Legislative supermajorities in Florida, elsewhere push controversial policies to the edge
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/7/23-Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, offers the prayer for the House of Representatives during the opening day of the 2023 Florida Legislative Session, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

The number of states with supermajorities is at its highest level since at least 1982.

Lawmakers in state capitols this year have been flexing their superpowers. Florida is no exception to this rule.

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis helped build a Republican supermajority by becoming more involved in legislative races, and the candidates he backed remained firmly loyal during this year’s legislative session.

DeSantis had no problem passing a legislative agenda that included a six-week abortion ban, tougher immigration laws, more power for parents to remove books from public schools and an easier ability for prosecutors to win death sentences, among other things. He now is campaigning on that agenda as he runs for president.

House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell said DeSantis “changed the vibe” in the Capitol. She recalled that lawmakers last year had included limits on how the governor could use funds in an emergency management bill.

“That was when they did not have a supermajority,” Driskell said. “This time, we didn’t see anything that would be a check on his power.”

The trend goes beyond the Sunshine State.

In North Carolina, a new supermajority of Republicans enacted abortion restrictions. In Vermont, a new supermajority of Democrats imposed a climate-sensitive home heating law. And in Montana, a GOP supermajority booted a transgender lawmaker from the House floor.

In each case, the views of their political opponents ultimately were irrelevant.

By at least one measure, political power is at its highest mark in decades. That’s because Republicans or Democrats hold majorities so large in 28 states that they could override gubernatorial vetoes without any help from the minority party.

There is no single standard for a supermajority, though the term generally is equated with whatever threshold is needed to override a gubernatorial veto. In many states, that’s a two-thirds majority. In some, that’s a three-fifths majority. In six states — Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia — it takes only a simple majority to override a veto. But those states all have Republican majorities around 70% or greater — easily exceeding any definition of a supermajority.

The number of states with supermajorities is at its highest level since at least 1982, with 19 Republican supermajorities and nine Democratic ones. This year began with supermajorities in 26 legislatures, including new Republican ones in Florida and Montana and a new Democratic one in Vermont. Two other states saw party switches that tipped the scale.

Political scientists cite a couple of reasons for the rise of supermajorities.

Over the past decades, Americans have increasingly voted along party lines — picking state lawmakers and even local officials who align with their party choice for president or the top of the ticket. At the same time, politicians in power in many states have gerrymandered voting district boundaries to give their party’s candidates an advantage in legislative elections.

As parties gain more seats in House and Senate chambers, the political ideology of their middle members often shifts further to the right or left, reducing the need to appeal to moderates and virtually eliminating the need to compromise with the opposing party.

Associated Press


  • Jay Smif

    June 17, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    It’s fascism that they’re pushing, christofascism, plan and simple

    • SteveHC

      June 17, 2023 at 1:12 pm

      – At this point in time I have to agree with you 110%.

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  • PeterH

    June 17, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    In Florida….. we’re very aware of the problem. Soon we’ll look like Alabama and Mississippi with abandoned shopping malls, closed theaters, unqualified doctors and academics……and an entrenched Republican political establishment blaming Democrats for the decline.

    Think about it! Out of all the red states ….. which one would you like to live in?

    • Elliott Offen

      June 17, 2023 at 3:41 pm

      Problem is stupid people continue to come here for the beach and just deal with the high prices, low wages, and degenerate political ideology. Someone who graduates from college here and stays is a gd fool. Nobody making anything close to what they would elsewhere… and housing cheaper elsewhere.

  • SteveHC

    June 17, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Although “supermajorities” of any one particular political party in any legislative body are almost always terrible for their potential to produce anti-democratic results, it appears that currently it is primarily the REPUBLICAN supermajority legislatures that are exercising the greatest abuses of their political power in enacting anti-democratic measures such as restricting personal liberties and local municipal rule, excessively blurring the lines between government and religion, etc. While Democratic Party leaders seem to have largely been effective in keeping their extremist minorities in check and thus limiting their influence over that party’s legislative priorities, this has quite often NOT been the case with Republican supermajorites wherein their effectively having “said no” to their seriously right wing extremist legislative subgroups has been the rare exception rather than the rule. This is clearly – and I say OBVIOUSLY – truly dangerous to democracy in the United States, and that is why so many other countries that are continuing to strive to improve their own democratic processes are looking upon these matters in the USA with justifiable horror.

  • Eduardo Slaveen Worldwide 👍

    June 17, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    FK these crackers don’t hand one of them a gd dime if you don’t have to.

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 18, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    GOP Supermajority’s old word used to be “bullies.” Given how bullies are the ones that created Rhonda, you’d think Rhonda would have learned at Harvard and Yale how to avoid repeating the cycle of abuse. And yet, no, Rhonda did not learn. Or they learned and choose to ignore their lessons because they think that’s not what their primary voters would want to hear. Yeah, that sounds about right. Rhonda can’t be as stupid as he plays on TV. He’s just a shit bag that will do or say anything to get what Casey wants. Little does Litler know, Casey wants Elon Musk.

  • Joe

    June 20, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    These states are committing a form of slow cultural suicide…

Comments are closed.


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