Let John Oliver Explain the Insane Amount of Power Your Bizarre State Legislature Holds


With the midterm elections finally arriving tomorrow, John Oliver is asking voters to do everyone a solid and pay attention to what’s happening on the local level. Though they often resemble ridiculous shit shows, state houses actually wield an incredible amount of power and affect everything from abortion laws to gun control.

“All those conspiracy theories about a shadow government are actually true,” Oliver explained on the latest Last Week Tonight. “Only it’s not a group of billionaires meeting in a mountain lair in Zurich. It’s a bunch of pasty bureaucrats meeting in a windowless committee room in Lansing, Michigan.”

It’s these “pasty bureaucrats” who are quietly creating legislation all around the country. According to Oliver, while Congress passed only 185 bills this session, state legislatures passed an astounding 24,000. And as Mother Jones reported recently, state legislatures are looking awfully red, with Republicans currently boasting single-party control in both houses of state legislatures in 23 states.

“The senate is likely to remain inactive no matter which party controls it after Tuesday,” Oliver said. “So why all this attention on the national level where almost nothing is happening, when down on the local level everything is happening?”

Great question. Watch below for more.

 

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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