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The Legislative Branch. Chapter 4. Texas Legislature - Elections. Apportionment and Redistricting Apportionment: basis for representation. Texas Senate was “qualified electors;” House was “population.” Limits and “rotten boroughs”

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The Legislative Branch

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The legislative branch l.jpg

The Legislative Branch

Chapter 4


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Texas Legislature - Elections

  • Apportionment and Redistricting

    • Apportionment: basis for representation. Texas Senate was “qualified electors;” House was “population.” Limits and “rotten boroughs”

    • Districting: drawing the boundaries for districts: House, Senate, U.S. House of Representatives. Districts must be compact, contiguous, approximately equal in population. Ideal size: Senate=672,639; House=139,012.


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Texas Legislature - Elections

  • Redistricting Process (TX House and Senate)

    • Legislature passes redistricting bill.

    • Governor may veto.

    • If legislature cannot pass a redistricting bill, the governor vetoes the bill, or a court rules the bill unconstitutional, then a Legislative Redistricting Board (Lt. Gov., Speaker, AG, Comptroller, Land Commissioner) draws the districts.

    • Gerrymandering

      • Packing

      • Cracking


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Texas Legislature - Elections

  • Redistricting Process (US House)

    • Legislature passes redistricting bill.

    • Governor may veto.

    • If legislature cannot pass a redistricting bill, the governor vetoes the bill, or a court rules the bill unconstitutional, then a U.S. District Court must draw the district boundaries.

    • 2003 Redistricting

      • 2002 Elections

      • 2003 Regular Session

      • 2003 Special Sessions


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Texas Legislature - Elections

  • Reelection rates and turnover

    • Texas House: 1998=16%; 2000=7%; 2002=23%; 2004=11%; 2006=18%; 2008=13%

    • Texas Senate: 1998=6%; 2000=3%; 2002=23%; 2004=6%; 2006=16%; 2008=13%

    • Tenure, 2009: House= 8 years; Senate=14 years

    • Term Limits?


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Texas Legislature - Structure

  • Bicameral

  • Biennial meetings, Odd years

  • House Members – 150 House, 31 Senate

  • Tenure – 2 years House, 4 years Senate

  • Compensation – salary ($7,200) and per diem ($168 in 2009)

  • Residence – House – 2 years state, 1 year district

  • Residence – Senate – 5 years state, 1 year district

  • Age – House – 21, Senate - 26


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Texas Legislature – Characteristics of Members

  • Occupation, education, and religion

    • Businesspersons and lawyers

    • Majority have advanced degrees

    • Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians

  • Gender, race, and age

    • 43 Women (6 Senate; 37 House)

    • 38 Hispanics (6 Senate; 32 House)

    • 16 African Americans (2 Senate; 14 House)

    • 2 Asian American (House)

    • Average age: 51 House; 54 Senate


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Texas Legislature – Characteristics of Members

  • Political Party

    • Historically, Democrats had majorities

    • 2009, House: 76 Republicans, 74 Democrats

      Senate: 19 Republicans, 12 Democrats

  • Ideology--2007

    • 70 Conservatives: 68 Republicans, 2 Democrats

    • 36 Liberals: 33 Democrats, 3 Republicans

    • 38 Populists: 33 Democrats, 5 Republican

    • 4 Libertarians: All Republicans


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Texas House–Composition


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Texas Senate–Composition


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Texas Legislature - Organization

  • Leadership

    • Senate – Lieutenant Governor

    • House – Speaker

  • Committees

    • Types of Committees

      • Standing

      • Special

      • Interim

      • Joint

        • Conference

    • Composition


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House Committees – 81st Legislature 34 Standing Committees 28 Substantive 6 Procedural 18 Republican Chairs 16 Democratic Chairs


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Senate Committees – 81st Legislature18 Standing Committees16 Substantive2 Procedural12 Republican Chairs 6 Democratic Chairs


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Powers – Speaker of the House

  • In the leadership system

    • Appoints chairs and vice chairs of substantive committees

    • Appoints housekeeping and leadership committees

    • Appoints speaker pro tempore


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Powers – Speaker of the House

  • In the committee system

    • Appoints half of substantive committee members

    • Appoints all members of the Appropriations Committee

    • Appoints select, conference, and interim committee members

    • Determines jurisdiction of committees through control over House Rules


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Powers – Speaker of the House

  • In the staff system

    • Appoints officers, employees, and personnel

    • Appoints members of the Legislative Budget Board (Speaker, Appropriations Chair, Ways and Means Chair, 2 others) and Legislative Council (House Administration Chair, 5 others).

    • Appoints members of the Sunset Advisory Commission (5 House members and 1 public member).


