By Karl Kurtz
The proportion of former state legislators serving in the 113th Congress is 49 percent, according to a story in this month's State Legislatures magazine. That number has been consistently within one or two points of 50 percent for decades. Here are the top five 10 and bottom five 10 states in sending former legislators to Congress (House and Senate combined):
Here's the complete list of former members of state legisalatures serving in Congress compiled by Michael Bird and Jeff Hurley in NCSL's Washington office.
Continuing a trend that I first noted in "An Unexpected Benefit of Term Limits" in The Thicket in 2009, state legislatures with term limits send a higher proportion of former members to Congress than do non-term-limited legislatures: an average of 57 percent in the 15 term-limited states compared to 48 percent in all of the others.
Here's what I said (corrected) about the reasons for this differential in 2009:
The reason for this connection between term limits and legislators moving to Congress is not complicated. Legislators in term-limited states who want to continue a political career will constantly watch opportunities to run for other offices and will be more willing to take risks (giving up their term-limited legislative seat) than will legislators in non-term-limited states.
For those of us who think that service in state legislatures is valuable training for Congress, this is an unexpected benefit of state legislative service term limits.