As member of the state government’s legislative branch, a state representative represents the district where he or she lives.
Responsibilities of a state representative include:
- Proposing legislation / amendments to legislation.
- Serving on committees of the state house where they review legislation. They decide with other committee members which legislation advances to the full house for consideration.
- Vote on legislation and amendments to legislation.
- Assist others with constituent services and help them with problems that they may have with state agencies.
Every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, where the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers or houses. The smaller chamber is called the Senate, and is usually referred to as the upper house.
The larger chamber is called the House of Representatives in 41 states. Five states designate the larger chamber the Assembly. Three states call it the House of Delegates. Members of the larger chamber usually serve for two-year terms. The state assembly customarily has the power to create taxing legislation and impose articles of impeachment. Salaries for state reps vary by state.
Legislators have a variety of backgrounds. They may come from the business community or have legal or education experience. Many state representatives have served in city or county government.
Requirements for State Representative
Each state has its own qualifications to run for state representative. Details of these qualifications can be found in the state’s constitution under the Legislative articles. Local party offices can provide additional support and election information for political candidates.
Generally, the age requirements range from 21 to 25 years old.
Citizenship and Residency
All states require a candidate for state representative to be a citizen of the United States. However, a candidate is not required to have been born in the United States. In addition, a candidate must actually live in that state for a length of time prior to running for representative. New York, for example, has a five-year residence requirement. Montana has just a one-year residence requirement.
Ineligibility for Other Offices
All states restrict candidates for state representative from working in any other position of public office, including federal-level offices. Some states allow for state legislature members to continue military enlistment.
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