Responsibilities of a Lieutenant Governor

A lieutenant governor may be derive responsibilities one of four ways: from the Constitution, from the Legislature through statute, from the governor (through gubernatorial appointment or executive order), through personal initiative in office, and/or a combination of these. The principal and shared constitutional responsibility of every NLGA member is to be the first official in the line of succession to the governor’s office.

Lieutenant governors are the only officials with specific duties and powers in two branches of state government: the executive and legislative branches. More than half of the NLGA members preside over their state senate. Most pursue legislative initiatives; many testify locally and in Washington D.C. in various capacities; some serve on the governors’ cabinets; and others maintain portfolio of varied duties. The office of lieutenant governor is the most diverse office across state governments. The elected officials of each state and the individual officeholder have the opportunity to utilize the office to most effectively meet the states’ unique needs, priorities, and pressing issues.

In many states, the duties of lieutenant governor have been increased by legislation to include the lieutenant governor on state boards, commissions and task forces and to attend to other duties. A lieutenant governor may lead a division, commission, or department of government through gubernatorial or legislative action.

In the states where the official next in line of succession to the governor is a secretary of state or senate president, the responsibilities are those traditionally assigned to the respective office along with the succession and acting governor provisions.

The research found “In This Section” on the right of this page includes the following:

  • Data on the Office of Lt. Governor
    50-state data on the office including the history of the office in each state, qualifications to hold office, the methods of election, a limited sampling of applicable legislative duties, statutory duties (only), and salary.  Frequently asked questions on the office of lieutenant governor are posted here.
  • The Importance of the Office of Lt. Governor 
    These articles explain the critical leadership role of lieutenant governors in states.
  • Data on Gubernatorial Succession
    The principal and shared responsibility of every gubernatorial successor is to be the first official in the line of succession to the governor’s office.  Data on successions, succession law, lines of succession to the office of governor and lieutenant governor, and gubernatorial removal due to disability, recall, or petition to the state high court is here.

“The job (of lt. governor) groomed…leading presidential candidates…and helped launch governors.”
Washington Post