CHECKS AND BALANCES
Concentration of governmental power. The unicameral system corrects the modern concentration of power in the executive and judicial branches of government. The founders lived in an age of burgeoning legislative power; hence they feared a strong legislature and sought to inhibit its ability to act. But we live in an age of executive, bureaucratic, and judicial dominance, when the problem with legislatures is infirmity, not prowess. By concentrating and increasing the authority of the legislature, the unicameral structure restores the proper balance of power among the three branches of state government.
External constraints on the legislature's power. Although the authority of legislators in a unicameral system is not limited by a second house, members are nonetheless constrained by powerful countervailing external forces: they are more accountable to the electorate; and the executive veto and judicial review remain as constitutional protections against legislative excess.
Internal constraints on power. The members of the legislature choose their leaders, and they also adopt the rules of procedure that allocate power to those leaders. Therefore, the members of a unicameral legislature can readily compensate for the absence of countervailing powers in a second house by choosing leaders carefully and by adopting rules of procedure that limit the authority and influence of leaders and committee chairs.
Legislative stability and restraint. The founders' theory of bicameral stability--in which the momentary passions of popular majorities expressed in the House would be restrained by wiser, more conservative representatives of wealth and property in the Senate--is a relic of history. For a long time now, the members of both houses of state legislatures have been chosen by and from the citizenry at large within the same voting districts, without destabilizing the legislature. There is little reason to suppose that a unicameral legislature, so chosen, is more volatile or erratic than a bicameral one.
Legislative authority. The bicameral system divides legislative authority between two houses with competing sets of members, committees, and leaders. Partitioning the legislature in this way diminishes its authority and effectiveness in dealing with the executive branch of state government and with the federal government. The unicameral structure, by concentrating legislative power in the members and leaders of one house, enhances the prestige, independence, and authority of the legislature. A strong legislature is able to deal more effectively with the governor and the executive branch and to represent the interests of the state more forcefully on the national level.
External quality controls. In our system of shared lawmaking authority, quality control does not rest with the legislature alone. The executive veto and judicial review are adequate protection against serious legislative error.