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Who's the boss?

Who is most influential in the legislature? The ultimate insiders--legislative staff--ought to know. So, in a recent NCSL survey of 1,522 legislative staff across the country, we asked about the influence of various participants in the legislative process. Staff said the majority party leaders are by far the most influential actors in the legislative process. On a scale from one (no influence) to seven (dictates policy), the majority party scores 5.9. Minority party leaders, on the other hand, get a score of 3.0 on the same scale, last among all the participants we asked about.

Also scoring 5.0 or more were the senate, the house, the governor and committee chairs. Their scores are so close that they can be considered to be equal. Interest groups and lobbyists scored 4.8 and executive agency staff 4.0. Regarded as relatively less influential in the process were partisan staff, the media and nonpartisan staff.

The only significant difference between the perceptions of partisan and nonpartisan staff is that partisan staff view themselves as being much more influential actors in the process than do the nonpartisan staff.
THOSE WITH THE MOST INFLUENCE

(SCALE OF 1--NO INFLUENCE TO 7--DICTATES POLICY)

PLAYER ALL STAFF NONPARTISAN STAFF PARTISAN

Majority party leaders 5.9 5.9 6.2
The Senate 5.2 5.2 5.1
The House 5.1 5.0 5.2
Governor 5.0 5.0 5.0
Committee chairs 5.0 5.2 5.1
Interest groups/lobbyists 4.8 4.8 4.7
Executive agency staff 4.0 3.9 4.0
Partisan staff 3.6 3.3 4.3
Mass media 3.6 3.5 3.7
Nonpartisan staff 3.3 3.3 3.1
Minority party leaders 3.0 3.0 3.0
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Title Annotation:TRENDS AND TRANSITIONS; most influential in the legislature
Publication:State Legislatures
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:297
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