AP Style Legislature

Capitalize when preceded by the name of a state. For example,

  • The Missouri Legislature convened today.

Retain capitalization when the state name is dropped but the reference is specifically to that state’s legislature. For example,

  • LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Both houses of the Legislature adjourned today.

Capitalized “legislature” in subsequent specific reference and in such construction as, “the 100th Legislature,” or “the state Legislature.”

Although the word “legislature” is not part of the formal, proper name for the lawmaking bodies in many states, it commonly is used that way and should be treated as such in any story that does not use the formal name.

If a given context or local practice calls for the use of a formal name such as “Missouri General Assembly,” retain the capital letters if the name of the state can be dropped, but lowercase the word “assembly” if it stand alone. Lowercase “legislature” if a story uses it in a subsequent reference to a body identified as a general assembly.

Lowercase “legislature” when used generically. For example,

  • No legislature has approved the amendment.

Use “legislature” in lowercase for all plural references. For example,

  • The Arkansas and Colorado legislatures are considering the amendment.

In 49 states the separate bodies are a senate and a “house” or “assembly.” The “Nebraska Legislature” is a unicameral body.

See also AP Style Assembly, AP Style General Assembly, AP Style Governmental Bodies, AP Style House of Representatives, and AP Style Senate.

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