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Powers – Speaker of the House

  • In the system of rules and procedures

    • Writes the rules for the House

    • Applies, enforces, and interprets the rules

    • Refers bills to committees

    • Presides over activities in the House

    • Schedules bills for floor debate (Calendars Committee)


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Opposition in the House

  • House Study Group (1975)

    • Opposition to Speaker Clayton

    • Morphed into House Research Organization

  • Texas Conservative Coalition (1985)

    • http://www.txcc.org/

    • Formed in opposition to legislation

    • Created research institute

  • Legislative Study Group (1994)

    • http://www.texaslsg.org/

    • Moderate and progressive members


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Think Tanks

  • Texas Public Policy Foundation

    • http://www.texaspolicy.com

    • Conservative group

    • Publications, Forums, etc.

  • Center for Public Policy Priorities

    • http://www.cppp.org

    • Progressive group

    • Publications, Forums, etc.


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Legislative Process - Introduction

  • One primary author, cosponsors allowed – written permission

  • Filing dates – no limit during first 60 days, 4/5s required after

  • Copies – 13 required

  • “preferred bills” – one per member – priority on calendar

  • First reading and assignment to committee – read on 3 days – 4/5 to suspend – Speaker assigns


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Legislative Process - Committee

  • No bill can become law unless referred to and reported on by committee

  • Committee hearings – can consider legislation in public hearings, formal meetings, and work sessions. Meetings open to the public. Votes in open meetings.

  • Before committee consideration – analysis of bill, fiscal note, and impact statement – criminal justice, equalized education funding, water development, tax equity, actuarial

  • Anyone can testify before a committee


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Legislative Process - Committee

  • Committee Actions

    • Amend bill

    • Substitute bill

    • Kill bill – chair determines when and if bill gets a hearing. Two-thirds vote to remove bill. Minority report possible.

  • Subcommittee

    • Referred by committee chair

    • Members chosen by chair


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Legislative Process – Committee Report

  • Recorded vote adopting report

  • Recommendation of assignment to a calendar

  • Amendments and recommendation

  • Effect of bill on existing law

  • Analysis and synopsis of bill

  • Summary of committee hearing


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Legislative Process – Calendar Committee

  • Assignment – 7 days – placed on one of House calendars

  • Placement – daily calendar – only bills debated on the floor. Cannot require placement by the committee – 36 hours before second reading


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Legislative Process – Floor

  • Order of business

  • Registration of members – 2/3 quorum

  • Daily order of business

    • Call to order

    • Registration of members

    • Consideration of calendars – Emergency, Major State, Constitutional Amendments, General State, Local, Consent, Resolutions


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Legislative Process – Floor

  • Daily order of Business (Continued)

    • Second reading – amendments possible. Sponsor opens and closes debate (20 minutes). Others get 10 minutes. Limit by previous question or motion to limit amendments. Voting by voice or roll call.

    • Third reading – separate legislative day. Four-fifths to suspend rule. Amendments require 2/3 vote.


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Legislative Process – Senate

  • Calendaring Function – “blocker” bill

  • Intent Calendar – president of the Senate

  • Two-thirds vote – 21 senators – to suspend rules and consider bill

  • Debates – no limit

  • Filibuster


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Legislative Process – Conference Committee

  • Five representatives

  • Five senators

  • Vote by chamber

  • Majority of each chamber required

  • Returns to chambers

  • Only consider differences


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Legislative Process – Gubernatorial actions

  • Ten days to sign or veto bill if legislature is in session.

  • Bills effective 90 days after end of session unless: later day set or emergency declared and 2/3 vote in both chambers (earlier date set)


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Budgeting Process - Steps

  • Budget Preparation

    • Governor’s Budget Office

    • Legislative Budget Board (LBB)

  • Constitutional Limitations

    • Balanced budget

    • Limit on spending growth

    • Comptroller’s estimate

    • Comptroller’s certification


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Budgeting Process - Steps

  • Budget Adoption

    • Committee Hearings

      • House Appropriations

      • Senate Finance

    • House and Senate Action

    • Conference Committee

  • Budget Execution

    • Governor and LBB must agree on movement of funds


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Influences on Legislative Behavior

  • Legislative staff

    • Individual legislators

    • Committees

    • Institutional

      • Legislative Council

      • Legislative Budget Board

      • Senate Research Center


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Influences on Legislative Behavior

  • Relations with the governor

    • Call special sessions

    • Determine agenda items for special session

    • Veto bill

  • Relations with lobbyists

    • Provide information

    • Protect interests of groups represented


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Join the Debate: Redistricting

  • Arguments for Nonpartisan Redistricting

    • Parties should not be able to increase their influence

    • Legislatures will not be fair in redistricting

    • Independent committee more likely to be fair

  • Arguments against Nonpartisan Redistricting

    • Truly independent or nonpartisan redistricting committee is impossible

    • Plan consequences are observable

    • Redistricting is a political process


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Legislative Branch and Democracy

  • Powers of legislative leaders

  • Legislative procedures


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