escalated lawmakers into confrontation with the conservative Trump administration. Vermont announced that because of restrictive rules put in place by the administration, it would not accept funding for Planned Parenthood that would force the organization to stop offering abortion access in exchange for federal funds. The state is now drawing on emergency discretionary funds to keep Planned Parenthood afloat.

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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#7. Oklahoma

- Total state legislature seats: 149 (state senate: 48; state house: 101)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 9 (18.75%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 39 (81.25%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (62.50%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 25 (24.75%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 76 (75.25%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (50.50%)

Oklahoma voters have signaled that reducing the state’s prison population is a priority, but despite the state’s trifecta of a Republican-dominated state House, state Senate, and governorship, legislation has struggled to advance. Bills, including one to turn some drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, have failed to clear committee, despite support from 58% of state residents.

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Nagel Photography // Shutterstock

#6. Tennessee

- Total state legislature seats: 132 (state senate: 33; state house: 99)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 5 (15.15%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 28 (84.85%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (69.70%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 26 (26.26%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 73 (73.74%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (47.47%)

The Republican-controlled Tennessee Legislature has recently collaborated on an initiative beyond legal measures—namely, uncovering the identities of those responsible for @chbmole, a Twitter account offering gossip about the state’s GOP lawmakers. Fittingly, for such a conservative legislature, it appears the account may have been the work of a fellow Republican, upset over a power grab on a finance subcommittee.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Massachusetts

- Total state legislature seats: 200 (state senate: 40; state house: 160)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 34 (85%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 6 (15%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (70%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 127 (79.38%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 32 (20%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (59.38%)

The reliably Democratic nature of Massachusetts’ legislature has proven to be no bulwark against stalemate in recent months. The state made no progress on several seemingly innocuous bills before summer recess, including one intended to curtail mobile phone use while driving, and another to retool the state’s education funding formula.

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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#4. South Dakota

- Total state legislature seats: 105 (state senate: 35; state house: 70)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 5 (14.29%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 30 (85.71%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (71.43%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 11 (15.71%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 59 (84.29%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (68.57%)

Although the South Dakota Legislature is dominated by Republicans, members have come together in recent months to try to address one of the top issues facing the state: brain drain. Although tax hikes are not typically popular with Republicans, the legislature recently passed a sales tax increase of .5% to generate revenue aimed at keeping teachers in the state.

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Bestbudbrian // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Rhode Island

- Total state legislature seats: 113 (state senate: 38; state house: 75)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 33 (86.84%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 5 (13.16%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (73.68%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 66 (88.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 9 (12.00%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (76.00%)

The liberal tilt of Rhode Island’s legislature spills over into many of its members’ budgetary proposals. That is, Democratic Rep. Teresa Tanzi recently made headlines for refusing to support road and bridge repair at the expense of pedestrian and bike lanes—which, of course, allow for commuting without carbon emissions.

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#2. Wyoming

- Total state legislature seats: 90 (state senate: 30; state house: 60)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 3 (10.00%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 27 (90.00%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (80.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 9 (15.00%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 50 (83.33%)
--- Advantage: Republican Party (68.33%)

With the most conservative state legislature in the country, Wyoming might seem an unlikely candidate to advocate for government subsidies. But with air ambulance bills for residents in remote terrain regularly topping $100,000, the state turned to the federal government for help. The proposed solution? Treating air ambulances as a public utility, and thereby circumventing the ban on regulation of any facet of the aviation industry.

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#1. Hawaii

- Total state legislature seats: 76 (state senate: 25; state house: 51)
- Senate seats held by Democratic Party: 24 (96%)
- Senate seats held by Republican Party: 1 (4%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (92%)
- House/assembly seats held by Democratic Party: 46 (90.20%)
- House/assembly seats held by Republican Party: 5 (9.80%)
--- Advantage: Democratic Party (80.39%)

Wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis, Hawaii’s legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic and recently passed a momentous housing bill. Lawmakers authorized $570 million to combat homelessness by building affordable housing units, aiming to bridge the gap between those who currently qualify for public assistance and those who make enough to afford housing on their own.

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