I spoke about California's recent experience with the top-two primary. You can read the paper here and see my talk here. Basically, I'm not predicting huge changes in legislative partisanship as a result, but it's still a bit early to tell, and the reform has already shaken up the political system a bit in the primary.
But here's another interesting story, forwarded to me by Jon Robinson. Did you know that the 2010 elections left Oregon with a split lower house -- 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans? And the parties came up with an interesting solution: a dual speakership, one Democratic and one Republican. The results have been impressive:
The two leaders negotiated a clear set of rules that would govern House operations. They also made a commitment to sit down together to solve problems -- and to stay seated until both sides had a solution they could agree on.
The beginning, says Hanna, was “tough.” But the two legislative sessions presided over by co-speakers Roblan and Hanna rank as among the most productive in Oregon’s history, with balanced budgets, a sweeping health reform overhaul, state and congressional redistricting, and a successful school reform package.I'm generally of the mind that partisanship isn't necessarily a problem, and to the extent it is, it's rather hard to make it go away. But Oregon's experience is encouraging.