Center for Effective Lawmaking

Legislative Effectiveness in the American States

Legislative Effectiveness in the American States Overcoming significant barriers that have previously limited scholarly research on the legislative effectiveness of individual state legislators, the Center for Effective Lawmaking is able to announce exciting new progress! Building on innovative approaches that CEL researchers have used in recent studies of the U.S. Congress, we have developed State Legislative Effectiveness Scores (SLES) for state legislators across 97 legislative chambers over recent decades.  And the results unearth more questions we encourage scholars and researchers to explore with renewed vigor. Our SLES is based on…

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On the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Recommendations

On the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Recommendations The vision statement of the Center for Effective Lawmaking points toward a Congress “comprised of effective lawmakers” and featuring a “strong institutional capacity.”  It is in this light that we viewed the work of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress with great anticipation and enthusiasm.  We were pleased to meet with members of the Select Committee and committee staff in a variety of forums and to offer our suggestions to the committee as they formulated their recommendations and…

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Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Don Young

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Don Young Congressman Don Young (R-AK) was elected as the representative for Alaska's at-large district in 1973. His decades of service since have given him a wealth of experience navigating Capitol Hill, as well as a unique perspective of changes to the legislative institution through time. As one of our all-time highest ranking lawmakers for legislative effectiveness, Professors Craig Volden (UVA) and Alan E. Wiseman (Vanderbilt University), Co-Directors of the Center for Effective Lawmaking, ask Representative Young to share his thoughts and stories on how…

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2020-2021 Small Grant Awards Announced

Small Grant Awards for 2020-2021 Announced It is with honor and excitement that we announce our 3rd annual small grant awards and recipients. The body of academic research produced by both the first and second cohorts of CEL grant recipients has been not only impressive but also critical to the field. We know that this year’s group of awardees will deliver the same high caliber scholarly work.The CEL’s funding and support for research grants is consistent with its commitment to advancing the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about…

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Foxes v. Hedgehogs and Issues Specialization in Congress

Foxes vs. Hedgehogs: Issue Specialization and Effective Lawmaking in the U.S. Congress Members of Congress can specialize in particular policy areas or maintain a more general approach in the bills they sponsor. Is one approach more effective than the other? The impact of a Representative’s or Senator’s choice on this matter has, before now, been largely left to speculation and anecdote. But the Center for Effective Lawmaking has released new research indicating that the vast majority of lawmakers have overly general legislative agendas. This has powerful implications for effective lawmaking.The…

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Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Abigail Spanberger

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Abigail Spanberger  Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA7) spent her freshman term in Congress on a variety of high profile initiatives. In a conversation with Professors Craig Volden (UVA) and Alan E. Wiseman (Vanderbilt University), Co-Directors of the Center for Effective Lawmaking, Representative Spanberger shares valuable insights into what it takes to be an effective lawmaker in Congress.  Join us as the Congresswoman answers questions on how she approaches her job, such as how she seeks to build bipartisan coalitions, how a legislator tries to cultivate a…

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Center for Effective Lawmaking Annual Report 2019-2020

The Center for Effective Lawmaking 2019-2020 Annual Report Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Center for Effective Lawmaking Annual Report.  This overview report represents our annual means of spreading the word about the accomplishments, broad goals, and future plans for the Center.  At a time when so many people around the world are feeling so distant from one another, we could not be more thankful for the close community of those who continue to work with us to advance the Center’s work. We thank our student interns and researchers, who…

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Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Michael Minta

Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Michael Minta The Center for Effective Lawmaking recently sat down with faculty affiliate Professor Michael Minta, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, to discuss his research and his partnership with the CEL. Professor Minta’s research focuses on American politics, race and ethnicity in US politics, and representation of underrepresented groups in Congress. Most recently, Professor Minta has also been researching interest groups and how they react to private funding. When asked how he came to study political science, Professor Minta explains…

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Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Andrew Clarke

Meet Our Faculty Affiliate: Andrew Clarke Andrew Clarke, an Assistant Professor of Government and Law at Lafayette College, and current Faculty Affiliate of the CEL, uses his expertise not only to advance legislative research but also to help the next generation of scholars. Professor Clarke received his undergraduate degree in political science at Bucknell University and a doctorate in government at the University of Virginia. His research area of expertise includes American political institutions with a more specific focus on legislative party factions.As an undergraduate at Bucknell University, Clarke first…

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Watch: The History of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores

Watch: The History of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores During a recent Expert Chat conversation, hosted by the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, Professors Alan E. Wiseman and Craig Volden gave rare insight into how the Center for Effective Lawmaking was first formed, with roots from when the Co-Directors were both faculty at Ohio State University.At that time, Volden and Wiseman utilized their skill sets to create a meaningful metric for effectiveness in Congress by assessing which members successfully pass substantive and significant pieces of legislation regardless of political…

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