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October 21, 2020, 10:57:53 PM
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  If DC gains statehood, should it have a bicameral legislature? How many seats?
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Author Topic: If DC gains statehood, should it have a bicameral legislature? How many seats?  (Read 939 times)
The Mikado
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« on: October 10, 2020, 01:39:34 PM »

How many seats should be in both houses of the DC state legislature? Will DC pull a Nebraska and go unicameral?
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Sol
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2020, 01:45:15 PM »

Bicameralism seems a bit pointless, especially in a state which is highly geographically cohesive.

Ideally, if I were drafting a DC constitution, I'd have statewide PR for about 30 seats, with a pretty low threshold of around 2%.
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politicallefty
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2020, 01:48:36 PM »
« Edited: October 10, 2020, 01:53:21 PM by politicallefty »

I think there's a proposed state constitution already drafted and the proposal is for a 21-member unicameral legislature. I don't know much more than that. Personally, I think considering the fact that it would effectively be a city-state, I'd prefer it adopt more of a parliamentary system.

EDIT: I found the apparent draft constitution.

It would create a unicameral Legislative Assembly with 21 members. The Speaker would be elected by the entire state. Four additional members would be elected by the entire state. The remaining 16 members would be elected in 8 districts, with each district electing 2 members. They would be elected for 4-year terms. Unlike Nebraska, they would be elected in partisan elections.
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The Mikado
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2020, 02:37:05 PM »

I think there's a proposed state constitution already drafted and the proposal is for a 21-member unicameral legislature. I don't know much more than that. Personally, I think considering the fact that it would effectively be a city-state, I'd prefer it adopt more of a parliamentary system.

EDIT: I found the apparent draft constitution.

It would create a unicameral Legislative Assembly with 21 members. The Speaker would be elected by the entire state. Four additional members would be elected by the entire state. The remaining 16 members would be elected in 8 districts, with each district electing 2 members. They would be elected for 4-year terms. Unlike Nebraska, they would be elected in partisan elections.

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?
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EastOfEden
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2020, 02:59:44 PM »

I think there's a proposed state constitution already drafted and the proposal is for a 21-member unicameral legislature. I don't know much more than that. Personally, I think considering the fact that it would effectively be a city-state, I'd prefer it adopt more of a parliamentary system.

EDIT: I found the apparent draft constitution.

It would create a unicameral Legislative Assembly with 21 members. The Speaker would be elected by the entire state. Four additional members would be elected by the entire state. The remaining 16 members would be elected in 8 districts, with each district electing 2 members. They would be elected for 4-year terms. Unlike Nebraska, they would be elected in partisan elections.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.
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politicallefty
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2020, 03:14:04 PM »

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?

Yeah, it is, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the current setup.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.
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Oryxslayer
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2020, 03:35:42 PM »

DC currently has 8 wards which elect 1 council-rep, so the 16 are basically a holdover and upgrade from the current system. Ward 2 might have to be changed though, since the 'carve out the federal buildings' plan proposed last term by the house cuts a bit of ward 2's waterfront off from its core. The at large seats though are weird. There are indies elected to the council at large, but this is because the current rules prevent two democrats from running on the same ballot. So despite there being two At large seats on the ballot this year, it is effectively a Democratic primary for the second seat with the 15ish Indies being Dems by another name.
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LabourJersey
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 07:00:05 PM »

bicameralism is pointless at the state level. In all honesty every state legislature should become unicameral.
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Tintrlvr
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2020, 07:28:02 PM »

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?

Yeah, it is, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the current setup.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.

Only because the four at-large seats are elected in staggered terms (two at a time) and assigned (i) the first, to the candidate receiving the most votes overall (regardless of party), i.e., always a Democrat and then (ii) the second, to the candidate receiving the most votes who is not a member of the largest party on the city council, i.e., always not a Democrat and historically a Republican but nowadays usually a liberal independent.

