Institutional Analysis of Legislative Staff in Oregon: Structure and Function

by Kienan Wear

The heart and soul of state legislatures are the staff members that comprise it. Legislative staff from both the non-partisan institutions, as well as partisan employees, offer legislators a countless number of benefits that help overall productivity in the capital. This is particularly poignant in the case of state legislatures, as their operational budgets pale in comparison to their federal counterparts. It is within this arena, one which in contrast lacks professionalization (1), that staffers can have real effective power over legislative output. It would be an unfair comparison to analyze the differences between state legislative staff and congressional staff, but the fact remains nonetheless that they inherently serve similar functions in terms of day to day operations. This paper shall serve to effectively examine the structure, function, and overall nature of state legislative staff within the context of the Oregon legislature. The varying degree in which personal relationship and trust factor into the legislative process in regards to the people employed in those various institutions will be thoughtfully examined as well.Read More »