When Jason Frierson (D) became Speaker of the Nevada Assembly, he wanted to signal to minority Republicans that he was open to compromise and conversation, that he represented a clean break from the partisan feuds that had riven the institution in recent years. So he bought an olive tree for his office in Carson City.
In Maine, House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) wanted to encourage cross-party cooperation, so she ended the practice of having an aisle dividing Democratic and Republican members. Members of the two parties now sit intermingled.
Idaho’s state legislature nearly imploded last year over disputes about office space and regulatory reform sharply divided members of the state House and state Senate. Over the summer, state Senate President Brent Hill (R) and House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) urged their members to get to know their seatmates from the other chamber to reduce tempers.