Before liberal independents started running for and winning the second seats, those seats were intended to be the designated Republican seats on the city council, and they literally cannot elect a Democrat (unless the politics of DC shift dramatically).

Anyway, I don't really see why DC would need to change its electoral system at all. The existing DC Council could just be the state legislature.
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KoopaDaQuick
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2020, 07:34:13 PM »

I don't get what's wrong with Washington, a literal city, being given a mayor-council system. It's only the most appropriate for such a state.
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Del Tachi
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 01:14:30 AM »

D.C. already functions essentially as a state, so there's no reason for them to change anything about their government
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Sir Mohamed
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 09:54:25 AM »

Maybe something like 20 senators and 50 reps? Dunno. The number of people represented by each state legislator extremely varies through the US. CA for example has very few lawmakers for its size, just 40 senators and 80 reps.
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Sol
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 10:35:19 PM »

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?

Yeah, it is, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the current setup.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.

Only because the four at-large seats are elected in staggered terms (two at a time) and assigned (i) the first, to the candidate receiving the most votes overall (regardless of party), i.e., always a Democrat and then (ii) the second, to the candidate receiving the most votes who is not a member of the largest party on the city council, i.e., always not a Democrat and historically a Republican but nowadays usually a liberal independent.

Before liberal independents started running for and winning the second seats, those seats were intended to be the designated Republican seats on the city council, and they literally cannot elect a Democrat (unless the politics of DC shift dramatically).

This seems like a bizarre and kind of arbitrary system. Do PR if you want minority party representation--though it will be less than presently.
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Orser67
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2020, 09:00:25 AM »

Current system, and just change "mayor" to "governor" and "city council" to "legislature".

There actually is, or at least was, a bill to do exactly that.
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Oryxslayer
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2020, 09:26:39 AM »

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?

Yeah, it is, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the current setup.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.

Only because the four at-large seats are elected in staggered terms (two at a time) and assigned (i) the first, to the candidate receiving the most votes overall (regardless of party), i.e., always a Democrat and then (ii) the second, to the candidate receiving the most votes who is not a member of the largest party on the city council, i.e., always not a Democrat and historically a Republican but nowadays usually a liberal independent.

Before liberal independents started running for and winning the second seats, those seats were intended to be the designated Republican seats on the city council, and they literally cannot elect a Democrat (unless the politics of DC shift dramatically).

This seems like a bizarre and kind of arbitrary system. Do PR if you want minority party representation--though it will be less than presently.

I mean, even if DC did PR or MMP with the 21 members, 19 or 20 of them would still be Democrats.
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Southern Governor Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2020, 09:31:31 AM »

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?

Yeah, it is, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the current setup.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.

Only because the four at-large seats are elected in staggered terms (two at a time) and assigned (i) the first, to the candidate receiving the most votes overall (regardless of party), i.e., always a Democrat and then (ii) the second, to the candidate receiving the most votes who is not a member of the largest party on the city council, i.e., always not a Democrat and historically a Republican but nowadays usually a liberal independent.

Before liberal independents started running for and winning the second seats, those seats were intended to be the designated Republican seats on the city council, and they literally cannot elect a Democrat (unless the politics of DC shift dramatically).

This seems like a bizarre and kind of arbitrary system. Do PR if you want minority party representation--though it will be less than presently.

I mean, even if DC did PR or MMP with the 21 members, 19 or 20 of them would still be Democrats.
Perhaps an unicameral state legislature of 26 members elected from 21 districts, and 5 seats going to the highest-polling non-Democrats not elected to a district, with 3 of them guaranteed to go to Independents and 2 to non-Dems and non-Is?
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Tintrlvr
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2020, 10:20:47 PM »

Weird system. 5 at large seats, and 16 seats from MMDs of 2 members each?

Yeah, it is, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the current setup.

Doesn't seem like there's much point in having partisan elections. It would be more of a one-party state than South Carolina in the 1930s.

