Legislatures are the governing bodies of the individual states. The legislature of a state is responsible for making the decisions required to establish the laws and budget to allow that state to function.
Members of the legislature are elected by voters, who are registered residents of that state. Every state except Nebraska (which has a unicameral legislature of only one house) has a bicameral legislature of two chambers, similar to the structure of the United States Congress.
Bills are submitted to one of the houses of a state's legislature for consideration and action. Bills are reviewed and possibly revised by the committee that deals with matters related to the bill; if the bill is approved by the committee, it is then debated and voted on by the full house. If approved, the bill repeats the process with the legislators of the other house. If changes are made to the bill, a conference committee with representation from both houses reconciles the differences and the revised bill is submitted to both houses for approval.
Bills that are approved, or ratified, by both houses of the Legislature are forwarded to the state's governor for signature, to indicate approval of the bill as a law, or for a veto.
State legislatures are also responsible for approving the governor's appointments to various boards and to the state's Supreme Court.
Providing opportunities and the best environment for real debate is an important function of the legislature.
Every legislature has to balance the need to represent with the need to govern.