For the First Time, a U.S. State Will Have a Majority-Female Legislature

The Nevada state capitol building in Carson City.

The Nevada state capitol building in Carson City. Shutterstock


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The change comes during a year when women candidates had a strong showing at the state and federal levels.

Nevada's state Legislature this week became the first in the U.S. to gain a majority of female members, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Wednesday.

The state took on that distinction after the Clark County Commission on Tuesday appointed two women—Beatrice Duran and Rochelle Nguyen—to fill vacant seats in the Assembly.

Those appointments, NCSL says, increases the total number of women in the Assembly to 23 of 42 members who, along with nine women in the Senate, mean that 32 of 63 legislators in the state are female. 

Information the Conference of State Legislatures updated Wednesday shows that, preliminarily, 2,092 women will serve in state legislatures in 2019, comprising 28.3 percent of all state lawmakers nationwide.

That proportion is a roughly 3 percentage point increase over 2018, and reflects the results of an election cycle this year where women candidates performed strongly at the state and federal level.

Colorado is the only other state with gender parity in a single legislative chamber—half its House members will be women in 2019.

Nguyen, an attorney, previously worked on immigration issues at the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Duran is grievance specialist for a union, Culinary Local 226.

"I think women are stepping up,” Duran told the newspaper. “I think it gives confidence to more women to put their names in the hat.”

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Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Government Executive's Route Fifty, and is based in Washington, D.C.

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