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.

Only because the four at-large seats are elected in staggered terms (two at a time) and assigned (i) the first, to the candidate receiving the most votes overall (regardless of party), i.e., always a Democrat and then (ii) the second, to the candidate receiving the most votes who is not a member of the largest party on the city council, i.e., always not a Democrat and historically a Republican but nowadays usually a liberal independent.

Before liberal independents started running for and winning the second seats, those seats were intended to be the designated Republican seats on the city council, and they literally cannot elect a Democrat (unless the politics of DC shift dramatically).

This seems like a bizarre and kind of arbitrary system. Do PR if you want minority party representation--though it will be less than presently.

Well, it was mainly a compromise worked out in conjunction with Congress deigning to provide DC any self-governance at all in the 70s. It probably would not have been the system designed in a vacuum. That said, I think DC voters overall like the system now because it does mean there are always some Councilmembers who are not beholden to the local Democratic Party infrastructure (while still being liberals).
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Senator tack50 (Lab-Lincoln)
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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2020, 05:47:11 AM »

Given how DC is essencially 85% D and a Republican would have 0 chance of winning a seat, as well as the fact that it is very geographically small, I would argue that the "Nebraska system" would work even better in DC than in Nebraska?

(Ie a unicameral with non-partisan elections)
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Samof94
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2020, 06:07:40 AM »

bicameralism is pointless at the state level. In all honesty every state legislature should become unicameral.
I think thatís how Canadian provinces work.
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senyor_brownbear
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2020, 04:08:23 PM »

What are the chances that the Supreme Court prevents DC statehood if Dems push for that next year?
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True Federalist (진정한 연방 주의자)
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« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2020, 06:07:18 PM »

What are the chances that the Supreme Court prevents DC statehood if Dems push for that next year?
practically zero

There are reasons to be skeptical of DC statehood, but Constitutionality ain't one of them.

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LabourJersey
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« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2020, 06:37:42 PM »

bicameralism is pointless at the state level. In all honesty every state legislature should become unicameral.
I think thatís how Canadian provinces work.

Yes they do, and they seem to have a lot less of the political stalemates that our state governments suffer.
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The Mikado
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2020, 10:24:22 PM »

What are the chances that the Supreme Court prevents DC statehood if Dems push for that next year?

The only issue with DC statehood and constitutionality is that the 23rd Amendment should PROBABLY be repealed if this happens, but this forum has discussed that issue back and forth and even if the 23rd Amendment isn't repealed it isn't a problem, it just means that the rump Federal District gets 3 electoral votes that will be WAY disproportionate to the residential population (which afaik would be extremely low but not actually zero).
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StateBoiler
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« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2020, 09:19:45 PM »

Believe it or not, one of the current at-large seats was held by a Republican as recently as 2008 (albeit a socially liberal Republican, but a Republican nonetheless). There are also currently 2 Independents elected from the at-large seats. It's a possible that as a state, it could develop a unique party system, although with the Democratic Party still dominant.

It's in D.C. law that of the 2 at-large seats, Democrats are only allowed to hold 1 of them. Now how that stands up to a court challenge, I have no idea.

If it was going to develop a unique party system, it already would have. The Republicans are still the 2nd-largest party in the district and it's considered a complete non-entity by outsiders.
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« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2020, 10:02:15 PM »

What are the chances that the Supreme Court prevents DC statehood if Dems push for that next year?

The only issue with DC statehood and constitutionality is that the 23rd Amendment should PROBABLY be repealed if this happens, but this forum has discussed that issue back and forth and even if the 23rd Amendment isn't repealed it isn't a problem, it just means that the rump Federal District gets 3 electoral votes that will be WAY disproportionate to the residential population (which afaik would be extremely low but not actually zero).

Seems to me that it would basically be 3 votes for the incumbent presidential party. Not ideal, but better than 800k+ Americans having zero representation in Congress.
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