The Texas Legislature. Lieutenant governor Special Session Bipartisan Committees (standing, procedural, joint, rules, calendar) Party Caucus. First Reading Second Reading Conference committee Line Item Veto biennial. Key Terms. The Texas Legislature
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On paper, the Texas legislature looks much like the U.S. Congress
A. Two chambers: Senate and House
B. Senate: 31 members elected for 4-year terms.
C. House: 150 members elected for 2-year terms.
D. Pay is $7,200 a year plus a per diem while on state business.
. The Senate is given the power to confirm the Governor’s appointments.
. All revenue bills start in the House.
A. 140 days every other year. 43 states have annual sessions.
B. Special sessions may be called by Governor
C. Special sessions are for 30 days — Governor sets the agenda
D. Governor can call as many as she/he wishes.
A. The Senate president is the Lieutenant Governor, elected statewide.
B. The House leader is the Speaker, elected by the majority party in the House.
A. More powerful that the leadership in Congress
B. Leadership decides the committee structure, who will serve on each committee, and who will be chair.
C. Bipartisan process; leadership normally will select some chairs from the opposition party.
Legislative Party Caucus
Texas Constitution requires that legislature elect one of their members to be head of House called the “Speaker”
Constitution calls for lieutenant governor to be leader of the Senate
Lieutenant governor in Texas is a very powerful position
A. Much like the U.S. Congress
B. Introduced in both chambers (called a First Reading)
C. Sent to a committee; may never emerge.
D. If passed out of committee, in House it must be endorsed and scheduled for debate by Calendar Committee (functions much like Rules Committee)
E. Debated and voted upon (called Second Reading)
F. Tradition of open and spirited debate
G. Voted on again (called Third Reading); usually just a formal process.
H. May have to go to Conference Committee
I. If passed by both chambers, goes to the Governor.
IX. Members of the legislature can generally get a bill passed only by finding other members to co-sponsor their legislation.
First question they are asked by other members is “who hates this bill?”
Member must convince them that supporting the bill will not cause them problem with constituents or powerful interest groups.
May take a member several sessions to gain enough support to get a bill passed.
In Texas the governor’ s veto is rarely overridden, in part, because most vetoes take place after the session ends.