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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

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