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Civility in State Legislatures

By May 11, 2018June 20th, 2020No Comments

The NICD research staff has worked to develop a research project that complements NICD’s Next Generation workshops in state legislatures.  Working with a team of scholars directed by Nicholas Lovrich (Washington State University), we have developed a survey on civility that can be used to measure the quality of legislative life in different states.  To date, Lovrich’s team has done a decade of work in the state of Washington, and we have worked with Lovrich to develop a national survey of state legislative lobbyists on their perceptions of civility and changes in it over time in the states where they work.  We are in the process of expanding this work to include other states where NICD has been active.  To date, we have completed a surveys of state legislators in Idaho and Maine.  We have recruited academics in each of these states to help us interpret results, and we expect to field the survey in other states in the upcoming year..

These surveys serve two purposes.  First, they enable us to compare the level of civility across states – to determine whether some states manage to legislate in a more collegial way, and to try to understand why this is.  We are able to look at differences according to region, partisanship, gender, and other factors in these legislatures.  Second, we hope to use these surveys to measure interventions – to see if NICD’s work makes a noticeable difference in the quality of legislative life in these states, and to explore how NICD might modify its work to account for unique characteristics of the legislatures where we are active.

Click to read and download the NICD 2018 Civility in the Idaho Legislature document. It is a summary of responses to the NICD / Washington State University State Legislative Civility Survey.

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