Comparing state legislatures by counting bills

On our home page we have a heat map of bills introduced in each state for 2011-2012, which is updated every night.  It looks like this:

 

Heat Map of Bills Introduced

Which is interesting.  Hawaii for example, has a surprisingly high number of bills.  As does Texas, when you factor in that they only meet every other year, as opposed to the full time legislature of California.  The next obvious question is, how many of these bills get passed?  You might expect that to be related to how many bills get introduced, and for the two maps to be similar.  But no:

Total Bills Passed 2011-2012

First of all, there is a lot more color on this map, meaning the states are more similar in the number of bills they pass.  Bills introduced ranges from a low of 652 in Wyoming, to a high of 18,397 in New York.  Quite a range.  Bills passed range from a low of 142 in Ohio (if you don’t count the abysmal 120 of the US Congress) to a high of 1582 in Texas.   Indeed most states fall between 200 and 800 bills passed.

Passed Bills Histogram

So if there is a wide disparity in how many bills get introduced, but a much narrower range in bills passed, the percentage passed would be interesting to look at:

 

What’s particularly interesting is that the highest areas are all grouped together in the Rocky Mountain West, excepting a couple states.    NY, PA, NJ, MA all come in at well under 10%  ND, ID, NV, CO are around 50% and UT, WY, MT about 40%.  Why?  Is it a cultural difference?  Something else?  What do you think?

 

Post By Karen Suhaka View all posts by Karen Suhaka →