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The Texas Legislature. Chapter 23 O’Connor and Sabato American Government: Continuity and Change. The Texas Legislature. In this chapter we will cover… 1. The Roots of the Legislative Branch 2. The State Constitution and the Legislative Branch of Government

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the texas legislature

The Texas Legislature

Chapter 23

O’Connor and Sabato

American Government: Continuity and Change

the texas legislature2
The Texas Legislature
  • In this chapter we will cover…

1. The Roots of the Legislative Branch

2. The State Constitution and the Legislative Branch of Government

3. Legislative Membership: Representing the Public

4. How the Texas Legislature is Organized

5. The Lawmaking and Budgeting Function of the Legislature

6. How the Legislature Makes Decisions

7. The Legislature and the Governor

roots of the legislature in texas
Roots of the Legislature in Texas
  • Roots in Mexican legislature (Mexican provinces of Tejas and Chohuila)
  • 1836 Texas independence - Constitution of Republic of Texas calls for bicameral Congress
  • 1846 Texas joins Union - Republic of Texas legislature dissolved and first Texas Legislature convenes
  • Legislature dominated by Anglos
  • During Reconstruction – African Americans in Texas Legislature (1869/1874… then reduced in #s)
  • End of Reconstruction meant the end of representation for African Americans
state constitution the legislative branch of government
State Constitution & the Legislative Branch of Government
  • Texas legislature – bicameral (Senate has 31 members and House of Representatives has 150)
  • Constitution sets term limits, compensation, and requirements for office
  • Legislative session – every two years
  • Constitution provides for regular and special sessions
legislative membership representing the public
Legislative Membership: Representing the Public
  • Issues of representation include

-Nature of representation

-How to achieve representation

-Equality of representation

  • Determining representation

-Districts and redistricting

-Reelection rates& membership turnover

legislative membership representing the public6
Legislative Membership: Representing the Public
  • Demographics of representation

occupation

education

religion

gender

race

age

political party

ideology

organization of texas legislature
Organization of Texas Legislature
  • Leaders

Lieutenant Governor

Speaker

  • Committees (subunit of the legislature)
  • Types of committees

standing

procedural

joint

conference

interim

organization of texas legislature8
Organization of Texas Legislature
  • Power and Influence

Legislative Party Caucus (same party identification)

  • Leadership/Opposition – the House

Texas Constitution requires that legislature elect one of their members to be head of House called the “Speaker” (influence and power)

  • Leadership and Opposition - the Senate

Constitution calls for lieutenant governor to be leader of the Senate (influence and power)

Lieutenant governor in Texas is a very powerful position

lawmaking budgeting in the texas legislature
Lawmaking & Budgeting in the Texas Legislature
  • Bills and Resolutions
  • Rules of the process whereby a bill becomes a law adopted by legislative chambers embody constitutional limits
  • Bills are filed, committeed, read, calendared, filibustered, amended, engrossed, and signed
lawmaking budgeting in the texas legislature12
Lawmaking & Budgeting in the Texas Legislature
  • Budgeting process
  • Texas has biennial budget
  • Role of the Governor and Legislative Budgeting Board
  • Balanced budget requirement
  • Budgeting process includes: consideration of balanced budget requirement, comptrollers revenues estimates, proposed budget by governor and the LBB, spending limits, and governor’s line item veto authority
how the legislature makes decisions
How the Legislature Makes Decisions
  • decision process – complex involving many players (voters, lobbyists, judges, media, etc.)
  • Growth and dependency on support staff is focal point of institutionalization of legislatures
  • Lobbyist influence and role is of special concern in the development of public policy
  • Campaign finances and election lines become blurred
the legislature the governor
The Legislature & the Governor
  • In Texas governors may be weak in terms of executive branch control but strong players in the legislative process
  • The Governor and special sessions
  • Governor’s veto power over legislation

In Texas governors veto rarely overridden due to nature and timing veto power