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Texas Legislature Texas Legislature

Bicameralism l House – – l 150 members 2 -year terms Senate – – Bicameralism l House – – l 150 members 2 -year terms Senate – – 31 members 4 -year terms

Bicameralism: Texas v. National Legislature l One senator per district (about the size of Bicameralism: Texas v. National Legislature l One senator per district (about the size of a U. S. House district) l Two senators per “district” (where the district is a state)

A “Non Professional” Legislature l Regular sessions biennial (140 days) – – Interim committees A “Non Professional” Legislature l Regular sessions biennial (140 days) – – Interim committees (a few days per month) Special sessions l Governor calls and sets agenda (lots of power here!) Can draft the initial proposal – Can promise new agenda items in return for votes – l l 30 days each Low salary ($7, 200 per year + per diem)

Compensation Comparison Average Annual Compensation $16, 160 (No Special Sessions) Federal Poverty Level (Family Compensation Comparison Average Annual Compensation $16, 160 (No Special Sessions) Federal Poverty Level (Family of Four - 2004) $19, 307 Average Annual Compensation $23, 840 (Four Special Sessions) National Median Annual Household Income (2004) $44, 389

Consequences l l You have to have a flexible schedule You have to have Consequences l l You have to have a flexible schedule You have to have a job that pays well during the “off time” Lots of lawyers fit the bill, most blue collar laborers do not Gives special interests a lot of power – – Legislators work as lawyers/lobbyists during off season Rely on interest groups to provide information and bills

Powers of Texas Legislature l l l Pass laws Constituent service Investigation Oversight Impeachment Powers of Texas Legislature l l l Pass laws Constituent service Investigation Oversight Impeachment

Texas and U. S. Legislative Processes: Important Differences l l U. S. VP is Texas and U. S. Legislative Processes: Important Differences l l U. S. VP is figurehead as “President of Senate” U. S. House – debate and amendment on floor controlled by Rules Committee l l Lt. Governor is the real presiding officer of Texas Senate Texas House – debate and amendment on floor controlled by Speaker of the House

Texas and U. S. Legislative Process: Important Differences l U. S. : fewer than Texas and U. S. Legislative Process: Important Differences l U. S. : fewer than 10 days in legislative session – Pocket Veto l Texas: fewer than 10 days in legislative session – Gov has 20 days to sign or veto, no Pocket Veto l President must accept or reject whole bill l Texas: Line Item Veto for appropriations

Other Players in the Legislative Process l Interest Groups – – l l l Other Players in the Legislative Process l Interest Groups – – l l l Propose legislation Persuade public/legislature/executive Executive (more to come!) Bureaucracy (more to come!) Courts (more to come!)