Did you know the GOP now controls 66 of 99 state legislative houses?

Another underreported fact from Tuesday's election is the extraordinary night Republicans had in winning state legislative seats.

The GOP now controls two thirds of state legislative houses – 66 of 99 (Nebraska's legislature is unicameral).  They upped the number of states where they control both house and senate to 24 – one more than they had before the election.  And according to this article in Vox, they cut the number of Democratic-held legislatures from 14 to 7.

What does it mean?

Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures in 2010. They held on in many states in 2012, or made up for losses in one state with gains in another — even though Democrats won the national election. And they won even more in 2014. This isn't an accident — it's the result of strategic fundraising from national Republicans, beginning in 2010, aimed at engineering statehouse takeovers. Out-of-state contributions were shuffled to states where they would make a difference, particularly as congressional partisanship and gridlock made policymaking in Washington increasingly unlikely.

And at a time of national gridlock, state legislatures have done an immense amount of, well, legislating. Since 2010, 30 states, most controlled by Republicans, have passed a total of 205 new abortion restrictions. That's more restrictions than were passed in the entire first decade of the 2000s, according to the Guttmacher Institute:

wenty-two states, 18 with Republican majorities, have passed laws making it more difficult for people to vote.

After the Newtown shootings, most new state laws surrounding guns actually eased restrictions on owning and carrying firearms. Seventy new laws loosening gun control were passed, 49 in states with Republican legislative majorities and Republican governors, compared to three in Democratically controlled states.

Then there was the fiscal experiment in Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and a Republican majority in the legislature slashed income taxes. State revenue came in well below projections and threatened Brownback's re-election — but he won, and has promised to accelerate the tax cuts in the future.

It should be noted that in 2020, state legislatures will redraw congressional district lines.  That will mean that the GOP will have an opportunity to carve out districts favorable to their candidates.  For those who cry "gerrymandering," I would gently point out that both parties do it and that almost every state's redistricting is subject to judicial review.

Republican wins at the state legislative level underscore just how complete their vanquishing of the Democrats on Tuesday was.

Another underreported fact from Tuesday's election is the extraordinary night Republicans had in winning state legislative seats.

The GOP now controls two thirds of state legislative houses – 66 of 99 (Nebraska's legislature is unicameral).  They upped the number of states where they control both house and senate to 24 – one more than they had before the election.  And according to this article in Vox, they cut the number of Democratic-held legislatures from 14 to 7.

What does it mean?

Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures in 2010. They held on in many states in 2012, or made up for losses in one state with gains in another — even though Democrats won the national election. And they won even more in 2014. This isn't an accident — it's the result of strategic fundraising from national Republicans, beginning in 2010, aimed at engineering statehouse takeovers. Out-of-state contributions were shuffled to states where they would make a difference, particularly as congressional partisanship and gridlock made policymaking in Washington increasingly unlikely.

And at a time of national gridlock, state legislatures have done an immense amount of, well, legislating. Since 2010, 30 states, most controlled by Republicans, have passed a total of 205 new abortion restrictions. That's more restrictions than were passed in the entire first decade of the 2000s, according to the Guttmacher Institute:

wenty-two states, 18 with Republican majorities, have passed laws making it more difficult for people to vote.

After the Newtown shootings, most new state laws surrounding guns actually eased restrictions on owning and carrying firearms. Seventy new laws loosening gun control were passed, 49 in states with Republican legislative majorities and Republican governors, compared to three in Democratically controlled states.

Then there was the fiscal experiment in Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and a Republican majority in the legislature slashed income taxes. State revenue came in well below projections and threatened Brownback's re-election — but he won, and has promised to accelerate the tax cuts in the future.

It should be noted that in 2020, state legislatures will redraw congressional district lines.  That will mean that the GOP will have an opportunity to carve out districts favorable to their candidates.  For those who cry "gerrymandering," I would gently point out that both parties do it and that almost every state's redistricting is subject to judicial review.

Republican wins at the state legislative level underscore just how complete their vanquishing of the Democrats on Tuesday was.