Current Working Papers

Creating Opportunities: Leadership Diversity in Term-Limited State Legislatures

In the early 1990s advocates of legislative term limits promised that there would be increases in diversity. Since their implementation, however, scholars have found that these promises did not come to fruition. Despite these unfulfilled promises, the leadership positions can no longer be occupied by individuals for 20~+ years. While the initial effects of term limits stunted efforts to create more diverse legislatures, those same limits have created opportunities. This study uncovers whether term limits have led to greater diversity among legislative leadership. Newly collected leadership data from term-limited state legislatures reveals that by removing long-standing incumbents women and persons of color were able to gain leadership positions that they likely would not have otherwise. This research suggests that limitations on service may benefit minority legislators beyond what was previously understood.

Money Talks: The Budgeting Authority of Governors and Term-Limited Legislatures

The budget is a dominant aspect of state government, and the importance of the budget often results in a competition between the governor and legislature. The addition of legislative term limits complicates previous understandings of budget negotiations as term-limited legislatures now have fewer experienced members. Term limits have been in place for several decades, allowing for a test of the influence on the legislature's budget process. This research offers two ways to understand the budget process; the first half presents a formal model of budget negotiations. Second, there is an analysis of state budget requests and appropriations from a sub-sample of states. Contrary to previous expectations, while governors exercise a great deal of power, the legislature, in many ways, has adjusted to new ways of budgeting.