By Alan Ehrenhalt | Governing
For as long as there have been cities and state legislatures in this country, the cities have complained that the legislatures give them a raw deal. For most of the nation’s history, of course, they had an obvious reason to complain: Legislatures were malapportioned in favor of rural interests. Cities didn’t get anything close to the number of seats that population alone would have entitled them to.
There’s plenty of evidence, however, that malapportionment wasn’t the whole problem. If it had been, it would have been solved by the U.S. Supreme Court’s “one person, one vote” mandate in the 1960s. But in the half-century since then, urban frustration at the hands of unfriendly legislatures has remained constant. Urban lawmakers, especially in the biggest states, continually lament having to endure second-class legislative treatment even on bills that pertain only to their cities.