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Council of State Governments: Book of the States



Although the United States Constitution requires all states to have a “republican form of government," the details of state governance are defined in each State’s constitution. As a result, although each state has an elected legislature, the exact nature and level of political representation at the state level differs from state to state.

Although the formal name varies from state to state, the state legislature is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. Every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers or houses (similar to the U.S. Congress). In each case the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is usually referred to as the upper house.