Tag Archives: New Jersey Assembly

Why Don’t More States Have Filibusters?

filibusterImage5The invaluable Stateline.org ponders the question: Why don’t we see filibusters in state senates as we do in the US Senate? There are a couple of reasons:

The answer is right in the [New Jersey] Assembly’s rulebook. Along with the three-fourths requirement to shut off debate, there’s a separate provision allowing members to suspend any rule they don’t like with a simple majority vote. The three-fourths barrier to avoid a filibuster, in other words, can be rendered meaningless whenever the majority wants.


New Jersey is in line with most states, where filibusters by the minority party — or even the threat of them — are nowhere near as common as they are in Washington, D.C. Only a small number of states require more than a simple majority of lawmakers to shut off debate, and even in states where the rules would seem to allow filibusters to happen, they rarely do.


Filibusters are rare because chamber rules or local traditions prevent them. So do tight legislative calendars. Marshall notes that Vermont lawmakers work part-time and are not paid very much, and there’s little appetite for staying in the capital any longer than necessary, which frequent filibusters would require them to do.

Full story here.