Checks and Balances in Action: Legislative Oversight across the States

In 2018 the Levin Center at Wayne Law commissioned a study of each state legislature’s capacity to conduct oversight of its executive branch and the extent to which each state uses that capacity.  The study was conducted by the Center for Urban Studies (CUS) at Wayne State University.

Ten states initially judged to have more extensive oversight resources were selected for more in-depth reviews.  During the 18 months of the study, CUS gathered data on state legislative oversight by examining committee documents and web sites, listening to committee hearings, reading committee minutes, searching news media accounts, reading audit reports, and conducting interviews with knowledgeable sources in the states.  Their analysis focuses on six dimensions of legislative oversight:  analytic bureaucracies, the appropriations process, committees, the administrative rules process, advice and consent, and monitoring of state contracts.

Using these six dimensions, CUS created an overall rating of the capacity for and the use of oversight in each state.  The ratings for each of the six dimensions as well as the overall ratings and the full reports are available by selecting an individual state below.

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